NORDIC SKIING

Sophia Laukli of Yarmouth finished 23rd in the 10K freestyle at the FIS Nordic Ski World Championship in Oberstdorf, Germany on Tuesday.

Laukli, a 20-year-old sophomore at Middlebury College, finished in 25:32.8 and was one of four Americans to finish in the top 25. Jessie Diggins led the U.S. team, finishing fourth, followed by Sadie Maubet Njorsen in 11th and Rossie Brennan in 17th.

Temperatures approached 60 degrees during the race.

“I was very happy with how it went, it felt good,” Laukli said in a release on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard website. “I definitely have not raced in this heat for quite a while, so that was kind of a shocker, but I felt good.”

Laukli finished 25th in the skiathlon on Saturday.

OLYMPICS

TOKYO GAMES: The Tokyo Olympics made a symbolic gesture toward gender equality on Tuesday by appointing 12 women to the body’s executive board.

The board will now have 19 women among its 45 members, or 42%. To accommodate the new women, the size of the board was increased from 35 to 45. Several resignations on Tuesday also created more space.

The move was announced by CEO Toshiro Muto after an executive board meeting. The names of the new members were expected to be announced on Wednesday.

Seiko Hashimoto, the new president of the organizing committee, prompted the changes. She took over last month after 83-year-old former president Yoshiro Mori was forced to resign after making derogatory comments about women. Essentially, he said they talk too much.

“Regarding the promotion of gender equality, we believe that it is necessary to work with a sense of speed and produce solid results in order to restore the trust in the organizing committee,” Hashimoto said at the start of the board meeting.

Hashimoto, a former Olympic bronze-medal winner in speedskating, promised when she took over to increase female participation in the body’s executive board. It had stood at about 20%. Muto also said the board will now have one female vice president among seven.

Japan ranks 121st out of 153 in the World Economic Forum’s gender-equality ranking, and women are seldom found in leadership roles or in the boardroom.

SPORTS BETTING

VIRGINIA: Sportsbooks actually lost money in Virginia in their January debut taking wagers on athletic events thanks to the aggressive promotions offered to court customers. As a result, the state collected a paltry $40,000 in taxes.

The Virginia Lottery on Monday released revenue and tax figures for sports gambling from Jan. 23 – when the first provider, FanDuel, was approved for operation — to Jan. 31.

The lottery says $58.9 million was wagered, with $55.3 million in winnings. But an additional $6.3 million in bonuses and promotions was also paid out. That, along with about $500,000 in other deductions, resulted in negative adjusted gross revenue of $3.2 million. It is the adjusted gross revenue that the state taxes at a 15% rate.

TENNIS

ABN AMRO: Andrey Rublev advanced to the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament by beating American qualifier Marcos Giron 7-6 (1), 6-3 on Tuesday.

The fourth-seeded Rublev won after he was pushed hard by Giron as the first set went with serve, before breaking the American twice in the second set. It was Rublev’s first match since he was beaten by fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open quarterfinals. Rublev will play Andy Murray in the second round.

Eighth-seeded Stan Wawrinka’s disappointing start to the season continued as he was beaten 6-4, 7-5 by Karen Khachanov following a second-round exit at the Australian Open. Khachanov’s win sets up another Russian-British match in the second round, this time against qualifier Cameron Norrie.

Alex de Minaur won an all-Australian match against John Millman 6-1, 6-4 to set up a second-round meeting with Kei Nishikori. Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz saw off experienced French player Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-6 (6).

QATAR OPEN: In her first match since September, former U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys beat Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-1 at the Qatar Open on Tuesday.

Keys hit 24 winners against 13 for the sixth-seeded Bencic, who was coming off a loss to Iga Swiatek in the final of the Adelaide International on Saturday. Keys was playing for the first time since her first-round exit at the French Open. She missed the Australian Open after testing positive for the coronavirus shortly before she was due to fly to Melbourne on a charter flight.

The 2017 U.S. Open finalist said that when she contracted the virus she “just had super, super mild symptoms, so I was really lucky.”

Australian Open quarterfinalist Jessica Pegula won against Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-1 in their first-round match. Pegula came through three rounds of qualifying. The 56th-ranked Laura Siegemund overcame a 33-place rankings gap to Elena Rybakina as she won 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5). Siegemund meets Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Also, Ons Jabeur beat Anna Blinkova 6-2, 6-2.

AUTO RACING

FORMULA ONE: The rebranded Alpine team presented its new Formula One car on Tuesday, revealing a new livery of blue, white and red matching the colors of the French flag instead of yellow and black.

The Renault Formula One team changed its name to Alpine at the end of last season and said the new colors are “synonymous to Alpine’s heritage and pedigree in motorsports.”

Alpine has a history in motorsports with the Renault-powered Alpine car winning the Le Mans 24 hours race in 1978.

The new A521 will be powered by a Renault engine and driven by Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, who is French.

A two-time world champion with Renault, the 39-year-old Alonso is making his comeback in F1 after retiring at the end of the 2018 season. The 39-year-old Spaniard has won 32 races, with 97 podium finishes. He won his titles in 2005 and 2006.

FORMULA ONE: Mercedes has unveiled the car Lewis Hamilton will drive this season while trying to win an unprecedented eighth Formula One title.

The W12 car, presented Tuesday, retains the black introduced last year as part of the team’s campaign against racism and discrimination, and adds a touch of its more traditional silver.

The 36-year-old Hamilton, who signed a one-year contract extension last month, is bidding to move one title clear of Michael Schumacher. Meanwhile, Mercedes will be chasing an eighth drivers’ and constructors’ double.

Since joining Mercedes for the 2013 season, Hamilton has won six world titles — moving him level with Schumacher with a record seven for his career.

Hamilton, who has won 74 races with Mercedes, said earning an eighth title “is the ultimate dream, but I don’t think it will be the deciding factor as to whether I stay or keep going.”

TRACK AND FIELD

RUNNER BANNED: Nelly Jepkosgei, a leading runner in the 800 meters, has been banned for three years for faking a car accident to give her an excuse for missing a drug test.

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees doping and misconduct cases, said in its ruling that Jepkosgei claimed her sister had been hospitalized after a “serious car accident” in Kenya and she had rushed to see her. That was Jepkosgei’s explanation for why she hadn’t been at home when doping testers visited on March 18, 2020, at a time when the former Diamond League race winner had listed herself as available.

The AIU ruling said Jepkosgei admitted the deception after the Kenyan anti-doping agency investigated her claims. Police told anti-doping staff they had no record of the crash and the hospital confirmed a document presented by Jepkosgei was “forged,” the AIU said. Her admission earned her one year off the standard four-year sanction for a charge of “tampering” with the anti-doping process.

Jepkosgei hasn’t competed since 2019, when she won the 800 in the Rabat and Lausanne rounds of the Diamond League. Jepkosgei is in the process of switching allegiance from Kenya to Bahrain. She was due to be cleared to represent her new country in August.


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