VONN DROPS OUT OF WORLD CUP RACE
FLACHAU, Austria (AP) – Lindsey Vonn is skipping a World Cup night slalom Tuesday because she has not been able to practice enough in the event. Vonn, the defending overall champion, is missing from the list of 68 competitors published Monday by skiing’s governing body.
U.S. women’s head coach Alex Hoedlmoser says Vonn skis only in races in which “she has the chance to win. And without any slalom training, there is no chance to win a slalom.” In mid-December, Vonn took a break to recover from an intestinal illness. The American returned for speed races in St. Anton, Austria, last weekend, placing sixth in the downhill and fourth in the super-G. Vonn trails leader Tina Maze of Slovenia by 785 points and says she no longer thinks about winning the overall title again.
ARMSTRONG COMING CLEAN
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Local and international news crews are staking out positions in front of Lance Armstrong’s lush, Spanish-style villa ahead of the cyclist’s interview with Oprah Winfrey later Monday. News crews began arriving before dawn, hoping to catch a glimpse of Winfrey or Armstrong, who jogged through the neighborhood on Sunday. After a decade of denials, Armstrong is expected to apologize and come clean about his role in an alleged doping scheme on the U.S. Postal Service teams. Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times, but was stripped of those titles in 2012 and issued a lifetime ban after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report laid out details and witness testimony about doping on Armstrong’s teams. The property is about an acre and surrounded by a tall limestone wall with large cast iron gates at the entrances to driveway.
NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
UNDATED (AP) – There is little time to rest for the four teams still alive in the NFL playoffs. The Baltimore Ravens won a thriller in double overtime against the Denver Broncos. They now face a rematch of last year’s AFC championship against the New England Patriots Sunday in Foxboro. New England won last year, 23-20. The Atlanta Falcons are moving on after losing the lead late and getting it back with a field goal with eight seconds left to defeat the Seattle Seahawks. The Falcons travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Defending champion Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) took his first step toward winning his third consecutive Australian Open title, and fourth overall, with a 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 win over Paul-Henri Mathieu (awn-REE mat-YOO’). The win ran Djokovic’s winning streak at Melbourne to 15 matches. Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams also easily won their first-round matches.
NHL PUCKS DROP THIS SATURDAY
UNDATED (AP) – NHL teams don’t have a lot of time to prepare for the start of a shortened regular season. Training camps opened yesterday, about a week after the end of the 113-day lockout. There will be a 48-game schedule. Teams like the Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes plan to have their first practices today. The Los Angeles Kings open at home Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks after unveiling the franchise’s first Stanley Cup banner.
FORMER RAVENS COACH INTERVIEWS WITH EAGLES
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that the Philadelphia Eagles have interviewed former Ravens coach and current Fox analyst Brian Billick for their coaching vacancy. Billick led Baltimore to a Super Bowl title in the 2000 season. The Eagles are known to have interviewed eight other candidates, after firing coach Andy Reid at the end of the regular season.