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Vonn cleared for training

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LAKE LOUISE, Alta. -- Lindsey Vonn was cleared to get back on a World Cup course for downhill training, the latest step as she works to return from a right knee injury and get ready for the Sochi Olympics.

Now Vonn -- and the rest of the skiing world -- will wait to find out whether she'll actually be racing by the end of this week.

The four-time overall World Cup champion and reigning Olympic downhill gold medallist is expected to start in Wednesday's first official training session at Lake Louise, the U.S. Ski Team said Tuesday.

The team added that not until Thursday would a decision be made on whether Vonn will return to competition for the first time since tearing right knee ligaments in a high-speed crash at the world championships last February. The scheduled races at Lake Louise -- a site Vonn has dominated in the past, including three-victory sweeps in 2011 and 2012 -- are downhills on Friday and Saturday, with a super-G on Sunday.

Vonn will start 10th in today's training run.

"She's trying to come back as quick as possible, and it just happens to be that Lake Louise is on the (schedule) right now," U.S. women's coach Alex Hoedlmoser said. "It's a very good place for her to come back and try because she's very familiar with the course and had success here."

The U.S. Ski Team said Vonn "felt strong" after doing super-G training in her hometown of Vail, Colo., last weekend, and that her surgeon, Dr. Bill Sterett, feels "her knee is stable."

"I hope she is in good shape. I hope she's fit," said Atle Skaardal, the women's race director for the International Ski Federation (FIS).

Canada ranked No. 11

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Canada's men's volleyball team will face Belgium, Australia and Finland in pool play of FIVB Volleyball World League 2014.

The league's 28 teams have been split into seven pools in the league's new expanded structure. Canada, at No. 11, is the top-ranked team in Pool C. Australia is 14th-ranked, Finland is No. 30 and Belgium is 37th.

The Canadians won their pool in 2013, advancing to the playoffs to finish fifth overall. Their performance saw them jump seven places in the world rankings, from 18th to 11th.

Canadian coach Glenn Hoag said the World League is a good preparation for the world championship next September, "which is our main objective this summer," Hoag said. "We will have the chance to play six matches at home, which is always a great motivation for our team."

Canada will play a home-and-away series against the three Pool C teams during the Intercontinental round. The World League playoffs are scheduled for the first two weeks of July.

Favre enjoys coaching

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- While Brett Favre isn't sure what he'll be doing next year, he does know what he'll be doing on Friday: Trying to win a Mississippi high school state championship.

The three-time NFL Most Valuable Player is the offensive co-ordinator for Oak Grove High School near his home in Hattiesburg. Oak Grove will try to capture its first state championship when it faces Tupelo in Jackson, Miss.

"Who knows if I'll do it next year," said Favre, who is in his second year coaching at the high school. "I really don't know. It's been a lot of fun. I enjoy it, it's easy and it's not too time-consuming."

The 44-year-old Favre grew up about an hour away in Kiln, Miss., and played his college football just down the road at Southern Mississippi. He lives in Hattiesburg with his family and has immersed himself in the local sports scene -- coaching high school football and watching his youngest daughter play volleyball.

Favre insists he's content, but that hasn't stopped questions about his future.

He dismissed the possibility of returning to the NFL earlier this fall after reports surfaced that he'd been contacted by the St. Louis Rams. It's been nearly three years since he last played with the Minnesota Vikings.

He's made a few cameos in the broadcast booth, but nothing long term. Favre's longtime agent, Bus Cook, said the quarterback enjoys what he's doing now and is keeping his options open.

Clark named union boss

SAN DIEGO -- Tony Clark said he's "blown away" that he is the first former major leaguer to become head of the baseball players' union.

The executive board of the Major League Baseball Players Association voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Clark to replace Michael Weiner, who died Nov. 21 of brain cancer. The decision is pending a vote of the general membership.

Clark was an all-star in 2001 and played for 15 seasons with Detroit, Arizona, the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Boston and San Diego. The 41-year-old was appointed deputy executive director in July and had been acting executive director since Weiner's death.

The executive board is meeting this week at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Clark went to high school in the San Diego area and played basketball at San Diego State.

After retiring during the 2009 season, Clark had opportunities in broadcasting and coaching.

Instead, he said he woke up one day and told his wife that he should work for the players' union, "having no idea that we would be sitting before you, Dec. 3, 2013, in this capacity."

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 4, 2013 C7

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