Winter Olympics 2018: Izzy Atkin stars but Lindsey Vonn struggles

With the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang beginning next month, BBC Sport brings you a weekly round-up of the big stories in the build-up.

World Cup bronze for Atkin

FREESTYLE SKIING: Great Britain's Izzy Atkin warmed up for Pyeongchang 2018 in style by winning slopestyle bronze at the World Cup in Aspen, USA.

Atkin enjoyed a breakthrough season last year, winning World Championship bronze in Sierra Nevada, Spain in March.

And the 19-year-old recreated some of that form in Aspen over the weekend by taking another bronze behind Norway's Johanne Killi and America's Maggie Voisin.

"I'm stoked to put a run down; I really liked the course and the good weather today," said Atkin. "Now I can look forward to the X-Games and then onto Pyeongchang."

Fellow Brit James Woods - a World Cup winner in New Zealand in August - finished sixth in the men's slopestyle competition.

Minor stroke rules Tasker out of Pyeongchang

BOBSLEIGH: Great Britain bobsleigher Bruce Tasker will miss the Winter Olympics after suffering a minor stroke on 4 January.

The 30-year-old Welshman, who was due to compete in his second Olympic Games in South Korea, is expected to make a full recovery.

He has, however, said he would be willing to travel to Pyeongchang if the International Olympic Committee host medal reallocation ceremonies at next month's Games.

He was part of a four-man crew that achieved fifth-place finishes at three successive global championships, including the Winter Olympics in Sochi, for which he could yet receive a bronze medal following the disqualification of athletes in two Russian crews.

White in perfect form for Pyeongchang

SNOWBOARDING: The USA's two-time Olympic halfpipe champion Shaun White scored a perfect 100 en route to securing his qualification for next month's Olympics.

There was a question mark over White's form heading into this weekend's competition following two big early-season crashes, the second of which left him needing 62 stitches.

However, the American proved his class at the US Grand Prix at Snowmass, Colorado by recording only the third perfect 100 score ever to take victory and a spot on the plane to South Korea for his fourth Games.

"Now I feel like I'm on the right course for the Olympics," said White, who won gold at the 2006 and 2010 Games but finished fourth in Sochi.

Yarnold: 'I'm back'

SKELETON: Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold showed signs of a return to form after finishing ninth at the penultimate World Cup race of the season in St Moritz.

It was the Briton's first top-10 finish since November and she tweeted afterwards: "I'm back! 9th place in St Moritz today, the feeling of flow came back to me after many races of over thinking."

Meanwhile, Britain's Dom Parsons enjoyed his best result for three years in the men's race.

The 30-year-old finished fifth in a race won by South Korea's Yun Sungbin, who was enjoying his fifth win of the season.

Biathlete Bjoerndalen not selected for Pyeongchang

BIATHLON: Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time with 13 medals, has been left out of the Norwegian team for Pyeongchang 2018.

Bjoerndalen, 43, is a 20-time world champion and was hoping to compete in his seventh Olympic Games having made his debut in 1994.

"The results achieved by Ole Einar Bjoerndalen during the World Cup are not good enough. He unfortunately did not meet the criteria," said Tore Oevreboe - head of the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Magic Marcel repeats winning trick in Wengen

ALPINE SKIING: Austria's Marcel Hirscher insisted the Winter Olympic slalom competition is not a foregone conclusion, despite claiming a fifth-consecutive World Cup victory in Wengen.

Hirscher is seen as one of the greatest alpine skiers of all time, but has yet to claim an Olympic gold medal.

Victory in Wengen - his 53rd overall in a World Cup competition he has won for the last six seasons in a row - suggests the Austrian is a strong favourite to scratch that itch but Hirscher thinks otherwise.

"I am not unbeatable - this is the wrong word," he said.

Italian clean sweep as Vonn's weekend goes downhill

ALPINE SKIING: Italy's Sofia Goggia won World Cup downhill gold in Bad Kleinkirchheim as America's Lindsey Vonn struggled in Austria.

Federica Brignone and Nadia Fanchini took silver and bronze respectively as the Italians swept the podium.

Vonn finished 27th, the 2010 Olympic champion unwilling to risk a potential crash given that she missed the Sochi Games four years ago through injury.

Vonn said. "I'm just not willing to risk everything right now. I've been waiting eight years for the Olympics."

Joint Korean team proposal

The improving relations between North and South Korea continued with a proposal for a combined women's ice hockey team and a joint Opening Ceremony parade for Pyeongchang.

After North Korea said they are "likely to participate" at Pyeongchang, South Korea's vice sports minister Roh Tae-kang revealed their two proposals to bring the nations together.

The two countries, still technically at war, previously marched together at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 summer Olympics as well as the Turin 2006 Winter Games.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: Andrew Young and James Clugnet became the first Britons to reach the final of a World Cup team sprint.

They went on to finish ninth. Fellow Brit Andrew Musgrave - a World Cup medallist earlier this season - won't be racing again before Pyeongchang after a recent bout of illness.

FREESTYLE SKIING: Canada's Mikael Kingsbury became the most-decorated moguls skier of all time when he claimed his 47th World Cup victory in Park City, Utah.

Sochi silver medallist Kingsbury is one of the strongest favourites for gold in Pyeongchang having won the last 13 World Cup competitions in a row.

SKI-CROSS: Reigning Olympic ski-cross champion France's Jean-Frederic Chapuis took gold in Idre Fjall, his first World Cup victory of the season.

The 2018 Winter Olympics take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, from 9-25 February. You will be able to follow live BBC Sport coverage of the Winter Games on TV, radio and online.

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