Three of Americas top young speed skaters will miss February’s junior worlds in Poland, where many Olympians make their first mark in the sport, because the U.S. federation didn’t establish the skaters’ international eligibility in time for the deadline set by the sport’s governing body.
“I cried until my tears didn’t come out,” Sally Chea, 15, told the Washington Post. “This was the competition I trained for all season, and they took it away from me.”
All three skaters are Korean-Americans with green-cards, not citizenship, and have filed a formal complaint with the USOC alleging discrimination after a closed-door meeting at last weeks junior nationals. The three claim that U.S. Speedskating officials demanded proof of citizenship from only the Korean Americans at the event.
International Skating Union spokesperson Tamera Castellano said wasn’t certain about the Korean-American’s citizenship status in time for worlds, but added that the descent of their Canadian-American teammates was clarified through private conversations earlier in the week.
“The time of this was absolutely unfortunate,” said Castellano. “These athletes must have been devastated; to know that is heartbreaking. That’s not what anybody wanted — especially juniors. Could we have handled the timing of this better, such that perhaps the situation could have been avoided? Hindsight is 20-20.”
Amy Purdy made her name as a snowboardcross bronze medalist at the Sochi Paralympics and runner-up on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2014.
In September, she’ll combine both.
Purdy will perform as a dancer in the Rio Paralympic Opening Ceremony on Sept. 7, in addition to being an NBC reporter during the Games.
She was told her performance will be four to five minutes. On “Dancing with the Stars,” her performances were about 90 seconds, she said. She traveled to Rio for a week of rehearsals in July.
Purdy, 36, survived bacterial meningitis in 1999 but lost both her legs and later needed a kidney from her father at age 20.
“I’m most excited about the concept of this dance,” Purdy said. “Just the idea of man versus machine. A lot of times we feel really limited because of our prosthetics. But this dance, hopefully, will kind of shatter those borders a little bit and allow me to move my body in a way I haven’t done before.”
Purdy is an innovator. She built her own snowboard and is seen as instrumental in getting her sport into the Paralympic program beginning in 2014.
A model, she’s been in a Madonna music video, a Super Bowl commercial, ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue and competed on “The Amazing Race” in 2012.
MORE: Rio Paralympic broadcast schedule
Lindsey Vonn‘s episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” will air on NBC on Monday at 10 p.m. ET.
From NBC Universal:
“After roaring across crystal-clear waters in a speedboat, Bear and Lindsey must strip down and swim to shore before inching their way along the rugged coastline. After rappelling down a sheer rock wall, the two get inventive and use a spear-gun to traverse a hundred-foot deep chasm. With the sun setting, they collect a dinner of sea urchins and Bear challenges Lindsey to a swimming competition with hilarious results. Along the way Lindsey shares her journey of love, Olympic glory, and displays the focus and determination that has made her one of the most successful female athletes of all time.”
Vonn is returning from a Feb. 27 crash that left her with three significant left knee fractures.
With 76 career World Cup wins, she is 10 shy of the record held by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark.
MORE: Lindsey Vonn wants to race men, retire in 2019