Seth Wescott

Olympic champion Seth Wescott’s van collides with moose

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Two-time Olympic snowboardcross gold medalist Seth Wescott walked away uninjured after his 2002 Volkswagen Eurovan struck a moose on a Maine road Thursday.

The moose collided into the passenger side of Wescott’s van around 1 a.m., according to reports.

“It did roughly $3,000 to $4,000 worth of damage,” Lt. David Rackliffe of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department told the Bangor (Maine) Daily News. “It appears that the moose actually ran into him.”

Despite the damage, Wescott, 37, managed to drive the rest of the way home, according to the newspaper. The Maine native posted this on his Facebook page:

“Welcome home to Maine.. Now here is a moose in your windshield to mess up your night.. Home safe but it looks like the eurovan is gonna have an insurance vacation at the VW garage.. Damn it..”

Apparently car-moose collisions are becoming a bit of an epidemic in the area, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Rackliffe said Wescott’s accident continues a busy summer of car-moose crashes in Franklin County.

“We actually did a couple of press releases on that [situation earlier this summer],” Rackliffe said. “From mid-June through mid-July, between us and state police who cover northern Franklin County, we documented more than 22 car-moose crashes in that roughly 30-day period.”

While there are plenty of moose in western Maine, Rackliffe termed the rash of crashes “extraordinarily high.”

Wescott is one of three Olympians trying to become the first American man to win the same Winter Olympic event three straight times (Bonnie Blair is the only U.S. woman to do it). He won the first two Olympic snowboardcross competitions in Sochi and Vancouver. Fellow snowboarder Shaun White (halfpipe) and speedskater Shani Davis (1,000 meters) also won in 2006 and 2010.

Wescott, if he makes the Olympic team, would be the last of the three to make the attempt. Men’s snowboardcross in Sochi is on Feb. 17, five days after Davis’ 1,000 and six days after White’s halfpipe.

Wescott underwent “a complete reconstruction” of his left ACL in April, according to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald. He fell into a crevasse while filming with Warren Miller for L.L. Bean.

“It allows me to start at ground zero and build myself up,” Wescott told the newspaper in May. “I know it’s going to be tight, but I know it’s entirely possible (to make it back for Sochi).”

Wescott had reconstructive surgery on his right knee in 2001 and tore a pectoral muscle in 2012.

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Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan remembers slain Colorado officer, a childhood friend

Nancy Kerrigan
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan remembers the Colorado police officer who was killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as loyal, caring and a true friend.

She told media outlets that Garrett Swasey was “one of my best friends” as they grew up together practicing figure skating in Melrose, Massachusetts. Before he became a police officer, Swasey was a junior national couples ice dancing champion.

An emotional Kerrigan says she wasn’t surprised he took a career path where he helped others first. She says he always had fun and did everything with a smile.

Swasey’s father has told the Boston Globe that his son moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skating and became an officer six years ago.

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Kobe Bryant announces retirement but remains in contention for Rio team

Kobe Bryant
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Veteran basketball player and 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire from professional basketball after the end of this season. However, ESPN reported that the chairman of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, said that Bryant “remains in contention for Team USA spot for Rio 2016.”

In the form of a poem titled “Dear Basketball” on the Player’s Tribune, Bryant wrote:

This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

Bryant played on the U.S. national team from 2007 to 2012. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics he scored 20 points in the gold medal game to win gold over Spain. He helped the U.S. men to gold again in 2012, then said that it would be his last Olympics.

But he’s changed his tune in recent months. Bryant told the Associated Press in November that he’d like a shot at another Olympics.

“I would like to play,” Bryant said. “I think it’d be awesome. A beautiful experience.”

If he were selected and won again, Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony would become the first U.S. male basketball players to win three gold Olympic medals.

In the AP interview Bryant spoke glowingly of his Olympic teammates. “It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” he said. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”

He also said he believes he’d be an asset to the team, stating, “I feel like I can add value from a leadership perspective and a defensive perspective. I can still move extremely well defensively.”

Bryant’s age will likely be a concern, as his 38th birthday is just two days after the gold-medal game on August 21st, 2016.

Colangelo said that they will be looking at “all of our players” this season, and Bryant’s retirement announcement “doesn’t have any bearing” on whether he’d be selected for the 2016 Olympic team.

The 12 player team will be selected in June 2016.

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