Allison Jones

U.S. wins 3 medals on first day of Sochi Paralympics

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Veteran U.S. Paralympic medalists added three more Alpine skiing medals on the first day of competition at the Paralympics on Saturday.

The greatest success came in women’s sitting downhill, where Alana Nichols and Laurie Stephens took silver and bronze. Nichols, the first U.S. woman to win gold medals in the Summer and Winter Paralympics, took her sixth career Paralympic medal. She was .14 of a second behind gold medalist Anna Schaffelhuber of Germany.

“I really feel like I could have skied better,” Nichols said, according to TeamUSA.org. “Not terribly happy with the performance today, but considering I hung in there and was able to finish in second, I consider it a win.”

Stephens won her fifth career Paralympic medal.

Earlier, seven-time Paralympian Allison Jones led it off with a bronze in the standing downhill. Jones, who has won Summer and Winter Paralympic medals in cycling and Alpine skiing, bagged the eighth of her career.

The defending Olympic champion U.S. men’s ice sledge hockey team beat Italy 5-1 to open its schedule. It got two goals from Brody Roybal.

The U.S. wheelchair curling team lost its first two games, 6-4 to Slovakia and 9-5 to South Korea.

Russia won 12 medals overall Saturday to take a comfortable lead in the overall medal table. The U.S.’ three medals tied for third after the first of 10 days of competition.

Sochi Paralympics broadcast schedule

Paralympic swimmer disqualified for Olympic rings tattoo

Josef Craig
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British Paralympic champion Josef Craig was disqualified from a race because he didn’t cover up an Olympic rings tattoo on his chest at the IPC European Championships on Sunday.

Craig, 19, was disqualified because of an International Paralympic Committee swimming rule that states, “body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”

Craig, who did not have the tattoo when he took gold at London 2012, has since competed at the European Championships with the Olympic rings tattoo covered.

If people attend the Paralympics, which are held weeks after the Olympics at the same venues, they will very often see the Paralympic Agitos logo where the Olympic logo once appeared.

It is visual proof that the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee are separate entities.

At the London Paralympics, American Rudy Garcia-Tolson earned silver in a 200m individual medley with an Olympic rings tattoo visible near his left shoulder-blade.

An IPC spokesperson said the rule pertaining to the Paralympics — which covers all sports — was new going into 2012 and will be fully enforced for the first time in Rio.

MORE: London gymnastics medalist gets elaborate Olympic tattoo

Missy Franklin reads emotional letter to parents (video)

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Missy Franklin broke into tears reading a letter to her parents in a mock press conference in a spot for Minute Maid, one of the four-time Olympic champion’s sponsors since turning professional a year ago.

It was filmed in April near her home in Denver.

Franklin has split time training and competing and working with companies including GoPro, Laureus, Minute Maid, Speedo, United Airlines, Visa and Wheaties.

Franklin has said the sponsor commitments will curtail in the middle of May, when she starts a blackout period to focus on training for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which are June 26-July 3 in Omaha and air on NBC Sports.

VIDEO: Franklin revisits ‘biggest sacrifice’ in GoPro series finale