Shaun White

Shaun White answers letter from boy with same heart defect (video)

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It’s not often kids hear from their heroes, but that’s just what happened to Jet Feirn, 9, on Tuesday.

Jet wrote a letter to Shaun White 15 months ago after being told by his mom that he was born with the same heart defect as White. Feirn and White also share a love for snowboarding, as NBC KARE 11 in Minnesota reports.

Jet was born less than four pounds with the heart defect tetralogy of Fallot, leading to two open-heart surgeries before kindergarten, according to the report.

The TV station first aired a piece on Feirn’s letter for White last month. A viewer with connections to White noticed and made sure the Olympic champion got the message.

White wrote back. Feirn received an autographed snowboard, helmet, goggles, a backpack and a poster on Tuesday.

Video: Shaun White’s band on ‘The Tonight Show’

Olympic flame arrives in Brazil (video)

Brazil Olympic flame
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BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The Brazilian torch relay for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has kicked off with volleyball player Fabiana Claudino running the first leg after the torch was ignited by embattled President Dilma Rousseff.

Rousseff says “Brazil is ready to host the most successful Olympics in history.”

The Olympic flame arrived in a lantern on a flight from Switzerland a few hours earlier and was taken to the Planalto presidential palace.

The three-month relay across Brazil, ending at the opening ceremony on Aug. 5 at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio, will involve 329 cities and 12,000 torchbearers. Rio organizers hope it will build enthusiasm for the games, which has lagged as Brazil battles bribery and corruption scandals and its deepest recession in decades.

The start of the relay comes just a week before the Brazilian senate is expected to suspend Rousseff for six months as it considers her impeachment.

MORE: Rio Olympic flame will live downtown — not in stadium

Michael Phelps left with one meet before Olympic Trials

Michael Phelps
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Michael Phelps could face his lightest-ever competition run-up to an Olympic Trials after opting not to swim at a meet in Atlanta next week.

Last week, Phelps noted one other scheduled meet before the U.S. Olympic Trials (June 26-July 3). That’s in Austin, Texas, from June 3-5.

In his previous four Olympic cycles, Phelps swam at least two meets in the final two months before the Olympic Trials, according to USA Swimming statistics.

Phelps’ training plan in May and June will be impacted by the impending birth of his first child. Fiancée Nicole Johnson is 36 weeks pregnant, according to her Instagram.

Without Phelps, the Atlanta meet is expected to include five-time 2015 World champion Katie Ledecky, 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin, Olympic 100m free champion Nathan Adrian and rising sprint freestyler Caeleb Dressel.

VIDEO: Phelps’ interview with Matt Lauer