Tatyana McFadden

What’s next for Tatyana McFadden after Sochi success

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Tatyana McFadden admitted to feeling jetlagged, even exhausted after flying home from the Sochi Paralympics.

She’s earned plenty of rest, but she won’t be taking much.

The 24-year-old plans to defend her London Marathon and Boston Marathon wheelchair titles in April, one month after winning a sitting cross-country skiing silver medal to complement her collection of 10 Summer Paralympic medals.

“I’m getting in my chair this week,” McFadden said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It’s going to be hard. … I think it will take me a few days, a week to get my mind back to wheelchair racing. To get my endurance back.”

In Sochi, McFadden won her silver medal in a 1km sprint to join the list of Paralympians with Summer and Winter medals (three of her Sochi teammates had already accomplished the feat). Each round of the 1km sprint took about 3 minutes.

Her April marathons are each 42 times longer in distance and take about 1 hour, 45 minutes.

McFadden is concerned enough about transitioning back that she won’t yet commit to defending later marathon titles in Chicago and New York and going for a second straight “Grand Slam.” But she felt picking up cross-country skiing over the last year, and the different work that goes into it, will help her on the road to Rio in 2016.

“In [wheelchair] racing it’s all shoulders and all arms,” McFadden said. “[In cross-country skiing], your core kind of drives where your arms go. … Now I’ve got a really strong core and strong lats. I can use that for wheelchair racing.”

On the track, she is considering adding the 5000m to her Paralympic schedule if she makes it to Rio. McFadden didn’t race the event at London 2012, where she bagged four medals with three golds, but won it as part of an unprecedented haul of six golds at the 2013 World Championships.

She’s not done with cross-country skiing, either.

“I sort of got addicted to it,” said McFadden, a Maryland native who spent December through February training on snow in Colorado. “My concentration is on Rio, and then during the winters I will probably go and ski. … We’ll see what happens.”

Ireland’s history at the Olympics

Two Italian cities discuss possible Winter Olympic bid

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ROME (AP) — Milan and Turin are in discussions with the Italian Olympic Committee about a possible bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino sent a letter of interest to CONI on Sunday despite divisions in her own party, the populist 5-Star Movement, on a candidacy. Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala met with CONI president Giovanni Malago on Monday.

“I think Milan has everything required but we won’t do anything without a government and its approval,” Sala said Tuesday.

Italy awaits a new government in the next few weeks following a national election this month that yielded no clear majority.

CONI is still recovering from its dropped Rome bid for the 2024 Summer Games, which ended following staunch opposition from Mayor Virginia Raggi, who also represents the 5-Star Movement.

Among the cities which have shown preliminary interest for 2026: Calgary, Canada; Sion, Switzerland; and Sapporo, Japan.

Turin hosted the Winter Games in 2006. The 2026 host will be decided by the International Olympic Committee in Milan in September 2019.

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Nathan Chen no longer grasping for gold going into world champs

Nathan Chen
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Nathan Chen is arguably a bigger favorite at this week’s world championships than going into the Olympics, but Chen learned from his frightening PyeongChang experience not to think in those terms.

“I don’t want to dwell so much on medals like I did at the Games,” Chen said last week. “That was one of the biggest things that sort of screwed me up at the Olympics. … I was so hell-bent on that, on really the gold. It ended up just making me scared. It made me really nervous and didn’t give me the confidence I needed.”

Chen arrived in PyeongChang last month undefeated for the season. His first two skates in South Korea resulted in the two worst short program scores of his senior international career.

The 18-year-old nailed his last performance, a personal-best free skate as the first man to land five clean quadruple jumps at an Olympics. The highest program score in the field by nearly nine points. Chen moved from 17th place to fifth, confirming his place among the sport’s big-stage performers.

Then two of those icons — Olympic gold and bronze medalists Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez — withdrew from this week’s world championships in Milan.

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“Honestly, I was a little disappointed that Yuzu pulled [out of worlds],” Chen said (Hanyu cited a right ankle injury that kept him out of competition from November until the Olympics). “Obviously, he needs to get healthy. I don’t know what his future entails, but I wanted to have him there. It really ups the ante of the competition. Everyone definitely feels his presence and Javi’s presence.”

Chen spent the last week of the Olympics in Seoul with family members. He said he took maybe one day off from training after flying home to Southern California.

His coolest post-Olympic experience: attending NBA games, such as Cavaliers-Clippers with a backstage pass to watch players exit. And being shown on the jumbotron.

What Chen has not done in the last month is watch full video of his Olympic performances. Just jump compilations from his free skate. Nothing from either of the short programs.

“But I know exactly what it felt like,” he said. “I don’t really want to go back and review it since I know within myself what it felt like, but, again, if I find the need to some day go back and remember it, I think it’s a good resource.”

Chen is expected to challenge Japan’s Shoma Uno (Olympic silver medalist) and China’s Jin Boyang (2016 and 2017 World bronze medalist) for the world title.

Chen said last week that he plans two quads in his short program (Lutz and flip) and, depending on how the short goes, five in his free skate (six, which he attempted at the Olympics with one messy landing, “is pushing it a little bit.”).

Chen faces a decision after worlds. He applied to “six or seven” colleges — mostly California schools, but two on the East Coast — and, as of last week, had not heard back from any.

He plans to continue competing next season under Southern California-based coach Rafael Arutyunyan regardless of which school he chooses.

“Applications were mostly just for the purpose of trying to get into the colleges,” he said. “Once I hear back from them, I’ll figure out logistics and see how I’ll balance them both [school and skating].”

No American has won a world title since ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White in 2013, marking the nation’s longest drought in 42 years. Chen can end it. What an end it would be to his season as well.

“It would be incredible,” Chen said, “but I still have a lot of worlds ahead of me.”

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