Markus Rehm

German amputee long jumper won’t fight European Championships exclusion


German national long jump champion Markus Rehm will not fight his federation’s decision to leave him off its roster for August’s European Championships because of a possible competitive advantage due to having a prosthetic right leg.

“I am not going to take any judicial steps,” Rehm said, according to The Associated Press, adding that he wanted to respect other athletes chosen for the team. “But I will use all possibilities to prove that I got no advantage. People should not think that I won only because of the prosthesis. That would be an extremely false idea.”

Rehm, whose leg was amputated below the knee after a boating accident at age 14, won a 2012 Paralympic long jump gold medal with a 7.35m jump, then a world record in his division.

Rehm jumped 8.24m to win the German title on Saturday, a personal best. That distance placed fifth at the 2013 World Championships and would have won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics and a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday, over Olympic champion Greg Rutherford.

The European Championships, the biggest meet of the year for German track athletes, are Aug. 12-17 in Zurich, Switzerland.

Tests were performed on Rehm’s prosthetic leg between his victory Saturday and the team announcement Wednesday to determine if he gained a competitive advantage from either running on it or jumping off of it.

The president of Germany’s track and field governing body said there was “significant doubt” that jumps on a prosthetic leg and a natural leg were comparable, according to The Associated Press. He also said Rehm might receive an extra “catapult effect.”

The German track and field federation said Thursday it would conduct more tests and consult with the German Olympic Committee, according to the AP.

“More analysis is needed until a comprehensive picture is achieved,” Rehm said.

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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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