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Ole Einar Bjørndalen retires after six Olympics, 13 medals

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Ole Einar Bjørndalen, the most decorated male Winter Olympian with 13 medals, tearfully announced his retirement from biathlon on Tuesday, according to the International Biathlon Union.

Bjørndalen, a 44-year-old Norwegian, said he suffered from heart murmurs this season.

“My motivation is unstoppable,” he said, according to the IBU. “I have the pleasure and motivation to hold on to sports that are just amazing. I would like to take a few more years, but this is the last season.”

The Biathlon King’s Olympic career ended two months ago, when he was left off Norway’s team for PyeongChang, ending a bid for a seventh Winter Games.

Bjørndalen was omitted because of poor form up to that point in the season — individual results of 18th, 31st, 18th, 28th, 46th, 52nd, 36th and 42nd in World Cups. He also competed in the last three World Cups after the Olympics. Bjørndalen had three episodes of the heart issue during the season.

“It is not dangerous, but it is a discomfort,” he said, according to the IBU. “I always got it in a state of rest, never under stress, so I was never sure if I should compete or work hard. … We got it under control. … I responded well and received very good help from my health team, but I was constantly a concern.”

Bjørndalen became the oldest individual Winter Olympic champion in Sochi, where he also passed countryman Bjørn Daehlie for the career Winter Games medal record and tied Daehlie for the career gold-medal record (eight).

In PyeongChang, countrywoman and cross-country skier Marit Bjørgen earned five medals and two golds to break the total medals record (15) and tie Bjøerndalen and Daehlie with eight golds.

In 2016, Bjøerndalen committed to one more Olympic run after capturing medals in three of four individual events at the world championships in Oslo.

He also announced that spring that he and Belarusian biathlete Darya Domracheva, who won three golds at the Sochi Olympics, were having a baby.

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MORE: Best biathlon moments from PyeongChang Olympics

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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MORE: Shalane Flanagan looks to future after last Boston Marathon

Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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