Canadian rower crosses North Atlantic Ocean alone

Mylene Paquette
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Mylene Paquette navigated through whales, storms and capsizing, but she’s still afraid of the pool.

The Montreal native, 35, completed a solo 129-day journey across the North Atlantic on Tuesday, according to Canadian reports.

She said she’s the first North American to do so, a 3,000-mile feat all the more impressive given her fears.

“I’m scared in the pool and in a big bath,” she told reporters on a conference call after landing in the French port city of Lorient. “I don’t really understand what I’m scared of. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too much ‘Jaws’ when I was younger?”

A U.S. woman rowed solo across the Atlantic in 1999, from the Canary Islands to Guadeloupe.

Paquette said her journey from Halifax was tougher, though she called the American Tori Murden a hero.

“It’s like Everest,” she said, comparing a southern route to Mount Kilimanjaro.

Paquette began her journey on July 6 to raise awareness about environmental protection. She rowed a 24-foot boat named Hermel and had a meteorological expert guiding her along the way.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”