Michael Phelps’ mom hopes for one more Olympics

Debbie Phelps
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Michael Phelps is training again, but he hasn’t committed to another Olympic run. That doesn’t mean his mother, Debbie Phelps, can’t dream of Rio 2016.

She was asked about Phelps returning to the North Baltimore Aquatic Club pool by a Baltimore radio station in a story about a fundraiser she’s spearheading to benefit area moms.

“I don’t if we’re going to Rio, but I know that, according to the Baltimore Sun and out there in social media, Michael did make an announcement about being back in the pool,” she told WBAL News. “Where that leads him, I don’t know, I’m hoping it does lead us to Brazil.

“But, you know, athletes, children, composers, artists have to love what they do. Michael has a love for his sport, a passion for his sport. I know when he went to Barcelona for world champs last year [July 2013], I watched his face. He has such eagerness about where the sport of swimming is going to go. I’m supporting him all the way as his mom.

“I would love to go Rio.”

Debbie Phelps, the education foundation director for Baltimore County Public Schools, has been hoping her son would go to Rio since before the London Olympics.

“I want to go to Rio in 2016,” she said on “60 Minutes” in May 2012. “I do. He told me he’d send me there on vacation, he told me. But you know, I was like, I’m like, ‘Come on, Michael just a 50 freestyle.’

“What happens if your mom, you know, after London, after 12 months goes by and says, ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to go to Rio?'”

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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.”