Jessie Vetter

U.S. women’s hockey team snaps skid against Canada (video)

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The U.S. women’s hockey team beat Canada for the first time in the run up to the Olympics, hours after Canada’s coach resigned Thursday.

Five different Americans scored in a 5-1 victory in Calgary, Alberta. The world champion U.S. improved to 1-3 against the three-time reigning Olympic champion with three more games to go against its rival.

“It was one good test,” U.S. coach Katey Stone said. “We’re certainly a much better team than we were in November. The hard work that we’ve been putting in, in training camp, is starting to pay off a little bit.”

Alex Carpenter, Brianna Decker, Hilary KnightMeghan Duggan and Megan Bozek scored. No. 1 goalie Jessie Vetter stopped 15 of 16 shots.

The U.S. led 1-0 after Carpenter’s goal but opened it up in the second, outshooting Canada 12-5 with Decker’s tally, and piled on the final three goals in the final 20 minutes. They did it against Canada’s top goalie, Shannon Szabados, who stopped 24 of 28 shots.

“The second and third period, it was a dominating effort,” Stone said. “If anything, it’s going to make these kids believe they can do it all the time.”

Canada head coach Dan Church resigned earlier in the day for “personal reasons,” adding he felt others lacked confidence in his coaching.

The team had a tough time keeping its focus on the ice Thursday night, co-interim coach Danielle Goyette said.

“It was an emotional day,” Canadian forward Caroline Ouellette said, according to The Canadian Press. “A lot of different feelings around the team.

“I suspect that’s always the case when a head coach steps down in the NHL. It’s just never happened to us. I think we have some people who are feeling mixed emotions.”

Canada’s stalwart, Hayley Wickenheiser, suffered a lower-body injury in her second shift and sat out the final two periods. The team is hopeful it’s a day-to-day injury for the greatest player in Olympic women’s hockey history.

The win provided a boost for the U.S., which had not only lost to Canada three times, but also 3-1 to Finland in the Four Nations Cup on Nov. 8. It marked its first regulation loss ever to a nation other then Canada at an Olympics, World Championships or Four Nations Cup.

“Maybe we were cruising a little bit having three successful games against them,” Ouellette said, according to The Canadian Press. “They took what made us successful in the past games and shoved it at us. They were better on the forecheck and quicker on loose pucks.”

The teams will next play Dec. 20 in Grand Forks, N.D.

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Alex Zanardi, auto racer turned Paralympic champion, has 5-hour surgery to rebuild face after crash

Alex Zanardi
AP
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SIENA, Italy (AP) — Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi underwent a five-hour surgery Monday to reconstruct his face following a crash on his handbike last month.

It was the third major operation that Zanardi has had since he crashed into an oncoming truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19 during a relay event.

Dr. Paolo Gennaro of Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena said the operation required three-dimensional digital and computerized technology that was “made to measure” for Zanardi.

“The complexity of the case was fairly unique, although this is a type of fracture that we deal with routinely,” Gennaro said in a hospital statement.

After the surgery, Zanardi was returned to the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma.

“His condition remains stable in terms of his cardio-respiratory status and grave in terms of his neurological status,” the hospital medical bulletin read.

The 53-year-old Zanardi, who lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago, has been on a ventilator since the crash.

Zanardi suffered serious facial and cranial trauma, and doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

Zanardi won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.

Last month, Pope Francis penned a handwritten letter of encouragement assuring Zanardi and his family of his prayers. The pope praised Zanardi as an example of strength amid adversity.

Shawn Johnson East shares struggles with body image, prescription drugs

Shawn Johnson
Getty Images
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Shawn Johnson East, a 2008 Olympic gymnastics champion, detailed past struggles with body image and prescription drugs and reflected on her eating disorder as an elite athlete, to show there is hope to others in difficult situations.

“It all started with pregnancy and having my daughter,” East, who had daughter Drew in October, said on TODAY on Monday. “I had so many people asking me questions about how did pregnancy affect you mentally and how did you get your body back after having your daughter. I couldn’t answer that without giving a greater and a larger story.”

East first went public about her undiagnosed teenage eating disorders in 2015, three years after retiring from the sport. She said she limited herself to 700 calories per day and didn’t tell her parents.

In a June YouTube video, Johnson said she also binged and purged, including while dating future husband Andrew in the mid-2010s. And that she had depression and anxiety in 2011, when she returned to competition for the first time since the Beijing Games.

“I thought it would fix all of my problems,” East said of returning to gymnastics for a 2012 Olympic bid.

When East won “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009, she “hit a very low spot” going through puberty on national TV. She said she gained 15 pounds after the 2008 Olympics and started taking medications and drugs “to look like I did at the Olympics.” It included fad diets, diuretics and a three-week stretch of eating nothing but raw vegetables.

“Most pain of my entire life because I couldn’t digest anything,” she said.

At some point in 2011, East began feeling burned out. She was back to eating too few calories and overtraining. An unnamed USA Gymnastics doctor prescribed her Adderall “to lose more weight, have more energy and be more successful in gymnastics.” She took “heavy doses.”

“It helped my performances, but there were massive consequences to it,” she said. “I continued to compete into 2012, where I just started to get depressed.

“I was overdosing on Adderall. I was overdosing on any medication that wouldn’t be caught by USADA.”

Adderall was a banned substance in competition without a therapeutic use exemption, but was legal outside of competition.

“I was so controlled by other people’s opinions that I wouldn’t live up to that Olympic standard that I did anything to get it back and I could never have it back,” East said. “I didn’t learn that until later on.”

East’s mental hurdles re-emerged when she had a miscarriage in 2017. She blamed herself, believing her unhealthy lifestyle in the past was a contributor.

“Our natural inclination is to say, what did I do? And what did I do wrong?” she said. “It haunted me. I felt like I had sacrificed everything for an Olympic medal to not actually get the dream I had wanted my entire life [to have a child].”

With the help of a nutritionist and therapist and her husband, she conquered the demons through her 2019 pregnancy and childbirth.

“Having gone through a whole pregnancy and knowing that I felt confident through the whole thing, I feel like I’ve climbed Everest,” she said.

MORE: Why Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson went 8 years without talking

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