Trevor Marsicano a comeback story at U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials

Trevor Marsicano
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Trevor Marsicano, once bullied as a boy to the point of depression and overdose, became the teenage star of speed skating five years ago.

He won four medals at the March 2009 World Single Distance Championships and, at 19, was the youngest gold medalist in the event’s history dating to 1996.

Marsicano briefly held the world record in the 1000m — over two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis — for about 20 minutes.

He was no Michael Phelps, but, still, a teen capable of multiple Olympic medals before precociousness became trendy (see Missy FranklinGabby Douglas and Mikaela Shiffrin).

“I got to see what it’s like at the top,” Marsicano said, “and I got to see what it’s like being at the bottom again.”

Marsicano, now 23, enters this weekend’s U.S. Olympic Trials hoping to make his second Olympic team. His qualification is by no means assured. A back injury persists that first flared in the season leading into the 2010 Olympics and since threatened to knock him out of the sport.

In 2010, the speed skating events at the Vancouver Games took place on the same oval as his breakthrough at the 2009 World Championships, but the results were far different.

Marsicano finished no higher than 10th in three individual races that he won medals in a year earlier.

He earned a silver medal as part of the U.S. men’s team pursuit, but even that didn’t go as planned. Marsicano competed in the first round and benched himself before coaches could choose the medal-round roster.

“I decided this just isn’t my day,” Marsicano said after watching teammates Chad HedrickBrian Hansen and Jonathan Kuck shock the Netherlands in the semifinals to clinch a medal.

U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials preview

Worse days would follow. Marsicano reinjured his back before the 2011-12 season, tried to skate through it but eventually underwent an MRI. He had a tear in his L4 and L5 discs and sat out the remainder of the World Cup schedule.

He started but couldn’t finish the 2012-13 season. The back pain was too much, and he thought about leaving the sport last summer.

“I don’t know permanently, but at least a small amount of time just because I was tired of living with the pain,” said Marsicano, who still wakes up and is in too much discomfort to train on some days. “Not to sound cheap, but if I’m not going to be making all that much [money], and I’m going to have to work a part-time job in order to speed skate, is it worth living this life? If I’m 40 years old and have to get this replacement [surgery] and that replacement, can I afford it?”

Marsicano began playing hockey at age 4 but gave it up for speed skating during a troubled youth that saw him bullied in Ballston Spa, N.Y.

His sister said his forehead was “bashed against tables” in eighth grade. Scratches were visible from kids putting their hands around his neck. School administrators urged him to stay home, his mother said. He overdosed on depression medication and said he didn’t want to live anymore.

He began home-schooling and dropped hockey to focus on speed skating. He rose quickly but suffered a setback in 2004 when another skater’s blade sliced his leg to the femur in a short track race. He was told half of his body’s blood volume spilled out.

Marsicano got back up and, at 16, was the youngest competitor at the 2006 U.S. Olympic short track trials.

He switched to long track, left his family to live and train in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then Milwaukee before the 2010 Olympics. He slept in the basement of another skater’s home. Now, he and girlfriend Jilleanne Rookard, also an Olympic speed skater, live with a host family in Waukesha, Wis.

Marsicano beat Shani Davis in a World Cup 1500m race in Salt Lake City on Feb. 18, 2011. He hasn’t finished better than sixth in off-and-on World Cup appearances since and re-experienced feelings of depression in the year after the 2010 Olympics.

He’s about one second slower this season than he was at his best in 2008-09 in the 1000m and 1500m. In speed skating, that’s the difference between medals and fighting to make the U.S. Olympic Team.

“I look at it two different ways,” Marsicano said. “If I look at it like I could have won all these medals, of course it drives me nuts. The other perspective, I’m in pain when I skate, but I’m also in pain walking up and down the stairs. On and off the ice, it’s very hard to deal with and come to grips with.”

There is optimism. His best times this season are his fastest since 2009. Marsicano believes he still possesses the ability to race like he did five years ago.

“You may not win today, but you did win at one point,” he said. “That’s something to be happy and proud of.”

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Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final