Kaitlyn Farrington

Kaitlyn Farrington sees changes on, off snowboard after Olympic gold

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NEW YORK — Kaitlyn Farrington attended the Daytona 500, a Vanity Fair party and the “Game of Thrones” premiere after Sochi, but they don’t compare with what happened when the gold medalist returned to her hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho.

Two dozen screaming 12-year-old girls chased her down a street.

“It was pretty epic,” Farrington said, “but also very scary at the same time.”

Farrington, 24, upset a field that included the last three Olympic champions to win halfpipe gold in Sochi.The rider raised on a cattle ranch was considered questionable to make the U.S. Olympic Team entering winter qualifying, but she beat two-time Olympians Gretchen Bleiler and Elena Hight to join previous Olympic champions Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter and world champion Arielle Gold on the four-woman squad.

At the Olympics, her second-run score of 91.75 edged 2010 Olympic champion Torah Bright by .25 for gold in the closest Olympic halfpipe competition ever.

Farrington said life has changed “100 percent” since Sochi.

“I feel that I’m no longer just Kaitlyn Farrington,” she said at Right To Play’s Big Red Ball gala on Wall Street on Tuesday night. “I’m Kaitlyn Farrington, the gold medalist.”

Farrington flew from Sochi to New York for a week of media, then to Florida to be an honorary marshal at the Daytona 500 (and ride a pace car) and then to Idaho.

She cried for the first time since winning gold entering the terminal at Friedman Memorial Airport, where a marching band and girls from the Sun Valley snowboard team waited for her arrival on the tarmac. A parade was held for Farrington, who rode in a silver 1966 Ford Mustang GT convertible and a Wood River Fire & Rescue ladder truck.

Farrington said students were let out of schools to see her, which caused many kids to let out their excitement by chasing the gold medalist. Farrington could only think to run away from the stampede, though she’s very appreciative of Sun Valley and the surrounding community, which raised money to send her parents to Sochi.

“It felt like everyone’s victory,” Farrington said.

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Then she traveled to Hollywood for the Oscars and to Colorado for the U.S. Open, where she said she arrived the day of the competition and finished 11th, her first time riding halfpipe since the Olympics.

Then she flew back to New York for the “Game of Thrones” premiere and to British Columbia for a week of back-country riding.

Her medal picked up scratches and dings through it all, including a dent after it dropped out of her pocket when she was on a dance floor before she left Russia.

Farrington may take one more adventure to Costa Rica before returning to riding in Mt. Hood, Ore., this summer and then probably in New Zealand. She’ll work not only on her halfpipe skills but also on slopestyle, with a goal of entering slope at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships.

She’s entertaining the idea of attempting to qualify for the 2018 Olympics in slopestyle and trying to become the first snowboarder to win medals in multiple disciplines, a feat Shaun White and Bright couldn’t accomplish in Sochi.

“Winning the gold medal was something that I’ve always wanted to do, but it was never expected out of me,” Farrington said. “Now that I’ve done it, I feel like I can take my snowboarding to places that I’ve always wanted to.”

Elana Meyers ties the knot in bobsled-tinged wedding

Hayato Sakamoto, Japanese baseball MVP, tests positive for coronavirus

Hayato Sakamoto
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Hayato Sakamoto, an MVP of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, is one of two players from the Yomiuri Giants to test positive for the coronavirus, according to several Japanese media reports.

Sakamoto, a 31-year-old shortstop, and catcher Takumi Oshiro tested positive ahead of the NPB’s planned June 19 start to the season that had been delayed to the coronavirus.

The tests showed traces of the coronavirus, according to Kyodo News.

The Giants canceled Wednesday’s practice game with the Seibu Lions to limit the spread of the virus.

Sakamoto is the reigning Central League MVP. He has been called the Derek Jeter of Japan for playing the same position as the Yankee great and being the veteran captain of Japan’s equivalent club, the Giants, which own a record 22 Japan Series titles.

Sakamoto, who played in the last two World Baseball Classics, has been considered a lock for Japan’s baseball team at the Tokyo Games in 2021 as the most well known active player who hasn’t left for Major League Baseball. MLB is not expected to allow its top players to participate in the Olympics, which would keep the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Masahiro Tanaka off the Olympic roster.

The sport returns to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008, though it is not on the 2024 Olympic program nor guaranteed a place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Japan reached the semifinals of all five Olympic baseball tournaments when the sport was previously on the medal program but never took gold.

In a 2018 survey, Sakamoto was ranked as Japan’s eighth-most popular athlete across all sports, foreign or domestic, active or retired.

Sky Brown, 11-year-old Olympic skateboard hopeful, suffers serious injuries in fall

Sky Brown Skateboard Fall
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Sky Brown, an 11-year-old British Olympic skateboarding hopeful, recently suffered her worst fall, requiring surgery, she said in a video posted from a hospital bed.

Brown suffered skull fractures and broke her left wrist and hand and was at first unresponsive upon arrival to a hospital, according to the BBC, which quoted her father.

Video of the fall from a skateboarding ramp was posted on her social media. She appeared to be wearing a helmet in the video.

“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them because I want people to see the fun in what I do,” Brown said. “But this was my worst fall, and I just want everyone to know that, it’s OK, don’t worry. I’m OK. It’s OK to fall sometimes. I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. I want everyone to know that whatever we do, we’ve just go to do it with love and happiness.”

Brown is the 2019 World bronze medalist in the new Olympic sport’s park discipline.

Later Tuesday, Brown reposted an Instagram post from what appeared to be her father’s account. The caption of that post said Brown fell 15 feet to flat concrete.

“I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital,” the caption read. “We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive.

“4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks.”

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Last week the worst thing I could ever ever imagined happened to @skybrown . She fell about 15ft off the side of a vert ramp to flat concrete. I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital. We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive. We prayed and begged God to give Sky another chance. Word came back while she was still unconscious, multiple fractures to her skull, a broken left arm, which she broke into pieces because she used it to break her fall, broken right fingers and lacerations to her heart and lungs. 4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks. More importantly her Doctors and the trauma team say it’s a miracle how well she is dealing with the pain and recovering incredibly fast. They said it’s shocking and believe it’s because of her grit, positivity and attitude. Skys brother @oceanbrown has been so brave. He saw his sister fall to the ground lying in a pool of blood and was screaming in tears that night outside of the hospital. He has still not allowed into the hospital to see her. They miss each-other dearly, but no siblings are allowed to enter the hospital because of coronavirus. They’ve been spending hours a day on FaceTime with each other making funny faces to one another in fits of giggles and laughter. Sky promises Ocean daily that she will make a fast recovery so they can be together again. Sky is constantly joking and smiling and it’s hurts my heart to even imagine for a second a world without Sky; extremely thankful that I don’t have to. Thank you to the heroes that are the doctors, nurses and hospital staff that have tirelessly worked on her and helped her get to this point.

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