Brittany Bowe

U.S. betters Netherlands at speed skating World Championships

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Brittany Bowe won her second event, and fourth overall for U.S. speed skaters, capping a chart-topping, resurgent performance by the Americans at the World Single Distance Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands, on Sunday.

The Olympian Bowe captured the 1500m in 1:54.27, two days after she prevailed in the 1000m and one day after she secured silver in the 500m. Bowe relegated to silver home nation star Ireen Wuest, the most decorated female athlete of the Sochi Olympics.

Bowe shared the podium in all of those races with Olympic teammate Heather Richardson, who took 1000m silver Friday, 500m gold Saturday and 1500m bronze Sunday.

The U.S. finished the World Championships with more gold medals in Olympic events than any other nation (full results here). That included the Netherlands, the host nation, which won eight of a possible 12 gold medals in Sochi.

Remember, the U.S. had a best individual finish of seventh in Sochi, due to problems with a new suit (that’s no longer worn) and pre-Olympic training at altitude (the Games were at sea level).

The last time the U.S. won zero medals in long-track speed skating at a Winter Olympics was 1984. The U.S. has won more Winter Olympic medals in long-track speed skating than any other sport.

But before Sochi, and again this season, Bowe and Richardson were improving at a rate in World Cup races that made what happened in Heerenveen seem possible.

In Heerenveen, the U.S. won four gold medals and seven overall. It marked the nation’s greatest medal haul at a World Single Distance Championships, which debuted in 1996. It was also greater than the U.S.’ medal haul at every Winter Olympics since 1980, save 2002.

Next up is the World Sprint Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, in two weeks.

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Helen Maroulis to miss world championships, eyes still on defending Olympic title

Helen Maroulis
United World Wrestling
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Helen Maroulis, the lone U.S. female wrestler to win an Olympic title, sat out this past weekend’s world team trials, which means she will not compete at the world championships in September.

Maroulis is working her way back from blowing out her right shoulder in a first-round loss at worlds on Oct. 24, after she returned from a concussion. She underwent surgery in November and was cleared to return earlier this spring before tweaking the shoulder again.

Maroulis said Friday she was cleared again to compete at trials but chose rest, recovery and her long-term health given what happened in 2018.

“It’s not coming from a place of fear,” she said. “I’m just not ready yet.

“If trials were end of June, everything would be perfect. I’m still feeling good and confident for 2020.”

As Maroulis stressed at 2018 Worlds, she prioritizes health over wrestling.

“Not just for myself, but to set an example because I get a lot of messages from kids on Instagram — I have a concussion, or my teammate has a concussion.” Maroulis said in October. “There’s this wrestler mindset to just push through — you’re the toughest, find a way to win. But there’s just a lot more to it.”

Maroulis, 27, put together one of the most dominant stretches in sport from 2015-17, going 78-1 overall among three different weight classes and going unscored upon at two world championships.

In between, she beat Saori Yoshida in the Rio Olympic 53kg final, preventing the Japanese legend from a record fourth Olympic title.

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Ex-partner of deceased figure skater John Coughlin says she was abused

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of the former skating partners of two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin has accused him in a series of social media posts of sexually assaulting her over a 2-year period.

Bridget Namiotka said on Facebook that Coughlin, who died by suicide in January, hurt “at least 10 people including me.” She skated with Coughlin from 2004, when she was 14, through the 2007 season.

Namiotka’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press that the comments were made by her.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating had given Coughlin, who became a coach and TV commentator after his retirement, an interim suspension for unspecified conduct. He was barred from attending events and activities sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Coughlin was found dead Jan. 18 at his father’s home in Kansas City, Missouri.