Mary Cain leaves Oregon, returns home to New York

Mary Cain
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Mary Cain, who in 2013 became the youngest U.S. track and field athlete to make a World Championships team and turned pro at age 17 later that fall, left her Oregon base for her native Bronxville, N.Y., to train, according to the Oregonian.

Cain’s coach, three-time New York City Marathon champion Alberto Salazar, said Cain was still a member of his team at the Nike Oregon Project but did not want to discuss Cain at length, according to the report.

Cain moved from Bronxville to Portland after graduating high school last year, completing a decorated prep career filled with records and state and national titles. She enrolled at the University of Portland and trained with Salazar’s group, which includes Olympic 10,000m gold and silver medalists Mo Farah and Galen Rupp.

This year, Cain finished fifth in an 800m race at the Armory Track Invitational on Jan. 31, second in a 1000m at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Feb. 7 and eighth in the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games on Feb. 14. She won the Wanamaker Mile in 2014.

Outdoors, she won a 1500m in Corvallis, Ore., on May 1 and finished 25th in an outdoor 1500m in California on May 9.

Cain won the World Junior Championships 3000m in 2014 and became the youngest woman to make a senior World Championships 1500m final in 2013, when she finished 10th.

Her best event is the 1500m. Spots on the U.S. team for August’s World Championships will be up for grabs at the U.S. Championships in Eugene, Ore., with the women’s 1500m final June 28. The U.S. can put four women into Worlds in the event, with one of them being reigning Diamond League winner Jenny Simpson.

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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 World Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medal 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.

The U.S. all picked up five medals at last week’s Para Alpine Skiing World 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.”