Cancer survivor becomes oldest woman to finish a marathon

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Harriette Thompson, a 92-year-old cancer survivor, became the oldest woman to finish a marathon on Sunday.

Thompson clocked 7 hours, 24 minutes, 36 seconds at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon, unofficially according to live timing, surpassing the age record for a 26.2-mile race set by Gladys Burrill, who was also 92 years old when she finished the 2010 Honolulu Marathon, according to The Associated Press.

Here’s video of Thompson crossing the finish line.

Thompson, who has battled jaw and skin cancer, didn’t take up marathon running until age 76 and has now run 16 San Diego Marathons. Last year, she broke the women’s 90-94 age-group marathon record in San Diego with a time of 7:07:42.

“I started running because I had friends who were very ill from leukemia,” the Charlotte retirement resident said last year. “A friend of mine was gathering money for the race, and she was going to run for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I decided, well, I could walk that. So I signed up, and I came out here in 1999 and ran my first marathon.”

She raised more than $90,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society running her first 15 marathons, according to race organizers.

This year, she endured training with a staph infection in her legs and the toll of the loss of her husband in January.

Thompson, a former concert pianist who played Carnegie Hall three times, joked that she receives attention “just because I’m so old,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“I don’t consider myself special,” she said, according to the report. “It’s just that I’m 92. All you have to do is get to 90, and you get all sorts of attention.”

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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 Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals 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.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

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

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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.”