Maelle Ricker
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Maelle Ricker, first Canadian woman to win home gold, retires from snowboard cross

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Maelle Ricker, who in 2010 became the first Canadian woman to win Olympic gold on home soil, retired from snowboard cross at age 36, according to Canadian media.

Ricker underwent knee surgery in February and couldn’t come back, according to CBC.

“I’ve got a lot of mixed emotions – emotions that change by the minute,” Ricker said, according to the Canadian Press. “I really had the vision to keep going and keep racing. I’ve come back from injury many times before and this was going to be another routine stop.

“When I got back on snow … a switch flipped inside and I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to get back in the starting gate with the ability I need to race and to really commit 100 percent and be on the podium. I promised myself that if I couldn’t get back to that spot I wouldn’t keep going.”

Ricker won Canada’s second gold medal of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, two days after moguls skier Alexandre Bilodeau snapped the nation’s home-gold drought. Canada won zero golds at the Montreal 1976 and Calgary 1988 Olympics.

At Torino 2006, Ricker competed in snowboard cross’ Olympic debut, was fastest in qualifying but crashed in the final and had to be taken to a hospital. That final is most remembered for American Lindsey Jacobellis giving up gold by falling on a trick move near the finish. Swiss Tanja Frieden won.

Ricker crashed in the Sochi Olympic quarterfinals.

She also competed at the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics, placing fifth in halfpipe’s Olympic debut as a 19-year-old.

Ricker is the only snowboarder to win titles at the Olympics, World Championships and Winter X Games. She did so during an era dominated by Jacobellis, who has won 13 gold medals in 18 snowboard cross appearances over those three competitions, but zero Olympic titles.

MORE SNOWBOARDING: Shaun White talks Torino 2006, Andre Agassi, more

Eddy Alvarez, Olympic short track medalist, to play for Miami Marlins

Eddy Alvarez
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Eddy Alvarez realized his MLB dream, six years after earning a Winter Olympic medal, and during a global pandemic that affected his club more than any other U.S. professional sports franchise.

Alvarez, a 2014 U.S. Olympic short track speed skating medalist, is being added to the Miami Marlins roster for Tuesday’s restart of their abbreviated season, president of baseball operations Mike Hill said Monday, according to Marlins beat reporters.

The 30-year-old was among a group added after as many as 18 Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus last week, forcing the club to cancel seven games.

Alvarez is believed to be the first U.S. Winter Olympian to become a Major League Baseball player.

He may be the second Olympic medalist in a sport other than baseball to make it to the majors, joining Jim Thorpe. (Michael Jordan tried to do so with the Chicago White Sox, playing Double-A in 1994, but returned to the Chicago Bulls in 1995.)

Alvarez, a Miami native, played baseball in high school and at Salt Lake Community College before focusing on short track in 2012 for a 2014 Olympic run.

He came back from missing the 2010 Olympic team and surgeries on both knees, reportedly leaving him immobile and bedpan dependent for four to six weeks, to make the Sochi Winter Games. Eddy the Jet earned a silver medal in the 5000m relay.

Then Alvarez returned to baseball after three years away. He signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago White Sox in June 2014. He worked his way through the minors between that franchise and the Marlins system.

Alvarez was a Kannapolis Intimidator, a New Orleans Baby Cake and a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Now, he’s a big leaguer.

“It definitely was a chance, picking up a kid who hasn’t played in three years who is starting at the age of 24,” Alvarez said in 2014. “It’s not your typical story, but I play like a 17-year-old kid. I’m running around everywhere. I’m diving around everywhere. I’m full of life. I definitely see my progression moving at a rapid pace.”

MORE: What Olympic baseball, softball return looks like in 2021

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Katie Ledecky balances glass of chocolate milk on her head while swimming

Katie Ledecky
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Katie Ledecky will always remember Aug. 3 as the date she won her first Olympic gold medal, at age 15 in 2012.

Now, she can also associate it with the time she created another kind of buzz on social media.

The five-time Olympic champion posted video of her swimming the length of a pool while balancing a glass of chocolate milk on her head. Barely any, if any, milk spilled into the pool.

Ledecky swam as part of a new got milk? ad campaign.

“Hoooowww nervous were you when you did this?!” fellow Olympic champion and training partner Simone Manuel asked Ledecky on Instagram.

“I have never braced my core so hard,” Ledecky wrote. “It’s a great drill!”

“Try doing it breaststroke,” British Olympic 100m breaststroke champion and world-record holder Adam Peaty wrote.

“Is it wrong of me to think this is even more impressive than a few of your WR’s?!!!” wrote 1992 Olympic champion Summer Sanders.

MORE: The meet where Kathleen Ledecky became Katie Ledecky

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