Allyson Felix to race 200m, 400m at Olympic trials, report says

Allyson Felix
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Allyson Felix will race the 200m and the 400m at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in July regardless of if the Olympic schedule is changed to make the 200m-400m double more feasible in Rio, her coach said, according to Reuters.

“The Olympic trials schedule is fine, and I am working with USA Track & Field (USATF) on the Olympic schedule,” coach Bob Kersee said, according to the report. “Adjusting the schedule in my opinion does not hurt anybody.”

At the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., the women’s 400m final is July 3. The women’s 200m begins July 8.

At the Olympics, the women’s 400m final and the 200m first round are in the same evening session, about an hour apart, which has kept Felix from committing to both. Felix is the Olympic 200m champion and World 400m champion.

But Felix and Kersee hope the Olympic schedule will be changed, as it was for Michael Johnson in 1996.

USATF and the IAAF, track and field’s international governing body, have talked about a possible schedule change and a formal request will be filed, a spokeswoman said, according to the report.

A little history on the situation:

In July, Felix said that Kersee would be “voicing his opinion” by “talking to whoever he needs to talk to” hoping to change the Rio Olympic track and field schedule.

In October, Felix she would let Kersee “take control of the entire situation and see what happens.”

“I guess I wouldn’t say I’m confident because I have no idea really,” Felix said of a potential schedule change in October. “I feel like it could definitely go either way. I think I’m more just hoping for the opportunity.”

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said before the World Championships in August that the Rio track and field schedule could be changed under “a special case.”

If the Olympic schedule remains as is, would Felix still consider trying to race both the 200m and 400m?

“Right now I don’t see why I would do them both,” Felix said in October. “I feel like if the schedule’s not going to change, I would take time to focus on one or the other, but that’s something I’d have to think about.

“The 200’s my favorite, clearly, but that’s not to say that I wouldn’t run the 400. I haven’t ruled anything out if the schedule’s not changed.”

MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Michael Johnson urges Felix to double in Rio

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

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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.”