Bradley Wiggins: It’s all about Olympics, regardless of Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins

If Bradley Wiggins had to choose between a Tour de France title and an Olympic gold medal, it sure sounds like he’d pick the latter.

The British cyclist with seven Olympic medals, including four golds, eyes his fifth Games next year.

“To represent your country at the Olympics is about as good as it gets, really,” Wiggins, 35, said in a Sky Sports interview published Tuesday. “Put a gold medal on top of that, and it doesn’t ever get any better. So that hasn’t changed for me since Sydney 15 years ago. This is my fifth Olympics. That buzz and that feeling I get in the run-up to it, and the whole thing surrounding the Olympics, is still the same, really. It’s still the height of every four years for me, really, regardless of Tour de Frances and everything; it’s all about the Olympics.”

In 2012, Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France and the fourth rider to own Tour de France and Olympic titles. The others were the Netherlands’ Joop Zoetemelk, Spain’s Miguel Indurain and Germany’s Jan Ullrich.

Wiggins has not raced the Tour de France since and is not expected to take part again.

Wiggins, who hopes to compete exclusively in track cycling in Rio, said the opportunity to break his tie with retired track cyclist Chris Hoy for the British Olympic medal record is not what drives him.

“In my eyes, I will never be up there with Sir Steve Redgraves or Sir Chris Hoys,” Wiggins said, mentioning the third-most decorated British Olympian Redgrave, a retired rower with six medals. “Just to be mentioned in the same breath as those people is a kind of honor for me.”

MORE: Wiggins on Lance Armstrong, bluffing in Tour de France

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch

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

Kyle Smaine

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.”