Usain Bolt out of Jamaican Olympic Trials (hamstring), still hopes for Rio

Usain Bolt
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Usain Bolt withdrew from the Jamaican Olympic Trials with a grade-one hamstring tear but still hopes to be named to the Olympic team, according to his social media.

“After feeling discomfort in my hamstring after the first round last night and then again in the semi-final tonight I was examined by the Chief Doctor of the National Championships and diagnosed with a Grade 1 tear,” Bolt’s social media said. “I have submitted a medical exemption to be excused from the 100m final and the remainder of the National Championships. I will seek treatment immediately and hope to show fitness at the London Anniversary Games on July 22 to earn selection for the Olympic Games in Rio.”

Bolt can still be named to Jamaica’s Olympic team, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.

The “selection policy allows for medical exemptions in cases where athletes can prove that an injury has prevented them from competing at the trials,” the newspaper said, adding that Bolt was unlikely to race the 200m later in the meet.

Bolt had won his 100m semifinal race earlier Friday night in 10.04 seconds (video here) to make the final at a meet where the top three would generally be in line to make the Olympic team individually.

Rival Yohan Blake won the Jamaican Trials 100m in Bolt’s absence in 9.95 seconds.

Asafa Powell, the world-record holder before Bolt, finished fourth, putting him in line to miss the three-man Jamaican Olympic team in the 100m. Powell could still be part of the 4x100m relay pool.

In the women’s final, world 200m silver medalist Elaine Thompson equaled the Jamaican record by winning in 10.70 seconds. Two-time Olympic 100m champ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, slowed by a toe injury this spring, was second in 10.93 to earn her spot in Rio.

ZACCARDI: Bolt not the only injured Olympic track and field star 

The first reports of Bolt’s withdrawal came about 30 minutes before the final was scheduled in Kingston.

Bolt has dealt with injuries in recent years, including a reported hamstring problem that necessitated a visit to a German doctor in May and a reported ankle injury last winter.

MORE: Sanya Richards-Ross misses Olympic team in 400m

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

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.”