Team Blue Card
Team Blue Card

Runners take on New York City Marathon to help Holocaust survivors

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Of the 50,000 New York City Marathon runners, about 35 will race Sunday wearing blue T-shirts with a Star of David over the left chest and, just below, the words “Aiding Needy Holocaust Survivors.”

The Blue Card is one of 340 official race charities and has been since 2009. In that time, the non-profit has raised more than $1 million for Holocaust survivors in New York City Marathon fundraising and provided more than $30 million overall.

There are more than 100,000 Holocaust survivors living in the U.S., with one-third at or below the poverty line, according to The Blue Card, which serves some 3,000 Holocaust survivor households.

“Although the number of survivors is decreasing,” executive director Masha Pearl said, “the needs are increasing exponentially as survivors are aging.”

The Blue Card was created in 1934 Nazi Germany, to aid Jews already being oppressed. Its name was derived from blue paper cards given to Jewish donors who raised funds for those who lost their jobs.

In 1939, The Blue Card was re-established in the U.S. to aid refugees and survivors.

The Blue Card is present in 32 states and has participated in the New York 5 Borough Bike Tour, New York City Triathlon and marathons in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

No Holocaust survivor has run the New York City Marathon as part of The Blue Card, but some have come out to cheer the runners.

Several runners have been children or grandchildren of survivors. The Bronx’s Sarah Mizrachi, an Albert Einstein College medical student racing Sunday, is the great-granddaughter of a woman who fled from the Holocaust.

New York City Marathon charity runners earn entry into the five-borough race by raising $3,000 or more.

The Blue Card runners will be wearing the shirt designs below.

MORE: Olympic gold medalist’s unconventional route to NYC Marathon

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Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future

Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future