Justin Gatlin drops 200m

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Justin Gatlin does not plan to race the 200m at any major meet next season, his agent confirmed Thursday.

“The reasoning is to preserve the wear and tear on his body,” agent Renaldo Nehemiah said in an email of Gatlin, who is 34 years old. “Everyone knows he can run a 200m. There’s nothing to prove by running it. And it lessens the chance for getting injured. Nothing is an absolute. But, that’s the plan as of now.”

Gatlin surprisingly failed to make the Rio Olympic 200m final, after taking silver in the 100m three days earlier. The three-time Olympian severely rolled his ankle the previous offseason and said after his 200m semifinal in Rio that it acted up.

“All that torque that you have to go around the track [running the curve on the 200m], it kind of weighed on me,” Gatlin said last Thursday at the USA Track and Field gala in Manhattan.

Gatlin took silver behind Usain Bolt in the 200m at the 2015 World Championships and ran five of the world’s six fastest times in the event over 2014 and 2015.

Gatlin won the Olympic Trials 200m in 19.75 seconds, which was .01 off LaShawn Merritt‘s fastest time in the world for 2016.

Bolt is also expected to race only the 100m at 2017 Worlds, though his coach reportedly still wants him to do the 100m-200m double.

“It’s not about beating Usain,” Gatlin said last Thursday. “It’s about getting on that podium and getting as many medals as I can. If that means taking down Usain, so be it. There’s so many other guys jockeying for position now just to get on that podium. So it’s become harder just to stay on the podium.”

In the absence of Bolt and Gatlin, the early 200m favorites for the 2017 World Championships would be Olympic silver medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada, Merritt and Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk, who reportedly said he is considering a 200m-400m double next year.

MORE: Usain Bolt says he may come back for 2018 meet

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

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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.”