Gabriele Grunewald accepted into U.S. Champs, racing amid chemotherapy

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Gabriele Grunewald underwent chemotherapy infusions the last two weeks. Next week, she will race at the USATF Outdoor Championships (Summer Champions Series).

Grunewald, battling cancer for the fourth time since 2009, was accepted into the 1500m for nationals, USA Track and Field announced Friday.

Grunewald had not met the automatic qualifying time of 4:09.50, but she ranked 24th in the U.S. standings in the last year with a best time of 4:11.86. USA Track and Field can extend national fields beyond automatic qualifiers to 30 or more runners.

Grunewald, who just missed the 2012 Olympic team by finishing fourth at Trials, was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer, in 2009 and underwent surgery. It was later found again in her thyroid a year later and her liver both last August, leaving a 13-inch scar across her stomach, and then in March.

Grunewald delayed chemotherapy this spring in a bid to automatically qualify for nationals.

She raced five times on the track with a best time of 4:12.29. Her most recent attempt to hit the qualifying mark came last Saturday, four days after her first chemotherapy treatment. She ran 4:28.88.

“I was feeling pretty good with almost zero side effects from my first infusion so I thought I’d give the US standard one more ‘go’ at the Music City Distance Carnival [in Nashville],” was posted on Grunewald’s Instagram. “It. was. tough! Even though I felt normal on my warmup and during my little workout two days before the race, I just didn’t feel like myself out there. I was okay through about 800 but then the wheels fell off —dramatically and abruptly — after that. I’ve never thought to myself, ‘wow, a lap to go seems really far’ in a 1500, but there’s a first time for everything! It was truly a disaster in terms of running fast but I feel satisfied in giving it a shot.”

Expect to see Grunewald toe the line for the 1500m first round Thursday night on NBC Sports Gold. The 12-woman final is two days later.

Three days after that, Grunewald will begin round 2 of chemotherapy, according to Women’s Running.

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Boglarka Kapas, world champion swimmer, tests positive for coronavirus

Boglarka Kapas
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Boglarka Kapas, the Hungarian swimmer and world 200m butterfly champion, said she tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I don’t have any symptoms yet, and that’s why it’s important for you to know that even if you feel healthy you can spread the virus,” was posted on her social media. “Please be careful, stay at home and stay healthy.”

Nine total members of the Hungarian national team — including swimmers and staff — have tested positive, according to the federation.

Kapas said her first test was negative but a second test showed she had the virus. She was staying in quarantine at home for two weeks.

Kapas, 26, won the 200m fly at last summer’s world championships by passing Americans Hali Flickinger and Katie Drabot in the last 25 meters. She clocked 2:06.78 to prevail by .17 of a second.

Kapas also took bronze in the Rio Olympic 800m freestyle won by Katie Ledecky.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NHL players: Marie-Philip Poulin is world’s best female hockey player

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The U.S. may have the world’s best women’s hockey team, but NHL players believe Canadian Marie-Philip Poulin is the world’s best player.

Poulin received the most votes out of 496 responses in the 2019-20 NHLPA Player Poll, conducted before the season was suspended. The tally:

Poulin: 39.92%
Hilary Knight (USA): 36.29%
Kendall Coyne Schofield (USA): 15.52%
Emily Pfalzer Matheson (USA): 1.41%
Other: 6.85%

Last year, Knight received the highest percentage of votes from 203 NHL players (27.59), edging Poulin (24.14) with Amanda Kessel third (12.81) and Coyne Schofield and Pfalzer Matheson each receiving 5.91 percent.

Why were Poulin and Knight swapped this year? Perhaps Poulin’s Canadian team winning the debut of the NHL All-Star Skills Competition women’s 3-on-3 game on Jan. 24, even though Knight scored and Poulin did not.

Poulin, now 29, scored both goals in the 2010 Olympic final and the game-tying and -winning goals in the 2014 Olympic final. Even before her Olympic debut at age 18, the daughter of Quebec hospital workers was dubbed “the female Sidney Crosby.”

Knight, 30, led last April’s world championship tournament with seven goals as the U.S. won a fifth straight title. Poulin played 4 minutes, 44 seconds, total at the tournament, missing time with a knee injury.

This spring’s tournament, which was to start Tuesday, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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