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

0 Comments

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

VIDEO: Long jumper’s wig falls into sand pit

World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
Getty
0 Comments

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.”

Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

0 Comments

One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!