Los Angeles’ ties to the Olympics

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Few cities can match Los Angeles’ rich Olympic history.

Los Angeles will in 2028 become the third city to host three Olympics, following London and Paris.

L.A. hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Games, with its main Olympic Stadium, the LA Memorial Coliseum, expected to return in 2028.

Some of the greatest U.S. Olympians are natives of Southern California, trained there or took part in some of the greatest competitions of their careers in the City of Angels.

Those who have called the Los Angeles area home include:

Evelyn Ashford (Track and field, 4 gold medals)
Shirley Babashoff
(Swimming, 9 medals)
Matt Biondi
(Swimming, 11 medals)
Gail Devers (Track and field, 3 gold medals)
Janet Evans (Swimming, 4 gold medals)
Allyson Felix (Track and field, 6 gold medals)
Lisa Fernandez (Softball, 3 gold medals)
Florence Griffith-Joyner (Track and field, 3 gold medals)
Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Track and field, 6 medals)
Karch Kiraly (Beach volleyball/Volleyball, 3 gold medals)
Lisa Leslie (Basketball, 4 gold medals)
Carl Lewis (Track and field, 9 gold medals)
Greg Louganis (Diving, 4 gold medals)
Misty May-Treanor (Beach volleyball, 3 gold medals)
Aaron Peirsol (Swimming, 5 gold medals)
Kim Rhode (Shooting, 6 medals)
Jim Thorpe (Track and field, 2 gold medals)
Dara Torres (Swimming, 12 medals)
Kerri Walsh Jennings (Beach volleyball, 3 gold medals)
Johnny Weissmuller (Swimming, 5 gold medals)
Serena Williams (Tennis, 4 gold medals)
Venus Williams (Tennis, 4 gold medals)

Some of the names most associated with Los Angeles professional sports teams are Olympians, from Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to Wayne Gretzky to Candace Parker to Landon Donovan. Even longtime Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda guided the 2000 U.S. Olympic baseball team to gold.

UCLA’s Rafer Johnson lit the cauldron at the Los Angeles 1984 Opening Ceremony, 24 years after he won Olympic decathlon gold. He would be 92 years old come the 2028 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

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MORE: Rose Bowl, Staples Center among LA Olympic venues

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.”