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Report: Russia’s Yulia Lipnitskaya retires from figure skating at 19

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Russian sports media reported Monday that 19-year-old Olympic champion figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya has decided to retire.

According to Lipnitskaya’s mother, the skater had informed the Russian Figure Skating Federation of her decision in April.

Lipnitskaya’s mother, Daniela, was interviewed by Russia’s TASS news agency saying her daughter made the decision when she returned home from Europe after a three-month treatment for anorexia.

The news of Lipnitskaya’s apparent retirement was deemed “gossip” by the President of the Russian Figure Skating Federation, Alexander Gorshkov. According to Gorshkov, the federation has yet to receive official documents to confirm her decision to step away.

“I cannot make statement based on gossips since my post obliges me to be guided by facts only,” Gorshkov said when contacted by TASS for comment. “We have to wait for an official statement for Yulia as now we are in the middle of gossips.”

Lipnitskaya was 15 years old at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, where she awed figure skating fans while winning her first Olympic gold medal in the team event. She was selected to skate for the Russian team instead of the eventual ladies singles gold medalist, Adelina Sotnikova. Lipnitskaya would finish fifth in the ladies singles competition in Sochi.

Less than a year after the end of the Sochi Olympics, Lipnitskaya expressed frustration with her new-found fame. In an Associated Press translation of a Russian figure skating website, Lipnitskaya said, “Whatever you do, everything is interpreted the wrong way and then has to be justified. It’s not life, it’s constant stress.”

Her apparent retirement comes after news broke that Sotnikova would not be defending her Olympic gold medal singles title in PyeongChang. Sotnikova’s coach, and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Evgeny Plushenko said an injury would keep her out of competition for the upcoming season. However, he did not mention the type of injury ailing Sotnikova.

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MORE: Coach says Adelina Sotnikova, Sochi figure skating champion, won’t defend title

Ted Ligety scales back race schedule

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Two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety is scaling back his race schedule as he enters the final portion of his decorated Alpine skiing career.

Ligety, a 34-year-old who has endured many injuries since his last World Cup win in 2015, said he will race strictly giant slaloms this year. The World Cup season starts in late October.

“So it’ll be a little bit easier schedule on my body,” Ligety said in a KPCW radio interview in his native Park City, Utah. “I’ll be able to be home a little bit more as well, and then we see. I mean, I would like to keep going as long as I feel like I can win races and feel healthy. That’s really the biggest part, and nowadays I have a 2-year-old son, and there’s more factors than there was when I was 25 years old.”

Ligety, nicknamed “Mr. GS” for his giant slalom prowess, has a 2014 Olympic gold medal and three world titles in that event.

He also owns an Olympic combined title from 2006 and world titles in the super-G and combined from 2013, but he hasn’t won a race in one of those disciplines since January 2014. And since then, he has undergone back and knee surgeries and dealt with hip problems.

“There’s a lot of hard miles on my body up to this point, but I’m still enjoying it,” said Ligety, whose 321 World Cup starts are the most among active Olympic medalists now that Lindsey Vonn and Aksel Lund Svindal have retired. “Right now, I feel really healthy and trying to get to a point where I feel I can win races. That’s the goal right now.”

Ligety, a four-time Olympian, has not publicly committed to a 2022 Olympic run.

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Usain Bolt calls out ’embarrassing’ Jamaican sprinters

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Usain Bolt called out his fellow Jamaican Olympic medalists Yohan Blake and Warren Weir as well as the next generation of his countrymen who have been slower than the top U.S. sprinters in the two years since Bolt retired.

“I’ve walked away from the sport, and no one is there to pick it up, pick up the pieces, keep the level,” Bolt said in a Jamaica Gleaner interview published last week. “It’s embarrassing for the country. Every time I see people, [they say] come back. We need you. But you have so much talent in Jamaica.”

In 2018, Jamaica had none of the 10 fastest men in the world for the first time since 2003. This year, Blake is the lone Jamaican who has broken 10 seconds, while five Americans have done so.

Blake, 29, is the second-fastest sprinter in history and beat Bolt at the 2012 Jamaican Olympic trials but has lost multiple steps since a series of leg injuries beginning in 2013.

Led by Christian Coleman and Justin Gatlin, the U.S. could sweep the 100m podium at the world championships in late September. Jamaica hasn’t missed an Olympic or world podium in the men’s 100m since 2004.

While Bolt earned most of those medals, Jamaica boasted a deep group with Blake, Weir, former world-record holder Asafa PowellNesta Carter and Michael Frater. All are now 29 years or older.

“I don’t think it is going to get any better because I think these youngsters are a little bit spoiled,” Bolt said of his countrymen, according to Reuters.

Bolt reacted to Blake, Weir and fellow veteran Kemar Bailey-Cole splitting from Glen Mills, the coach whom they shared with Bolt. Bolt said that sprinters who left Mills “disrespected” the coach on social media.

“[Mills] took you to the highest level that you have ever been,” he said. “They probably won’t get back to that level, but he has brought you there. … If you don’t work hard and you don’t train hard, how can you be great? When Warren Weir got to the level that he is, I remember Warren Weir taking days off to go to Florida and [fellow sprinter] Jason Young. Just randomly, take a week off from training. … frolicking and just relaxing. Who does that in a season?

“These youngsters, they feel like because they got the contract … they feel like they’ve made it. That is the problem. No one wants to listen. No one has the fight in them or the anger to be great. If you don’t want it, then it don’t matter how much I speak. I’ve spoken to all these young athletes from Bailey-Cole to Blake, all of them, I’ve had conversations. You know what I mean? They don’t want to hear it.”

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