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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

Leanne Smith leads U.S. gold medalists at para swim worlds

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Leanne Smith has never competed at a Paralympics. Came into this week’s world championships with zero world medals. But she leaves London with three individual golds, most for any American, one year before the Tokyo Games.

Smith, 21, won the 150m individual medley, 50m breaststroke and 100m freestyle in her classification, all in American record times. The last two titles came on the final day of the seven-day meet on Sunday.

Smith, diagnosed with a rare neurological muscle disease called dystonia in January 2012, began swimming in 2013. By 2017, she broke a world record and then debuted at the world championships with a best individual finish of sixth.

The U.S. finished with 35 total medals and 14 golds, ranking sixth in the overall standings. Ukraine, usually strong at the Paralympics, led the way with 55 medals. Full results are here.

Jessica Long, the second-most-decorated U.S. Paralympian in history with 23 medals, earned six this week — five silvers and a bronze — to give her 52 career world championships medals.

Two-time Paralympian Mallory Weggemann earned two golds this week, giving her 15 world titles in three appearances (her others being in 2009 and 2010).

She won 50m titles in the butterfly and freestyle. Weggemann won a 2012 Paralympic 50m free title but was fortunate just to make it back for Rio after a 2014 accident that she said was harder to come back from than her teenage paralysis. She left Rio with no medals but a resolve to return for a third Games in Tokyo.

“I’m two seconds away from bursting into tears,” Weggemann said after winning the first of her two golds in the 50m fly, according to U.S. Paralympics. “I had a really rough go these past three years since Rio, so to finally be back after busting my butt to be here, and to be here in London of all places, is absolutely incredible.”

Fellow Rio Paralympians McKenzie Coan and Robert Griswold added two golds a piece.

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MORE: Five storylines to watch for Tokyo Paralympics

Heimana Reynolds wins skateboard world title, nears an Olympic goal from age 10

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In February 2009, a 10-year-old Heimana Reynolds was profiled by his local NBC TV station on Oahu.

“My goal is to become a professional skateboarder and compete in the X Games and the Olympics,” he said, according to the report.

Skateboarding would not be added to the Olympics for another seven years. But here Reynolds is, age 21, having just won the world title in park, one of two skateboarding events that debut at the Games in Tokyo.

Reynolds, who wasn’t named to the four-man U.S. national team in March, consolidated his lead in the Olympic qualification rankings by prevailing over a pair of Brazilians in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A shirtless Reynolds scored 88 points in the final, beating Luis Francisco (85.50) and Pedro Quintas (85).

No more than three Americans can make the Olympic team in the event, which will make it difficult if three-time Olympic halfpipe snowboarding champion Shaun White decides to continue his skateboarding pursuit. White was the sixth-best American, bowing out in the semifinals in 13th place on Saturday in just his second contest since returning to competitive skating last year.

Back to Reynolds. He grew up on the North Shore and attended the Punahou School, where Barack Obama is the most famous alum. His first name is Tahitian, reportedly referring to the power of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Reynolds, the son of a surfer, proved a natural on land. After pre-teen media profiles, he blossomed into a world silver medalist last year. He won an Olympic qualifier in China in July to take the top spot in the Olympic rankings despite a best career X Games finish of sixth.

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