Getty Images

Yulia Lipnitskaya details retirement, anorexia

2 Comments

Yulia Lipnitskaya, the darling figure skater of the Sochi Olympics, said she hasn’t seen her skates since November and spent a long time in an Israel health clinic to treat health problems before retiring.

Lipnitskaya, who won team event gold in Sochi at age 15, retired following a three-month treatment for anorexia, it was first reported in August.

“Anorexia is a disease of the 21st century, it occurs quite often,” Lipnitskaya said in an interview published by the Russian Figure Skating Federation, according to a translation. “Unfortunately, not everyone overcomes it. I’ve considered that there was nothing bad if I’d openly speak about it. I only regret that I did not do this earlier, because this is not the first year this has been going on, nor the second or third year.”

Lipnitskaya struggled after becoming the youngest Olympic figure skating champion since 1936 and winning a world silver medal the following month.

In fact, she said in the interview published Tuesday that she wanted to try ice dancing after Sochi. That didn’t happen.

Staying in singles, she was ninth and seventh at the next two Russian Championships and ended her career at the Rostelecom Cup in November, finishing in last place.

“I came home, put my skates in the closet, and I have not seen them since,” she said, according to the translation. “I’m no longer attracted to the ice. In January, I left for the clinic. That’s the whole story.”

Lipnitskaya said that while she was in the Israel clinic, her phone was stolen. She purchased a new phone, but she only knew one person’s phone number by heart — her mom.

When Lipnitskaya returned home from the clinic, she and her mom decided together that she would retire.

Non-competitive ice shows have made her offers, but Lipnitskaya said she has no desire to participate in them. Her mind may change, but for now she is focused on enrolling in a university.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Sochi Olympic figure skating champion won’t defend title

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Five storylines to watch for Tokyo Paralympics

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Chloe Kim details tough Princeton transition