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Yulia Lipnitskaya details retirement, anorexia

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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.

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Hayley Wickenheiser is 7th woman elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Hayley Wickenheiser
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Hayley Wickenheiser, arguably the greatest female hockey player of all time who retired in 2017, will be the seventh female player in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The six-time Canadian Olympian (once in softball) was elected in her first year of eligibility. Wickenheiser is joined by Sergei Zubov, who earned gold at the 1992 Albertville Games with the Unified Team, two-time Czech Olympic medalist Václav Nedomanský and 1980s and ’90s NHLer Guy Carbonneau, among others.

The induction ceremony is Nov. 18 in Toronto.

Wickenheiser is the fifth Canadian female player elected after Angela James (2010), Geraldine Heaney (2013), Danielle Goyette (2017) and Jayna Hefford (2018). Americans Cammi Granato (2010) and Angela Ruggiero (2015) are also Hall of Famers.

Wickenheiser, now the Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant director of player development, earned four golds and one silver in the first five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments. She played 23 years for the Canadian national team, earning seven world titles and being named Olympic tournament MVP in 2002 and 2006.

She also carried the Canadian flag at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony and recited the Athletes’ Oath at the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony. She was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in 2014.

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Breaking provisionally added for 2024 Olympics

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Breaking (don’t call it break dancing) was provisionally added to the Olympics for the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC also announced Tuesday that skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were provisionally added to the 2024 Olympic program. Those three sports will debut at Tokyo 2020 but were not assured places on the Olympic program beyond next year.

“They contribute to making the program more gender balanced and more urban, and offer the opportunity to connect with the younger generation,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a press release. “The proposed sports are in line with these principles and enhance Paris 2024’s overall dynamic Games concept, which focuses on inclusivity, inspiring a new audience and hosting socially responsible Games.”

The IOC Executive Board will make the final decision on the Paris 2024 event program in December 2020, but no more sports can be proposed for inclusion. That means baseball and softball, which return to the Olympics next year, will not be on the 2024 Olympic program. Those sports can still be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Breaking debuted at the Youth Olympics last year, where the U.S. did not have any athletes. Sergei “Bumblebee” Chernyshev of Russia and Ramu Kawai of Japan took gold medals.

Breaking had never previously been up for a vote for Olympic inclusion, but the World DanceSport Federation is recognized by the IOC.

Teenagers, some of whom went by nicknames like Bad Matty, Senorita Carlota and KennyG, went head-to-head in dance battles at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last year. They performed on a mat atop an outdoor basketball court to a musical beat and emcees.

Judges determined winners using six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, perfomativity and musicality.

“Breaking (also called b-boying or b-girling) is an urban dance style,” according to the Youth Olympics. “The urban dance style originated during the mid 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City.”

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