Olympic speed skater, Montana’s only female governor dies

AP
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Judy Martz, a 1964 U.S. Olympic speed skater and Montana’s only female governor, has died.

Martz had been battling pancreatic cancer. She was 74.

Martz died Monday in Butte, said state Attorney General Tim Fox, who is a friend of the family.

“She had a very forceful personality and was a very articulate, very smart person, and it doesn’t surprise me that she would be our first woman governor,” Fox said.

State political leaders, including Gov. Steve Bullock, are expressing sympathy and honoring Martz as a trailblazer for women in Montana.

“While she will always leave her mark in our history as a trailblazer for women, we will also remember the spirited enthusiasm she brought both in her service to Montanans and through her lifelong love for our state,” Bullock said in a statement.

Martz, then Judy Morstein, was 15th in the 1500m at the Innsbruck 1964 Winter Games.

Martz, a Republican, served as governor from 2001 to 2005. She was noted for turning a state deficit into a surplus while reducing taxes and increasing funding for education.

However, her term was besieged by missteps. Her popularity dropped to 20 percent at its low point.

Martz entered politics in 1996 as Gov. Marc Racicot’s running mate. She ran for governor after Racicot was barred from seeking a third term.

Martz faced backlash following a 2001 drunken-driving crash involving her chief policy adviser, Shane Hedges. He was at the wheel of an SUV that went off a mountain road and killed Montana’s House majority leader, who was a passenger. Martz was ridiculed for washing her aide’s clothes shortly after the crash, an act she said was a motherly reaction.

She was also criticized for comments suggesting she did not mind being referred to as a “lap dog” of industry. Her administration came under fire after news reports revealed that some of her staff used state phones to make political fundraising calls.

Martz, who often said she was mistreated by the news media, alluded to her political troubles in making her announcement not to run for re-election in 2003. “Among the difficulties, we have dealt with tragedy and adversity, some self-imposed, some stemming from misperception, and some the result of staff,” she said.

In the years since she left the governor’s office, Martz routinely addressed Christian organizations throughout the country and was part of a network that prays at locations across Montana.

In late 2014, Martz announced through a spokesman that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was treated at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she and her husband, Harry, had a home.

She said at the time that prayers and her deep faith in God would carry her through the difficult time. She thanked people for their prayers.

Martz and her husband raised two children.

Martz graduated from high school in Butte in 1961, was named Miss Rodeo Montana and attended Eastern Montana College.

Martz was a field representative for U.S. Senator Conrad Burns from 1989 to 1995. She also owned and operated a commercial solid-waste business with her husband.

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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