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Another Dutch speed skater won’t defend Olympic title

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The Netherlands won six of the 10 individual speed skating events in Sochi. Half of those gold medalists won’t defend their titles in PyeongChang.

Jorien ter Mors, who won the 1500m in Sochi and at the 2016 Worlds, was fifth in that event at the Dutch Olympic Trials on Friday.

Ter Mors, who doubles in short track, made the Olympic team earlier this week by winning the 1000m, but she won’t be skating the 1500m in February.

Ireen WuestLotte van Beek and Marrit Leenstra took the Olympic 1500m spots on Friday.

Wuest, van Beek and Leenstra finished second, third and fourth in the Sochi Olympic 1500m behind Ter Mors in an extraordinary display of Dutch skating dominance.

For PyeongChang, a nation can’t enter more than three skaters per individual event.

Other Dutch gold medalists from Sochi who won’t defend their Olympic titles are Stefan Groothuis, the 1000m champ who retired last year, and Michel Mulder, who was sixth in the 500m at trials.

The Dutch Olympic team should still be strong. It won eight of 14 events at last season’s world championships at the PyeongChang Olympic venue.

American Heather Bergsma edged Wuest in the 1500m at worlds by .11, but Japan’s Miho Takagi won all four World Cup 1500m races this fall.

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MORE: Broadcast schedule for all U.S. Olympic Trials

Helen Maroulis to miss world championships, eyes still on defending Olympic title

Helen Maroulis
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Helen Maroulis, the lone U.S. female wrestler to win an Olympic title, sat out this past weekend’s world team trials, which means she will not compete at the world championships in September.

Maroulis is working her way back from blowing out her right shoulder in a first-round loss at worlds on Oct. 24, after she returned from a concussion. She underwent surgery in November and was cleared to return earlier this spring before tweaking the shoulder again.

Maroulis said Friday she was cleared again to compete at trials but chose rest, recovery and her long-term health given what happened in 2018.

“It’s not coming from a place of fear,” she said. “I’m just not ready yet.

“If trials were end of June, everything would be perfect. I’m still feeling good and confident for 2020.”

As Maroulis stressed at 2018 Worlds, she prioritizes health over wrestling.

“Not just for myself, but to set an example because I get a lot of messages from kids on Instagram — I have a concussion, or my teammate has a concussion.” Maroulis said in October. “There’s this wrestler mindset to just push through — you’re the toughest, find a way to win. But there’s just a lot more to it.”

Maroulis, 27, put together one of the most dominant stretches in sport from 2015-17, going 78-1 overall among three different weight classes and going unscored upon at two world championships.

In between, she beat Saori Yoshida in the Rio Olympic 53kg final, preventing the Japanese legend from a record fourth Olympic title.

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MORE: Kyle Snyder refuses to dwell on those 68 seconds

Ex-partner of deceased figure skater John Coughlin says she was abused

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of the former skating partners of two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin has accused him in a series of social media posts of sexually assaulting her over a 2-year period.

Bridget Namiotka said on Facebook that Coughlin, who died by suicide in January, hurt “at least 10 people including me.” She skated with Coughlin from 2004, when she was 14, through the 2007 season.

Namiotka’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press that the comments were made by her.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating had given Coughlin, who became a coach and TV commentator after his retirement, an interim suspension for unspecified conduct. He was barred from attending events and activities sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Coughlin was found dead Jan. 18 at his father’s home in Kansas City, Missouri.