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Joanne Reid, niece of Eric Heiden, makes Olympic team

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The U.S. Olympic women’s biathlon team is set, and includes the niece of the arguably the greatest U.S. Winter Olympian of all time.

Joanne Reid, whose uncle is five-time 1980 Olympic speed skating champion Eric Heiden, was named to the team along with Emily Dreissigacker and Maddie Phaneuf on Thursday.

All are first-time Olympians.

They join the already qualified Susan DunkleeClare Egan to complete the five-woman team.

Biathlon is the only Winter Olympic sport where the U.S. has yet to earn a medal.

Reid’s mom is Beth Heiden Reid, a 1980 Olympic speed skating bronze medalist (on a bum ankle) and world champion road cyclist.

In 1983, Heiden Reid won an NCAA individual cross-country skiing championship two years after picking up the sport.

Then in 2010, she competed at the U.S. Cross-Country Skiing Championships at age 50, beating her then-17-year-old daughter in a pair of races.

“When I was 13 or 14, my parents and I did a bike tour across California,” Reid, whose middle name is Firesteel, said in 2017. “The last day was 110 miles, and crossed several mountain passes that are in the famous California Death Ride. Two days later, I ran my first half marathon. That’s about what it’s like to grow up with a mother like mine.”

Reid skied for the University of Colorado from 2010-13, winning an NCAA title like her mom, then switched to biathlon in 2015 after watching a broadcast of the sport for the first time with friends of her parents earlier that year.

Her best individual World Cup finish is 29th from last season, when she was one of three U.S. women to earn World Cup points.

Reid underwent two heart procedures that took seven total hours last summer, according to her Instagram.

“I remember every minute of it — because firstly, I was awake through both procedures, and secondly because, you know, they saved my athletic career,” she posted.

Dreissigacker, 29, is the daughter of two Olympic rowers and the younger sister of Sochi Olympic biathlete Hannah Dreissigacker.

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I made my biathlon debut two years and two months ago, and I am so happy that this biathlon family welcomed me with open arms. With a functioning, full heart, I am honored to receive a berth at the Olympic Games in 2018. To all those that have fueled my sporadic journey to end up here, whether in a small way or a huge way, THANK YOU. Mountain West Dermatology, @bluemooseofboulder @wildzorafoods , special thanks to the wonderful Dr. Lewis Kirkegaard and Ted Hulbert. To the CBC: my supporters and my heroes, keep on keeping on. To Glenn Jobe, and the ASC biathletes- thank you for teaching me, and letting me into the fold. My parents- for a hundred thousand iterations of rifle parts, because for every piece on my rifle that works, there were ten that didn’t, and thirty stopped in the design phase. With the patience of a hundred men in the pursuit and understanding of a new sport, they got me to the right starting lines with a rifle that shot straight. And lastly, but certainly not least, to my cardiologists Aaron Baggish and Conor Barrett and the staff of the Massachusetts General Hospital cardiology unit for getting me through three unsuccessful treadmill stress tests totaling more than three hours, and not one but TWO heart procedures this summer, which clocked in at over 7 hours procedure time. I remember every minute of it – because firstly, I was awake through both procedures, and secondly because, you know, they saved my athletic career. Here’s a picture of my mom on the wall of the rink in Inzell where she was training before winning the world championship all around. @ascbiathlon #coloradobiathlonclub #massgen #brokenheart #mendedheart #teamusa🇺🇸 #pyeongchang2018

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Bernard Lagat commits to Olympic marathon trials, eyes age record

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Bernard Lagat, a 44-year-old, five-time Olympian, reportedly said he will race the Olympic marathon trials on Feb. 29 in a bid to break his own record as the oldest U.S. Olympic runner.

“I feel like I can still improve,” Lagat said, according to Runner’s World. “I’m going to give it my best.”

Lagat, a two-time Olympic 1500m medalist, moved to the marathon after becoming the oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history at the Rio Games, placing fifth in the 5000m.

He clocked 2:17:20 in his 26.2-mile debut at the 2018 New York City Marathon. He lowered it to 2:12:10 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia on July 7 but did not previously commit to entering the trials.

If Lagat finishes in the top three at the marathon trials, he is in line to become the third-oldest U.S. Olympic track and field athlete in history. The oldest are race walker John Deni (49 years old in 1952) and hammer thrower Matt McGrath (48 years old in 1924), according to the OlyMADMen.

Lagat ranks outside the top 20 among U.S. marathoners in this Olympic cycle. The fastest are Galen Rupp (2:06:07), Leonard Korir (2:07:56, from Sunday’s Amsterdam Marathon) and Scott Fauble (2:09:09).

No American has competed in six Olympics in track and field. Lagat’s first two Olympic appearances were for Kenya.

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Natalie Geisenberger, Olympic luge champion, will not race this season

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For the first time in eight years, there will be a new World Cup women’s luge champion.

Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger — the seven-time defending champion and two-time defending Olympic singles gold medalist — announced that she isn’t sliding this season because she and her husband are expecting their first child in April.

“Our happiness is on the way,” Geisenberger said on her Facebook page.

Geisenberger plans to return next season and still has hopes to compete at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, where she could match fellow German great Georg Hackl’s feat of winning three consecutive singles golds.

With Geisenberger not sliding this season, the top returning women from last year’s World Cup standings now are Julia Taubitz of Germany and Summer Britcher of the U.S. — second and third, respectively, in 2018-19.

Geisenberger has a luge record-tying four Olympic golds in all, being part of Germany’s victories in the team relays in Sochi in 2014 and Pyeongchang in 2018 as well.

Her 49 World Cup singles wins are another record, and she’s one of two sliders to win seven consecutive World Cup titles — Austria’s Markus Prock took the men’s championships each year from 1990-91 through 1996-97.

Geisenberger’s break from sliding only adds to how the World Cup standings — and the German roster — will look very different this season. Dajana Eitberger, who was fourth in last season’s World Cup standings, is also pregnant and expecting a baby in February. And Tatjana Huefner, who was sixth overall last season, has retired.

Huefner won five consecutive World Cup titles before Geisenberger took over and began her seven-year streak of championships. Geisenberger earned medals 11 times in 12 singles races last year — six golds, four silvers and one bronze.

“We are so happy for you even though we will miss you this season!” two-time Olympic singles gold medalist Felix Loch of Germany wrote in a message to Geisenberger on Instagram.

Geisenberger has been in the top three of the World Cup standings in 12 consecutive seasons. She was third in 2007-08, finished second in each of the next four seasons, and then began her title streak in 2012-13.

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MORE: U.S. luge star adds doubles after Olympic singles medal