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Canada announces Olympic figure skating team

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Canada’s figure skating team is widely expected to challenge for the team event gold medal, and will depend on Olympic veterans to do just that.

Canada announced their 2018 Olympic Figure Skating Team via a Facebook live video at the conclusion of their national championships on Sunday afternoon. 2010 Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as well as two-time Sochi silver medalist Patrick Chan lead the way.

Here’s the full squad, with their major achievements:

Ladies

  • Gabrielle Daleman: 2017 Worlds bronze medalist, 2018 Canadian national champion
  • Kaetlyn Osmond: 2017 Worlds silver medalist
  • Larkyn Austman: 2018 Canadian national bronze medalist, 2013 Canadian junior national champion

Men

  • Patrick Chan: three-time world champion, Sochi men’s silver medalist, 2014 team event silver medalist
  • Keegan Messing: 2018 Canadian national silver medalist

Dance:

  • Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, 2018 co-captains: 2010 Olympic gold medalists, Sochi dance silver medalists, 2014 team event silver medalist, and 2017 world champions
  • Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje: two-time world championships medalists
  • Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier: six-time Canadian national medalists

“Tessa and I are honored to be representing Canada at our third Olympic Games,” Moir said through a Skate Canada press release. “It is especially a privilege to be named to the team with this group of skaters. We have grown up together and its going to be a special moment to take the ice with them and go for gold. We are looking forward to embracing the Olympic spirit and proudly cheering on our teammates in PyeongChang.”

Pairs:

  • Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford: two-time world champions (2015, 2016)
  • Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau: two-time Canadian national silver medalists
  • Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro: two-time Canadian national bronze medalists; Moore-Towers won a silver medal in the team event at the Sochi Olympics with a former partner.

MORE: Patrick Chan prioritizes Olympic team event in last shot at gold

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for PyeongChang Olympics

Alex Zanardi, auto racer turned Paralympic champion, has 5-hour surgery to rebuild face after crash

Alex Zanardi
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SIENA, Italy (AP) — Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi underwent a five-hour surgery Monday to reconstruct his face following a crash on his handbike last month.

It was the third major operation that Zanardi has had since he crashed into an oncoming truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19 during a relay event.

Dr. Paolo Gennaro of Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena said the operation required three-dimensional digital and computerized technology that was “made to measure” for Zanardi.

“The complexity of the case was fairly unique, although this is a type of fracture that we deal with routinely,” Gennaro said in a hospital statement.

After the surgery, Zanardi was returned to the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma.

“His condition remains stable in terms of his cardio-respiratory status and grave in terms of his neurological status,” the hospital medical bulletin read.

The 53-year-old Zanardi, who lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago, has been on a ventilator since the crash.

Zanardi suffered serious facial and cranial trauma, and doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

Zanardi won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.

Last month, Pope Francis penned a handwritten letter of encouragement assuring Zanardi and his family of his prayers. The pope praised Zanardi as an example of strength amid adversity.

Shawn Johnson East shares struggles with body image, prescription drugs

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Shawn Johnson East, a 2008 Olympic gymnastics champion, detailed past struggles with body image and prescription drugs and reflected on her eating disorder as an elite athlete, to show there is hope to others in difficult situations.

“It all started with pregnancy and having my daughter,” East, who had daughter Drew in October, said on TODAY on Monday. “I had so many people asking me questions about how did pregnancy affect you mentally and how did you get your body back after having your daughter. I couldn’t answer that without giving a greater and a larger story.”

East first went public about her undiagnosed teenage eating disorders in 2015, three years after retiring from the sport. She said she limited herself to 700 calories per day and didn’t tell her parents.

In a June YouTube video, Johnson said she also binged and purged, including while dating future husband Andrew in the mid-2010s. And that she had depression and anxiety in 2011, when she returned to competition for the first time since the Beijing Games.

“I thought it would fix all of my problems,” East said of returning to gymnastics for a 2012 Olympic bid.

When East won “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009, she “hit a very low spot” going through puberty on national TV. She said she gained 15 pounds after the 2008 Olympics and started taking medications and drugs “to look like I did at the Olympics.” It included fad diets, diuretics and a three-week stretch of eating nothing but raw vegetables.

“Most pain of my entire life because I couldn’t digest anything,” she said.

At some point in 2011, East began feeling burned out. She was back to eating too few calories and overtraining. An unnamed USA Gymnastics doctor prescribed her Adderall “to lose more weight, have more energy and be more successful in gymnastics.” She took “heavy doses.”

“It helped my performances, but there were massive consequences to it,” she said. “I continued to compete into 2012, where I just started to get depressed.

“I was overdosing on Adderall. I was overdosing on any medication that wouldn’t be caught by USADA.”

Adderall was a banned substance in competition without a therapeutic use exemption, but was legal outside of competition.

“I was so controlled by other people’s opinions that I wouldn’t live up to that Olympic standard that I did anything to get it back and I could never have it back,” East said. “I didn’t learn that until later on.”

East’s mental hurdles re-emerged when she had a miscarriage in 2017. She blamed herself, believing her unhealthy lifestyle in the past was a contributor.

“Our natural inclination is to say, what did I do? And what did I do wrong?” she said. “It haunted me. I felt like I had sacrificed everything for an Olympic medal to not actually get the dream I had wanted my entire life [to have a child].”

With the help of a nutritionist and therapist and her husband, she conquered the demons through her 2019 pregnancy and childbirth.

“Having gone through a whole pregnancy and knowing that I felt confident through the whole thing, I feel like I’ve climbed Everest,” she said.

MORE: Why Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson went 8 years without talking

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