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Heather Bergsma says her struggles aren’t limited to the Olympics

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea – A year ago, it looked like Heather Bergsma could win the most medals of any U.S. athlete at the PyeongChang Olympics.

She’s now finished eighth in her two best races.

The 28-year-old appears destined to leave the Games without a medal for a third straight time as part of another disappointing U.S. speed skating performance.

The U.S. Olympic women’s speed skating medal drought dates to 2002, when Jennifer “Miami Ice” Rodriguez made the last podium.

Bergsma followed her meltdown in the 1000m on Monday – where her last lap was nearly three seconds slower than her penultimate one – with another near-three-second free fall in the 1500m won by Dutchwoman Jorien ter Mors on Wednesday.

“This was definitely my best shot,” at a medal, Bergsma said. “I don’t feel quite as good as I did last year. I think it shows throughout the season.”

Read the full story here, and watch speed skating highlights and streams

Tokyo Paralympic medals unveiled with historic Braille design, indentations

Tokyo Paralympic Medals
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The Tokyo Paralympic medals, which like the Olympic medals are created in part with metals from recycled cell phones and other small electronics, were unveiled on Sunday, one year out from the Opening Ceremony.

In a first for the Paralympics, each medal has one to three indentation(s) on its side to distinguish its color by touch — one for gold, two silver and three for bronze. Braille letters also spell out “Tokyo 2020” on each medal’s face.

For Rio, different amounts of tiny steel balls were put inside the medals based on their color, so that when shaken they would make distinct sounds. Visually impaired athletes could shake the medals next to their ears to determine the color.

More on the design from Tokyo 2020:

The design is centered around the motif of a traditional Japanese fan, depicting the Paralympic Games as the source of a fresh new wind refreshing the world as well as a shared experience connecting diverse hearts and minds. The kaname, or pivot point, holds all parts of the fan together; here it represents Para athletes bringing people together regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Motifs on the leaves of the fan depict the vitality of people’s hearts and symbolize Japan’s captivating and life-giving natural environment in the form of rocks, flowers, wood, leaves, and water. These are applied with a variety of techniques, producing a textured surface that makes the medals compelling to touch.

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Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Alysa Liu lands quad Lutz

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Alysa Liu, a 14-year-old who in January became the youngest U.S. women’s figure skating champion, on Saturday landed a quadruple Lutz, something no other U.S. woman has done in competition.

Liu landed the jump at the Aurora Games, a women’s sports festival in Albany, N.Y. It does not count officially, since it’s not a sanctioned competition.

Previously, Sasha Cohen landed a quadruple Salchow in practice in 2001, but never in competition. At least three Russian teens landed quads in junior competition in the last two years.

Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva became the first woman to land a clean, fully rotated quad in senior competition en route to silver at last season’s world championships.

Liu, who landed three triple Axels between two programs at January’s nationals, makes her junior international debut at a Grand Prix stop in Lake Placid, N.Y., next week.

She will not meet the age minimum for senior international competitions until the 2022 Olympic season. But she can continue to compete at senior nationals.

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