Mikaela Shiffrin’s emotional video to Paralympic skier Thomas Walsh

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As Thomas Walsh underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and pelvic resection treatments, childhood friend Mikaela Shiffrin frequented his hospital bedside.

When he was 14 in 2009, Walsh was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer in his pelvis and lungs.

The Vail, Colo., native received the diagnosis one day before he was to leave to attend Green Mountain Valley School, a ski academy in Vermont, on a full scholarship. Walsh, a promising youth skier, was first coached by Shiffrin’s mom, Eileen.

Walsh received those treatments for 14 months before being declared cancer-free.

One of those days in the hospital, Shiffrin told Walsh that she had never been to a high school prom. “Mikaela said to me, ‘You better be around for that because you’re taking me to your prom,'” Walsh said, according to The New York Times.

Walsh did just that in 2012. Then in 2014, Walsh traveled to Sochi through the Make-A-Wish Foundation to watch his longtime friend compete in the Olympics.

It motivated Walsh to research para Alpine skiing. He debuted on the World Cup in 2015 and by 2017 competed at worlds.

Then on Sunday, the 23-year-old Walsh made his Paralympic debut, finishing 13th in the standing super-G in PyeongChang.

“It’s a whole bunch of emotions,” Walsh said on NBCSN. “As all of our athletes and people with disabilities, I know there’s a lot of different struggles. Competing in the Games is a pretty big dream of mine.”

Walsh was then shown a video screen of a taped message from Shiffrin, who was in Germany for World Cup competition.

“I wish I could hug you right now and tell you that we’re so proud of you,” Shiffrin said, sniffling back tears. “I love you.”

Walsh was taken aback.

“Mikaela may be a champion and a star and an international hero, some would say, to ski racing,” he said. “I’ll even say the greatest female ski racer of all time, but above it all she’s just one of my good friends. … You look at me now. I’m standing here talking to you. I look pretty normal. Mikaela was there when I was really in the dumps and life was really uncertain.”

Walsh is next scheduled to race in the super combined on Monday night (ET). NBCSN coverage of the Paralympics continues at 9 p.m.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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MORE: Paralympic TV, streaming schedule

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned 4 years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)