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Poland’s most decorated Winter Olympian all but retires

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Justyna Kowalczyk, who holds the Poland Winter Olympic record with five medals, has all but retired from cross-country skiing, saying her only future competition would be domestic or as a relay member at world championships, according to Polish media.

Kowalczyk, 35, is one of the most decorated cross-country skiers of all time: two individual Olympic gold medals, eight world championships medals, four World Cup overall titles and a record four straight Tour de Ski titles.

She won 50 World Cup events, second only to longtime Norwegian rival Marit Bjoergen, the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time with 15 medals.

Kowalczyk made her Olympic debut in Torino in 2006 at age 23, taking bronze in 30km freestyle, two months after she was cleared of doping charges that would have banned her into 2007. It marked Poland’s first Olympic cross-country skiing medal. She remains the lone Pole to stand on an Olympic cross-country podium.

After winning her first World Cup overall in 2009, Kowalczyk made more history at the 2010 Vancouver Games. She became the first woman from Poland to win a Winter Olympic event, edging Bjoergen by three tenths of a second in the 30km classic. Before the Olympics, Kowalczyk criticized the Whistler course as “very, very easy, like for tourists.”

Kowalczyk remained atop the sport with World Cup overall titles in 2010, 2011 and 2013, then won the 10km individual in Sochi (on a broken foot) to surpass ski jumper Adam Malysz for the most Winter Olympic medals for a Polish athlete.

Her best finish in PyeongChang was seventh in the team sprint at her fourth and final Winter Games.

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MORE: Best cross-country skiing moments from PyeongChang Olympics

Chicago Marathon canceled; one major marathon left in 2020

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The Chicago Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 11, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the fourth World Marathon Major called off this year.

Organizers cited the challenge of staging the 45,000-runner event “out of concern for the safety of event participants, volunteers, event staff and spectators.”

Previously, major marathons were canceled in Berlin (originally scheduled for Sept. 27), Boston (April 20, then Sept. 14) and New York City (Nov. 1). The London Marathon, originally scheduled for April 26 and postponed to Oct. 4, remains scheduled.

The other World Marathon Major, Tokyo, took place on its scheduled date of March 1 but with elite runners only.

Last year, Kenyan Brigid Kosgei won Chicago by taking 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record. Kosgei clocked 2:14:04.

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results

Figure skating Grand Prix events in China remain scheduled

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Figure skating Grand Prix events in China in November and December remain scheduled, the International Skating Union announced Monday, four days after reports about international sporting events in China being canceled through the end of 2020.

A notice about sports events, issued Thursday by the General Administration of Sport of China, made an exception for Beijing Winter Olympic test events and other preparations for the first Winter Games in China in February 2022.

The Grand Prix Final, the second-most prestigious annual figure skating competition, is still scheduled for December in Beijing because it is an Olympic test event.

Furthermore, the Cup of China, one of six events across the globe that determines Grand Prix Final qualifiers, remains scheduled for November in Chongqing because it is related to the Final.

“Like for all other five ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events in the different countries, this is of course subject to finding the necessary logistical, medical and safety solutions to hold the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events as planned,” according to the ISU.

The ISU previously announced it set a deadline to decide on possible event cancellations: 12 weeks before an event starts. For the first Grand Prix Series competition, Skate America in Las Vegas, the decision deadline is Aug. 1.

The ISU council will meet virtually on Aug. 3 to decide on further action for upcoming competitions.

MORE: Tai Babilonia, a Winter Olympic original, credits skating trailblazer

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