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Mirai Nagasu to skip Grand Prix, will not skate at 2022 Olympics

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NEW YORK — Mirai Nagasu is on an indefinite break from competitive figure skating. Any return would be an abbreviated one.

“I can definitely tell you that I won’t be around for another Olympics,” Nagasu said at a Manhattan event promoting new sponsor DSW on Wednesday. “After three Olympic cycles, I won’t last another Olympics, but I don’t know about competing [in non-Olympic events] right now. It’s definitely something I have to think deeply on, so I don’t have the answer you’re seeking, but I will always be part of the skating community.”

Nagasu, a two-time Olympian who in PyeongChang became the first U.S. woman to land a triple Axel at the Olympics, said she will sit out the fall Grand Prix series but could return later in the season. The International Skating Union said this week that Grand Prix assignments will be published Thursday.

The U.S. Championships are in January. The world championships are in March.

“Other people deserve the opportunity [on the Grand Prix series],” said Nagasu, who was 10th in PyeongChang and earned a team event bronze medal. “After 10 years [of senior competition], I think I deserve a break. I feel like a lot of other Olympians this year have felt the same.

“After a lifetime of skating, I feel like a little break won’t hurt me.”

Other PyeongChang medalists who either retired or said they won’t compete this fall include Adam RipponJavier FernandezPatrick ChanKaetlyn Osmond and ice dancers Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.

Nagasu’s skates won’t collect dust. She plans to appear in non-competitive skating shows in Japan and Sun Valley, Idaho, this summer.

Nagasu, 25, is going a similar route as friend Rippon, who said earlier this month that he won’t compete this fall and probably won’t compete again.

Rippon is 28. Nagasu and Rippon are among the older elite figure skaters, but Olympic medalists have competed into their 30s.

If this is the end for Nagasu, she will go out with a U.S. title (at age 14 in 2008), a fourth-place finish at the Olympics (2010), topping the short program at a world championships (2010) and rebounding from missing the 2014 Olympic team (despite a third-place finish at those nationals) to finish second at nationals in January to get to PyeongChang.

She is the only U.S. female singles skater to make multiple Olympic teams since Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan at the end of the U.S.’ golden years in the event in 2006.

Nagasu said she’s a little nervous for a new venture — public speaking events at businesses.

“I’ve been on the skating scene for a long time but never really gotten to share my background story,” said Nagasu, a daughter of Japanese immigrants, who slept in the storage closet of her parents’ California restaurant when they worked at night until she was 14. “So, to tell people what a journey it’s been is something I’m really looking forward to but also a little bit afraid of. I have taken a public speaking course, but to actually put it to use is something that I haven’t done as much as I have skated.”

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Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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