Lance Armstrong’s former team director banned for life

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Johan Bruyneel, the director of Lance Armstrong‘s cycling teams for all seven of his stripped Tour de France titles, had his 10-year ban from sport for doping involvement increased to the rest of his life by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The CAS decision came after an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency, supported by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. They sought to lengthen the original arbitration court’s 2014 ruling of a ban through June 11, 2022.

Pedro Celaya, a doctor for Armstrong’s U.S. Postal cycling teams, and Pepe Marti, a trainer for U.S. Postal teams, also had their bans increased from eight years to life and from eight years to 15 years, respectively.

“There’s effectively nothing I can do against this sanction — and at 54 years of age, a 10-year ban or a life time ban is practically the same,” was posted on Bruyneel’s social media in a letter highlighting elements of his case he found “incredibly frustrating.”

“This whole process has been a difficult, very painful and complicated learning process for myself, but after a long time, it is now time for me to move on,” the letter read. “I can finally close this chapter and focus on the positive things in my future.”

Bruyneel encouraged athletes to use performance-enhancing products such as EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone, according to the panel that first banned Bruyneel in 2014.

“I do not dispute that there are certain elements of my career that I wish had been different,” a Bruyneel blog post read in response in 2014. “Nor do I dispute that doping was a fact of life in the peloton for a considerable period of time. However, a very small minority of us has been used as scapegoats for an entire generation.”

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”