Sam Dorman, Olympic medalist diver, retires

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Diver Sam Dorman, a Rio Olympic synchronized springboard silver medalist, announced his retirement in an online letter Wednesday.

“After multiple injuries throughout 19 years of competing, subsequent surgeries and countless hours of rehab, I would still do it all over again,” wrote the 27-year-old Dorman, who battled a back injury and underwent surgery in 2017, then came back to finish fifth at the FINA World Cup with Olympic partner Michael Hixon in June. “At this point in my life, I know my body can no longer withstand the extreme intensity of training and perfection that this sport demands.”

Dorman and Hixon had the best U.S. Olympic men’s springboard result in 24 years at the Rio Games, beating the dominant Chinese for silver with the highest-scoring dive of the competition in the last round. Brits Chris Mears and Jack Laugher edged Dorman and Hixon for gold by 4.11 points.

Dorman called Hixon his “right-hand man” in Wednesday’s letter.

“You set the standard for a disciplined work ethic and demanded a non-negotiable level of excellence in every training session,” Dorman wrote. “I could not have asked for a better Olympic teammate.”

Dorman made more headlines after Rio for getting a matching Olympic rings tattoo with golfer Rickie Fowler.

Dorman also finished sixth and seventh in synchro springboard at the last two world championships and was third in the individual springboard at the 2016 Olympic Trials, where the top two earned Rio spots.

Dorman and Hixon beat 2012 Olympic bronze medalists Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen at those trials, which was their first competition since pairing up that spring.

Dorman won one NCAA title at Miami, where he earned a mechanical engineering degree in 2015.

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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.”