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Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir extend break from ice dance competition

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Two-time Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will extend their indefinite break from competition through the fall Grand Prix season, an agent for the Canadians confirmed.

Virtue and Moir, who last competed in PyeongChang and haven’t said whether they will return at all, are headlining a Canadian tour of skating shows for the second straight autumn.

They’ve been asked often since the Olympics whether they are retiring. Their refrain: They don’t know.

“It definitely feels like [this is our last Olympics],” Moir said on TODAY in PyeongChang, hours after their ice dance gold. “If it is, this is a great way for us to go out. … It feels right. It feels like a good end.”

Italian Carolina Kostner, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist and 2012 World champion, is also being promoted as part of the Canadian tour. A representative for Kostner said a decision on whether she will compete in the fall has not been made.

Virtue and Moir took two years off after the 2014 Sochi Olympics before announcing their comeback in February 2016. They won all but one of their competitions in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, becoming the first skaters to earn five Olympic medals (boosted by team-event silver and gold in 2014 and 2018).

In their absence, French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron improved on their PyeongChang silver medal to earn their third and fourth world championships the last two years.

U.S. Olympic ice dance bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani took the 2018-19 season off and haven’t said whether they will return at some point.

Canada’s other top skaters from the PyeongChang Olympics — Patrick Chan, bronze medalist Kaetlyn Osmond and pairs’ bronze medalists Meaghan Duhamel and Eric Radford — have announced retirements.

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MORE: Best figure skating moments from PyeongChang

Leanne Smith leads U.S. gold medalists at para swim worlds

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Leanne Smith has never competed at a Paralympics. Came into this week’s world championships with zero world medals. But she leaves London with three individual golds, most for any American, one year before the Tokyo Games.

Smith, 21, won the 150m individual medley, 50m breaststroke and 100m freestyle in her classification, all in American record times. The last two titles came on the final day of the seven-day meet on Sunday.

Smith, diagnosed with a rare neurological muscle disease called dystonia in January 2012, began swimming in 2013. By 2017, she broke a world record and then debuted at the world championships with a best individual finish of sixth.

The U.S. finished with 35 total medals and 14 golds, ranking sixth in the overall standings. Ukraine, usually strong at the Paralympics, led the way with 55 medals. Full results are here.

Jessica Long, the second-most-decorated U.S. Paralympian in history with 23 medals, earned six this week — five silvers and a bronze — to give her 52 career world championships medals.

Two-time Paralympian Mallory Weggemann earned two golds this week, giving her 15 world titles in three appearances (her others being in 2009 and 2010).

She won 50m titles in the butterfly and freestyle. Weggemann won a 2012 Paralympic 50m free title but was fortunate just to make it back for Rio after a 2014 accident that she said was harder to come back from than her teenage paralysis. She left Rio with no medals but a resolve to return for a third Games in Tokyo.

“I’m two seconds away from bursting into tears,” Weggemann said after winning the first of her two golds in the 50m fly, according to U.S. Paralympics. “I had a really rough go these past three years since Rio, so to finally be back after busting my butt to be here, and to be here in London of all places, is absolutely incredible.”

Fellow Rio Paralympians McKenzie Coan and Robert Griswold added two golds a piece.

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MORE: Five storylines to watch for Tokyo Paralympics

Heimana Reynolds wins skateboard world title, nears an Olympic goal from age 10

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In February 2009, a 10-year-old Heimana Reynolds was profiled by his local NBC TV station on Oahu.

“My goal is to become a professional skateboarder and compete in the X Games and the Olympics,” he said, according to the report.

Skateboarding would not be added to the Olympics for another seven years. But here Reynolds is, age 21, having just won the world title in park, one of two skateboarding events that debut at the Games in Tokyo.

Reynolds, who wasn’t named to the four-man U.S. national team in March, consolidated his lead in the Olympic qualification rankings by prevailing over a pair of Brazilians in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A shirtless Reynolds scored 88 points in the final, beating Luis Francisco (85.50) and Pedro Quintas (85).

No more than three Americans can make the Olympic team in the event, which will make it difficult if three-time Olympic halfpipe snowboarding champion Shaun White decides to continue his skateboarding pursuit. White was the sixth-best American, bowing out in the semifinals in 13th place on Saturday in just his second contest since returning to competitive skating last year.

Back to Reynolds. He grew up on the North Shore and attended the Punahou School, where Barack Obama is the most famous alum. His first name is Tahitian, reportedly referring to the power of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Reynolds, the son of a surfer, proved a natural on land. After pre-teen media profiles, he blossomed into a world silver medalist last year. He won an Olympic qualifier in China in July to take the top spot in the Olympic rankings despite a best career X Games finish of sixth.

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