Margaret Wambui, Olympic bronze medalist, decries testosterone rule

Margaret Wambui
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Kenyan Margaret Wambui fears her track career may be over now that a rule is in place capping testosterone levels in women’s events between the 400m and mile, according to Agence France-Presse.

Wambui, the Olympic 800m bronze medalist, joined the others on the Rio podium in that event, South African Caster Semenya and Burundi’s Francine NIyonsaba, who previously said the new rule impacts them.

“I am very disappointed,” Wambui said, according to the report. “I don’t feel even like going on with the training because you don’t know what you are training for.”

Wambui, 23, said she will not take medication, according to AFP, which signals that she would not try to meet the testosterone limit to return to 800m competition for the world championships this fall.

“Something in me, in my blood, it is something I cannot do without,” she reportedly said. “Now they are telling us we can’t compete, we just feel rejected.

“We are just natural. We did not dope.”

Semenya lost an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to block the rule from going into effect. South Africa’s track and field federation indicated it will lodge a further appeal.

“Why, when you have a high level of testosterone in men, you are likely to perform well and we celebrate that?” Wambui said, according to AFP. “But when it comes to women we have to tell them to lower it, and we draw them out of competition. Why?”

MORE: Allyson Felix: I stand with Caster Semenya

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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.”