Runner Gabe Grunewald dies after decade-long cancer fight

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Gabriele Grunewald has died after a decade-long cancer fight, one in which she continued a running career as an example of perseverance. She was 32 years old.

“At 7:52 I said ‘I can’t wait until I get to see you again’ to my hero, my best friend, my inspiration, my wife,” was posted on husband Justin Grunewald‘s Instagram. “I always felt like the Robin to your Batman and I know I will never be able to fill this gaping hole in my heart or fill the shoes you have left behind. Your family loves you dearly as do your friends.

“To everyone else from all ends of the earth, Gabriele heard your messages and was so deeply moved. She wants you to stay brave and keep all the hope in the world. Thanks for helping keep her brave in her time of need.”

USA Track and Field confirmed Grunewald’s passing.

Grunewald “embodied true determination, dedication and commitment in every facet of her life. She will be remembered as one of the bravest athletes we knew,” USATF said in a statement.

Grunewald, first diagnosed in 2009 with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of cancer in her salivary gland, had spent recent days in comfort care. Her husband asked those on social media on Sunday to send her a last message.

“To everyone else from all ends of the earth, Gabriele heard your messages and was so deeply moved,” was posted on his Instagram. “She wants you to stay brave and keep all the hope in the world.”

Grunewald last raced at the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships as a four-time cancer survivor. A year after her first diagnosis, cancer was found in her thyroid and she had that removed, along with receiving radioactive iodine treatment.

Then, for the next several seasons, she was symptom-free and almost made the 2012 Olympic team, finishing fourth in the 1500m at trials. She won the U.S. indoor 3000m title in 2014.

In August 2016, a liver tumor was found, confirming a metastatic recurrence of adenoid cystic carcinoma. It was believed she was cancer-free after the surgery, but a March 2017 follow-up scanned showed small tumors in her liver.

She raced between chemotherapy sessions in the 2017 season.

“I’m trying to be the best example that I can be of somebody who’s trying to persevere through something difficult,” Grunewald said after her last race two years ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

2026 Winter Olympic host: Milan-Cortina

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Italy will host the 2026 Winter Olympics, with Milan-Cortina winning an IOC vote over a Swedish-Latvian bid centered on Stockholm-Are.

After Winter Games in Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014), PyeongChang (2018) and Beijing (2022), they return to a traditional European site for the first time since Italy hosted in Torino in 2006.

The two bids were left after five others dropped out for various reasons, all in 2018: Calgary, Canada; Erzurum, Turkey; Sapporo, Japan; Graz, Austria and Sion, Switzerland.

With the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games hosts both decided two years ago (Paris for 2024, Los Angeles for 2028), next up is the 2030 Winter Games. The U.S. has already said that if it bids, it will be with Salt Lake City, which held the 2002 Winter Olympics.

MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympic master schedule

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Japan’s gymnastics worlds team: no Kohei Uchimura, Kenzo Shirai

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Not only is Kohei Uchimura going to miss the world championships, but so is 11-time world medalist Kenzo Shirai.

Japan finalized its five-man team for October’s worlds in Stuttgart, Germany, following a national-level meet this past weekend. Uchimura, arguably the greatest gymnast in history, was already out of the running, sidelined with his latest round of injuries.

Shirai, reportedly slowed by a left ankle injury this season, did compete this weekend. But he finished fifth on floor exercise and third on vault, his two best events, and did not earn one of the last two spots on the world team.

Uchimura, a two-time Olympic all-around champion with six world all-around titles, misses worlds for the first time since 2007. Shirai, a 22-year-old with four world titles between floor and vault, had competed in every worlds since debuting in 2013, just after his 17th birthday.

Without their two stars, Japan sends a relatively inexperienced team. Kazuma Kaya and Wataru Tanigawa, both 22, are the only men who have been to a worlds (and were part of the 2018 silver-medal team). The youngest member is 17-year-old Daiki Hashimoto.

Japan has earned a team medal at every Olympics and world championships since 2003, a streak bettered only by the U.S. women.

MORE: Olympic gymnastics team sizes return to five for Paris 2024

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