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Mark Pavelich, Miracle on Ice skater, jailed on assault charges; family suspects CTE

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Mark Pavelich, a forward on the 1980 U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice” hockey team, is in jail on four felony charges including assault after allegedly beating a neighbor with a metal pole.

The incident took place Thursday, according to a complaint file.

A neighbor said Pavelich attacked him, with Pavelich accusing him of spiking his beer after they went fishing. The neighbor was “in and out of shock, but had observable injuries and an obvious disfigurement of his leg,” according to the complaint. He had two cracked ribs, a bruised left kidney and a fractured vertebrae.

Pavelich, 61, was reportedly ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation by a Minnesota judge on Monday.

“There is reason to doubt (Pavelich’s) competency,” wrote Judge Michael Cuzzo in a court order for the evaluation, according to the Duluth News Tribune. A Minnesota court official said that order is not public record.

Pavelich’s sister, Jean Gevik, said the family believes Pavelich has CTE from concussions and blows to head suffered in an NHL career that spanned parts of seven seasons, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

At the 1980 Olympics, Pavelich assisted on the game-tying goal against Sweden, scored and assisted on separate go-ahead goals against Czechoslovakia and assisted on a pair against the Soviet Union in the famed 4-3 upset, including Mike Eruzione’s winner.

Pavelich, known to be an avid hunter and ice fisher, lost his wife in 2012 to an accidental fall from a second-story balcony. He sold his gold medal for more than $250,000 in 2014 to provide for his daughter.

Pavelich, often labeled reclusive in stories on Miracle reunions that he was absent from, including the 2002 Olympic Opening Ceremony cauldron lighting, made a rare appearance at the team’s 35th-anniversary celebration in Lake Placid, N.Y.

“I wanted to come back and see the area,” said Pavelich, who walked outside from one end of the arena complex to the other for a press conference, while the rest of his teammates packed into shuttle vans. “We didn’t have much time to explore and see everything [in 1980].”

Pavelich’s seven NHL seasons were mostly with the New York Rangers.

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MORE: Behind the scenes of Miracle on Ice reunion

World short-track speedskating championships will be moved, postponed or canceled

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The International Skating Union announced Tuesday that the world short-track speedskating championships will not proceed as scheduled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Seoul’s Mokdong Ice Rink, where the competition was set to be held March 13-15, held the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships earlier this month but closed on Monday.

The ISU left open the possibility that the championships will be postponed or relocated, but the window to do so may close rapidly.

“Taking into account the uncertain world-wide development of the coronavirus, the limited and uncertain available time slots during the coming weeks and the logistical challenges of potential organizers and participating teams, a postponement and/or relocation of the Championships would be difficult to achieve,” the ISU said. “Nevertheless, a postponement and/or relocation of this Championships might be considered if the circumstances would allow so in due time.”

South Korea is one of short-track speedskating’s traditional powers. Last year, the country dominated the world championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, winning both relays and taking gold in all of the men’s individual races. South Korea also led the medal count on home ice in the 2018 Olympics.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced the cancellation of many events in China, where the illness was first found. The world indoor track and field championships were pushed back a whole year.

With the virus spreading to other regions, other countries’ sports schedules are being affected. Several soccer games are proceeding in empty stadiums in Italy and Iran.

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Daniel Romanchuk’s ascent to marathon stardom accelerated at University of Illinois

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The rise of Daniel Romanchuk has been one of the major stories of this Paralympic cycle. The wheelchair racer was eliminated in the first round of all five of his races in Rio.

But now, he’s the world’s best marathoner with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, a world-record holder on the track and already qualified for the Tokyo Games.

Romanchuk, born with spina bifida, was profiled by NBC Sports Chicago as part of a series of NBC Sports Regional Networks pieces published this week — marking 150 days until the Tokyo Olympics and six months until the Tokyo Paralympics.

NBC RSN Olympic and Paralympic Profiles
NBC Sports Bay Area

Abbey Weitzeil (Swimming) — LINK

NBC Sports Boston
Margaret Bertasi (Rowing) — LINK
Abbey D’Agostino Cooper (Track and Field) — LINK

NBC Sports Chicago
Ryan Murphy (Swimming) — LINK

NBC Sports Northwest
Galen Rupp (Marathon) — LINK
Mariel Zagunis (Fencing) — LINK

NBC Sports Philadelphia
Vashti Cunningham (Track and Field) — LINK
Julie Ertz (Soccer) — LINK

NBC Sports Washington
Katie Ledecky (Swimming) — LINK
Kyle Snyder (Wrestling) — LINK

Romanchuk, 21, swept the Boston, London, Chicago and New York City Marathon titles in 2019. He attributes that success to his native Baltimore and his training residence of the University of Illinois.

At age 2, he was enrolled in Baltimore’s Bennett Blazers, an adaptive sports program for children with physical disabilities. Tatyana McFadden, a 17-time Paralympic medalist who dominated women’s wheelchair marathons, planted her athletic roots there.

“Their motto is to teach kids they can before they’re told they can’t,” Romanchuk said.

Things really blossomed for Romanchuk after he moved from Baltimore to the University of Illinois. Illinois was designated a U.S. Paralympic training site in 2014 and has produced McFadden, Jean Driscoll and other U.S. Paralympic stars.

“Without this program, I certainly would not be where I am,” Romanchuk said. “It’s a very unique combination of coaching and teammates.”

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MORE: Ten Paralympic hopefuls to watch for 2020 Tokyo Games