Getty Images

Kyra Condie, decade after severe back surgery, qualifies for Olympic sport climbing

Leave a comment

Ten years ago, a nurse practitioner told a crying Kyra Condie that climbing wasn’t that important. Condie needed back surgery for severe idiopathic scoliosis, which could have ended her sport climbing career at age 13.

“Turns out, climbing IS pretty important to me and it was that moment that made me choose a different surgeon,” was posted on Condie’s social media.

She underwent 10-vertebrae spinal fusion surgery to correct a 70-degree curvature the following March.

“I’m lucky I did [the surgery], because his approach was to fuse less vertebrae and leave me with more mobility which has been crucial to my climbing,” was posted on Condie’s social media.

That decision led Condie on a path that, on Friday, hit a milestone marker — qualifying for the first U.S. Olympic sport climbing team. Condie earned her spot by reaching the final of an Olympic qualifier in Toulouse, France.

She is the third American to qualify for the sport’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, joining Brooke Raboutou and Nathaniel Coleman. One more man can make the U.S. team at a Pan Am qualifier in three months.

Condie is a Twin Cities native who graduated from the University of Minnesota last year and recently moved to Salt Lake City. She was 25th at the world championships in August.

Overall, 26 athletes have qualified for the U.S. Olympic team across all sports. A full roster is here. The team will eventually eclipse 500 athletes.

Olympic sport climbing will feature one set of medals per gender, the event combining three disciplines: lead, speed and bouldering.

From Tokyo 2020: Speed climbing pits two climbers against each other, both climbing a fixed route on a 15-meter wall at a 95-degree angle. Winning times are generally between five and eight seconds. In bouldering, climbers scale a number of fixed routes on a four-meter wall in a specified time without safety ropes. In lead climbing, athletes attempt to climb as high as possible on a wall measuring over 15 meters in height within a fixed time with safety ropes.

The sport debuted at the Youth Olympics in 2018 in Buenos Aires, but no Americans were entered.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympic master competition schedule

View this post on Instagram

In the fall of 2009, I had a nurse practitioner tell me that I could stop crying because “climbing isn’t that important” and that “one day you’ll have a family and you’ll realize you don’t need to be sad.” Turns out, climbing IS pretty important to me and it was that moment that made me choose a different surgeon to perform my 10 vertebrae spinal fusion. I’m lucky I did, because his approach was to fuse less vertebrae and leave me with more mobility which has been crucial to my climbing. It’s now been 9 years since my surgery (March 12th, 2010) and it still amazes me how little I even notice my restricted mobility. I do tend to have trouble on certain types of moves, but there’s almost always another method to avoid twisting and sideways bending (the two motions I have trouble with). If anyone has any questions about my recovery or anything else, please don’t hesitate to ask 😁 I love talking to other people with a spinal fusion! Photo 1: pre back surgery Photo 2: post back surgery Photo 3: post back surgery rib hump (from the remaining curve in my spine) Photo 4: @greg_mionske photo from the Vail World Cup! #scoliosis #spinalfusion

A post shared by Kyra Condie (@kyra_condie) on

Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, Olympian, world champion snowboarder, drowns in spearfishing accident

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, an Olympian and world champion snowboarder, drowned while spearfishing on Australia’s Gold Coast on Wednesday.

A police spokesperson said a 32-year-old man, later identified as Pullin, was unresponsive when taken from the water and died despite receiving CPR from lifeguards and emergency treatment from paramedics.

The accident happened at Palm Beach around 10:40 a.m. local time. Pullin had been diving on an artificial reef when he was found by a snorkeler.

“Another diver was out there and located him on the sea floor and raised the attention of nearby surfers who sought lifeguards to bring him in,” police said. “He didn’t have an oxygen mask. We understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef.”

Pullin competed in Olympic snowboard cross in 2010, 2014 and 2018 with a best finish of sixth. He won back-to-back world titles in 2011 and 2013. He carried Australia’s flag at the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2014.

“We are all in shock today as one of the most beloved members of our close snow sport community, Chumpy, has sadly lost his life in what appears to be a tragic accident,” Snow Australia CEO Michael Kennedy said in a statement. “He was a mentor to so many of our younger snowboarders, giving up his time to coach and provide advice to our future Olympians. His loss will be felt right across our community.

“We know it won’t just be here in Australia that Chumpy’s legacy will be remembered, but throughout the international snowboarding community. It wasn’t just his ability to deliver results that will be missed, but his leadership and the path that he laid for so many.”

His parents owned a ski and snowboard shop in the Australian Alps, where Pullin began riding at age 8. Older friends gave him the nickname “Chumpy,” and it stuck.

Pullin, who spent time as a frontman for the surf-reggae band love Charli, often brought a guitar with him while traveling for competitions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo leans toward Olympic decision, schedule unchanged

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Shaunae Miller-Uibo said she likely will not defend her Olympic 400m title in Tokyo in favor of racing the 200m because the turnaround between the two events is too tight, according to a report.

“I would have to choose one event, and we’re leaning more toward the 200m seeing that we already have the 400m title,” Miller-Uibo said, according to the Nassau Guardian in her native Bahamas. Miller-Uibo’s agent later confirmed the sentiment.

Last summer, Miller-Uibo said she requested that World Athletics modify the Olympic track and field schedule to better accommodate a 200m-400m double. A World Athletics spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that it reviewed the request, could not change the schedule and that decision was final.

Olympic schedules have been changed in the past for 200m-400m double attempts, including for Michael Johnson and Allyson Felix. But the debut of the mixed-gender 4x400m relay to the Olympic program in Tokyo “added to the complexities of developing the timetable,” World Athletics said in a statement it said it first released last September.

The revised Olympic schedule for 2021 has not been announced, but a change in the lineup of track and field events would be a surprise, especially given World Athletics’ statement on Miller-Uibo’s request.

“While it may look simple to move one race to a time which would allow increased rest time between the 200m and 400m, there is a knock on effect with other events which are then impacted,” according to World Athletics. “Following the review of various scenarios, we concluded that the current timetable provides the best opportunity for a 200m/400m doubling opportunity without adversely affecting other events. The current timetable does allow the possibility to compete in both the 200m and 400m although we do acknowledge this requires racing twice in the same day on one occasion. Having taken that into consideration, we have tried to allow the maximum time in between the events which results in almost 12 hours on that particular day.”

The original 2020 Olympic schedule had the 400m first round and the 200m final on the same day (former in the morning, latter at night), with the 400m semifinals the following day.

“It’s still a little bit tricky,” Miller-Uibo said last August. “We’re just asking them to clear it up a little bit more for us, where we can focus on three [rounds in the 200m] and then focus on the other three [rounds in the 400m]. I think it’s always been so simple for the 100m/200m runners. The 200m/400m being a more complex double, I think we’re asking for a day, if they can at least do that for us.”

Miller-Uibo went undefeated at 200m and 400m for two years before taking silver at the 2019 World Championships in the 400m behind Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser. Naser was provisionally suspended last month for missing three drug tests in a 12-month span. Naser said the missed tests all came before worlds. It hasn’t been announced whether she could be stripped of the world title.

Miller-Uibo chose to race the 400m over the 200m at worlds, where the schedule made a double more difficult than the Olympic schedule. She remains the fastest woman in the world in this Olympic cycle in the 200m.

The world’s three fastest 400m runners in this Olympic cycle could be out of the 400m in Tokyo. Naser could be suspended through the Games. Miller-Uibo is second-fastest since Rio. The third-fastest, Niger’s Aminatou Seyni, said she can’t race the 400m due to the new testosterone cap for women’s events between the 400m and mile, according to multiple reports.

Next fastest: Jamaican Shericka Jackson and Americans Shakima Wimbley, Wadeline Jonathas and Phyllis Francis.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Usain Bolt shares first photos, name of baby daughter