Maia Shibutani has cancerous tumor removed

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Maia Shibutani learned that a tumor she had removed last Saturday was cancerous, according to the Olympic ice dancer’s social media.

“I got my pathology report back – the tumor that was successfully removed on Saturday was unfortunately malignant (cancer),” was posted. “(SDH)-deficient renal cell carcinoma. This wasn’t the news I was hoping for, but I am beyond thankful that it was detected early and that my surgery went well. No further treatment is required at this time – the next steps are for me to continue focusing on recovering and healing. All of the positive thoughts and support mean so much to me. My heart is so full. Thank you.”

Shibutani, who earned bronze in PyeongChang with brother Alex, wrote that she went to the ER in October with a stomach virus that led to an MRI that showed a small mass on one of her kidneys.

“The surgery was successful and I was able to keep the rest of my kidney,” was posted on her social media. “I am young, healthy, and feel fortunate that this was detected so early. While this is deeply personal news, I don’t want rumors to spread, or for anyone to worry in case people say they saw me at the hospital.”

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It’s been a really tough week. Back in October, I got sick and had to go to the ER while I was in New York. It ended up being a stomach virus, but they ran some tests that showed an abnormality – it was recommended that I have a follow-up appointment to take a closer look. After an MRI earlier this week in LA, I was told that I had a small mass on one of my kidneys. Receiving this news has been incredibly shocking and difficult to handle. I’ve been so scared, but I have had the full support of my family, doctors, and nurses. I had surgery yesterday to remove the tumor. The surgery was successful and I was able to keep the rest of my kidney. I am in recovery at the hospital and have been in a lot of pain post-surgery, but I am grateful. My doctor said there is a 60/40 chance that the tumor was malignant versus benign (we will know soon), but I am young, healthy, and feel fortunate that this was detected so early. While this is deeply personal news, I don’t want rumors to spread, or for anyone to worry in case people say they saw me at the hospital. (Next time, just say “hi”) • I am going to try and stay positive and focus on my recovery. I appreciate all of the support and good vibes sent my way. My fingers are crossed, too. ❤️

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All of the messages of love and positivity have meant a lot and are so appreciated. Generally, things are moving in the right direction. I had to spend an extra night in the hospital following my surgery, but I was discharged yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, the pain post-surgery has been worse than I anticipated. I’ve had my fair share of injuries in skating and I’m used to muscle and bone stuff, but this is different. It was explained to me that since I am young and in good shape, my muscles and nerves are really sensitive. Walking and making even smaller body movements is currently very painful and extremely challenging. It’s been tough to not feel discouraged and weak, but focusing on gratitude has really helped. My parents are with me and Alex was able to support me through those difficult first steps. I’m grateful for all of the messages of encouragement – I feel very cared for and supported. This recovery will take time and I’m still waiting on news, but I’m determined to come back stronger.

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Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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