Chris Reed, three-time Olympic ice dancer for Japan, dies at 30

Chris Reed, Kana Muramoto
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Chris Reed, a three-time Olympic ice dancer for Japan, died of a sudden cardiac issue over the weekend at age 30, a Japanese Skating Federation spokesperson said.

“It deeply saddens me to tell you all my brother, my sweet, kind, charismatic, and loving big brother Chris, has passed away suddenly over the weekend,” was posted on younger sister Allison‘s social media. “Words just cannot describe how much this pains me. Chris was such a pure spirit. He filled any room he walked into with so much joy and laughter. He always knew how to make me smile. I love you bro.”

Reed was born in Michigan to a Japanese mother and American father. Reed and older sister Cathy competed in ice dance within the U.S. until 2006, when they won the national novice title.

Afterward, they decided they wanted to represent Japan. The Japanese federation obliged.

The Reeds earned seven Japanese titles. They competed in eight world championships and two Olympics with a best finish of 13th among those major events.

After his older sister retired in 2015, Reed partnered with Kana Muramoto, who had transitioned to ice dance after more than a decade in singles. They won three national titles and reached the PyeongChang Olympics, placing 15th in their final full season of competition together.

Reed retired in 2019.

“He always wanted to stay involved in the sport and to help to develop ice dance in Japan,” according to an International Skating Union press release. “He was busily preparing for his second career as a choreographer and ice dance coach with his sister Cathy in Japan.”

NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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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

Kyle Smaine
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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.”