Yevgenia Medvedeva out of Rostelecom Cup

Yevgenia Medvedeva
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Yevgenia Medvedeva, the Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion, is out of this week’s Rostelecom Cup while reportedly recovering from injury.

Medvedeva’s name was no longer on the entry list as of Monday morning.

Russia’s figure skating federation president said Medvedeva has not fully recovered from an injury, according to news agency TASS. Medvedeva was reportedly sidelined from domestic competition earlier this fall with a back injury.

Rostelecom Cup, which airs on NBC Sports this week, will mark arguably the strongest women’s skating competition of 2020 given it includes the top four finishers from last season’s Russian Championships: Anna Shcherbakova, Alena Kostornaya, Alexandra Trusova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

Kostornaya, Trusova and Shcherbakova ranked Nos. 1-3 in the world last season, their debut campaigns on the senior international circuit.

Medvedeva, the world’s top skater at this point in the last Olympic cycle, changed coaches from Toronto-based Brian Orser back to her former Russia-based coach Eteri Tutberidze in September.

Medvedeva, who turns 21 on Thursday, went undefeated for more than two years from 2015-2017 and has not won a top-level international competition since.

She took bronze at the last world championships in March 2019. At her most recent competition (not counting September’s Russian test skates), Medvedeva withdrew after a fifth-place short program at the December 2019 Russian Championships after boot problems.

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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

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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.”