Nathan Chen likely to take break from figure skating after 2022 Olympics

Nathan Chen
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Nathan Chen will likely take at least one year off from competitive figure skating after the 2022 Olympics to complete his education at Yale. If and when he returns to the sport hasn’t been decided.

“I think it will be highly determined by how I feel after ’22,” Chen said about retirement, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “Do I still have the drive? I feel like if I don’t have the drive anymore, then there’s no point. It’ll really depend. As of now, definitely the plan is to go back to school, and even then, probably take one or two years off skating for sure, and then reevaluate.”

Chen, undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, has competed every year since 2003, when he turned 4 years old.

He skated the previous two seasons while taking classes at Yale. Chen, a statistics and data science major, planned to stay in New Haven for this academic year, but the pandemic changed that.

Instead, he’s been at his California training base on a leave of absence, auditing classes at local universities, he said before winning a fourth straight Skate America title in October.

Yale usually only allows two semesters of leave without having to reapply, but added another year due to the pandemic, Chen said. That allows him to focus on skating from now through the Beijing Winter Games.

If that marks his final Olympic appearance, it would not be unusual. Todd Eldredge is the only U.S. singles skater to compete in three Olympics in the last 25 years.

Chen is expected to go for a fifth straight national title next month — most for a man since Dick Button‘s seven straight from 1946-52. Then, a potential showdown with two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu at March’s world championships.

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Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein

Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah

British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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