Chloe Kim repeats as snowboard halfpipe world champion, leads U.S. 1-2

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Chloe Kim added another major snowboard halfpipe title to her trophy case, repeating as world champion on Saturday.

Kim, who in PyeongChang became the youngest Olympic halfpipe champion at age 17, prevailed with a 93.75-point run that included a 1080 and a 900 in Aspen, Colorado.

“I actually kind of sprained my ankle in practice so it’s been a little challenging,” she said.

Kim, who landed back-to-back 1080s in PyeongChang, had the two highest-scoring runs in the eight-woman final, then had a victory lap for her last run.

Countrywoman Maddie Mastro, the last woman to beat Kim in competition at the March 2019 Burton U.S. Open, took silver with an 89-point third and final run that included her trademark double crippler.

It’s the second time the U.S. went one-two in a world championships halfpipe, after Ross Powers and Lael Gregory did so in the event’s debut in 1996, two years before snowboarding’s Olympic debut.

Spain’s Queralt Castellet, who won the 2020 X Games in Kim’s absence, earned bronze.

The other major Olympic medal contenders — 2018 Olympic silver medalist Liu Jiayu and two-time world champion Cai Xuetong, both of China — have not competed in any International Ski Federation-sanctioned events this season.

Kim won her two biggest contests this winter, also taking her fifth X Games Aspen title in January in the same Buttermilk Mountain halfpipe.

She returned to competition after a 22-month break, having taken the entire 2019-20 season off to attend Princeton freshman classes.

Also Saturday, Japanese Totsuka Yuto, 19, won the men’s halfpipe, confirming his status as 2022 Olympic favorite as Shaun White hasn’t competed in three years. Totsuka had the two highest scores, 96.25 and 93, beating Australian star Scotty James for a fourth consecutive head-to-head.

Totsuka, whose top run included a 1440 and three 1260s, also relegated James to silver at X Games.

White could make his contest return at a U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen next week, the first 2022 U.S. Olympic qualifier.

Chinese Eileen Gu became the first skier to win halfpipe and slopestyle medals at the same world championships — and both were gold. Gu, a 17-year-old born in San Francisco to an American father and Chinese mother, took halfpipe on Friday and slopestyle on Saturday in her worlds debut.

She also swept ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle in her X Games debut in January. She’s now the favorite in both events at the Olympics in her home nation next year. No freestyle skier has earned multiple medals at a single Olympics.

Swiss Andri Ragettli, he of the sensational social media videos and 515,000 Instagram followers, won his first world title in men’s ski slopestyle. Ragettli scored 90.65 points on his last run, pushing Americans Colby Stevenson and Alex Hall to silver and bronze.

It’s the biggest slopestyle title in 22-year-old Ragettli’s career. He also won big air at X Games in January. Ski big air makes its Olympic debut next year.

Worlds continue next week with big air events in skiing and snowboarding.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

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’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

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

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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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