U.S. Olympic team for Tokyo its second-largest in history, most women ever

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The U.S. Olympic team for Tokyo will be its second-largest in history and is set to shatter the record for most women competing for any nation at a single Games.

The USOPC announced a team of 613 athletes on Tuesday, the most in Olympic history outside of host nations.

The roster is 627 athletes if including all of the athletes who can be substituted for strategic purposes during several team events, though it’s possible some of those athletes will not be used in competition. Here is that full list of qualified athletes.

It is the second-largest Olympic team in U.S. history behind 1996, when it had 648 athletes compete, according to Olympedia.org. That year, it automatically qualified in many sports as host nation.

It’s the fourth-largest team in history after hosts France in 1900, Great Britain in 1908 and the U.S. in 1996.

The U.S. has more women than men for a third time in history and for the third Summer Olympics in a row. The percentage of women — nearly 54 — is the largest in U.S. history. There are 329 women among the 613 athletes (and 338 out of the 627 list), set to shatter the record for any nation set by the 2016 U.S. Olympic team (291 women competed in Rio, according to Olympedia).

ON HER TURF: More on a record Olympics for U.S. women

There are more athletes overall thanks to the record 339 medal events in Tokyo, up from 306 in Rio in 2016, with the re-addition of baseball and softball alone adding 39 U.S. athletes.

Equestrian Phillip Dutton will be the oldest and most experienced U.S. Olympian in Tokyo. Dutton is 57, set to be the oldest U.S. Olympian since 2008, and is going to his seventh Olympics. His first three were with his native Australia.

Dutton was also the oldest U.S. Olympian in Rio, where he won individual eventing bronze to become the oldest U.S. Olympic medalist since 1952.

After Dutton is a group of seven athletes set to compete in their fifth Olympics, including gold medalists Sue BirdDiana TaurasiAllyson Felix and Mariel Zagunis.

Swimmer Katie Grimes will be the youngest athlete on the team at age 15. She is set to become the youngest U.S. Olympian — Summer or Winter — since fellow swimmer Katie Ledecky in 2012. Grimes qualified in the same event as Ledecky did nine years ago (and again for Rio and Tokyo) — the 800m freestyle.

Felix is the most decorated athlete on the roster with nine Olympic medals, one shy of the U.S. track and field record held by Carl Lewis. Bird and Taurasi own gold medals from all four of their Olympic events, making them the most successful in an event-for-event ranking on this U.S. team.

Stanford again is the college or university most represented with more than 30 athletes.

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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.”

Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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