Jessica Long five-peats with 400m freestyle medal, out-touched by teammate Morgan Stickney

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 7
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Jessica Long achieved a feat in the Paralympic pool on Tuesday night that not even Michael Phelps was able to on the Olympic side – a five-peat.

Long took silver in the 400m freestyle S8 in Tokyo, successfully medaling in the event at all five of her Paralympic Games to date. She owns three gold and two silver medals at the distance.

Now 29, Long had won the event at her first three Paralympics from 2004-2012, then settled for silver in Rio five years ago. She was nearing a potential return to the top of the podium but was out-touched by U.S. teammate Morgan Stickney by just over a second.

Stickney, 24, won the first Paralympic medal of her career in 4:42.39, with Long coming in at 4:43.41. Italy’s Xenia Francesca Palazzo, the 2019 World silver medalist, took bronze in 4:56.79.

This is Long’s 26th career medal.

As recent 100m T37 track gold medalist Nick Mayhugh pointed out on a Team USA Instagram post: “She’s got more medals than years I’ve been alive. Wow.”

Long is the second-most decorated U.S. Paralympian and most decorated active Paralympian in the world.

“17 years ago I won the Paralympic gold medal in Athens in the 400 free as a 12 year old,” Long posted to social media. “I can still remember that moment vividly.

“Morgan Stickney you were just a kindergartner! I hope tonight sticks with you the way my Athens race sticks with me. Cherish this moment. Welcome to the club, Morgan. You’re a Paralympic gold medalist.”

Stickney was one of the top able-bodied age group swimmers in the U.S. as a teenager, specializing in the 1500m, until pain struck in her left foot. After six years of surgeries and unrelenting pain, the North Carolina native decided to have her leg amputated in May 2018 at age 20.

In January 2019, Stickney’s right foot fractured and, following tests, she learned there was no blood flow below the calf. That October she had her right leg amputated below the knee.

“A little over a year ago I couldn’t even walk,” Stickney told TeamUSA.org in June of this year. “I was just sitting in a wheelchair without legs. We have all these videos and pictures of me at Spaulding (Rehabilitation Network in Boston) learning how to walk as a bilateral amputee and it’s pretty incredible to see how far I’ve come in a year.”

Tuesday was a five-medal day for the United States in the pool.

Eighteen-year-old Mikaela Jenkins earned the first Paralympic medal of her career.

In a close finish for the podium spots, she won the 100m butterfly S10 gold in 1:07.52, narrowly ahead of Australia’s Jasmine Greenwood (1:07.89) and the Netherlands’ Chantalle Zijderveld (1:07.91).

McKenzie Coan was second in the 100m freestyle S7, two days after winning the 400, for the sixth medal of her career. Italian Giulia Terzi won the race in a Paralympic record time of 1:09.21.

Matthew Torres won the first medal of his career with bronze in the 400 freestyle S8.

World records were broken in the men’s 200m individual medley SM14 and 100m butterfly S10.

In the latter, Ukrainian Maksym Krypak lowered a 2016 record from 54.71 seconds to 54.15. Great Britain’s Reece Dunn brought a 2019 world record in the IM from 2:08.16 to 2:08.02.

A full Paralympic Games broadcast schedule is available here. Events can also be streamed on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, with more info available here.

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IOC gives more time to pick 2030 Olympic host, studies rotating Winter Games

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The 2030 Winter Olympic host, expected to be Salt Lake City or Sapporo, Japan, is no longer targeted to be decided before next fall, the IOC said in announcing wider discussions into the future of the Winter Games, including the possibility of rotating the Games within a pool of hosts.

The IOC Future Host Commission was granted more time to study factors, including climate change, that could impact which cities and regions host future Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The 2030 Winter Games host is not expected to be decided before or at an IOC session next September or October.

Hosts have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years before the Games, though recent reforms allow flexibility on the process and timeline. For example, the 2024 and 2028 Games were awarded to Paris and Los Angeles in a historic double award in 2017. The 2032 Summer Games were awarded to Brisbane last year without a traditional bid race.

There are three interested parties for the 2030 Winter Olympics, the IOC said Tuesday without naming them. Previously, Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Vancouver were confirmed as bids. Then in October, the British Columbia government said it would not support a Vancouver bid, a major setback, though organizers did not say that decision ended the bid. All three cities are attractive as past Winter Games hosts with existing venues.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee officials have said Salt Lake City is a likelier candidate for 2034 than 2030, but could step in for 2030 if asked.

The future host commission outlined proposals for future Winter Olympics, which included rotating hosts within a pool of cities or regions and a requirement that hosts have an average minimum temperature below freezing (32 degrees) for snow competition venues at the time of the Games over a 10-year period.

The IOC Executive Board gave the commission more time to study the proposals and other factors impacting winter sports.

The IOC board also discussed and will continue to explore a potential double awarding of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympic hosts.

Also Tuesday, the IOC board said that Afghanistan participation in the 2024 Olympics will depend on making progress in safe access to sports for women and young girls in the country.

On Monday, Human Rights Watch urged the IOC to suspend Afghanistan until women and girls can play sport in the country.

In a press release, the IOC board expressed “serious concern and strongly condemned the latest restrictions imposed by the Afghan authorities on women and young girls in Afghanistan, which prevent them from practicing sport in the country.” It urged Afghanistan authorities to “take immediate action at the highest level to reverse such restrictions and ensure safe access to sport for women and young girls.”

The IOC board also announced that North Korea’s National Olympic Committee will be reinstated when its suspension is up at the end of the year.

In September 2021, the IOC banned the North Korean NOC through the end of 2022, including banning a North Korean delegation from participating in the Beijing Winter Games, after it chose not to participate in the Tokyo Games.

North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was the only one of 206 National Olympic Committees to withdraw from Tokyo. The country made its choice in late March 2021, citing a desire “to protect our athletes from the global health crisis caused by the malicious virus infection.”

The IOC said in September 2021 that it “provided reassurances for the holding of safe Games and offered constructive proposals to find an appropriate and tailor-made solution until the very last minute (including the provision of vaccines), which were systematically rejected by the PRK NOC.”

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Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe leaves moguls for another skiing discipline

Justine Dufour-Lapointe
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Justine Dufour-Lapointe, the 2014 Olympic moguls champion, is leaving the event to compete in freeriding, a non-Olympic skiing discipline.

“After three Olympic cycles and 12 years on the World Cup circuit, I felt that I needed to find a new source of motivation and had to push my limits even more so I can reach my full potential as a skier,” the 28-year-old Montreal native said in a social media video, according to a translation from French. “Today, I am starting a new chapter in my career. … I want to perfect myself in another discipline. I want to connect with the mountain differently. Above all, I want to get out of my comfort zone in a way I’ve never done before.”

Dufour-Lapointe said she will compete on the Freeride World Tour, a series of judged competitions described as:

There‘s a start gate at the summit and a finish gate at the bottom. That’s it. Best run down wins. It truly is that simple. Think skiers and snowboarders choosing impossible-looking lines through cornices and cliff-faces and nasty couloirs. Think progressive: big jumps, mach-speed turns and full-on attack. Think entertaining.

Dufour-Lapointe has retired from moguls skiing, according to a Freeride World Tour press release, though she did not explicitly say that in social media posts Tuesday.

At the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Dufour-Lapointe denied American Hannah Kearney‘s bid to become the first freestyle skier to repeat as Olympic champion. Older sister Chloé took silver in a Canadian one-two.

Dufour-Lapointe also won the world title in 2015, then Olympic silver in 2018 behind Frenchwoman Perrine Laffont.

Chloé announced her retirement in September. A third Dufour-Lapointe Olympic moguls skier, Maxime, retired in 2018.

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