American Evan Medell medals in the Paralympic debut of taekwondo

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Day Eleven
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Evan Medell became the first U.S. man to compete in taekwondo at the Paralympic Games as well as the first American to win a Paralympic medal in the sport.

The 24-year-old earned bronze in the men’s +75kg K44 on Saturday, the last of three days of taekwondo competition in Tokyo.

Badminton and taekwondo are both new to the Paralympic program this year, though the U.S. did not send any badminton players.

Medell and Brianna Salinaro qualified to represent the U.S. in Tokyo by being among the top ranked athletes in the world as of Jan. 1, 2020.

He entered the Games as the world No. 1, while Salinaro was sixth in the women’s 58kg K44.

On Friday, the 23-year-old Salinaro fell to eventual bronze medalist Silvana Mayara Cardoso Fernandes of Brazil, 15-2 in the quarterfinal, then was pulled back in but swept 10-0 in the repechage quarterfinal by India’s Palesha Nep Goverdhan, who went on to finish fifth.

A 2017 World bronze medalist, Salinaro is the first taekwondo athlete with cerebral palsy to compete internationally and the first woman to represent the U.S. in Para taekwondo.

Medell, who was born with brachial plexus palsy, won his quarterfinal 22-19 over Libya’s Mohamed Abidar before 2015 World champion Ivan Mikulic of Croatia won their semifinal 28-9.

The 2019 Parapan American Games champion and 2017 World bronze medalist then rebounded to win the bronze-medal match 13-11 over Costa Rica’s Andres Esteban Molina Gomez.

“I am a bit disappointed, but it’s better to walk away with a medal than no medal,” he said, according to “Hopefully it’s something to build on for U.S. taekwondo in general.”

The first Paralympic medal ever awarded in the sport went to Thailand’s Khwansuda Phuangkitcha, who earned bronze in the women’s 49kg K44 on Thursday, while Peruvian Leonor Espinoza Carranza won the first gold that day in the same division.

Turkey’s Mahmut Bozteke was the first men’s medalist, with bronze in the 61kg K44 event, while Brazil’s Nathan Cesar Sodario Torquato was the first men’s gold medalist, winning that weight class.

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

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Chicago Marathon features Emily Sisson’s return, Conner Mantz’s debut, live on Peacock

Emily Sisson

At Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, Emily Sisson makes her return, nearly three years after Olympic Trials disappointment. Conner Mantz makes one of the most anticipated U.S. men’s debuts in 26.2-mile racing.

It is not the norm, but an American will be one of the spotlight runners in both the men’s and women’s elite races at a major marathon. Peacock airs live coverage at 8 a.m. ET.

Sisson, 30, starts her first mass marathon since dropping out of the Olympic Trials on Feb. 29, 2020, her legs “destroyed” on the hilly Atlanta course where she started as arguably the favorite. She ran the virtual New York City Marathon later in 2020, but that was solo (and not in New York City). Her 2:38:00 isn’t recorded in her official results on her World Athletics bio.

Since, Sisson won the Olympic Trials 10,000m on the track and was the top American in Tokyo in 10th place. She moved back to the roads, winning national titles at 15km and the half marathon and breaking the American record in the latter.

Sisson vaulted into the elite group of U.S. female marathoners in 2019, when she clocked the second-fastest debut marathon in American history, a 2:23:08 on a windy day in London, where the early pace was slow.

At the time, it was the 12th-best U.S. performance all-time. In the last two years, Keira D’Amato, 37, and Sara Hall, 39, combined to run seven faster marathons. At Chicago, a flat course that produced a world record three years ago, Sisson can answer them and perhaps get close to D’Amato’s American record 2:19:12.

“I’m hoping sub-2:20,” coach Ray Treacy said, according to “With the [super] shoes and the training behind her, I would think that’s [worth] at least three minutes.”

It is less likely that Sisson can challenge for the win on Sunday given the presence of Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the 2019 World champion and defending champion in the Windy City. The 28-year-old mom is the fifth-fastest woman in history with a personal best of 2:17:08. And Ethiopian Ruti Aga, a podium finisher in Berlin, New York City and Tokyo with a best time of 2:18:34, though she has one marathon finish since the pandemic (a seventh place).

Like Sisson, Mantz has shown strong recent road racing form. The American men’s debut marathon record of 2:07:56 (Leonard Korir) is in play. If he can break that, Mantz will be among the five fastest U.S. marathoners in history.

Rarely has a U.S. male distance runner as accomplished as Mantz moved up to the marathon at such a young age (25). At BYU, he won NCAA cross-country titles in 2020 and 2021 and placed fifth in the Olympic Trials 10,000m, then turned pro and won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships last December.

“If everything goes as planned, I think sub-2:08 is realistic,” Mantz said in a Citius Mag video interview last month. “If everything goes perfect on the day, I think a sub-2:07, that’s a big stretch goal.”

The men’s field doesn’t have the singular star power of Chepngetich, but a large group of East Africans with personal bests around 2:05. The most notable: defending champion Seifu Tura of Ethiopia and 2021 Boston Marathon winner Benson Kipruto of Kenya.

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Alpine skiing to test new format for combined race

Alpine Skiing Combined

Alpine skiing officials will test a new format for the combined event, a race that is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the International Ski Federation (FIS) will test a new team format for the combined, which has been an individual event on the Olympic program since 1988. L’Equipe reported that a nation can use a different skier for the downhill and slalom in the new setup, quoting FIS secretary general Michel Vion.

For example, the U.S. could use Breezy Johnson in the downhill run and sub her out for Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom run, should the format be adopted into senior competition.

The format will be tested at the world junior championships in January in St. Anton, Austria, according to the report.

In response to the report, a FIS spokesperson said, “Regarding the new format of the combined is correct, and our directors are working on the rules so for the moment the only thing we can confirm is that there will be this new format for the Alpine combined that has been proposed by the athletes’ commission.”

Some version of the combined event has been provisionally included on the 2026 Olympic program, with a final IOC decision on its place coming by April.

This will be the third consecutive World Cup season with no combined events. Instead, FIS has included more parallel races in recent years. The individual combined remains on the biennial world championships program.

L’Equipe also reported that the mixed team parallel event, which is being dropped from the Olympics, will also be dropped from the biennial world championships after this season.

“There is nothing definitive about that yet, but it is a project in the making,” a FIS spokesperson said in commenting on the report.

Vion said the mixed team event, which debuted at the Olympics in 2018, was not a hit at the Beijing Games and did not draw a strong audience, according to L’Equipe.

The World Cup season starts in two weeks with the traditional opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria.

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