Olympic gold medalists featured on NBC special ‘Inspiring America’

Speed Skating - Day 1"World Cup Speed Skating Final - Heerenveen"

Olympic champions Nathan ChenErin Jackson and Mikaela Shiffrin will be featured on “Inspiring America: The 2022 Inspiration List” premiering on NBC on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.

The Inspiration List highlights the stories of individuals who made an impact on their communities and industries this past year.

Chen, Jackson and Shiffrin are not only gold medalists, but each also endured significant defeats and got back on their feet to become champions.

The figure skater Chen crumbled under immense pressure at his first Olympics in 2018 at age 18. Four years later, he went to the Winter Games with a more laid-back approach and took gold.

Also in Beijing, Jackson became the first Black woman to win an individual Winter Olympic gold medal. She prevailed in the 500m, a month after tripping in the Olympic Trials and nearly missing the team entirely.

Shiffrin left her third Olympics with zero medals after uncharacteristic mistakes. But her season wasn’t over. She returned to the top of the podium on the World Cup circuit and claimed the overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

The first NBC Inspiration List in 2021 included Olympian Becky Hammon, the first woman to lead an NBA team as acting head coach and the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen

Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

Sifan Hassan

Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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