Time 100 includes most Olympians in annual list’s history

Nathan Chen
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The Time 100 Most Influential list includes eight Olympians, the most ever in the annual list’s 19-year history. At least one Olympian made each edition dating to the first year in 2004.

Beijing Olympic gold medalists Nathan Chen and Eileen Gu were joined by soccer players Alex MorganMegan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn, tennis players Rafael Nadal and Peng Shuai and basketball player Candace Parker.

Time 100 listees are based on factors including relevance, impact, innovation, leadership, ambition and success.

Chen and Gu were spotlight athletes in February, each earning gold at the Beijing Games. Chen became the first U.S. singles figure skater to take gold since 2010, four years after struggling as a favorite. Figure skaters Adam Rippon (2018) and Yuna Kim (2010) previously made the Time 100.

“That perseverance never wavered, even after his first Olympics didn’t go as he’d hoped,” two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan wrote for Time. “He trained for another four years and showed the world just how fierce a competitor he is.”

Gu earned two golds and a bronze in freestyle skiing as the host nation’s biggest star. She competed while scrutinized for her decision to switch representation in 2019 from the U.S. to China, her mother’s birth nation.

“It’s hard for athletes — particularly Olympic athletes — to transcend their sport. Eileen Gu is an exception to that rule,” fellow Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy wrote for Time. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anybody more disciplined, driven, or determined than Eileen. And hard work pays off.”

Morgan, Rapinoe and Sauerbrunn have been longtime leaders for the U.S. women’s soccer team, winning Olympic and World Cup titles. Last week, after a yearslong battle, a historic victory was scored with the announcement of equal pay for the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams.

Nadal made the list for a second time — 13 years after his previous appearance — after winning a men’s record-breaking 21st major singles title at the Australian Open.

Peng, an Olympic tennis player in 2008, 2012 and 2016, made the list in the “Icons” category. Last November, she accused a former high-ranking Chinese government official of sexual assault in a Weibo post that was soon deleted.

Parker, a 36-year-old mom, won her second WNBA title last season and first with her hometown team, the Chicago Sky.

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Olympians and Paralympians on Time 100 lists, counting only athletes who had competed in the Games before being listed:

2022 — Nathan Chen, Eileen Gu, Alex Morgan, Rafael Nadal, Candace Parker, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Peng Shuai
2021 — Simone Biles, Allyson Felix, Suni Lee, Naomi Osaka
2020 — Allyson Felix, Maya Moore, Megan Rapinoe, Dwyane Wade
2019 — LeBron James, Alex MorganMo Salah, Caster Semenya
2018 — Kevin DurantRoger FedererChloe KimAdam Rippon
2017 — Simone Biles, LeBron James, Neymar
2016 — Usain BoltCaitlyn JennerKatie LedeckySania MirzaRonda Rousey
2015 — Abby Wambach
2014 — Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams
2013 — LeBron James, Li Na, Lindsey Vonn
2012 — Novak DjokovicLionel MessiOscar Pistorius
2011 — Lionel Messi
2010 — Yuna KimSerena Williams
2009 — Rafael Nadal
2008 — Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius
2007 — Roger FedererChien Ming-Wang
2006 — Joey CheekSteve Nash
2005 — LeBron James
2004 — Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe, Yao Ming
2000 (20th Century) — Muhammad Ali

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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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

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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.”