Elana Meyers Taylor announces pregnancy during break from bobsled competition

Elana Meyers Taylor
Getty
0 Comments

Elana Meyers Taylor, the most decorated U.S. Olympic bobsledder in history with medals in all five of her Olympic events, is pregnant with her second child and will not compete this upcoming season, her agent said.

Meyers Taylor, who came back from having son Nico on Feb. 22, 2020, won a silver and bronze medal at the Beijing Winter Games and become the most decorated Black U.S. Winter Olympian in history. She is on a previously announced indefinite break from competition.

“I’ll take some time to really decide what my career looks like going forward, but I know I’m not done being in a bobsled,” Meyers Taylor, a Georgia native, told NBC’s Atlanta affiliate after the Olympics in March. “Whether that means 2026 Olympics, I don’t know yet.”

Meyers Taylor cited a desire to race on the World Cup circuit in the U.S., which she hasn’t been able to do the past two seasons because it didn’t make North American stops due to the pandemic.

“I want that opportunity again,” she said in March. “So I’ll be sliding at some point, competitive sliding, but what exactly that looks like four years down the road, I have no idea yet.”

She could go for a first Olympic gold medal in 2026 and to tie the current U.S. female record of five Winter Olympic appearances. At 41, she would break the record for oldest U.S. female Winter Olympian in a sport other than curling, according to Olympedia.org.

Meyers Taylor, who converted to bobsled from softball, is already the only U.S. Winter Olympian to enter at least five medal events and win a medal in all of them.

She is tied for fourth on the U.S. career Winter Olympic medals list behind Apolo Ohno (eight) and Bonnie Blair and Bode Miller (six). Speed skaters Eric Heiden and Chad Hedrick also won five medals. All of those athletes competed in at least seven career Winter Olympic events, more than Meyers Taylor’s five.

This past February, she was voted by her peers to be the U.S. flagbearer for the Opening Ceremony but after testing positive for COVID-19 was replaced by speed skater Brittany Bowe. Meyers Taylor later served as flagbearer for the Closing Ceremony.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
Getty
0 Comments

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

0 Comments

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.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!