Seven gold medalists who still can’t vote

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Dear America: go vote.

No, seriously, if you’re an American of voting age currently reading this and you haven’t voted, please turn off your computer (or phone, or what have you) and go to your local polling location. Done? Cool.

One of our favorite Olympians in history, Bob Mathias, was only 17 when he won his first of two consecutive decathlon golds at the 1948 London Games. Unfortunately the teen champ then fell about 15 days shy of voting in the election when Truman famously defeated Dewey a couple months later.

We say unfortunately because we assume Mathias would have been one of the first people at the polls. And he likely would have tried to tip the scales in Dewey’s favor since he later became a four-term republican congressman from California, but we’ll never know for sure.

So with another London Olympics is in the books wanted to know which 2012 American gold medalists are still too young to vote. We’d like to imagine at least one of the seven teen gold medalists, who accounted for 11 golds between them, will follow in Mathias’s footsteps and  one day represent her state on Capitol Hill.

Katie Ledecky, 15, Maryland – swimming gold in 800m freestyle
Gabby Douglas, 16, Iowa – gymnastics gold in team and all-around competition
McKayla Maroney, 16, California – gymnastics gold in team competition, silver in vault
Kyla Ross, 16, California – gymnastics gold in team competition
Jordyn Weiber, 17, Michigan – gymnastics gold in team competition
Missy Franklin, 17, Colorado – swimming gold in 100m and 200m back, and two relays
Claressa Shields, 17, New York – boxing gold in the middleweight division

Also notable: Lia Neal of New York won a swimming bronze in London at only 17, and our entire ladies table tennis team, which includes Ariel Hsing, Erica Wu, and Lily Zhang, is made up of 16-year-olds from California.

U.S. senators speak up as women’s hockey worlds near with no resolution

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixteen U.S. senators wrote a letter to USA Hockey’s executive director Monday over their concerns about the treatment of the women’s national team.

Players have threatened to boycott the upcoming world championships over a wage dispute. The senators, all Democrats, urged David Ogrean to resolve the matter and ensure the team receives “equitable resources.” They cited the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.

USA Hockey’s board of directors meets Monday, and players said Sunday night they hope there’s a deal.

The senators, all Democrats, joined a chorus of support that includes unions representing players from the NHL, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. Those organizations said over the weekend they stood with the women’s team and criticized USA Hockey for attempting to find replacement players.

Prominent NHL agent Allan Walsh tweeted Sunday, “Word circulating among NHL players that American players will refuse to play in men’s World Championships in solidarity with the women.”

Zach Bogosian, an American-born Buffalo Sabres defenseman, went to high school with U.S. captain Meghan Duggan. He tweeted his support and said he hopes the dispute is resolved.

The U.S. is the defending champion at the International Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, which begins Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

In negotiations over the past 15 months, players have asked for a four-year contract that pays them outside the six-month Olympic period. The senators’ letter notes the $6,000 that players earn around the Olympics and USA Hockey’s $3.5 million annual spending on the men’s national team development program and other discrepancies.

“These elite athletes indeed deserve fairness and respect, and we hope you will be a leader on this issue as women continue to push for equality in athletics,” the senators wrote.

In a statement Sunday night, players said they hoped USA Hockey would approve terms discussed during a meeting last week. They said the agreement has the “potential to be a game changer for everyone.”

The letter was signed by: Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Dianne Feinstein of California, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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Ugandan Olympian’s body shuts down at World Cross-Country Champs (video)

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Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei went from leading the race to finishing 30th in the final kilometer at the World Cross-Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday.

Cheptegei, a 20-year-old Olympian, saw his body shut down in the last four minutes of his race.

His stride shortened. His pace slowed. Cheptegei appeared on the verge of falling. At one point, a teammate deliberately pushed him from behind to keep going.

Cheptegei led by 12 seconds going into the final two-kilometer lap. He would finish 1 minute, 44 seconds behind Kenyan winner Geoffrey Kamworor, with 28 other runners separating them after the 10km race that took about a half-hour.

Cheptegei’s body movement looked similar to that of British triathlete Jonny Brownlee, who had to be helped to the finish line by brother Alistair Brownlee at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico, in September.

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