Lolo scores silver in bobsled debut

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American track star turned bobsledder Lolo Jones kicked off her new career nicely on Friday, finishing second at her winter sports debut during an event in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The London 100m hurdler teamed with pilot Jazmine Fenlator and clocked a time of 1:54.39 to finish less than a half second behind Canadian world champ Kaillie Humphries and her brakeman Chelsea Valois. Gold medal 4x100m sprinter Tianna Madison and her pilot Elana Meyers finished third, just 0.01 seconds behind Fenlator and Jones.

“I’m kind of in shock,” Jones told the AP. “We’ve been training with all the other Team USA members. It’s been an inner battle within our own team. I think this is great that we had a great run today on race day. I’m so used to just so relying on myself. I’ve never experienced this level of having a team before.”

Fenlator said she was similarly “shocked,” but seemed impressed by the American rookies.

“Lolo and Tianna have great experience in high-pressure situations,” added Fenlator. “They stayed really calm, so even though they’re rookies in the sport, you know on game day they’re going to be ready to go.”

U.S. women’s coach Todd Hays said he enjoyed the moment and was proud of the performances, but will continue to tweak the teams in order to help them reach their full potential.

He’ll rotate rookies Jones, Madison, and college track standout Aja Evans among the sleds throughout the World Cup season and will name his team heading to the Sochi Games around this time next year.

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

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NEW YORK – Laurie Hernandez hardly considers her 14 months away from competitive gymnastics a break.

Since earning Olympic team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, the 17-year-old won “Dancing with the Stars,” authored a book and even enrolled in ballet lessons.

But her most rewarding experience has been speaking at schools. Students have asked her seemingly every question, from when she started taking gymnastics classes (age 5) to whether she climbed trees when she was younger (yes, all the time).

Seeing how many children were inspired by her Rio performance motivated Hernandez as she prepares to return to the sport.

“I didn’t realize at the Olympics how many people were truly watching,” Hernandez said Wednesday night at the annual Women’s Sports Foundation Salute to Women in Sports. “Now I’m excited to get back into the gym.”

Hernandez recently added handstand holds, back tucks and front flips to her conditioning program, in addition to continuing to run and lift weights.

“It’s a little difficult, but it’s fine,” she said. “I’ll push it a little more after the holidays.”

She has her eye on returning to competition in 2018.

“That’s definitely the hope,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to rush anything, but I would love to compete in 2018.”

Hernandez, who said her next goal in gymnastics is to compete at the world championships for the first time and hopefully the 2020 Olympics, has not yet identified her comeback meet.

She noted that Aly Raisman took more than two years off after the London Olympics.

“I know every athlete is different,” Hernandez said. “But I wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps.”

Simone Biles, who has not competed since winning four gold medals in Rio, recently announced that she plans on returning to full-time training Nov. 1 and competition next summer.

“I look up to her, even though we are teammates,” Hernandez said. “I can’t wait to see her out there, but hopefully I’ll be out there with her soon.”

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Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Olympic cycling gold medalist Marty Nothstein is the latest to announce he’s running for the eastern Pennsylvania congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.

Dent, a former state senator, is a centrist Republican who has held the seat since 2005. He’s retiring after his term expires next year.

Nothstein, who won sprint silver in 1996 and gold in 2000, is the only American track cyclist to win an Olympic title at a fully attended Games.

Two Republican state representatives, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons, previously announced they’re running for Dent’s 15th District seat.

Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is also running.

Dent’s district includes Allentown and all of Lehigh County, and parts of four surrounding counties.

Republicans in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

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