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Ebee Price wins all-around at Stuttgart World Cup

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Elizabeth “Ebee” Price, alternate for the 2012 women’s Olympic gymnastic team, won the all-around competition in dominating fashion at this weekend’s Stuttgart World Cup, while fellow U.S. teammate and Olympic all-around bronze medalist Danell Leyva finished fifth in a deep men’s field.

World Cup events remain popular with athletes abroad, particularly those in European nations, but are rarely attended by U.S. Gymnasts, who choose to focus on the major international competitions such as World Championships and Olympic games.

The Stuttgart World Cup, however, tends to draw many returning Olympians given it’s proximity to the games. On the men’s side alone six of the seven competing gymnasts finished in the top ten in London. London Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura withdrew last minute with minor shoulder and ankle injuries, but this competition should be a good indicator that he plans to continue in the sport.

Leyva didn’t fair as well in Stuttgart as London. He posted the top score on high bar but struggled on his first two events leaving him in fifth. Olympic all around silver medalist Marcel Nguyen from Germany grabbed the top spot followed by Daniel Purvis of Great Britain and David Belyavsky of Russia.

As expected on the women’s side Elizabeth Price won the competition by almost three points (yup, that’s a lot) ahead of Germany’s Elizabeth Seitz and Switzerland’s Giulia Steingruber. Price was one of the most memorable athletes at the U.S. Olympic trials that were essentially her coming out party. Ebee was a long shot to make the team until late in the season and she brought her famous coaches Bill and Donna Strauss to tears after her final floor routine that essentially sealed her placed as a team alternate. She’ll be one to watch over the next four years leading into Rio.

Also on the women’s side, the Russian team (which included Olympic uneven bars champ and resident diva Alyia Mustafina) won the team title ahead of Japan and Germany.

Elizabeth Price and Danell Leyva will move on to compete at the Glasgow World Cup on December 8th, which will conclude the 2012 World Cup Series for Gymnastics.

Claressa Shields congratulated by famous boxing actor (video)

Claressa Shields
Getty Images
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Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.

Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.

He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.

“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”

Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.

“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.

“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”

MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds

Russian Olympic medalists gifts include racehorse

Abdulrashid Sadulaev
AP
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MOSCOW (AP) — Luxury cars, apartments, even a racehorse — being an Olympic medalist in Russia can come with great material rewards but also controversy.

Under President Vladimir Putin, it’s become a tradition for Russia’s Olympic heroes to be showered with large cash sums and sometimes unwanted gifts.

On Friday, less than 24 hours after dozens of medalists were presented with BMW cars at the Kremlin by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, an advertisement appeared online offering one of them for sale, with photographs showing the car still covered in stickers celebrating Russia’s medal haul in Rio.

The advertisement offering the BMW X6 for 4.67 million rubles ($72,000) was anonymous and quickly withdrawn. It couldn’t be independently verified by The Associated Press, though Russian agency R-Sport claimed the seller was a Russian medalist who thought the car was too big and unwieldy.

Figure skater Maxim Trankov, who received a Mercedes-Benz SUV for his gold medal in 2014, said few Olympians could afford to own such cars.

“Has no one thought that these gift cars are not only liable for the tax on luxury items, but also aren’t cheap to run and earnings can’t cover it?” he wrote on Twitter. “I’d sell mine too if it came to it … Or does everyone think all sports pay as well as soccer, hockey or tennis?”

Gymnast Seda Tutkhalyan said she wouldn’t be able to drive her new BMW because at 17 years of age she was too young to have a license.

While online commenters mostly supported an athlete’s right to sell expensive Olympic gifts, many were critical of the government for a display of conspicuous consumption at the Kremlin at a time when Russia’s pension and healthcare systems are under financial strain.

It’s not fully clear how much the prizes have cost the Russian government.

State TV channel Rossiya 24 reported that the fleet of BMWs was provided by the Olympians’ Support Fund, which is backed by a group of Russia’s richest men, but that the accompanying cash prizes of tens of thousands of dollars per medalist came in part from the federal budget.

More awards are on offer from regional governments, many of which made public displays of generosity despite financial troubles of their own.

The Caucasus region of North Ossetia last month promised a free apartment for any medalists from the area, though it isn’t clear if this has happened yet.

In another grand gesture, the head of the restive Dagestan region gave Olympic wrestling champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev 6 million rubles ($93,000) in cash and a racehorse at a lavish welcoming ceremony featured on local TV.

Still, all may not be well for Sadulaev, who’s nicknamed the “Russian Tank” for his habit of crushing opponents on the wrestling mat. He’s already facing an allegation from a Moscow radio presenter of reckless driving in his eye-catching BMW.

MORE: Putin slams Russia’s Paralympic ban