Gabby Douglas

Gabby wins AP Athlete of the Year

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Two-time gold medalist Gabby Douglas capped-off a significant year in women’s sports by earning the AP’s Top Female Athlete of the Year award Friday, marking the fifth straight year that a female Olympic gold medalist has taken it home.

“I didn’t realize how much of an impact I made,” Douglas told the AP. “My mom and everyone said, ‘You really won’t know the full impact until you’re 30 or 40-years-old.’ But it’s starting to sink in.”

Gabby, who became the first American to win both the team and all-around gold at the same Games, earned 48 of the 157 votes to barely edge-out teen swimming phenom Missy Franklin, who impressed 41 of the voting U.S. sports editors and news directors.

So, just a heads up: the top two vote-getters’ combined age is 33. Awesome.

Nearly every 2012 nominee was a London Olympian, including Allyson Felix, Carli Lloyd, and Serena Williams, as well Baylor basketball standout Britney Griner, who turned down Team USA to focus on school.

Gabby turns 17 on New Years Eve, and has spent her time since the Olympics appearing on a Wheaties Box, in a Nicki Minaj rap, and on Vampire Diaries. She was also interviewed by Oprah, threw out first pitches in New York and L.A., led the Pledge of Allegiance at the DNC, and even released a book.

“I didn’t think it was going to be crazy,” Douglas added. “I love it.”

Ida Keeling, 100 years old, sets world record at Penn Relays (video)

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Ida Keeling electrified the Penn Relays crowd with her 100-meter dash in 1 minute, 17.33 seconds on Saturday afternoon.

Keeling set a world record for fastest 100m by a woman 100 years and older. There is no data on USA Track and Field and masters athletics websites for a previous record holder.

“I’ll be 101 in a couple of weeks,” Keeling pointed out to NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno after the race, a mixed-gender event for athletes 80 and older. “I’ve never seen nothing like this crowd. Maybe that’s what the excitement was.”

Keeling’s advice?

“Love yourself, do what you have to do and what you want to do,” she said. “Eat for nutrition, not for taste. And exercise at least once a day.”

More on Keeling is here.

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U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

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