Ashley Wagner is on her way to becoming the first American woman since Michelle Kwan in 2005 to win back-to-back national figure skating championships after taking the lead in Omaha with a solid short program performed to “Red Violin” Thursday night.
“I felt really solid,” the eight ranked skater in the world said after her skate. “I did exactly what I planned on doing. I feel like I owned every jump, spin, and element that I had in that program.”
Despite a training regimen that her coach called “anything but ideal” as he admitted she was concerned more about sparkles and music than preparation, Wagner scored a 67.57 and leads Agnes Zawadzki by more than two points heading into Saturday’s long program.
Vancouver Olympian Mirai Nagasu sits in third, 0.92 points behind in her comeback to the sport.
“I feel like I’ve been like that little girl from ages ago who wanted to go to the Olympics and medal,” Nagasu said. “I feel like I’ve been trying to regain that memory. Sometimes it’s hard but it’s been a great journey.”
U.S. 800m runner Nick Symmonds‘ right shoulder is apparently twice as valuable as his left shoulder.
The two-time Olympian auctioned ad space on his body for a second straight Olympic summer, with the final bid at $21,800 for nine square inches on his right shoulder in an Ebay auction that ended Thursday afternoon.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere‘s Twitter account claimed the winning bid of 107 overall bids.
In 2012, Symmonds auctioned the same nine inches on his left shoulder for $11,100 to Hanson Dodge Creative, a marketing agency based in Milwaukee. Here’s what that temporary tattoo looked like.
Symmonds’ temporary tattoo was not visible during the 2012 Olympics or 2012 Olympic Trials, as rules mandate the advertisement is taped over in those events plus other IAAF competitions.
Symmonds, 32, finished fifth at the 2012 Olympics and second at the 2013 World Championships.
He was left off the 2015 World Championships roster, after winning the national title, after refusing to sign a USA Track and Field contract that required athletes to wear Nike-branded Team USA gear at team functions at Worlds.
Symmonds’ apparel sponsor has been Brooks since January 2014. He was previously a Nike-sponsored Oregon Track Club member for seven years.
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Karch Kiraly will continue as U.S. women’s volleyball team head coach through the 2020 Olympics, agreeing to a four-year contract renewal.
“It’s been a tremendous honor to lead this special group of intelligent, powerful, hard-working, dedicated women, and the great staff that supports them — and it’s a double honor to prepare for battle at the Rio Olympics, knowing we’ll have the opportunity to carry that work forward in the next quadrennial,” Kiraly said in a press release.
Kiraly, the only U.S. volleyball player to earn indoor and beach Olympic titles, took over after serving on Hugh McCutcheon‘s staff from 2009 through the 2012 Olympics, where the U.S. women took silver behind Brazil.
Kiraly then led the U.S. women to their first World or Olympic title in 2014. They are ranked No. 1 in the world ahead of China and Brazil.
The program has gone 50 years with zero Olympic golds and broke a 62-year World Championship drought in 2014.
Kiraly, 55, is set to become the first coach of multiple U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball teams since Terry Liskevych from 1988 through 1996.
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