Olympic silver medalist, four-time world champ and nine-time national champ Alicia Sacramone said goodbye to competitive gymnastics Tuesday, announcing her retirement after a nearly a decade as one of the sport’s most accomplished athletes.
“Alicia was special, and determined to accomplish the goals she set for herself,” said U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi of the ’08 captain.
“Alicia had a great career, full of success that was well earned. She also showed her strength of character by the dignified way she handled the moments that fell short of her goals.”
Many, including Sacramone herself at times, blamed the star gymnast for the U.S. not winning gold in Beijing after tumbles on the beam and floor exercise. But there’s no doubt the team’s success was a direct result of the strength and commitment Alicia provided, a sentiment voiced by U.S. Gymnastics President Steve Penny in a statement Tuesday:
“Alicia has had a major impact on women’s gymnastics. Her personality, sense of humor and leadership skills were important ingredients in the success of our team. Alicia is a strong individual who knows what she wants and is not afraid to put herself out there to achieve it.”
Alicia had hoped to comeback and compete in London after tearing her Achilles in 2011, but failed to make the team despite finishing second on both the vault and balance beam at the 2012 Trials.
After Trials, the star unofficially retired via Twitter, saying, “I leave this sport with no regrets.”
The U.S. Olympic marathon trials will air live for the first time, on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. ET.
The top three finishers in each of the men’s and women’s races in Los Angeles will become the first members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic track and field team.
The men’s race (1:06 p.m. ET) includes 2012 Olympic trials winner Meb Keflezighi hoping to become the oldest U.S. Olympic runner ever, Olympic 10,000m silver medalist Galen Rupp in his 26.2-mile debut and three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, who was fourth at the 2012 trials in Houston.
The women’s race (1:22 p.m. ET) includes all three 2012 Olympic marathon team members — Shalane Flanagan, Desi Linden and Kara Goucher. Plus, Amy Hastings Cragg, who was fourth at trials four years ago.
Tom Hammond hosts coverage, joined by Craig Masback, Tim Hutchings, Lewis Johnson and Carrie Tollefson.
Olympic Marathon Trials Previews: Men | Women
Usain Bolt has not expressed much of a desire to go into coaching in retirement, but he plays the role in a commercial published Tuesday.
The six-time Olympic champion sprinter acted in a one-minute spot for the South African telecommunications company Telkom.
At one point in the commercial, Bolt wears headphones with the number “9.58” on one side, referencing his 100m world record.
It’s unknown when Bolt will compete for the first time in 2016, but when healthy he usually does smaller races in Jamaica in the late winter before ramping up in the spring and summer outdoor season.
VIDEO: Bolt beaten in race by boy YouTube sensation