“Splash” is soaked in Olympic glory

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ABC’s “Splash” is off and flopping… in a good way, of course. With its blend of semi-celebrities sharing their personal lives and awkwardly embracing the law of gravity in their best swim attire – and hosted by an orange-haired Joey Lawrence doing his best Ryan Seacrest, it’s exactly what you probably expected. Except who knew there would be so many Olympians on it?

David Boudia, fresh off of winning gold in the 10-meter men’s diving at the London Games, is one of two judges on the show. His fresh-faced, friendly approach to judging makes him the good cop to former Australian Olympian and current performance director for USA Diving, Steve Foley, who is a little less forgiving in his critiques.

A surprise addition was soccer star Brandi Chastain, who stepped in as a replacement for Chuy Bravo, Chelsea Handler’s late-night co-host, who apparently broke his heel goofing off during taping of the first episode. Not surprisingly, three-time Olympic medal winner Chastain had a strong first performance; Boudia and Foley applauded her hurdle approach to her initial dive — the first such approach of the competition — and graded her accordingly. She went on to eliminate Detroit Lions’ defensive tackle Ndamakong Suh in a dive-off, outshining the giant man with her crisply executed inward dive.

But the biggest Olympic name of all on the show? Four-time gold medalist Greg Louganis, who is training the athletes. He’s about as good as it gets, unless you’re Kendra Wilkinson, in which case you storm out of practice after your legendary coach accuses you of faking a fear of heights — for the cameras.

We hope next week’s episode has a little less drama and a couple more cannonballs. And Tom Hanks.

Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan remembers slain Colorado officer, a childhood friend

Nancy Kerrigan
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan remembers the Colorado police officer who was killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as loyal, caring and a true friend.

She told media outlets that Garrett Swasey was “one of my best friends” as they grew up together practicing figure skating in Melrose, Massachusetts. Before he became a police officer, Swasey was a junior national couples ice dancing champion.

An emotional Kerrigan says she wasn’t surprised he took a career path where he helped others first. She says he always had fun and did everything with a smile.

Swasey’s father has told the Boston Globe that his son moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skating and became an officer six years ago.

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Kobe Bryant announces retirement but remains in contention for Rio team

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Veteran basketball player and 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire from professional basketball after the end of this season. However, ESPN reported that the chairman of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, said that Bryant “remains in contention for Team USA spot for Rio 2016.”

In the form of a poem titled “Dear Basketball” on the Player’s Tribune, Bryant wrote:

This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

Bryant played on the U.S. national team from 2007 to 2012. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics he scored 20 points in the gold medal game to win gold over Spain. He helped the U.S. men to gold again in 2012, then said that it would be his last Olympics.

But he’s changed his tune in recent months. Bryant told the Associated Press in November that he’d like a shot at another Olympics.

“I would like to play,” Bryant said. “I think it’d be awesome. A beautiful experience.”

If he were selected and won again, Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony would become the first U.S. male basketball players to win three gold Olympic medals.

In the AP interview Bryant spoke glowingly of his Olympic teammates. “It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” he said. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”

He also said he believes he’d be an asset to the team, stating, “I feel like I can add value from a leadership perspective and a defensive perspective. I can still move extremely well defensively.”

Bryant’s age will likely be a concern, as his 38th birthday is just two days after the gold-medal game on August 21st, 2016.

Colangelo said that they will be looking at “all of our players” this season, and Bryant’s retirement announcement “doesn’t have any bearing” on whether he’d be selected for the 2016 Olympic team.

The 12 player team will be selected in June 2016.

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