James Magnussen

Australia cuts swimming, track budgets

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The Australian Sports Commission is cutting 5.8 percent out of the national swimming program’s 2013-14 after their worst Olympic showing in two decades and a scandal involving banned sleeping pills and other “toxic incidents.”

The cuts are in-line with the ASC’s ten year Winning Edge plan, which aims to make Australia a top-five team at every Summer Games, top-15 at every Winter Games, and twenty annual world champions throughout all events.

“There will always be winners and losers under the new strategy but we fully support Winning Edge and its goals,” AOC chief John Coates said. “Sports are now more accountable and they are not only judged on performance, but governance.”

The swim team is still the most funded program, with $8.41 million, but will now be more carefully monitored by the AOC. The track and field budget also took a small hit of 3.8 percent, as sailing, canoeing, water polo, and the entire Paralympic team enjoyed large budget increases.

“Our investment decisions were based on a set of principles that assessed sports ability to provide sound evidence that they can contribute to the [Winning Edge] targets,” ASC chair John Wylie said.

“We have also asked that sports be more accountable for best practice governance and commercial performance under our investment approach.”

BuzzFeed scares Olympians with a live turkey

Buzzfeed Turkey
BuzzFeed Video / Via youtube.com
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In honor of Thanksgiving, our friends at BuzzFeed decided to surprise several Olympians with a live turkey.

Watch your favorite Olympians practice their turkey calls, and even take selfies with the bird:

Athletes featured in the video:

Tori Bowie (Track & Field)

Matt Centrowitz (Track & Field)

Dawn Harper-Nelson (Track & Field)

Jenny Simpson (Track & Field)

Katelin Snyder (Rowing)

MORE: NBC Olympics Thanksgiving Rio promo

Bobsled Olympic medalist Steve Langton retires

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 03:  (BROADCAST-OUT)  Steve Langton of the United States Bobsled team poses for a portrait ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 3, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.

A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.

At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”

“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.

Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.

“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”

Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.

None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.