Olympics ice dancing champs making a comeback?

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Former Olympics ice dancing champs Gwendal Peizerat and Marina Anissina of France announced that they’ll reunite for a surprise comeback in hopes of qualifying for next year’s Sochi Games a full twelve years after retiring.

“We got an offer from the French figure skating federation and the French sports ministry about taking part in the Olympic Games in Sochi,” Moscow-born skater Anissina told R-Sport.

“In my view, it’s very interesting and tempting. If the Olympics weren’t taking place in Russia, I’d have let this news pass me by, probably. But it’s like this – we have the desire and the strength.”

Peizerat, 41, and Anissina, 37, last competed at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, and have been dancing at exhibition shows ever since. They’re much older than all of their competitors, and older than the current Olympics scoring system, of which they don’t seem to be very big fans.

“With this judging system you could even teach a bear to skate,” Anissina opined. “No one wants to do anything new, unusual, or creative. I’ve understood, in the end, that you can think something up.”

But it’s not as easy as just saying you’re going to compete: Peizerat and Anissina will have to earn one of France’s two available Olympics spots, one of which should surely be secured by two-time European champs and World Champion bronze medalists Nathalie Pechalat and Fabien Bourzat.

So they’ll have to beat Pernelle Carron and Lloyd Jones, who took twelfth at Worlds earlier this year.

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

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NEW YORK – Laurie Hernandez hardly considers her 14 months away from competitive gymnastics a break.

Since earning Olympic team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, the 17-year-old won “Dancing with the Stars,” authored a book and even enrolled in ballet lessons.

But her most rewarding experience has been speaking at schools. Students have asked her seemingly every question, from when she started taking gymnastics classes (age 5) to whether she climbed trees when she was younger (yes, all the time).

Seeing how many children were inspired by her Rio performance motivated Hernandez as she prepares to return to the sport.

“I didn’t realize at the Olympics how many people were truly watching,” Hernandez said Wednesday night at the annual Women’s Sports Foundation Salute to Women in Sports. “Now I’m excited to get back into the gym.”

Hernandez recently added handstand holds, back tucks and front flips to her conditioning program, in addition to continuing to run and lift weights.

“It’s a little difficult, but it’s fine,” she said. “I’ll push it a little more after the holidays.”

She has her eye on returning to competition in 2018.

“That’s definitely the hope,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to rush anything, but I would love to compete in 2018.”

Hernandez, who said her next goal in gymnastics is to compete at the world championships for the first time and hopefully the 2020 Olympics, has not yet identified her comeback meet.

She noted that Aly Raisman took more than two years off after the London Olympics.

“I know every athlete is different,” Hernandez said. “But I wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps.”

Simone Biles, who has not competed since winning four gold medals in Rio, recently announced that she plans on returning to full-time training Nov. 1 and competition next summer.

“I look up to her, even though we are teammates,” Hernandez said. “I can’t wait to see her out there, but hopefully I’ll be out there with her soon.”

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Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Olympic cycling gold medalist Marty Nothstein is the latest to announce he’s running for the eastern Pennsylvania congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.

Dent, a former state senator, is a centrist Republican who has held the seat since 2005. He’s retiring after his term expires next year.

Nothstein, who won sprint silver in 1996 and gold in 2000, is the only American track cyclist to win an Olympic title at a fully attended Games.

Two Republican state representatives, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons, previously announced they’re running for Dent’s 15th District seat.

Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is also running.

Dent’s district includes Allentown and all of Lehigh County, and parts of four surrounding counties.

Republicans in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

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