Missy Franklin wins 100m free; off to a good start at Nationals

Leave a comment

Last year’s Olympics swimming sensation Missy Franklin showed no signs of slowing down Tuesday at the nationals in Indy, bursting past three gold medalists and two NCAA national champions in the last 25 meters to clock a meet record 53.43 and capture the 100m free title.

“It’s my favorite part of the race,” Franklin said about the finish. “I just love doing everything possible so I can get my hand on the wall.”

Franklin held off London 4x200m free relay teammate Shannon Vreeland, who finished second in 53.83, and 16-year-old Simone Manuel, who broke her own national age grope record by clocking 53.86, finished a close third. Twelve-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin was fifth.

“[Missy] really is who I model myself after,” Manuel said after making the U.S. world team. “We’ve kind of grown a friendship, she tells me good luck before all of my races. I feel like I learned a lot tonight.”

Missy won five medals in London last summer, including four golds and a bronze. But she actually didn’t even compete in the 100m free at the Olympics. Go figure. She’s set to race in five more events at nationals, including the 200m free, where she’s seeded second behind London champ Allison Schmitt, the 50m, 100m, and 200m backs, all of which she’s favored in, and the 200IM.

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Laurie Hernandez explains wink, nervous Olympic moments in book excerpt

Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2018 Tour de France route unveiled