Olympic champion gymnast Gabby Douglas wins BET Awards

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Gabby Douglas earned two more honors Sunday, winning the Young Stars award and Sportswoman of the Year at the BET Awards at Hollywood’s Nokia Theater.

Douglas, the third straight U.S. women’s Olympic all-around champion, beat out Olympic gold medalists Serena and Venus Williams and Candace Parker as well as WNBA No. 1 draft pick Brittney Griner for Sportswoman of the Year.

The other Young Stars nominess were R&B artist/actor Jacob Latimore, 16, actress Keke Palmer, 19, actor Jaden Smith, 14, and actress Quvenzhané Wallis, 9.

Douglas, 17, returned to her gym in West Des Moines, Iowa, in May after a post-Olympic break and could return to competition next year. More accolades will pour in before then. She made the cover of July’s issue of Sports Illustrated Kids and was nominated for ESPYs for Best Female Athlete and, with the Fierce Five, Best Team.

Two members of the Olympic champion men’s basketball team also won BET Awards. LeBron James was named Sportsman of the Year, and Dwyane Wade was given a humanitarian award for his Wade’s World Foundation charity.

The BET Awards will be reaired Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET on BET.

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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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