America's Cup

America’s Cup boss calls Italian team ‘spoiled rich kids dressed in Prada’

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Russell Coutts, CEO of Oracle Team USA at the America’s Cup, responded to an Italian team threatening to sit out in advance of the opening weekend of the sailing event by calling them “a bunch of spoiled rich kids dressed in Prada gear.”

“I think it’s just wrong that they should think that by threatening the event and threatening race officials that they’re going to get their own way,” Coutts said of Luna Rossa, according to The Associated Press. “It’s just the wrong approach. They’re frankly acting like a bunch of babies. Even my 7-year-old boy doesn’t behave like this. I wouldn’t accept this behavior from him. It’s childish.”

Coutts, a New Zealand native, is a four-time America’s Cup winner and a 1984 Olympic sailing gold medalist.

Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand are protesting safety changes made following the death of British sailor Andrew “Bart” Simpson in a capsize tragedy on May 9.

They say their boats were designed and built under the old rules and they don’t have time to build new rudders and, perhaps more importantly, test them. They’ve also said they feel the change gives an advantage to defending champion Oracle Team USA, which doesn’t have to race until the start of the 34th America’s Cup on Sept. 7.

Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand are scheduled to face off Sunday, if they back off their threats, with their protest set to be heard Monday, according to the AP.

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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