Michael Phelps

Jon Hamm jokes about Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps with Win McMurry, more ESPYs highlights

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The ESPY awards provided a few Olympian storylines, especially among swimmers, on Wednesday night.

Actor and host Jon Hamm praised the U.S. Olympic team in his opening monologue. Well, not all of it was praise.

“Congratulations to the U.S. Olympic team for their absolutely dominant performance at the London Games,” Hamm said. “Women’s gymnastics team gold. Women’s soccer team gold. Men’s basketball team gold.

“The U.S. team was absolutely the story of the Games, winning 104 total medals. Other countries did well, too. Russia took home 82 medals. They only won 77, but they took home 82.

Michael Phelps won four more gold medals, bringing his total to 16 and setting the all-time record for most gold jewelry owned by a non-Italian.

(UPDATE: Phelps, of course, has 18 gold medals, not 16, Mr. Hamm.)

“It was an amazing Olympics. Usain Bolt proved that he is the fastest man on land. Michael Phelps proved that he is the fastest man in the water.

“And Ryan Lochte proved that he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. … He’s adorable. Lochte won five medals in London, and only two of them were damaged when he tried to find out if there was chocolate inside.”

Watch the full monologue here.

Lochte was not at the Nokia Theater to respond, as he is getting ready for the world championships in Barcelona, but it made Phelps chuckle.

Speaking of Phelps, he was the subject of plenty of chatter, particularly mentioning the woman sitting next to him — Golf Channel’s Win McMurry.

Phelps caddied for McMurry at the PGA Tour Wives Classic at The Players Championship in May. Another public appearance together has led to speculation that they are more than friends, though nothing official has been said yet. Stay tuned.

source: Getty Images

Phelps won two ESPYs — best record-breaking performance (breaking the record for most all-time Olympic medals with 22) and best male Olympic athlete. In an acceptance speech, he thanked retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis for helping him end his career the way he wanted to.

Phelps beat out Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton and Lochte for the best male Olympic athlete award. For the record-breaking performance, he won over Drew Brees (most consecutive games with a touchdown pass), Calvin Johnson (most receiving yards in one season) and Abby Wambach (most international goals in a career).

Watch Phelps’ acceptance speech here.

Phelps was also nominated for best male athlete, won by LeBron James.

Best female Olympic athlete went to another swimmer, Missy Franklin, who won five medals (four gold) in London. Franklin, like Lochte, is prepping for worlds in Barcelona.

Franklin beat Fierce Five members Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman. Franklin and Douglas were also nominated for best female athlete, won by Serena Williams.

source: AP

Raisman was the only U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team member who did not attend. She’s in Israel for the Maccabiah Games.

The Fierce Five were nominated for best team, won by the Miami Heat.

Best international athlete went to triple Olympic champion Bolt over tennis player Novak Djokovic, boxer Juan Manuel Marquez and soccer players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Another swimmer, 12-time Paralympic champion Jessica Long, won best female athlete with a disability. Long won eight medals in London, including five gold.

Paralympic discus champion Jeremy Campbell won best male athlete with a disability.

Lolo Jones asked about night club incident at ESPYs

Kerri Walsh Jennings’ next partner is a familiar one

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Kerri Walsh Jennings is slated to play with with 2008 Olympian Nicole Branagh this summer, after she and Olympic bronze medal teammate April Ross split last month.

Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion with Misty May-Treanor before that bronze in Rio, and Branagh, who made the Beijing Games quarterfinals with Elaine Youngs, are entered in an FIVB World Tour event in Croatia the last week of June.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are both 38 years old and briefly paired in 2010 when May-Treanor was uncertain about making a run for the London Olympics. When May-Treanor told Walsh Jennings she was all-in for London, Walsh Jennings split from Branagh.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are hoping to play together through the World Tour Finals in late August, according to Volleyball Magazine.

That includes the world championships in Vienna, Austria, in late July and early August.

It’s not known if they will have the combined ranking points to earn an outright worlds spot. They could also receive a wild card for worlds. Entries will be announced next month.

Walsh Jennings, a mother of three, has said she hopes to play in the 2020 Olympics at age 41, when she will be older than any previous Olympic beach or indoor volleyball player, according to Olympic historians.

Branagh returned to competition this year after a one-year break to have her second child. She has played few international events since 2012 and last won internationally in 2010 (with Walsh Jennings).

Ross, an Olympic silver and bronze medalist and 2009 World champion, is now partnered with Lauren Fendrick, who played with Brooke Sweat in Rio. Ross, 34, said she will figure out her long-term partner plans for Tokyo 2020 after this season.

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Catching up with Ross Powers

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Ross Powers, now 38 years old and 15 years removed from his Olympic snowboarding title, is still out with halfpipe riders on the snow five days per week.

The difference now is that Powers is coaching. He runs the snowboarding program at Stratton Mountain School in Vermont, where he graduated from in 1997.

Powers spoke with OlympicTalk before last season, reflecting on 20 years of snowboarding in the Olympics, Shaun White and how he likes coaching.

OlympicTalk: The PyeongChang Winter Games will mark 20 years since snowboarding’s debut in Nagano. What was it like competing in the first Olympic halfpipe?

Powers (who won bronze in Nagano at age 19): It seemed kind of like a regular World Cup. We were up in the mountains. At the time, it was a really good halfpipe, but we ended up competing in some bad weather, some rain. I didn’t realize until I left Japan and got home how big the Olympics were. But looking back, it was a special time. And I really learned from the ’98 Olympics, like if I get this chance again, I’m going to go there, I’m going to do it all. I’m going to go to Opening Ceremonies, Closing Ceremonies, watch as many events as I can and just make the most out of the Games.

OlympicTalk: The Nagano halfpipe was about half the size of today’s superpipes (394 feet long with 11 1/2-foot walls vs. 590 feet with 22-foot walls in Sochi). Could today’s snowboarders compete with you guys back in 1998?

Powers: It was so different. At the time, I want to say it was the biggest pipe we rode, but compared to today’s standards, it’s small. The weather was tricky. I think a lot of those guys [today] could ride it, but it’s so much different than today’s halfpipe for sure.

OlympicTalk: In 2002, when you led a U.S. men’s halfpipe medal sweep, the rider who just missed the Olympic team was a 15-year-old Shaun White. What do you remember about him?

Powers: You kind of knew he was going to be the next guy. Where he took our sport and certain tricks. One thing that really impressed me about him is he’ll train really hard for an event, show up, even if the conditions are bad, he’s planned this trick he wants to do, and he’ll try it no matter what. Most of the time he’ll give it a go and land it. That actually hurt him in Russia [White attempted but couldn’t perfect the YOLO Flip 1440 in Sochi] because he probably could have stepped down a notch, gotten a medal and maybe even won the event.

OlympicTalk: Did Shaun ever beat you before you retired?

Powers: I had my run from 1998, ’99, ’00, ’01, all those times that I was doing really well. I tried to make the 2006 Olympics in Italy. I was the alternate, so I just missed that. He was definitely beating me up through those times.

OlympicTalk: Did you travel to the Torino Olympics as an alternate?

Powers: I did, yeah. I traveled over there and actually watched my buddy [Seth] Wescott win the gold in boarder cross. That night, he was like, you should try boarder cross. That kind of got me into doing that my next few years after that.

[Editor’s Note: Powers almost made the 2010 Olympic team in snowboard cross, even finishing third in a December 2009 World Cup.]

OlympicTalk: Which is tougher, coaching or competing?

Powers: I would say it is tougher coaching than competing. You just have so many responsibilities and so much work. The nice thing about coaching, though, compared to competing, is you can kind of push yourself and have fun [riding] on certain days but then also sit back and really work with the athletes on all other days. So when you’re feeling it, you can push yourself. So it’s not like an athlete, where you have to push yourself.

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