Johnny Weir

Johnny Weir will not compete at Sochi Olympics

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It appears Johnny Weir‘s Olympic figure skating career is over.

The two-time Olympian did not register for a qualifying event for the U.S. Championships by a Sept. 1 deadline, U.S. Figure Skating confirmed. The Associated Press first reported the news.

The Olympic team will be selected from the U.S. Championships in Boston beginning Jan. 9. Two U.S. men will make the team for the Olympics in February.

Weir, 29, a three-time U.S. champion, can’t receive a bye into nationals, either. Only figure skaters who placed in the top five at the 2013 nationals or medaled at the 2010 Olympics or 2013 World Championships are eligible for byes, according to the AP.

Weir’s last competition was the Rostelecom Cup in November in Russia, where he withdrew due to injury. He has sparingly competed since the Vancouver Olympics, where he placed sixth. Weir was fifth at the 2006 Olympics and won bronze at the 2008 World Championships.

Even if Weir returned to competition this season, he would have been at best an outside hope at making the Olympic team behind the likes of 2013 U.S. champion Max Aaron, Olympic champion Evan Lysacek, three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott and Ross MinerJosh FarrisAdam Rippon and Richard Dornbush.

Weir’s old rival, Lysacek, has not competed since the 2010 Olympics. The Grand Prix season starts with Skate America, Oct. 18-20, where Aaron, Lysacek and Rippon are entered. Lysacek withdrew from the U.S. International Classic last week with a slight abdominal tear. Aaron won the event.

Joannie Rochette will not compete in Sochi

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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