Katie Taylor

Katie Taylor, Claressa Shields face disappointments in women’s boxing after Olympic victories

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Irish boxer Katie Taylor, one of three 2012 Olympic women’s boxing champions, is “flirting” with turning professional, saying “it looked like women’s boxing was taking a step backwards” at her only competition this year.

Taylor, 27, has won every major world and European amateur title since 2005 — the 2012 Olympics, four World Championships and five European Championships. She was named Ireland’s Sports Person of the Year (over Rory McIlroy) for her triumph in London, the first Games to feature women’s boxing.

Taylor defended her European amateur title in July but told the Irish Independent that the experience was “disappointing.”

“It was just a fight in a little tent in front of 100 people; it was really badly organized,” Taylor said, according to the newspaper. “For an Olympic medalist to be fighting in front of that kind of crowd, it was just disappointing. It looked like women’s boxing was taking a step backwards.”

Taylor cited “failed promises” by the International Boxing Association (IABA) and wished that a World Series of Boxing for women had been started.

Another 2012 Olympic champion, American Claressa Shields, 18, went nearly a year between bouts. Shields’ first major competition since London will start Sunday, the Women’s Junior/Youth World Championships in Bulgaria.

The minimum age for senior amateur fighters was raised to 19 this year, which meant Shields had an even harder time finding opponents since London. Try asking teenagers if they want to fight an Olympic champion with a 34-1 record and 15 TKOs.

Shields was the only youth entrant in her weight class at this spring’s U.S. Championships.

“Nobody from the U.S. will fight me,” Shields told the Detroit News. “Nobody. I mean, we called everybody we could think of.”

Shields, now a freshman at Olivet College in Michigan, said she also expected more recognition after returning home for her Olympic gold. She, like Taylor, has mulled turning pro.

Don King rips plan for professionals to box in Olympics

Elana Meyers Taylor crashes, brakewoman ejected (video)

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Two-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor‘s start to the World Cup bobsled season was both record-breaking and painful.

Meyers Taylor and brakewoman Kehri Jones had the fastest women’s start time ever recorded on the 2010 Olympic track in Whistler, B.C., on Saturday.

But only one of them made it to the finish.

Meyers Taylor crashed the sled during their first run, with the impact causing Jones to eject out the back and slide along the chute before coming to a stop.

Both athletes were able to walk off the track, according to U.S. Bobsled.

Meyers Taylor missed four races last season while receiving treatment for long-term effects from a January 2015 concussion. She returned to win at the last two stops.

MORE: Why Steven Holcomb mulled retirement

Diver Sammy Lee, first Asian-American male gold medalist, dies at 96

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18:  1948 and 1952 Olympic platform diving gold medalist Dr. Sammy Lee and Olympic diving hopeful Brittany Viola of the United States attend the Team USA Road to London 100 Days Out Celebration in Times Square on April 18, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for USOC)
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Dr. Sammy Lee, the first Asian-American man to win an Olympic gold medal and first male diver to repeat as Olympic champion, died of pneumonia at age 96 on Friday, according to the University of Southern California.

Lee was born in Fresno, Calif., of Korean parents.

He unretired from a medical career to compete in his first Olympics in London in 1948, after the Games took a 12-year break due to World War II.

Lee earned platform gold and springboard bronze in 1948 and then retired, unretired and defended his platform title in 1952. Lee and another Asian-American, Victoria Manolo-Draves, who had a Filipino father and English mother, both won diving titles in 1948, with Draves’ springboard gold coming first.

Lee also served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War.

He succeeded despite facing racial discrimination. From TeamUSA.org:

When Sammy was growing up, non-whites could use the pool where he practiced one day a week, on Wednesdays only. And then, as he has told it, the pool would be emptied after the non-whites used it, and fresh water was brought in the next day.

When the pool was off-limits, Sammy practiced by jumping into a sand pile.

Lee went on to coach divers, including Greg Louganis, after his competitive career, and continued his medical work. He graduated from USC’s medical school in 1947.

He is a member of the U.S. Olympic and International Swimming Halls of Fame.

*Correction: An earlier version of this post erroneously reported Lee was the first Asian-American Olympic champion. He was the second.