Missy Franklin

Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky lead Golden Goggle nominees

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The 10th Golden Goggle Awards, honoring the year’s best in USA Swimming, will of course be the first without Michael Phelps on the ballot.

In his place, new American stars Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky as well as former rival Ryan Lochte scattered the eight-award ballot announced Tuesday.

Phelps, who retired after the London Olympics, had been nominated for at least one award at every Golden Goggles dating to its first year in 2004.

Online voting is available here through Nov. 15. A percentage of the fan vote will count towards the final results, awarded at the Nov. 24 Golden Goggle Awards in Los Angeles.

The nominee list is as follows:

Breakout Performer of the Year

Jimmy Feigen — Won his first individual medal at a major international meet, silver in the 100 free at the World Championships.
Chase Kalisz — Won NCAA title in 400-yard individual medley, won U.S. title and world silver in 400 IM.
Simone Manuel — Became first U.S. woman, 18 or under, to swim 50 free in under 25 seconds.
Michael McBroom — Won silver in 800 free at first major international meet, becoming the only man to break an American record in 2013.

Perseverance Award

Eugene Godsoe — Won U.S. titles in the 50 and 100 fly and world silver in the 50 after missing 2012 Olympic team.
Elizabeth Pelton — Won two relay golds at World Championships after missing 2012 Olympic team.
David Plummer — Won U.S. titles in 50 and 100 back and world silver in the 100 back after missing 2012 Olympic team.
Megan Romano — Won six medals at World University Games, two relay golds at World Championships after missing 2012 Olympic team.

Coach of the Year

Rick DeMont — Star pupil: Matt Grevers
Bruce Gemmell — Star pupil: Katie Ledecky
Dave Salo — Star pupil: Haley Anderson
Todd Schmitz — Star pupil: Missy Franklin
Gregg Troy — Star pupil: Ryan Lochte

Relay Performance of the Year (all at World Championships)

Women’s 4x100m Free Relay — Romano comes from seven tenths of a second behind Australia on anchor to win in America record time.
Women’s 4x200m Free Relay — Ledecky leads off, Franklin comes from behind to pass Australia on anchor for a two-second win.
Men’s 4x200m Free Relay — U.S. wins by more than two seconds over Russia, its 10th straight win in a major international meet.
Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay — Franklin, Jessica HardyDana Vollmer and Romano close the meet by beating Australia by nearly two seconds.

Female Race of the Year (all World Championships finals)

Missy Franklin — 200 free – Gold in personal best 1:54.81, holding off world record holder Federica Pellegrini.
Katie Ledecky — 800 free – Gold in world record 8:13.86 (by two tenths), coming from behind to beat 2009 world champ Lotte Friis.
Katie Ledecky — 1500 free – Gold in world record 15:36.53 (by six seconds), beating Friis by two seconds.
Haley Anderson — open-water 5K – Out-touched open-water 10K world champion Poliana Okimoto by two seconds in 56:34.2.

Male Race of the Year (all World Championships finals)

Matt Grevers’ 100 back — Gold in 52.93, coming back from second at the turn and holding off U.S. teammate Plummer.
Ryan Lochte’s 200 back — Gold in 1:53.79, leading at every turn and winning by four tenths.
Ryan Lochte’s 200 IM — Gold in 1:54.98, coming from behind at 200 meters to win by 1.3 seconds.

Female Athlete of the Year

Haley Anderson — Won open-water 5K at World Championships after failing to make the U.S. team in her Olympic event, the 10K.
Missy Franklin — Became first woman to win six golds at a single World Championships.
Katie Ledecky — Won four golds at World Championships debut with two world records.

Male Athlete of the Year

Matt Grevers — Gold in the 100 backstroke, silver in the 50 backstroke at World Championships.
Ryan Lochte — Three golds, one silver at the World Championships.

German Olympic star swimmer retires after 2 U.S. stars call it quits

Gracie Gold details weight issues in figure skating after Skate America struggles

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Gracie Gold said she has struggled with weight issues this whole year and in recent seasons in reported comments after she finished fifth at Skate America on Saturday and then clarified them on Instagram Sunday.

“You don’t often see — there aren’t that many — you just don’t see overweight figure skaters for a reason,” Gold said Saturday, according to USA Today. “It’s just something I’ve struggled with this whole year and in previous seasons. It’s just difficult when you’re trying to do the difficult triple jumps. It’s something that I am addressing, but it’s obviously not where it should be for this caliber of competition.

“It’s just not what’s required for this sport. It’s a lean body sport, and it’s just not what I have currently.”

Gold fell once in her Skate America short program and twice in her free skate en route to her lowest Grand Prix finish (excluding Grand Prix Finals) since her debut at 2012 Skate Canada.

Gold also finished sixth out of six skaters in her first competition this season, the free-skate-only Japan Open on Oct. 1.

Gold was fourth at the world championships in April, falling from first after the short program. The U.S. champion was still dealing with that “worlds depression” in the summer, even considering skipping the fall Grand Prix season.

Her next scheduled competition is in three weeks at Trophée de France in Paris, which she won last season.

“We just need to adjust my physical shape and mental shape and see if the program can be salvaged for the rest of the year,” Gold said Saturday, according to Icenetwork.com.

Gold’s update on Sunday on Instagram is below.

MORE: Full figure skating season broadcast schedule

To all my fans and friends. Thank you for the concern you have voiced. My comments in the mixed zone were spoken in the heat of emotion. To clarify, I feel that my results this far in the season are a result of my decision to live a more "normal life" this past summer. I traveled and really took time off from being an elite athlete. For a figure skater, there is an ideal body weight for top performance. It's different for each athlete. That doesn't mean scary skinny, but rather a lean, wiry composition. I realize that I am at a healthy weight and I am rapidly regaining the strength and tone I desire. I just started back a little later than I needed to for peak fitness in October. In reading Christine Brennan's story I realize that I came across pretty negatively. In fact, rather than being unhappy with my programs, I think they are the best I've ever had! I remain committed to my sport and quest for World and Olympic success.

A photo posted by Gracie Gold (@graciegold95) on

Ted Ligety recovers for fifth place in return from torn ACL

SOELDEN, AUSTRIA - OCTOBER 23: Ted Ligety of USA in action during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men's Giant Slalom on October 23, 2016 in Soelden, Austria (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
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SOELDEN, Austria (AP) — For once, Ted Ligety could live with finishing fifth in an event he had won four times in the previous five years.

At least he’s back racing again.

The Olympic and world giant slalom champion returned to the Alpine skiing World Cup on Sunday, nine months after tearing the ACL in his right knee in a training accident.

In 14th place and 1.49 seconds off the lead after the opening run, Ligety vastly improved in the second and climbed nine spots in the traditional first race of the season on a mountain glacier in the Austrian Alps.

“I am not here to get 10th place. Even though that wouldn’t be a horrible result for the first time back, I like to be challenging for a podium,” Ligety told The Associated Press between runs.

He came 1.65 behind the dominant winner, Alexis Pinturault of France, but the result made him smile.

“I’m definitely happy with fifth place to start it off with,” Ligety said. “In the second run I charged a little harder. I skied well, for sure. I definitely felt a little bit more confident than in the first run where I was on the conservative side.”

The knee injury occurred in Germany in January. By that time, “my season was already messed up from smaller injuries, anyway” as he dealt with back and hip ailments.

After his season got off to a strong start by winning in Soelden and coming runner-up in a super-G in Beaver Creek, Colorado, in early December, the physical troubles took their toll and he failed to finish most races.

The training crash then caused the first season-ending injury in his 13-year-old career.

“During the first couple of weeks, watching races on the couch was less than fun, and a couple of weeks later watching races on the spinning bike was even less fun,” Ligety said. “But it makes you hungry to race again, too.”

The American called himself “lucky that there was no more damage” because “an ACL is a pretty straight forward thing” which many skiers have to deal with in their careers.

“You’re more likely to win an Olympic gold medal in skiing if you have had an ACL so I am joining a better statistical group now,” he joked.

Physically fit again but with less training on snow than usual, Ligety returned to the mountain in Austria where he won a record five times in total, most recently a year ago for the last of his 25 World Cup victories.

“My knee doesn’t bother me at all skiing, it’s just about finding that next high speed gear. I am not there yet but I am happy to race.”

Usually an all-round competitor, Ligety will first try to regain his old strength in GS before getting other disciplines back onto his schedule.

He planned to do some super-G races but could well stay away from what used to be his strongest discipline when he entered the World Cup in 2003 — the slalom. This summer, he trained in that discipline only for one day.

“The last couple of years, slalom has not been such a good return on investment for me so I’m not really putting too much into that,” he said. “I’ll ski some slaloms if it works out schedule-wise and training-wise.”

Though his chances to win an overall World Cup title one day are decreasing, the 32-year-old double Olympic champion has enough ambitions left.

“Like every year, the giant slalom globe is the big goal,” said Ligety, who won the prize for the best skier in the discipline five times. “Obviously this year I don’t have the same awesome prep period and miles as I would normally. The world champs (in Switzerland in February) is coming up also and it would be nice to defend the GS title again.”