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

U.S. figure skating could have its best world team since 2006

Nathan Chen performs during the men's free skate competition at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP
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KANSAS CITY — U.S. figure skating has a shot at medals in three of four disciplines at the world championships in Helsinki in two months, which hasn’t happened in 11 years.

Before this year, the U.S. men and U.S. women hadn’t boasted simultaneous medal contenders in a decade. Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek spent the 2010 Olympic cycle in the world elite, while the U.S. women faded. After they stopped competing, Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold moved into the women’s medal field while the U.S. searched for a new leading man.

He’s arrived. Nathan Chen confirmed he is one of the world’s best male skaters by landing a record seven quadruple jumps between two programs at Sprint Center this past week.

The 17-year-old already made the podium in an event that featured the world’s best, earning silver at the Grand Prix Final in December. Chen struggled with his short-program jumps at the Grand Prix Final and attempted one fewer quad overall yet still outscored everybody but Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu.

Of all of the U.S. medal hopes at worlds, Chen may face the stiffest trio of challengers. Not only is there Hanyu, but also two-time reigning world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain, plus Japan’s Shoma Uno, all of whom rank higher than Chen in best total scores in international competition this season.

MORE: Chen believes Olympic gold is possible after U.S. title

Wagner, who shares a coach with Chen, did not have her best nationals. She finished second to surprise winner Karen Chen (no relation to Nathan), who has yet to factor internationally.

But Wagner said before and after the U.S. Championships that her focus was to peak for the world championships. The goal for nationals was to make the world team, which required not winning but finishing in the top three. Mission accomplished.

The concern with Wagner is that she hasn’t produced a world medal-caliber result yet this season. Her best score from the fall ranks her sixth among women going to worlds. But Wagner has shown in the last few seasons that she can pull it together for major events. There’s her 2016 World Championships silver medal, plus her three straight Grand Prix Final medals from 2012-14.

At worlds, Wagner will have to deal with a Russian trio capable of sweeping the podium, three strong Japanese skaters, plus the revelation of this season, Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond.

VIDEO: Wagner passed Puffs in emotional press conference moment

The U.S.’ strongest discipline continues to be ice dance. Maia and Alex Shibutani and Madison Chock and Evan Bates finished second and third at the 2016 World Championships. They went one-two at the U.S. Championships this past week.

But two ice dance medals don’t appear to be in the cards in Helsinki. That’s because Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who earned gold and silver at the last two Olympics, came back this season after a two-year break.

Virtue and Moir broke international scoring records in the fall, sweeping their four starts. The two-time reigning world champions, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, also beat the U.S. couples at the Grand Prix Final.

The Shibutani siblings and Chock and Bates have never finished ahead of Virtue and Moir in competition. Neither has bettered the French since the December 2014 Grand Prix Final, either.

But all it takes is one dance medal, plus Chen and Wagner at their best in Helsinki, and the U.S. could go into the Olympic year in its best place since 2006.

MORE: Gracie Gold comments on split from coach Frank Carroll

Laurie Hernandez discusses life after Rio, new book on TODAY (video)

Laurie Hernandez
TODAY
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Laurie Hernandez‘s book, “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond,” is out Tuesday, and the Olympic champion gymnast stopped by TODAY on Monday to discuss its contents and life post-Rio.

An excerpt on Hernandez’s experience in Rio and the story of her floor-exercise wink to judges, is here.

On TODAY, Hernandez discussed another interesting anecdote from the book about tissues.

“Before Olympic Trials, we went out to eat, and I had a little breakdown because practice was really rough, and my routines weren’t coming the way I wanted them to,” she said. “This poor waitress kept bringing me over piles of tissues. … We were leaving, and my sister [Jelysa] told my dad, I’m going to save these tissues. I’m going to give them to her when she makes the team. I’m thinking to myself, you guys are crazy, this is not going to happen.”

Hernandez went on to finish second to Simone Biles at the Olympic Trials and make the five-woman Olympic team as the first U.S. female Olympian born in the 2000s.

The family celebrated the achievement, where Jelysa handed the tissues to Hernandez in a bag.

“Even when you fell, you couldn’t believe in yourself, we were there for you,” Jelysa told her.

“So it was a really defining moment,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez is away from gymnastics while promoting her book and touring with “Dancing with the Stars,” but she is expected to return to the sport at some point.

MORE: Hernandez explains 2017 goals: First date, driver’s license, Law & Order