Sarah Hendrickson

Sarah Hendrickson walking normally 2 months after knee surgery

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NEW YORK — World champion Sarah Hendrickson shed her knee brace a week and a half ago and remains on track for a January return to ski jumping, she said Monday.

Hendrickson, 19, tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in her right knee in an Aug. 21 crash in Germany that left her in tears. She underwent surgery Aug. 29 and showed up to the U.S. Olympic Media Summit in early October with a massive black brace stabilizing her leg.

On Monday, she walked without encumbrance into a Kellogg’s sponsor function.

“Which is not as easy as you would think it would be after walking with a straight leg for seven weeks,” she said.

Hendrickson said that she’s gotten 60 percent of the strength back in her leg over the past two weeks.

“I’m well on track for what my goal is,” she said.

And that goal is to take her first jumps in the beginning to middle of January so coaches can make an informed decision whether to put her on the U.S. Olympic Team as a discretionary selection.

The U.S. Olympic Team is expected to be composed of four women. The winner at the Olympic Trials from Dec. 28-29 in Park City, Utah, will get the first spot. The next three are due to go to the top three ranked women in the World Cup standings as of Jan. 19 or 20.

But the Olympic selection procedures include a discretionary selection clause that could allow Hendrickson to be picked even if she doesn’t have any World Cup points.

Women’s ski jumping will be part of the Olympic program for the first time in Sochi. At her best, Hendrickson is a gold-medal threat along with Japan’s Sara Takanashi.

“My body’s reacting really well,” Hendrickson said. “I’ve had no setbacks.”

Video: U.S. Olympic champion traverses Europe as Aquaman

500 Days to Pyeongchang: Five athletes to watch

PARK CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 06:  Chloe Kim celebrates a first place finish in the ladies' FIS Snowboard World Cup at the 2016 U.S Snowboarding Park City Grand Prix on February 6, 2016 in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Today marks 500 days until the Opening Ceremony of 2018 Winter Olympics.

Below are five U.S. athletes to get to know before February 9, 2018:

Ryan Bailey (Bobsled): Bailey, who finished fifth as a sprinter in the London Olympic 100m, is attempting to compete at the 2018 Olympics as a bobsledder. On Sept. 21, just weeks into his bobsled career, he won the men’s push athlete national title. The last male Summer Olympian to make a U.S. Olympic bobsled team was Willie Davenport in 1980.

MORE: Converted sprinter Ryan Bailey wins bobsled national title

Brittany Bowe and Heather Richardson (Speed Skating): Bowe and Richardson have been trading world records in recent years. Last November, Bowe broke her own women’s 1000m world record, only to have Richardson lower it just three minutes later. A week later, Bowe broke the world record in the event once again.

MORE: Dan Jansen explains recent flurry of world records

Meryl Davis and Charlie White (Figure Skating): The future is uncertain for Davis and White, who became the first U.S. couple to win an Olympic ice dance title in Sochi. They have not competed since the 2014 Olympics, but they have also not announced their retirement.

MORE: Where Meryl Davis, Charlie White stand on possible comeback

Chloe Kim (Snowboarding): Kim mathematically qualified for the 2014 U.S. Olympic team in halfpipe, but at 13, she was not old enough to be eligible to compete in Sochi. A U.S. woman has won gold in the event at three of the past four Olympics, but Kaitlyn Farrington, who won halfpipe gold in Sochi, retired after being diagnosed with a spinal condition.

MORE: Kaitlyn Farrington retires from snowboarding

Mikaela Shiffrin (Alpine Skiing): Shiffrin became the youngest Olympic slalom champion at the 2014 Games, when she was 18. Four years later, she is hoping to become the first Alpine skier — man or woman — to repeat as slalom gold medalist. She also could become the first U.S. women’s Alpine skier to win gold medals in multiple Olympics.

Michael Phelps warned Ryan Lochte to ‘Keep your head on straight’

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09:  Gold medalist Townley Haas, Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps of the United States celebrate during the medal presentation for the Men's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Final on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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CHASKA, Minn. (AP) — Add Michael Phelps‘ name to the list of Americans who were less than amused by teammate Ryan Lochte’s post-competition, early morning drunken antics at the Rio Olympics.

“I did have a talk with him about two days before about not doing anything bad,” said Phelps, who retired after the Summer Games as the most-decorated Olympian of all time. “I told him, `Just keep your head on straight. Have fun.”‘

Apparently, the warning didn’t take.

Lochte and three teammates got into a scrape with a security at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro after a night of partying. He originally claimed he and young teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were threatened and robbed at gunpoint but was later charged in Brazil with filing a false police report.

Lochte, 32, whose 12 medals and six golds make him the second-most decorated Olympic swimmer, was banned from competition for 10 months – including a chance to qualify for next summer’s world championships – by the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming.

He also forfeited $100,000 in medal bonuses, was dropped from the Olympic team’s White House visit and was ordered to perform 20 hours of community service. His three teammates were given four-month bans and dropped from the White House visit.

Despite losing a number of sponsorship deals as well, Lochte hasn’t lowered his public profile. He’s competing this season on “Dancing With the Stars,” where two protestors rushed the stage during a taping of the show in Los Angeles two weeks ago. Lochte had just performed a foxtrot routine with professional partner Cheryl Burke to “Call Me Irresponsible” and appeared briefly shaken.

The two men were quickly tackled by security guards and face misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles. They later said their purpose was “to get the message out that Lochte is a coward, a liar and under Brazilian law, a criminal.”

Lochte posted on Instagram the day after the show aired, thanking “everyone on the show, including my partner Cheryl, my fellow competitors, the producers, the security team and its fans.”

#DWTS #family #dancingwiththestars

A photo posted by Ryanlochte (@ryanlochte) on

Phelps won five gold medals and a silver in Rio, bringing his career totals to 23 golds and 28 medals.

He was in Minnesota getting a behind-the-scenes look at Ryder Cup preparations ahead of this weekend’s matches. The avid golfer was scheduled to play in Tuesday’s celebrity tournament and is also making appearances on behalf of his sponsor, Omega.

MORE: Michael Phelps set to golf with Bill Murray