Debbie Phelps

Michael Phelps’ mom hopes for one more Olympics

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Michael Phelps is training again, but he hasn’t committed to another Olympic run. That doesn’t mean his mother, Debbie Phelps, can’t dream of Rio 2016.

She was asked about Phelps returning to the North Baltimore Aquatic Club pool by a Baltimore radio station in a story about a fundraiser she’s spearheading to benefit area moms.

“I don’t if we’re going to Rio, but I know that, according to the Baltimore Sun and out there in social media, Michael did make an announcement about being back in the pool,” she told WBAL News. “Where that leads him, I don’t know, I’m hoping it does lead us to Brazil.

“But, you know, athletes, children, composers, artists have to love what they do. Michael has a love for his sport, a passion for his sport. I know when he went to Barcelona for world champs last year [July 2013], I watched his face. He has such eagerness about where the sport of swimming is going to go. I’m supporting him all the way as his mom.

“I would love to go Rio.”

Debbie Phelps, the education foundation director for Baltimore County Public Schools, has been hoping her son would go to Rio since before the London Olympics.

“I want to go to Rio in 2016,” she said on “60 Minutes” in May 2012. “I do. He told me he’d send me there on vacation, he told me. But you know, I was like, I’m like, ‘Come on, Michael just a 50 freestyle.’

“What happens if your mom, you know, after London, after 12 months goes by and says, ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to go to Rio?'”

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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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