Caitlin Cahow

Caitlin Cahow discusses being part of U.S. delegation to Sochi (video)

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Caitlin Cahow, one of two openly gay athletes part of the White House’s delegation to the Sochi Olympics, said she’s proud to be representing American diversity in Russia.

“I think that the president’s been very open about his feelings about Russian policies,” Cahow said on TODAY on Thursday morning. “I think he’s been very open about his feelings about LGBT policies here at home, too. I’m going over to Sochi representing a country that has made the most dramatic shifts on some of these issues in the last few years, and I’m very proud to be representing that kind of diversity.”

Cahow, 28, won bronze and silver at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics as a defenseman on the U.S. women’s hockey team but was not in the running to make the 2014 Olympic Team.

She joined tennis legend Billie Jean King and Olympic legends Bonnie BlairBrian Boitano and Eric Heiden on the delegation announced Tuesday. 

“I had a member of the White House call me, and that was kind of a surprise to get on my cell phone an unknown number,” Cahow said. “So I answered it, and I heard the news. I was elated. I was thrilled.”

In June, a law was passed in Russia banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors. Cahow said there are a lot of issues she looks to stand for while in Sochi.

In the interview, Matt Lauer brought up the black-power salute by John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

“Honestly, I think that my John Carlos moment right now is going to Russia and being present and representing the United States,” she said. “Like I said before, this delegation represents so much more than just LGBT diversity. We have a really remarkable diversity in the United States. I think that’s what all of the athletes in Sochi and the delegation will be demonstrating.”

Cahow, a Harvard graduate, said she believes the Olympics and politics will always be intertwined.

“It’s really hard to divorce the two,” she said. “What I would say is that the great thing about the Olympics is that every two years we get the opportunity not only to be inspired by amazing human achievement, but to hold the mirror up to our own faces and say what can we be doing better?”

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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Maggie Nichols wins NCAA all-around title with perfect 10

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Even after a perfect 10 in the last rotation, Maggie Nichols didn’t know that she had won the NCAA all-around title. Her coach at Oklahoma, K.J. Kindler, had to tell her.

The reaction?

“Excitement,” Nichols said Friday night on ESPNU. “I just wanted to go out there and feel out the equipment, staying calm and doing my routines that I have been doing in training.”

Nichols, a 2015 World team champion who retired from elite gymnastics after missing the 2016 Olympic team (set back by a torn meniscus that year), became the first Sooner to win the NCAA all-around in 30 years.

The sophomore tallied 39.8125 points and topped Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner of Utah by .0875 for the title in St. Louis. It came one year after Nichols was 29th in the all-around with a balance beam fall.

Oklahoma and Utah will be joined in Saturday night’s Super Six team finals by UCLA, LSU, Florida and Nebraska. The Sooners eye their third straight national title.

Nichols capped her night with one of two perfect scores between the two semifinal sessions, matching 2012 Olympic alternate Elizabeth Price‘s 10 on uneven bars. It gave Nichols a second career gym slam, a perfect score on every apparatus for the season.

On Jan. 9, Nichols came forward as “Athlete A,” who first reported to USA Gymnastics that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar in summer 2015.

“She has had a really unique year probably like no one else, and her strength showed through,” Kindler said Friday, according to the University of Oklahoma. “It was tough, and to come out on this side this year is really special.”

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