Lolo Jones

Lolo Jones on USA-1 for Winterberg Bobsled World Cup

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Both Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams were chosen as push athletes for this weekend’s bobsled World Cup stop in Winterberg, Germany.

Jones, the two-time Olympic hurdler, will be in the top U.S. sled with World Cup leader Elana Meyers for the first time this season.

The No. 2 U.S. sled will feature a Jamie GreubelAja Evans combo.

Williams, the three-time Olympic sprinter, is with Jazmine Fenlator in the third American sled.

The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation has been alternating pairings this season to determine which driver and push athlete teams mesh the best. Winterberg is the fourth World Cup event.

Evans and Katie Eberling came into the season favored for two of the likely three push athlete spots at the Sochi Olympics. The U.S. Olympic Team will be chosen after a World Cup stop in Igls, Austria, that concludes Jan. 19.

Jones and Emily Azevedo were thought to be vying for the third spot, but Williams has entered the picture in her rookie season, too.

Don’t read too much into Jones pairing with Meyers for Sunday, but it’s certainly more promising for her Olympic selection chances than if she was sitting out. Ditto for all of the push athletes.

On the men’s side, the next three World Cup events before the U.S. Olympic Team is named will be a proving ground for reigning Olympic four-man champion Steven Holcomb.

Holcomb dominated the North American World Cup circuit, winning all seven races over two- and four-man competition. He can cement his status as Olympic gold-medal favorite with more podium finishes in Europe, where he hasn’t won a World Cup or World Championships race in nearly four years.

Holcomb begins with a two-man competition on Friday. Universal Sports will provide coverage all weekend.

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Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan remembers slain Colorado officer, a childhood friend

Nancy Kerrigan
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan remembers the Colorado police officer who was killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as loyal, caring and a true friend.

She told media outlets that Garrett Swasey was “one of my best friends” as they grew up together practicing figure skating in Melrose, Massachusetts. Before he became a police officer, Swasey was a junior national couples ice dancing champion.

An emotional Kerrigan says she wasn’t surprised he took a career path where he helped others first. She says he always had fun and did everything with a smile.

Swasey’s father has told the Boston Globe that his son moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skating and became an officer six years ago.

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Kobe Bryant announces retirement but remains in contention for Rio team

Kobe Bryant
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Veteran basketball player and 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire from professional basketball after the end of this season. However, ESPN reported that the chairman of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, said that Bryant “remains in contention for Team USA spot for Rio 2016.”

In the form of a poem titled “Dear Basketball” on the Player’s Tribune, Bryant wrote:

This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

Bryant played on the U.S. national team from 2007 to 2012. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics he scored 20 points in the gold medal game to win gold over Spain. He helped the U.S. men to gold again in 2012, then said that it would be his last Olympics.

But he’s changed his tune in recent months. Bryant told the Associated Press in November that he’d like a shot at another Olympics.

“I would like to play,” Bryant said. “I think it’d be awesome. A beautiful experience.”

If he were selected and won again, Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony would become the first U.S. male basketball players to win three gold Olympic medals.

In the AP interview Bryant spoke glowingly of his Olympic teammates. “It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” he said. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”

He also said he believes he’d be an asset to the team, stating, “I feel like I can add value from a leadership perspective and a defensive perspective. I can still move extremely well defensively.”

Bryant’s age will likely be a concern, as his 38th birthday is just two days after the gold-medal game on August 21st, 2016.

Colangelo said that they will be looking at “all of our players” this season, and Bryant’s retirement announcement “doesn’t have any bearing” on whether he’d be selected for the 2016 Olympic team.

The 12 player team will be selected in June 2016.

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