Maggie Voisin

Ski halfpipe, slopestyle teams include youngest U.S. Winter Olympian since 1972

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The youngest U.S. Olympians in recent history include gold medalists Michael PhelpsKatie Ledecky and Tara Lipinski, who were all 15 years old for their Olympic debuts.

Maggie Voisin will beat them by a matter of days in Sochi.

Voisin, who turned 15 on Dec. 14, was one of six additional freestyle skiing athletes nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team on Tuesday. The three slopestyle skiers, two halfpipe skiers and one ski cross racer join the athletes who already clinched berths via objective criteria.

Here’s the full list of U.S. Olympians in ski halfpipe, ski slopestyle and ski cross:

Ski Halfpipe
Aaron Blunck
Lyman Currier
Torin Yater-Wallace — new nomination
David Wise
Maddie Bowman
Annalisa Drew — new nomination
Brita Sigourney
Angeli VanLaanen

Yater-Wallace was named after not competing in any of the five Olympic selection events. He broke two ribs in a practice crash in Breckenridge, Colo., on Dec. 14, a few weeks after suffering a collapsed lung.

Yater-Wallace likely earned his spot as the reigning world and Winter X Games silver medalist. If healthy, he’ll be a gold-medal contender with Wise, who is the reigning world and Winter X Games gold medalist.

Ski Slopestyle
Bobby Brown
Joss Christensen — new nomination
Nick Goepper
Gus Kenworthy
Keri Herman
Julia Krass — new nomination
Devin Logan
Maggie Voisin — new nomination

Christensen was named after winning the final Olympic selection event. He was chosen to the team over the last two world champions, Tom Wallisch and Alex Schlopy.

Voisin is the youngest U.S. Winter Olympian since 1972, when two 14-year-old speed skaters competed — Kay Lunda and Connie Carpenter-Phinney. She’s the youngest U.S. Winter or Summer Olympian since 1996, overtaking Phelps, who was 15 years and two months old in 2000.

Ski Cross
John Teller — new nomination

Teller, 30, will hope to win the first U.S. medal in ski cross, which joined the Olympic program in 2010. He is the reigning world bronze medalist and just missed the 2010 Olympic Team, which included fellow converted Alpine skiers Daron Rahlves and Casey Puckett, who were eliminated before the quarterfinals.

Teller has also been an auto mechanic and high school football coach. The U.S. did not send any women to the 2010 Olympics in ski cross and did not qualify any for Sochi, either.

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Aly Raisman announces book details

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Aly Raisman will become the fourth member of the Final Five to publish a book. It’s titled “Fierce” and is out Nov. 14.

The title conjures the name of Raisman’s first Olympic team — the Fierce Five in 2012 — and will be about her path to Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016.

She follows teammates Gabby DouglasSimone Biles and Laurie Hernandez in putting out books.

None of the Final Five (or the Fierce Five) are expected to compete at the P&G Championships in August or the world championships in October.

Raisman said last September that she planned to take a year off and then return to training with an eye on the 2020 Tokyo Games at age 26. The last woman to make three U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams was Dominique Dawes in 2000.

A synopsis of “Fierce” from bookselling websites:

Discover Aly Raisman’s inspiring story of dedication, perseverance, and learning to think positive even in the toughest times on her path to gold medal success in two Olympic Games–and beyond.

Aly Raisman first stepped onto a gymnastics mat as a toddler in a “mommy & me” gymnastics class. No one could have predicted then that sixteen years later, she’d be standing on an Olympic podium, having achieved her dreams.

But it wasn’t an easy road to success. Aly faced obstacle after obstacle, including naysayers who claimed that she didn’t have the talent to compete at an elite level and classmates who shamed Aly for her athletic body. Through it all, Aly surrounded herself with supportive family, friends, and teammates and found the inner strength to believe in herself and prove her doubters wrong. In her own words, Aly shows what it takes to be a champion on and off the floor, and takes readers on a behind-the-scenes journey before, during, and after her remarkable achievements in two Olympic Games–through her highest highs, lowest lows, and all the moments in between.

Honest and heartfelt, frank and funny, Aly’s story is enhanced with never-before-published photos, excerpts from the personal journals she’s kept since childhood that chronicle memorable moments with her teammates, and hard-won advice for readers striving to rise above challenges, learn to love themselves, and make their own dreams come true.

MORE: Hernandez sets return to gymnastics training

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Katie Ledecky reacts to Olympics adding 1500m freestyle

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Katie Ledecky is focused on qualifying for the world championships this week, but the sport’s biggest recent story, regarding the 2020 Olympic program, greatly impacts the five-time Olympic champion.

The IOC added three swimming events for the Tokyo Games — a mixed-gender 4x100m freestyle relay, the men’s 800m freestyle and the women’s 1500m freestyle — on June 9.

Ledecky holds the world record in the 1500m free — no other woman has swum within 13 seconds of it — and captured the last two world titles.

Many believed the women’s 1500m free should have been on the Olympic program years ago, since the men have been contesting the event at the Games since 1908.

The women have swum the 800m freestyle at the Olympics (which the men do not) since 1968. Of course, Ledecky won the last two Olympic golds in that event.

Last year, Ledecky advocated for adding the men’s 800m free and women’s 1500m free to the Olympics. She also stressed not wanting to drop the women’s 800m free for the women’s 1500m free.

Now, she can swim both in Tokyo, granted she wants to and finishes top two in those events at the Olympic Trials. Both are to be determined.

“Adding the 1500m was a long time coming,” Ledecky said Monday in Indianapolis, ahead of the USA Swimming National Championships, part of the TeamUSA Summer Champions Series, presented by Comcast. “It’s good that there’s parity in the men’s and women’s distance events now.”

MORE: USA Swimming Nationals broadcast schedule

In a press conference, Ledecky spoke for nearly two minutes on the subject.

She hasn’t set any goals for the 2020 Olympics yet. Nor did she commit to wanting to swim the 1500m in Tokyo, where she could try to sweep the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees, like she did at the 2015 Worlds.

“Obviously, the 1500m will have to be in the conversation now,” Ledecky said. “It’s good that the sport isn’t static. I mean, the world isn’t static. If you look at the history of swimming, events have been added over time. Women had a lot fewer races back in the day. I’ve met some female swimmers who swam in the ’60s and didn’t have the opportunities that we had in terms of the events. I think there was only a 100m and 400m free at one point [before 1968]. And then they added the 200m. Then they added the 50m in 1988, I think. So, over time, more events have been added. I think the 1500m fits right in there this year. It’s a good opportunity for swimmers moving forward. Hopefully, it will encourage some young kids to try out some distance swimming.”

Ledecky actually might not swim the 1500m free at nationals this week, where she could qualify for the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees at worlds in Budapest next month. And earn a place on the 4x100m free relay.

She will start off with a 100m and 800m free double on Tuesday in Indianapolis.

The 1500m is on the last day of the meet Saturday, but Ledecky will earn a 1500m place on the worlds team if she wins the 800m.

The 100m free is the only event on her program this year that she did not swim at this meet four years ago.

Ledecky ranked No. 5 in the U.S. the last two years in the event, making it possible that she could qualify to swim it individually at worlds by finishing top two on Tuesday.

But she made no mention of that on Monday.

“I’m swimming the 100m because I like to contribute to that relay,” she said. “As long as I’m pushing the other girls, then we can get some good times up there. Hopefully whoever’s on that relay can compete for a top medal.”

MORE: Lilly King to be less vocal on Yuliya Efimova topic this summer

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