With the final day of women’s singles’ luge set to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET (CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE), Erin Hamlin is in position to be the one that finally ends a massive Olympic drought for American luge.
Hamlin, the 2009 world champion, sits third behind Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger and defending Olympic champion Tatjana Huefner after the first two runs yesterday at the Sanki Sliding Center.
If Hamlin can stay on the podium through the last two runs this morning at Sanki, she’ll claim the first-ever singles’ luge medal for the U.S. in the Olympics.
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The U.S. has earned four previous Olympic medals in luge, but all of them were in doubles – and the last two of those came back at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002 (Brian Martin/Mark Grimmette, silver; Chris Thorpe/Clay Ives, bronze).
Hamlin enters today holding third place by a margin of .216 of a second over fourth-place Natalja Khoreva of Russia. One of her teammates, Kate Hansen, is currently rounding out the Top 10 in 10th spot at 1.56 seconds behind leader Geisenberger.
“I’m definitely happy with it [Runs 1 and 2],” Hamlin said in a USA Luge release yesterday. “I had mistakes in both runs that I can correct. I’m having fun and happy with the consistency, so hopefully tomorrow I can find that little extra speed.”
You can see if Hamlin can make history today at 9:30 a.m. ET on NBCOlympics.com.
David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.
“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”
Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.
It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.
Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.
She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.
“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”
Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.
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Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.
Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.
He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.
“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”
Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.
“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.
“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”
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