One more comeback for retiring Jeremy Abbott

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SOCHI, Russia – His hip badly bruised from a cringe-worthy fall on Thursday night, Jeremy Abbott’s pride was far from far injured. In fact, the to-be-retired 28-year-old went out and skated a personal-best free skate to finish his second of two Olympic appearances.

“Of course I would have wanted an Olympic title, a world title,” Abbott said after his long program. “But, this is my story. And I’m proud of it.”

The American, long known to be a hot-and-cold performer on international ice, wasn’t able to say if he’d skate at the World Championships next month in Japan, leaving it a mystery as to if Sochi was the last place he’d skate competitively.

“I’m so happy to have had this experience and finish the competition,” Abbott said. “I really showed courage under pressure. That is what the Olympics are all about and they’ve inspired me once again. The crowd really rallied around me and I appreciated that. I had to scale back my program because of pain.”

VIDEO: Full recap of men’s free skate

What Abbott didn’t scale back was his emotion and expressions on the ice, skating with a kind of heart that one can only have after a decade of competition. He finishes with four U.S. national titles, two Olympic appearances and eight Grand Prix medals on the international circuit.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my career; it’s been a roller coaster,” said Abbott, who fought back tears as he spoke. “But my favorite memories are when I’ve come back from the bottom.”

That’s what Abbott had to do twice in Sochi, having skated to a low 65.65 in the team event short program and then suffering a horrific crash on his opening jump in the individual event, which caused him to alter his jumping patterns in the free skate.

“I had to change my program because of bruising from my hip to my ribs,” Abbott said, explaining his muscled had seized up in that part of his body, as well. “We took out all the loops from my program, they were just too painful.”

VIDEO: Jeremy Abbott’s “beautiful” Olympic swan song

Abbott, as he deserves to do, will take the remainder of his time in Sochi to soak up the Olympics.

“I’m going to revel in the Olympic moment,” the Colorado native said. “I wouldn’t change what I’ve done for anything. I can own it forever. I’m just so grateful to have this opportunity.”

Equestrian horses begin boarding airplanes for Rio Olympics

Olympic horse travel
FEI
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The first group of horses set to compete in the Rio Olympic equestrian events boarded a Boeing 777-F and departed from London’s Stansted Airport on Friday.

In all, 34 horses from 10 nations were part of the first of nine shipments delivering more than 200 horses to Rio. That’s nearly 20 tons of horses on Friday’s shipment alone.

Horses will also depart from Liege, Belgium, and Miami ahead of the Olympic competition.

More information on horse travel to Rio is available here from the International Equestrian Federation.

MORE: Complete U.S. Olympic team roster

Olympic horse travel

Entire Russian weightlifting team banned from Olympics

Weightlifting
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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The International Weightlifting Federation has banned the Russian federation and all its weightlifters from the Rio Olympics.

The IWF said Friday the multiple cases of doping by Russian weightlifters have “seriously damaged” the integrity of the sport. The eight Russian Olympic spots have been offered to other countries.

The IWF said the doping results produced by Russian weightlifters are “extremely shocking and disappointing.”

Russia, China, North Korea and Kazakhstan are the world’s top four weightlifting nations.

MORE: U.S. Olympic weightlifting team complete