Mikaela Shiffrin shares her dream: five gold medals in 2018

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U.S. Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest person to ever win the slalom, but the feeling is that her Olympic debut is a sign of bigger things to come. Shiffrin seems to agree … and blurted out a rather bold dream of winning five Olympic medals in 2018.

She shared that star-caliber mixture of moxie and humility with Bob Costas and also the Associated Press in the glow of her gold from Friday.

“I don’t want to push myself too far too fast. Definitely don’t get greedy. But at the same time, I’m a dreamer,” Shiffrin said.

“Right now, I’m dreaming of the next Olympics (and) winning five gold medals, which sounds really crazy,” she said. “I’m sorry I just admitted that to you all.”

MORE: Confidence key for Shiffrin

She might be, as that sets some wild expectations for the skiing wunderkind. That’s part of the tremendous charm with the 18-year-old star, though; she seems like a natural as she puts together technically proficient runs and takes the time to wink at a nearby camera afterward.

On her flight to the Olympics, Shiffrin made a note to herself that “it’s OK to be confident here” and she’s certainly delivered. Now her new goal is simply to do what no other skier has done by sweeping all five Alpine skiing disciplines.

“When I’m done I hope that I can look back and say that I changed the sport, that I was innovative and created a new way of skiing and pushed women’s ski racing to be faster and more athletic and more exciting for people to watch,” Shiffrin said. “And really put on a show.”

She already pulled off that last part.

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

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NEW YORK – Laurie Hernandez hardly considers her 14 months away from competitive gymnastics a break.

Since earning Olympic team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, the 17-year-old won “Dancing with the Stars,” authored a book and even enrolled in ballet lessons.

But her most rewarding experience has been speaking at schools. Students have asked her seemingly every question, from when she started taking gymnastics classes (age 5) to whether she climbed trees when she was younger (yes, all the time).

Seeing how many children were inspired by her Rio performance motivated Hernandez as she prepares to return to the sport.

“I didn’t realize at the Olympics how many people were truly watching,” Hernandez said Wednesday night at the annual Women’s Sports Foundation Salute to Women in Sports. “Now I’m excited to get back into the gym.”

Hernandez recently added handstand holds, back tucks and front flips to her conditioning program, in addition to continuing to run and lift weights.

“It’s a little difficult, but it’s fine,” she said. “I’ll push it a little more after the holidays.”

She has her eye on returning to competition in 2018.

“That’s definitely the hope,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to rush anything, but I would love to compete in 2018.”

Hernandez, who said her next goal in gymnastics is to compete at the world championships for the first time and hopefully the 2020 Olympics, has not yet identified her comeback meet.

She noted that Aly Raisman took more than two years off after the London Olympics.

“I know every athlete is different,” Hernandez said. “But I wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps.”

Simone Biles, who has not competed since winning four gold medals in Rio, recently announced that she plans on returning to full-time training Nov. 1 and competition next summer.

“I look up to her, even though we are teammates,” Hernandez said. “I can’t wait to see her out there, but hopefully I’ll be out there with her soon.”

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MORE: Laurie Hernandez explains wink, nervous Olympic moments in book excerpt

Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Olympic cycling gold medalist Marty Nothstein is the latest to announce he’s running for the eastern Pennsylvania congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.

Dent, a former state senator, is a centrist Republican who has held the seat since 2005. He’s retiring after his term expires next year.

Nothstein, who won sprint silver in 1996 and gold in 2000, is the only American track cyclist to win an Olympic title at a fully attended Games.

Two Republican state representatives, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons, previously announced they’re running for Dent’s 15th District seat.

Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is also running.

Dent’s district includes Allentown and all of Lehigh County, and parts of four surrounding counties.

Republicans in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

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