Meryl Davis, Charlie White

Olympic champions hit New York talk shows (video)

Leave a comment

NEW YORK — Meryl Davis shivered. Charlie White clenched his hands.

How did it feel to be Olympic champions? Freezing cold at The Rink at Rockefeller Center on Wednesday morning.

The first U.S. Olympic ice dance gold medalists started a hectic day of appearances with their first skate on American ice since their Sochi triumph. They performed in costume to their “My Fair Lady” short dance music as flurries began to fall in 27 degrees.

They’ve skated at the famous rink before, but chills aside, it meant more this time.

“Doing it as an Olympic champion,” White said afterward in a TODAY Show green room, “it’s just a different level.”

Davis and White’s planner called for trips from the Rockefeller rink to Kathie Lee and Hoda to a Visa appearance to a Ralph Lauren store autograph signing to a Stephen Colbert interview.

They’ve managed to fit in sleep this week — “here and there,” White joked — amid going to the Closing Ceremony in Sochi on Sunday night, flying to Moscow overnight for a special skate in the Russian capital Monday and then to New York on Tuesday. They’re slated to get home to Detroit, finally, on Thursday.

“The last week, a little over a week now, has just been a whirlwind,” Davis said. “It’s an experience that we’re trying not to miss a moment of.”

It’s a different mindset than they took after winning Olympic silver four years ago.

“It was hard for us to not think ahead right away,” Davis said of 2010. “We need to do this, we need to do that to get to the next level. We’re in a different place at this point. We’re in the moment and the present as opposed to thinking ahead.”

In 2010, Davis and White competed in the World Championships one month after the Vancouver Olympics wrapped, taking their second straight silver to Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

They haven’t decided if they will compete in this year’s World Championships in Saitama, Japan, beginning March 28. They will talk that over after they get back to Michigan.

They’re already committed to the 20-city “Stars on Ice” tour starting April 4 in Fort Myers, Fla. There’s also been speculation about a “Dancing With the Stars” appearance, boosted by show mainstay Derek Hough helping choreograph Davis and White’s short dance.

“We would be so honored to be part of a show that has brought so much attention to dance and really opened up the culture in the U.S.,” White said.

The attention is on Davis and White for now. Some of their favorite words of wisdom on handling the golden life came from 1984 Olympic champion Scott Hamilton.

“His only advice was to enjoy the moment, soak it all in,” White said. “Our lives have changed forever.”

Davis and White were among the last U.S. Olympic champs to tour the Big Apple.

Alpine skiing slalom gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin made her rounds on Monday before returning to Europe for the rest of the World Cup season.

Her highlight came on “The Tonight Show,” where she played a game of “Catchphrase,” teaming with actress Reese Witherspoon against host Jimmy Fallon and Usher.

***

Ted Ligety, who won giant slalom gold, went on “The Late Show” with David Letterman on Tuesday and discussed the snow conditions in Sochi as well as his future.

Ligety said he’s all in for the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics, mentioning that he’s seven years younger than Bode Miller, who won a bronze medal in Sochi.

“As long as I’m having fun doing it, feel like I’m competitive, then I feel like I might as well do it,” Ligety said.

***

Perhaps slopestyle snowboarding gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg has all of them beaten, though. Take a look at this spot from Conan O’Brien.

The 14 best athletes at Sochi Olympics

Yul Moldauer falls, still wins P&G Champs; Olympians eye world berths

AP
Leave a comment

Yul Moldauer built such a lead that he could fall and still win the P&G Gymnastics Championships all-around. Turns out, he needed that cushion.

Moldauer, a rising University of Oklahoma junior, overcame a tumble off the high bar to win his first national title in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday.

He entered with a 1.95-point lead from the first night of competition Thursday. He ended it up one point over OU teammate Allan Bower after 12 routines over two days.

“It’s indescribable,” Moldauer, who fell on his first event Saturday, said on NBCSN. “I’m in shock.”

P&G CHAMPS: TV Schedule | Final Five Updates | Results

Moldauer, 20, continues to fulfill promise from his teen years, when he was coached in Colorado by 2008 Olympian Sasha Artemev. In 2016, he became the second man to win the NCAA all-around as a freshman. On March 4, he beat Olympic all-around silver medalist Oleg Verniaiev to win the AT&T American Cup.

This week, Moldauer had room for error in part because zero Olympians competed in the all-around.

Everyone from London and Rio has retired save Sam Mikulak and Alex Naddour, who each performed on two of six apparatuses in bids to be named to the six-man team for October’s world championships. A selection committee will make those choices Saturday night or Sunday.

Moldauer, born in Seoul and adopted, and Naddour, the Olympic pommel horse bronze medalist, appear to be locks. Naddour is a specialist, focusing on pommels and still rings.

Mikulak, who won the previous four U.S. all-around titles, was limited to high bar and pommel horse as he comes back from a torn Achilles in February.

Mikulak faceplanted off high bar Saturday. Even so, he would have the top combined high bar score from both days if not for half-point deductions for using a precautionary eight-inch mat to soften landings.

Bower and third-place all-arounder Donnell Whittenburg, a still rings and vault powerhouse, are also very much in the world team discussion.

There is no team event at this year’s world championships. Just the individual all-around and six apparatus finals.

The P&G Championships conclude Sunday with the final day of women’s competition (7 p.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

MORE: Danell Leyva on why he’s retiring

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Aly Raisman speaks out about USA Gymnastics scandal

Getty Images
1 Comment

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Aly Raisman is ready to talk about “the elephant in the room.” And the six-time Olympic medalist thinks it’s time USA Gymnastics joins in a conversation she feels is long overdue.

The 23-year-old is calling for sweeping change in the organization in the wake of dozens of allegations of sexual abuse against former national team doctor Larry Nassar, a scandal that has left one of the U.S. Olympic movement’s marquee programs scrambling and Raisman shaken.

Nassar spent nearly 30 years as an osteopath with the USA Gymnastics program and is now in prison in Michigan after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Nassar is still awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges in addition to being sued by over 125 women in civil court who claim he sexually assaulted them under the guise of treatment.

Nassar has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges and the dozens of civil suits filed in Michigan are currently in mediation.

Raisman, who was around Nassar regularly at the team’s training facility in Texas and at meets around the globe, declined to talk about whether she was treated improperly by Nassar. She did agree to speak more generally and called Nassar “a monster” and blames USA Gymnastics for failing to stop him and spending too much of the fallout attempting to “sweep it under the rug.”

“I feel like there’s a lot of articles about it, but nobody has said, ‘This is horrible, this is what we’re doing to change,’” Raisman said Saturday after she and other Final Five members were inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Raisman served as a captain for both the Final Five and the Fierce Five that won gold in London in 2012. While several alleged Nassar victims have come forward, including 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Jamie Dantzscher, Raisman is the highest profile athlete yet to publicly reprimand the organization. Raisman said she kept quiet waiting after the initial allegations surfaced last summer, waiting for USA Gymnastics to own up to its mistakes.

While it is taking steps toward creating a safer environment for its athletes, she doesn’t believe it is doing nearly enough openly enough, adding she feels USA Gymnastics is trying to get on with business as usual.

“What people don’t realize is that this doctor was a doctor for 29 years,” Raisman. “Whether or not he did it to a gymnast, they still knew him. Even if he didn’t do it to you, it’s still the trauma and the anxiety of wondering what could have happened. I think that needs to be addressed. These girls, they should be comfortable going to USA Gymnastics and saying ‘I need help, I want therapy. I need this.’

USA Gymnastics launched an independent review of its policies in the wake of the allegations against Nassar and reporting by the Indianapolis Star that highlighted chronic mishandling of abuse allegations against coaches and staff at some of its over 3,500 clubs across the country.

In June, the federation immediately adopted 70 recommendations proffered by Deborah Daniels, a former federal prosecutor who oversaw the review. The new guidelines require member gyms to go to authorities immediately, with Daniels suggesting USA Gymnastics consider withholding membership from clubs who decline to do so.

The organization also named Toby Stark, a child welfare advocate, as its director of SafeSport. Part of Stark’s mandate is educating members on rules, educational programs, reporting and adjudication services.

Daniels said repeatedly that her review wasn’t designed to adjudicate the past, something that doesn’t fly with Raisman. She pointed to the reported $1 million severance package given to former president Steve Penny after he resigned under pressure in March as proof that the organization just doesn’t get it.

“I thought, ‘Wow, why couldn’t they create a program?’” Raisman said. “A million dollars is a lot of money. They could do a lot of things to create change. They could create a program. They could even contact all the families that have come forward and say ‘Can we help your kid with therapy?’”

Lynn Raisman, Aly’s mother, said USA gymnastics needs to “get rid of the people who knew and looked the other way.”

Raisman has used her celebrity and extensive social media reach as a platform to promote positive body image and anti-bullying. She’s currently living in Needham, Mass., working on her autobiography out in November while weighing whether to take a shot at the 2020 Games. (Raisman said last September that she planned to go for Tokyo 2020 after taking a year off from training)

Either way, she wants USA Gymnastics to evolve and stressed there’s a difference between her criticism of USA Gymnastics and the sport as a whole.

The sport is fine. It’s part of the fabric of her life. It’s the organization that needs to change. And she’s clear on the message she wants it to send.

“Everyone is important,” Raisman said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the Olympic champion or you’re an 8-year-old that goes to gymnastics in Ohio, or wherever you are in the U.S. Every single kid is important and I want USA Gymnastics to do a better job with that.”

P&G CHAMPS: TV Schedule | Final Five Updates | Results

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!