Olympian Bracket

The ultimate Olympic NCAA Tournament bracket

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Here’s a little bit of Olympian March Madness for you.

All 68 NCAA Tournament schools can say they’ve had an Olympian student. Some, such as Stanford and Florida, have had much more than others, such as Stephen F. Austin and Delaware.

Here’s how the bracket would look if each school was represented by its best Olympian:

(Click to enlarge image)

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Preference was given to individual sports athletes in most cases to keep from the bracket being dominated by basketball and baseball players.

Tiring research led to find at least two schools with one Olympian — Stephen F. Austin had Kylie Louw, a 2012 South African soccer player, and Delaware had Kimmie Meissner, a 2006 U.S. figure skater. It’s very possible that, in the 118 years of modern Games, other Olympians attended those institutions that we simply missed.

Creighton’s Olympian, Scott Servais, was a baseball player at Seoul 1988 when it was a demonstration sport.

There’s also the debate over Michael Phelps, who attended classes but did not pursue a degree from Michigan while his coach, Bob Bowman, worked there. He also never competed for the school, having already turned pro. Other athletes were chosen with similar circumstances.

Here were some of the tough choices:

Florida — Ryan Lochte over fellow swimmer Dara Torres.
Arizona — Amanda Beard over fellow swimmer Amy Van Dyken.
Duke — Nancy Hogshead over Japanese equestrian rider Hiroshi Hoketsu, 72, who competed in the 1964, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Michigan State — Ryan Miller over Magic Johnson.
Cincinnati — Oscar Robertson over 2008 Olympic 110m hurdles silver medalist David Payne.
North Carolina — Michael Jordan over soccer star Mia Hamm and hurdler Allen Johnson.
Oregon — Ashton Eaton over immensely popular 1970s distance runner Steve Prefontaine, who finished fourth in his only Olympic race.
Nebraska — Rulon Gardner over fellow wrestler Jordan Burroughs.
Eric Heiden — He went to Wisconsin and Stanford, but was slotted as a Badger to keep two-time Olympic decathlon champion Bob Mathias in for the Cardinal.

Here’s the complete list of Olympians, region by region:

SOUTH
1. Florida — Ryan Lochte, Swimming
2. Kansas — Al Oerter, Track and Field
3. Syracuse — Meyer Prinstein, Track and Field
4. UCLA — Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Track and Field
5. Virginia Commonwealth — Yann Bonato, Basketball
6. Ohio State — Jesse Owens, Track and Field
7. New Mexico — Luc Longley, Basketball
8. Colorado — Bill Toomey, Track and Field
9. Pittsburgh — Roger Kingdom, Track and Field
10. Stanford — Bob Mathias, Track and Field
11. Dayton — Mike Sylvester, Basketball
12. Stephen F. Austin — Kylie Louw, Soccer
13. Tulsa — Todd Hays, Bobsled
14. Western Michigan — Bill Porter, Track and Field
15. Eastern Kentucky — Jackie Humphrey, Track and Field
16. Albany — Shawn Sheldon, Wrestling
16. Mount Saint Mary’s — Peter Rono, Track and Field

WEST
1. Arizona — Amanda Beard, Swimming
2. Wisconsin — Eric Heiden, Speed Skating
3. Creighton — Scott Servais, Baseball
4. San Diego State — Chris Marlowe, Volleyball
5. Oklahoma — Bart Conner, Gymnastics
6. Baylor — Michael Johnson, Track and Field
7. Oregon — Ashton Eaton, Track and Field
8. Gonzaga — John Stockton, Basketball
9. Oklahoma State — John Smith, Wrestling
10. Brigham Young — Frankie Fredericks, Track and Field
11. Nebraska — Rulon Gardner, Wrestling
12. North Dakota State — Amanda Smock, Track and Field
13. New Mexico State — Chito Reyes, Basketball
14. Louisiana-Lafayette — Hollis Conway, Track and Field
15. American — Sergio Lopez Miro, Swimming
16. Weber State — Bill Schuffenhauer, Bobsled

EAST
1. Virginia — Dawn Staley, Basketball
2. Villanova — Don Bragg, Track and Field
3. Iowa State — Dan Gable, Wrestling
4. Michigan State — Ryan Miller, Hockey
5. Cincinnati — Oscar Robertson, Basketball
6. North Carolina — Michael Jordan, Basketball
7. Connecticut — Diana Taurasi, Basketball
8. Memphis — Penny Hardaway, Basketball
9. George Washington — Elana Meyers, Bobsled
10. St. Joseph’s — Mike Teti, Rowing
11. Providence — Cammi Granato, Hockey
12. Harvard — Dick Button, Figure Skating
13. Delaware — Kimmie Meissner, Figure Skating
14. North Carolina Central — Lee Calhoun, Track and Field
15. Wisconsin-Milwaukee — Mitchell Whitmore, Speed Skating
16. Coastal Carolina — Amber Campbell, Track and Field

MIDWEST
1. Wichita State — Braden Looper, Baseball
2. Michigan — Michael Phelps, Swimming
3. Duke — Nancy Hogshead, Swimming
4. Louisville — Angel McCoughtry, Basketball
5. St. Louis — Dick Boushka, Basketball
6. Massachusetts — Briana Scurry, Soccer
7. Texas — Mary Lou Retton, Texas
8. Kentucky — Alex Groza, Basketball
9. Kansas State — Thane Baker, Track and Field
10. Arizona State — Amanda Borden, Gymnastics
11. Iowa — Tom Brands, Wrestling
11. Tennessee — Justin Gatlin, Track and Field
12. North Carolina State — Joan Benoit, Track and Field
12. Xavier — Jason Parker, Shooting
13. Manhattan — Lindy Remigino, Track and Field
14. Mercer — Cindy Brogdon, Basketball
15. Wofford — Mike Lenzly, Basketball
16. Cal Poly — Stephanie Brown Trafton, Track and Field
16. Texas Southern — Jim Hines, Track and Field

Socal media statistics from Sochi 2014

Karen Chen breaks U.S. Champs scoring record; Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold trail

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KANSAS CITY — A skater broke the U.S. Championships women’s short program scoring record Thursday night, but it wasn’t Ashley Wagner or Gracie Gold.

Karen Chen, a 17-year-old former junior star who struggled the last two years, tallied 72.82 points at the Sprint Center to lead going into Saturday’s free skate (8 p.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Mirai Nagasu, a 2010 Olympian, is second, .87 of a point behind.

That leaves Wagner and Gold, who combined to win the last five U.S. titles, in third and fifth, respectively.

This is concerning for Wagner (1.88 behind Chen) and Gold (7.97 behind) given U.S. Figure Skating can send three women to worlds in two months. That selection will be made this weekend, primarily — but not totally — based off U.S. Championships results.

Tessa Hong is in fourth place, but at 14 years old is too young for senior worlds.

Full results are here.

Though Wagner and Gold are usually higher placed, the biggest surprise was Chen.

“My body’s still trembling right now,” she said, two hours after her performance.

Chen skated a clean program Thursday, rare for her in the last couple of seasons. Chen burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old two years ago, finishing third at nationals behind Wagner and Gold.

She was too young to be selected for the 2015 Worlds team. Little has been heard from Chen since.

She dropped to eighth at the 2016 U.S. Championships and came into Kansas City as the seventh-ranked U.S. woman this season. Struggling to find comfortable boots — a common skater problem — has plagued her. She went through 14 pairs in a four-month stretch.

“Everyone has doubts, and I certainly do as well,” said Chen, who choreographed her short program. “But I just kept pushing and telling myself that I’m gaining more experience, I’m learning about everything in the process and I’m just going to keep getting better.”

Wagner bounced back from her last outing — her worst Grand Prix finish in 25 career starts — with a decent program. She needed to save a double Axel near the end of her short. The 2016 World silver medalist was the pre-event favorite.

“People do not understand how difficult of a position I am in,” said Wagner, a 25-year-old bidding to become the oldest U.S. women’s champion in 90 years. “It might seem like I’m on top of the world, or second from being top of the world, but this is a very tough position to be in. It’s mentally been weighing on my shoulders all season. To be able to come out and show people I am a fighter, I’m really proud of that.”

Gold needed to show a fighting spirit given her well-publicized disaster of a fall season. And she did. Her only miss in the short program was doubling a planned triple flip.

“I can feel a huge improvement as a skater. I think everyone can see it,” Gold said. “I have made comebacks before. This doesn’t feel like a major comeback in some ways, because I felt pretty solid. … A long program is worth a lot of points, and I can certainly deliver some good long programs. I kind of feel like I’m due for a good one.”

If Gold doesn’t improve in the free skate, she could be left off the worlds team for the first time in her senior career. However, Gold believes her strong credentials in recent seasons merit consideration.

“We’ve seen different controversies where people aren’t on the [nationals] podium, and they’re still selected for events,” Gold said. “Michelle Kwan has not gone to nationals and been selected for an Olympic team [in 2006]. I believe that I deserve to be on the world team, but I’m not on the selection committee. Of course, every athlete feels like they should be on the world team.”

Earlier Thursday, the pairs short program produced surprise leaders.

The U.S. Championships continue Friday with the short dance and men’s short program. A full broadcast schedule is here.

MORE: U.S. Figure Skating boss wants Russia out of PyeongChang

Women’s Short Program
1. Karen Chen — 72.82
2. Mirai Nagasu — 71.95
3. Ashley Wagner — 70.94
4. Tessa Hong — 65.02
5. Gracie Gold — 64.85

 

Gwen Jorgensen pregnant, to sit out 2017 triathlon season

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: USA's Gwen Jorgensen followed by Switzerland's Nicola Spirig Hug (L) compete in the running portion of the women's triathlon at Fort Copacabana during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 20, 2016.(Photo by Jeff Pachoud-Pool/Getty Images)
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Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen is pregnant and will not compete this year.

“Just kind of take this year a little bit easier,” Jorgensen said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.

The baby is due Aug. 3, according to Jorgensen’s social media.

Jorgensen, 30, became the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion in Rio after going in as the heavy favorite. She has said for months that she planned to take time off to have a baby before returning to defend her Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

Swiss Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016 silver medalist, is reportedly expecting a child in May.

In Jorgensen and Spirig’s absences, the top triathletes going into the season are defending world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, U.S. Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True and Britons Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.

Jorgensen’s last competition was the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, when she finished 14th in her first running race longer than 10 miles.

The World Triathlon Series kicks off in Abu Dhabi the first weekend of March.

MORE: Triathlon federation boss wants Olympic races shortened