Jeremy Abbott

Jeremy Abbott ‘kind of on the fence’ about retiring

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NEW YORK — Jeremy Abbott isn’t ready to retire just yet.

The four-time U.S. champion is reconsidering a plan to walk away from competitive figure skating after the recently finished season. He cited his performance at the World Championships two weeks ago, where he finished fifth, as a motivator.

“Going through the whole week of worlds, I really felt like I could potentially compete another year,” said Abbott, smiling and wearing a colorful bow tie at a Figure Skating in Harlem event in Central Park on Monday night. “I’m kind of on the fence at the moment. I really need to take some time away from the sport and really meditate over it and mull things over inside. If I continue, what I would want to do it for and why.”

Abbott, 28, matched his best career World Championships finish in Saitama, Japan, in his fifth World Championships appearance. He was coming off a second straight disappointing Olympic showing, taking 12th in Sochi after placing ninth in Vancouver in 2010. Abbott did win a bronze medal in the Olympic team event.

“I learned so much about myself this season, as a skater, as a competitor, more than I have in my entire career,” Abbott said in between autographing pictures and skates indoors, sheltered from plodding rain. “I really felt like I gained a lot of momentum. I kind of want to put that to use.”

Abbott was in eighth place after the short program at the World Championships but had the fourth best free skate, trailing only the gold, silver and bronze medalists.

“If that was my finale, what a way to go,” Abbott said. “If not, hopefully I have more to give.”

Abbott will continue skating no matter what. If it’s not in competitions, it will be in shows such as the ongoing Stars on Ice tour. He gained perspective on his career listening to his introduction at the first show last week.

“Olympic bronze medalist, four-time national champion” preceded his name.

“Have I really been at this that long?” he said.

Abbott has won more U.S. titles than Evan Lysacek or Johnny Weir and the same number as Scott Hamilton and Brian Boitano.

“I’ve always wanted to skate,” Abbott said. “If and when I decide to retire … I want to perform. I want to be on the ice. I want to continue contributing to the sport. I feel like I still have a lot to offer.”

Mirai Nagasu talks about missing Olympics

What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

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Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.

First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).

USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.

The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.

Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.

Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.

The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.

Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.

That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.

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IOC president unsure whether esports should be considered sport

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Esports are gaining momentum in the international sports movement, but they are not close to becoming an Olympic sport.

“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday, according to insidethegames. “We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured.”

The first clear step (of many) to become an Olympic sport is for the IOC to recognize the sport’s international governing body.

Esports will be added as a medal sport to the Asian Games in 2022, and has been praised by LA 2024 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman, but it is not yet IOC recognized.

“We are watching it, we see the differences, we see the lack of organisation,” Bach said, according to the report. “But we also see the high engagement of youth in esports. Therefore, we have to carefully consider how this could be consolidated.”

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