Lolo Jones

Lolo Jones sheds weight, returns to track at Drake Relays

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Lolo Jones said she’s lost more than 20 pounds in transitioning from bobsled back to track and field on the eve of her first race of the season at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The original was to lose 30 plus pounds,” Jones said. “I lost 10 right away. Like within a few weeks, like 10 pounds melted off really quickly. The next 10 were a little bit harder, but just with a stricter diet I was able to get that. The last five to seven have really been tough.”

Jones, 31, is scheduled to compete in a shuttle hurdle relay Friday night at 8, two months after placing 11th in bobsled at the Sochi Olympics.

Jones said she’s at 142 pounds and would like to get to 135 by the U.S. Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif., beginning June 25. Her listed weight on her Sochi 2014 bio page was 161 pounds.

“I’ve been non-stop for the last two years,” she said. “Of all the athletes, track and bobsled, I have not taken really a week off. I really needed to kind of enjoy a chocolate cake every now and then and not be stressed that my career would be over.”

Jones re-enters a crowded U.S. field in the 100m hurdles this season, including reigning world outdoor champion Brianna Rollins, 22, and world indoor champion Nia Ali, 25.

Jones said her first workouts for track after Sochi made it feel like she “hadn’t hurdled in years,” according to the Des Moines Register.

“The first time I went over hurdles, my form was pretty much equivalent to how I ran in high school,” she said, according to the newspaper. “I felt awkward, and I was carrying extra weight, so when I was coming off the hurdles the first day my ankles were killing me just because there was too much weight I was carrying and I was smashing my legs into the track. I was very off balance, so getting that back into coordination was pretty tough.”

Jones also made a bit of news with this tweet Thursday, referencing New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda.

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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Maggie Nichols wins NCAA all-around title with perfect 10

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Even after a perfect 10 in the last rotation, Maggie Nichols didn’t know that she had won the NCAA all-around title. Her coach at Oklahoma, K.J. Kindler, had to tell her.

The reaction?

“Excitement,” Nichols said Friday night on ESPNU. “I just wanted to go out there and feel out the equipment, staying calm and doing my routines that I have been doing in training.”

Nichols, a 2015 World team champion who retired from elite gymnastics after missing the 2016 Olympic team (set back by a torn meniscus that year), became the first Sooner to win the NCAA all-around in 30 years.

The sophomore tallied 39.8125 points and topped Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner of Utah by .0875 for the title in St. Louis. It came one year after Nichols was 29th in the all-around with a balance beam fall.

Oklahoma and Utah will be joined in Saturday night’s Super Six team finals by UCLA, LSU, Florida and Nebraska. The Sooners eye their third straight national title.

Nichols capped her night with one of two perfect scores between the two semifinal sessions, matching 2012 Olympic alternate Elizabeth Price‘s 10 on uneven bars. It gave Nichols a second career gym slam, a perfect score on every apparatus for the season.

On Jan. 9, Nichols came forward as “Athlete A,” who first reported to USA Gymnastics that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar in summer 2015.

“She has had a really unique year probably like no one else, and her strength showed through,” Kindler said Friday, according to the University of Oklahoma. “It was tough, and to come out on this side this year is really special.”

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