Tim Thomas

U.S. eliminated by Czech Republic at hockey worlds (video)

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The U.S. leaves the World Hockey Championships without a medal, just as it did the Sochi Olympics.

A Czech Republic team led by NHL legend Jaromir Jagr beat the U.S. 4-3 in the quarterfinals in Minsk, Belarus, on Thursday. The U.S. scored twice in the final 1 minute, 10 seconds, but couldn’t get the equalizer after the Czechs had a three-goal second period.

The U.S. got a first-period goal from Brock Nelson, and Tyler Johnson scored both late tallies. Tomas HertlRoman CervenkaOndrej Nemec and Tomas Rolinek scored for the Czechs on U.S. goalie Tim Thomas, who made 29 saves.

The U.S. roster was completely different from the team that finished fourth at the Sochi Olympics, where it memorably beat Russia in group play thanks to T.J. Oshie‘s shootout heroics. The U.S. fell to Finland in the bronze-medal game in Sochi after beating the Finns for bronze at the 2013 World Championships.

The U.S. roster in Minsk was not nearly as star-studded as it was in Sochi with the NHL playoffs still going on. Its top skaters included Predators defenseman Seth Jones and Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader. Its only player with Olympic experience was Thomas from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Team that won silver.

Abdelkader received a game misconduct for a hit to the head Thursday (video here). The U.S. racked up 41 penalty minutes against the Czechs. The Czech Republic advanced to the semifinals, where it could be joined by Russia, Canada and Sweden.

Kevin Pearce to run as part of relay at Vermont marathon

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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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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