Dan O'Brien, Dave Johnson

Dan O’Brien, Dave Johnson reunite for RBC Decathlon

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Dan & Dave are back.

Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson, who were the focus of a Reebok campaign before the 1992 Olympics (which O’Brien failed to qualify for), will compete against each other for the first time in more than a decade on Sunday.

They’re two special entrants out of 150 in the RBC Decathlon, an annual New York event that crowns Wall Street’s best athletes that raises money to support pediatric cancer treatment and research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

It’s not an Olympic-style decathlon. Here are the events:

400m run
Football throw
Pull-ups
40-yard dash
Dips
500m stationary row
Vertical jump
20-yard shuttle (5-10-5 drill)
175-pound bench press
800m run

O’Brien, who recovered from no-heighting in the 1992 Olympic Trials pole vault to win the 1996 Olympic decathlon, finished 46th at last year’s event. Former St. Louis Rams safety Mark Rubin, who now works at Barclays, won for the second straight year.

Organizers and O’Brien brainstormed asking other Olympic champions to join for 2014, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Carl Lewis.

“But it just made sense to bring Dave Johnson on board and kind of reignite the rivalry,” O’Brien said.

Johnson and O’Brien believe they haven’t competed against each other since the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials, where Johnson finished sixth and O’Brien won. They still see each other at least once a year.

Both have coached recently — O’Brien at Arizona State, Johnson at Oregon State — and agree that O’Brien, who also does work for NBC, is the favorite in Sunday’s reunion. Johnson, 51, says O’Brien, 47, is in better shape now.

“[O’Brien] knows that back in the day there’s no way he’d beat me at something like this,” said Johnson, the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist who is now a director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “This was the kind of stuff I was really good at. He was more of a sprinter and speed guy. There’s a lot of weight-type events.”

Neither is particularly looking forward to the final event, the 800m. The 1500m finale in the Olympic decathlon is always grueling for the world’s best athletes.

“What you’re going to see here is two guys pushing 60 years old competing against guys half our age,” O’Brien said. “I think you’ll see us both jogging in the half mile.”

Justin Gatlin runs fastest 100m of 2014 in Ostrava

U.S. figure skating could have its best world team since 2006

Nathan Chen performs during the men's free skate competition at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP
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KANSAS CITY — U.S. figure skating has a shot at medals in three of four disciplines at the world championships in Helsinki in two months, which hasn’t happened in 11 years.

Before this year, the U.S. men and U.S. women hadn’t boasted simultaneous medal contenders in a decade. Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek spent the 2010 Olympic cycle in the world elite, while the U.S. women faded. After they stopped competing, Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold moved into the women’s medal field while the U.S. searched for a new leading man.

He’s arrived. Nathan Chen confirmed he is one of the world’s best male skaters by landing a record seven quadruple jumps between two programs at Sprint Center this past week.

The 17-year-old already made the podium in an event that featured the world’s best, earning silver at the Grand Prix Final in December. Chen struggled with his short-program jumps at the Grand Prix Final and attempted one fewer quad overall yet still outscored everybody but Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu.

Of all of the U.S. medal hopes at worlds, Chen may face the stiffest trio of challengers. Not only is there Hanyu, but also two-time reigning world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain, plus Japan’s Shoma Uno, all of whom rank higher than Chen in best total scores in international competition this season.

MORE: Chen believes Olympic gold is possible after U.S. title

Wagner, who shares a coach with Chen, did not have her best nationals. She finished second to surprise winner Karen Chen (no relation to Nathan), who has yet to factor internationally.

But Wagner said before and after the U.S. Championships that her focus was to peak for the world championships. The goal for nationals was to make the world team, which required not winning but finishing in the top three. Mission accomplished.

The concern with Wagner is that she hasn’t produced a world medal-caliber result yet this season. Her best score from the fall ranks her sixth among women going to worlds. But Wagner has shown in the last few seasons that she can pull it together for major events. There’s her 2016 World Championships silver medal, plus her three straight Grand Prix Final medals from 2012-14.

At worlds, Wagner will have to deal with a Russian trio capable of sweeping the podium, three strong Japanese skaters, plus the revelation of this season, Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond.

VIDEO: Wagner passed Puffs in emotional press conference moment

The U.S.’ strongest discipline continues to be ice dance. Maia and Alex Shibutani and Madison Chock and Evan Bates finished second and third at the 2016 World Championships. They went one-two at the U.S. Championships this past week.

But two ice dance medals don’t appear to be in the cards in Helsinki. That’s because Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who earned gold and silver at the last two Olympics, came back this season after a two-year break.

Virtue and Moir broke international scoring records in the fall, sweeping their four starts. The two-time reigning world champions, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, also beat the U.S. couples at the Grand Prix Final.

The Shibutani siblings and Chock and Bates have never finished ahead of Virtue and Moir in competition. Neither has bettered the French since the December 2014 Grand Prix Final, either.

But all it takes is one dance medal, plus Chen and Wagner at their best in Helsinki, and the U.S. could go into the Olympic year in its best place since 2006.

MORE: Gracie Gold comments on split from coach Frank Carroll

Laurie Hernandez discusses life after Rio, new book on TODAY (video)

Laurie Hernandez
TODAY
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Laurie Hernandez‘s book, “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond,” is out Tuesday, and the Olympic champion gymnast stopped by TODAY on Monday to discuss its contents and life post-Rio.

An excerpt on Hernandez’s experience in Rio and the story of her floor-exercise wink to judges, is here.

On TODAY, Hernandez discussed another interesting anecdote from the book about tissues.

“Before Olympic Trials, we went out to eat, and I had a little breakdown because practice was really rough, and my routines weren’t coming the way I wanted them to,” she said. “This poor waitress kept bringing me over piles of tissues. … We were leaving, and my sister [Jelysa] told my dad, I’m going to save these tissues. I’m going to give them to her when she makes the team. I’m thinking to myself, you guys are crazy, this is not going to happen.”

Hernandez went on to finish second to Simone Biles at the Olympic Trials and make the five-woman Olympic team as the first U.S. female Olympian born in the 2000s.

The family celebrated the achievement, where Jelysa handed the tissues to Hernandez in a bag.

“Even when you fell, you couldn’t believe in yourself, we were there for you,” Jelysa told her.

“So it was a really defining moment,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez is away from gymnastics while promoting her book and touring with “Dancing with the Stars,” but she is expected to return to the sport at some point.

MORE: Hernandez explains 2017 goals: First date, driver’s license, Law & Order