2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

Brazil eyes 27 to 30 medals at Rio Olympics

Leave a comment

A Brazilian Olympic Committee official set a target of 27 to 30 medals for the host nation at the 2016 Olympics, after Brazil won 17 at the 2012 Olympics, according to The Associated Press.

Marcus Vinicius, executive director of sport for the Brazilian Olympic Committee, also said Brazil is spending about $600 million on training athletes from 2012 to 2016 after spending about $350 million in the previous four-year cycle, the AP reported.

Vinicius’ medal target represents a 59 to 76 percent increase over its London total, which were the most medals Brazil had ever won at a single Games. Brazil has won at least 10 medals at the last five Summer Olympics and never won more than eight before that.

Great Britain won 47 medals in 2008 and then 65 when it hosted in London in 2012, a 38 percent increase. China won 63 medals in 2004 and 100 when it hosted in Beijing in 2008, a 59 percent increase.

In the Winter Olympics, Russia won 15 medals in 2010 and then 33 when it hosted in Sochi in 2014, a 120 percent increase.

Brazil, traditionally strong in volleyball, sailing and judo, is likely to win the fewest medals of a Summer Olympic host nation since Greece won 16 at Athens 2004.

London Olympic cauldron plagiarism dispute settled

Simone Biles welcomed home with cheerleaders, band, police escort (video)

Simone Biles
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The celebration began the moment Simone Biles walked into Bush Airport in Houston on Wednesday.

Biles, after winning four gold medals at the Rio Olympics, arrived in her home state of Texas to the sounds of a band, sights of Houston Texans cheerleaders and much more.

Mayor Sylvester Turner declared Wednesday to be “Simone Biles Day” in Houston, handing the gymnast a paper proclamation.

“Hi guys, I’m Simone Biles, and I can’t thank everyone [enough] in all of Houston for coming out to see me today and to welcome me from Rio,” she said, laughing, on a podium at the airport. “I don’t know what else to say, I’m nervous, and I love you guys.”

Later, Biles was given a parade in her hometown of Spring, a Houston suburb, with a police escort.

Biles and the Final Five’s first stop on the way home from Rio was New York, where they went on a media tour earlier this week. They reached the top of the Empire State Building, visited Jimmy Fallon and saw “Hamilton.”

The Final Five will reunite for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities, beginning Sept. 15.

MORE: Home videos of Simone Biles doing gymnastics

Gwen Jorgensen the latest Olympic triathlon star to move up to marathon

Gwen Jorgensen
Getty Images
Leave a comment

When Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen lines up for her first 26.2-mile race at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, it will be hard to judge her performance.

Perhaps the best measure will be her time versus those of previous Olympic triathlon medalists in their marathon debuts.

Jorgensen is recognized as the greatest female runner among top-level female triathletes, perhaps of all time, with an ability to make up deficits of more than one minute on the 10km run after swimming 1,500 meters and biking 40 kilometers.

Swiss Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic triathlon gold medalist, made her marathon debut in 2014 in 2:42:53. Sprig, though, had more long-distance racing experience than Jorgensen, including a half marathon.

Jorgensen, 30 and a former University of Wisconsin distance runner and swimmer, has never tackled more than 10 miles in training, according to The New York Times.

“When you ask athletes what they want to do after they win gold or the Super Bowl, they say they want to go to the happiest place on earth,” Jorgensen said, according to the newspaper. “Running is my happiest place. It’s my Disneyland.”

Portugal’s Vanessa Fernandes shared triathlon’s longest top-level international winning streak before Jorgensen strung together 13 wins in a row.

Fernandes, the 2008 Olympic triathlon silver medalist, clocked 2:31:25 in her first marathon, but it came in 2015, four years after her last elite international triathlon.

The 2015 New York City Marathon women’s winning time was 2:24:25 by Kenyan Mary Keitany. The top American, Laura Thweatt, ran 2:28:23.

This year’s American field may be stronger, with Olympic track distance runners Molly Huddle and Kim Conley making their marathon debuts.

Other Olympic triathlon medalists, including 2004 gold medalist Kate Allen and 2000 silver medalist Michellie Jones, have moved up to the Ironman — a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon.

In 2014, Jorgensen said she didn’t see herself ever doing an Ironman.

MORE: What Jorgensen asked Ironman star Mirinda Carfrae