Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt arrives in Glasgow, says he’s injury free

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Usain Bolt‘s introductory press conference at his first Commonwealth Games was less memorable for his answers than for the questions asked — whether he’s ever worn a kilt, his thoughts on the Israel-Gaza situation and Scottish independence and multiple requests for selfies from the assembled media in Glasgow.

The most important bit of news is that he’s 100 percent recovered from a foot injury that delayed his 2014 debut.

“The injury has completely gone,” Bolt said.

Bolt arrived at the multi-sport event Saturday (to bagpipes!) for his first race(s) of the season, a 4x100m relay heat Friday, and if gold medal favorite Jamaica advances, the final next Saturday.

The six-time Olympic champion and 100m and 200m world-record holder doesn’t usually show up for heats in relays, but he’s doing so in Glasgow because he hasn’t raced since going head to head with a bus Dec. 14.

“I need the runs, really, because these are my first runs for the season,” Bolt said. “I really need to get it going.”

Bolt isn’t contesting individual races in Glasgow because he didn’t compete at the Jamaican trials and didn’t want to take a spot from somebody who did run there. A foot injury first reported in March pushed back his preparations for the season and saw him pull out of scheduled meets.

“I don’t know what running shape I’m in,” Bolt said, before clarifying. “I know I’m in good shape running-wise, but actually competing is always different.”

Those were answers to the most pertinent questions at the press conference. Others were more out of left field.

First, he was asked if he had ever worn a kilt.

“No, I haven’t,” Bolt said. “I was told I was going to get one. So, we’ll see how that works out.”

He was then offered a kilt by somebody nearby.

“Red is not my color,” Bolt said.

Bolt will be in Glasgow for a week and, though he said he expects to spend a lot of time in his athletes village room, hopes to see the Jamaican women’s netball team.

He’s not scheduled for any individual races this season until Aug. 14 on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

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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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