Lily Zhang

U.S. roster for Youth Olympics includes London Olympian

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The U.S. roster of 92 athletes for the Nanjing Youth Olympics includes one London Olympian, a four-woman basketball team and more entrants in rugby than any other sport.

Lily Zhang, a London Olympic table tennis player at age 16, headlines the U.S. team for the second edition of the Games, which include athletes ages 14 to 18. The Opening Ceremony is Saturday.

NBC Olympics coverage of Youth Olympics

Zhang is the first American to compete in the Olympics and then compete in the Youth Olympics.

Four Americans who competed at the first Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010 went on to become London Olympians — Ariel Hsing (table tennis), Miranda Leek (archery), Alex Massialas (fencing) and Savannah Vinsant (gymnastics).

Five Americans who competed at the first Youth Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2012 went on to become Sochi Olympians — Aaron Blunck (freestyle skiing), Summer Britcher (luge), Sean Doherty (biathlon), Arielle Gold (snowboarding) and Tucker West (luge).

There are four women’s basketball players because three-on-three is the sport’s discipline in Nanjing (plus a dunk contest for boys and shootout contest for girls).

Rugby is debuting at the Youth Olympics two years before it returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1924.

Here’s the full U.S. roster:

Basketball
De’Janea Boykin
Napheesa Collier
Arike Ogunbowale
Katie Lou Samuelson

Boxing
Martha Fabela
Jajaira Gonzalez
Shakur Stevenson
Darmani Rock

Canoe/Kayak
Jordan Sherman

Diving
Dashiell Enos 
Gracia Leydon Mahoney

Fencing
George Haglund
Sabrina Massialas
Karol Metryka
Catherine Nixon
Justin Yoc

Gymnastics
Nicole Ahsinger
Cody Gesuelli
Alec Yoder
Laura Zeng

Judo
Adonis Diaz

Modern Pentathlon
Brendan Anderson

Rowing
Marlee Blue
Benjamin Cohen
Liam Corrigan
Dana Moffat

Rugby
Tess Feury
Haley Langan
Appau Mailau
Michel Navarro
Dana Olsen
Tiffany Person
Emily Prentice
Kat Ramage
Becca Jane Rosko
Richelle Stephens
Danielle Walko-Siua
Whitney Wilson
Cian Barry
Hanco Germishuys
Brian Hannon
Junior Helu
Vili Helu
Sione Masoe
Aaron Matthews
Malcolm May
Suwaiter Poch
Tyler Sousley
Austin Taefu
Jojo Tikoisuva

Sailing
Henry Marshall
Maximo Nores

Swimming
Patrick Conaton
Hannah Moore
Patrick Mulcare
Courtney Mykkanen
P.J. Ransford
Meghan Small
Clara Smiddy
Justin Wright

Table Tennis
Krishnateja Avvari
Lily Zhang

Taekwondo
Kendall Yount

Tennis
Sofia Kenin
Alexander Rybakov

Track and Field
Kenneth Brinson
Brittny Ellis
Emma Fitzgerald
Rhesa Foster
Andrew James
Brandee Johnson
Amere Lattin
Noah Lyles
Myles Marshall
Tyler Merkley
Janae Moffitt
Janie O’Connor
Chinne Okoronkwo
Kimani Rushing
Haley Showalter
Jeffrey Uzzell

Triathlon
Stephanie Jenks
Seth Rider

Beach Volleyball
Skylar Caputo
Zana Muno
T.J. DeFalco
Louis Richard

Weightlifting
Deirdre Lenzsch
Ryan Sennett

Wrestling
Daton Fix
Mason Manville
Cade Olivas

NBC Olympics, Universal Sports announce Youth Olympics coverage

Karen Chen breaks U.S. Champs scoring record; Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold trail

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KANSAS CITY — A skater broke the U.S. Championships women’s short program scoring record Thursday night, but it wasn’t Ashley Wagner or Gracie Gold.

Karen Chen, a 17-year-old former junior star who struggled the last two years, tallied 72.82 points at the Sprint Center to lead going into Saturday’s free skate (8 p.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Mirai Nagasu, a 2010 Olympian, is second, .87 of a point behind.

That leaves Wagner and Gold, who combined to win the last five U.S. titles, in third and fifth, respectively.

This is concerning for Wagner (1.88 behind Chen) and Gold (7.97 behind) given U.S. Figure Skating can send three women to worlds in two months. That selection will be made this weekend, primarily — but not totally — based off U.S. Championships results.

Tessa Hong is in fourth place, but at 14 years old is too young for senior worlds.

Full results are here.

Though Wagner and Gold are usually higher placed, the biggest surprise was Chen.

“My body’s still trembling right now,” she said, two hours after her performance.

Chen skated a clean program Thursday, rare for her in the last couple of seasons. Chen burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old two years ago, finishing third at nationals behind Wagner and Gold.

She was too young to be selected for the 2015 Worlds team. Little has been heard from Chen since.

She dropped to eighth at the 2016 U.S. Championships and came into Kansas City as the seventh-ranked U.S. woman this season. Struggling to find comfortable boots — a common skater problem — has plagued her. She went through 14 pairs in a four-month stretch.

“Everyone has doubts, and I certainly do as well,” said Chen, who choreographed her short program. “But I just kept pushing and telling myself that I’m gaining more experience, I’m learning about everything in the process and I’m just going to keep getting better.”

Wagner bounced back from her last outing — her worst Grand Prix finish in 25 career starts — with a decent program. She needed to save a double Axel near the end of her short. The 2016 World silver medalist was the pre-event favorite.

“People do not understand how difficult of a position I am in,” said Wagner, a 25-year-old bidding to become the oldest U.S. women’s champion in 90 years. “It might seem like I’m on top of the world, or second from being top of the world, but this is a very tough position to be in. It’s mentally been weighing on my shoulders all season. To be able to come out and show people I am a fighter, I’m really proud of that.”

Gold needed to show a fighting spirit given her well-publicized disaster of a fall season. And she did. Her only miss in the short program was doubling a planned triple flip.

“I can feel a huge improvement as a skater. I think everyone can see it,” Gold said. “I have made comebacks before. This doesn’t feel like a major comeback in some ways, because I felt pretty solid. … A long program is worth a lot of points, and I can certainly deliver some good long programs. I kind of feel like I’m due for a good one.”

If Gold doesn’t improve in the free skate, she could be left off the worlds team for the first time in her senior career. However, Gold believes her strong credentials in recent seasons merit consideration.

“We’ve seen different controversies where people aren’t on the [nationals] podium, and they’re still selected for events,” Gold said. “Michelle Kwan has not gone to nationals and been selected for an Olympic team [in 2006]. I believe that I deserve to be on the world team, but I’m not on the selection committee. Of course, every athlete feels like they should be on the world team.”

Earlier Thursday, the pairs short program produced surprise leaders.

The U.S. Championships continue Friday with the short dance and men’s short program. A full broadcast schedule is here.

MORE: U.S. Figure Skating boss wants Russia out of PyeongChang

Women’s Short Program
1. Karen Chen — 72.82
2. Mirai Nagasu — 71.95
3. Ashley Wagner — 70.94
4. Tessa Hong — 65.02
5. Gracie Gold — 64.85

 

Gwen Jorgensen pregnant, to sit out 2017 triathlon season

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: USA's Gwen Jorgensen followed by Switzerland's Nicola Spirig Hug (L) compete in the running portion of the women's triathlon at Fort Copacabana during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 20, 2016.(Photo by Jeff Pachoud-Pool/Getty Images)
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Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen is pregnant and will not compete this year.

“Just kind of take this year a little bit easier,” Jorgensen said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.

The baby is due Aug. 3, according to Jorgensen’s social media.

Jorgensen, 30, became the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion in Rio after going in as the heavy favorite. She has said for months that she planned to take time off to have a baby before returning to defend her Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

Swiss Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016 silver medalist, is reportedly expecting a child in May.

In Jorgensen and Spirig’s absences, the top triathletes going into the season are defending world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, U.S. Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True and Britons Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.

Jorgensen’s last competition was the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, when she finished 14th in her first running race longer than 10 miles.

The World Triathlon Series kicks off in Abu Dhabi the first weekend of March.

MORE: Triathlon federation boss wants Olympic races shortened