Lily Zhang

U.S. roster for Youth Olympics includes London Olympian

Leave a comment

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

Simone Biles becomes honorary Houston Texans cheerleader

AP Images
Leave a comment

The NFL’s Houston Texans may not be having the greatest season on the football field, but that hasn’t stopped one famous diehard fan from cheering them on.

On Sunday, Simone Biles took her fandom to the next level by debuting as an honorary Texans cheerleader before the team’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers.

game day feels ❤️ so excited to dance at the Houston Texans Game!

A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

officially ready for game day now that I got my legendary red boots 🏈

A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

As an added bonus, she also found time to take a few photos with NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon, a 7-foot center who once starred for the Houston Rockets.

This isn’t the first time that the Olympic gold medalist has teamed up with her hometown Texans. In 2016, Biles had the honor of announcing one of the team’s draft picks, and in 2015, she made this memorable entrance onto the field after a pre-game introduction.

Julia Marino, Jamie Anderson close in on Olympic snowboard team spots after second U.S. qualifier

Leave a comment

Julia Marino is within striking distance of qualifying for her first Olympic team. Sochi gold medalist Jamie Anderson is even closer.

Marino, who won four X Games medals in slopestyle and big air competitions last season, unleashed a frontside 720 and her signature cab double underflip to take second place in big air at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, the second of five qualifying events for the U.S. snowboard slopestyle and big air team.

Anderson, who received high marks for her cab 900 but lower scores for her frontside 720, finished off the podium in fourth. Because she and Marino were the only Americans to reach the final at Copper though, Anderson still received a valuable haul of Olympic selection points and maintains the lead in the overall rankings.

Although Marino’s cab double underflip received the highest score of the competition, riders in big air are scored on their two best tricks. That enabled Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi to take the win with a pair of solid jumps that included a backside 1080. Silje Norendal of Norway finished on the podium in third behind Iwabuchi and Marino.

In order to be named to the U.S. Olympic slopestyle and big air snowboarding team, riders must have a minimum of one podium finish at the selection events. If more than three riders attain podium finishes, then the tiebreaker will come down each rider’s two best results.

Marino and Anderson have both fulfilled the minimum criteria for automatic selection. Either of them could clinch spots on the Olympic team for both slopestyle and big air by finishing as the top U.S. rider at any of the remaining selection events. The next event will be a slopestyle contest next week in Breckenridge, Colo.

Meanwhile, the men’s big air competition had the potential to shake up the U.S. Olympic rankings, as none of the podium finishers from the first selection event reached the final at Copper.

After a disappointing result in that first qualifier, which was held at Mammoth Mountain last winter, Chris Corning bounced back to finish as the top American in this contest and second place overall. He landed a frontside 1440 and a massive backside triple cork 1440 on his two jumps, putting his own stylish twist on both tricks with melon grabs.

Corning, the 2015/16 World Cup champion in slopestyle, has emerged as perhaps the U.S. team’s top hope for an Olympic medal this year in both men’s slopestyle and big air, events typically dominated by riders from Canada and Norway. Now that he has his first selection event podium under his belt, he can clinch a spot on the Olympic team by finishing as the top American at any of the remaining contests.

Also earning a podium result with a third-place finish was 19-year-old Chandler Hunt, who has suddenly added his name to the U.S. Olympic discussion.

The victory in men’s big air went to Norway’s Mons Roisland, who stomped a switch backside 1620 and a frontside 1440 tail grab on his jumps.

Three more selection events for the slopestyle and big air team still remain, and all three will be slopestyle events. Dew Tour will host a selection event next week in Breckenridge, then there will be a break until Olympic qualifying resumes in January with competitions at Aspen and Mammoth.

U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Results

Men’s Snowboard Big Air
1. Mons Roisland (NOR), 182.75
2. Chris Corning (USA), 177.25
3. Chandler Hunt (USA), 159.00
4. Ryan Stassel (USA), 154.50
5. Max Parrot (CAN), 121.50

Women’s Snowboard Big Air
1. Reira Iwabuchi (JPN), 169.25
2. Julia Marino (USA), 160.25
3. Silje Norendal (NOR), 156.75
4. Jamie Anderson (USA), 151.50
5. Sina Candrian (SUI), 135.50

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings

Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air
1. Red Gerard, 1400*
2. Chris Corning, 1200*
3. Chandler Hunt, 1160*
4. Kyle Mack, 1000*
5. Judd Henkes, 1000

Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air
1. Jamie Anderson, 1800*
2. Julia Marino, 1600*
3. Hailey Langland, 1300*
4. Jessika Jenson, 1050
5. Nora Healey, 950

*Has automatic qualifying minimum of one top-three result.