Missy Franklin could miss the biggest swim meet of the year with a back injury.
The four-time Olympic champion suffered back spasms at practice Tuesday, two days before the Pan Pacific Championships open in Gold Coast, Australia. Her status for her first events Thursday will be determined before preliminary heats that morning (Gold Coast is 14 hours ahead of Eastern time).
Franklin at first allayed fears Tuesday on Twitter.
But video from Sportsnet in Canada showed Franklin being gingerly helped away from the pool.
Pan Pacs men’s preview | women’s preview
Franklin, who became the first woman to win six gold medals at a single World Championships last year, was not present for practice or a press conference Wednesday. She was to be re-evaluated throughout Wednesday, USA Swimming said.
Later Wednesday, USA Swimming said Franklin tested her back swimming in a local pool with “minimal discomfort” and said back spasms were not previously a factor for her.
“It was very therapeutic and felt great being back in the water,” Franklin said in a press release. “I am feeling drastically better every hour that goes by and hoping and praying that I will be ready to race [Thursday]. We will consistently coordinate with team doctors and staff to make the best decisions for myself and my team.”
Franklin, a 19-year-old rising sophomore at California, was entered in the 200m freestyle and the 100m backstroke on the opening day of competition Thursday.
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The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.
It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.
The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.
San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.
Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.
The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.
Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.
MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America
Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.
Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.
Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.
MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal