Gabby Douglas

Bond between Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles

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PITTSBURGH — When Gabby Douglas returned to a U.S. National Team training camp in June for the first time since before the London Olympics, she had a roommate selected, at random they say, at the Karolyi ranch in Texas.

That roommate was Simone Biles.

Douglas, the 2012 Olympic all-around champion, and Biles, the 2013 World all-around champion, bonded over five days. They stayed up late and laughed so loudly over things like pizza that the other gymnasts banged on the walls.

“Be quiet guys,” they yelled. “We’re trying to sleep.”

Douglas is seeing Biles again this week, attending the P&G Championships as a spectator. Biles took a whopping 3.15-point all-around lead after the first day of competition Thursday and will look to wrap up her second straight title Saturday.

Douglas hopes to return to competition next year for the first time since London.

Much has changed in women’s gymnastics since the Olympics. Biles is unquestionably the best in the world, a title Douglas held when it mattered most and would like to regain in Rio de Janeiro.

Douglas, who said she first met Biles at the 2013 American Cup, watched the World Championships last fall from afar. What impressed her the most?

“I would have to say Simone,” Douglas said (How could she not? Biles won four medals.). “I love watching her floor [exercise routine]. Her double layout half is just beautiful.”

Biles likens Douglas to an older sister. When they were roommates, Biles asked Douglas for advice on choosing her college. Biles announced she picked UCLA over Alabama two months later.

That friendship will stay intact when Douglas returns, even if they are vying for the same prestigious titles, Biles said.

“I don’t think we’re competing against each other,” she said.

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage of the P&G Championships on Saturday (8-11 p.m. ET) and Sunday (2:30-4).

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IPC president: Now is the right time to have Paralympics in Brazil

Paralympics
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International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven said the upcoming Paralympic Games, which open in 100 days, could not be going to a better city than Rio de Janeiro.

“Many people might think that it’s not the time to go there now with the economic and political problems,” Craven said in a phone interview last week. “But is that not just the right time to be going, to just show what sport can truly do to mobilize and galvanize a people?”

And the Zika virus?

“We believe that the measures that have been communicated on a regular basis, reiterated to our member nations, will be effective, and the Zika virus will not have a major effect on the Games,” Craven said.

The Paralympics will visit South America for the first time in their 15th edition. The Rio Games, which run from Sept. 7-18, will have more broadcast coverage than ever and an expected record number of athletes and nations in the largest number of sports on a single Paralympic program.

NBC and NBCSN will air a record 66 hours of coverage of the Games. The USOC will provide live coverage at TeamUSA.org, too.

How the Paralympics will deal with the well-known issues facing Brazil will be largely impacted by how the preceding Olympics handle them.

But one issue unique to the Paralympics came to light four weeks ago.

A British Paralympic champion swimmer was disqualified from a European Championships event because his Olympic rings tattoo was not covered (he later competed at the meet with the tattoo covered).

An International Paralympic Committee swimming rule states, “body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”

The rule will cover all sports at the Rio Paralympics. Craven said he has not heard of any appeals by para-athletes to change the rule.

The IPC will take a “common-sense approach” to enforcing the rule in Rio to make sure there are no disqualifications by communicating thoroughly to national committees, Craven said.

“IPC has got very strict rules for the Paralympic Games and for other events prohibiting body advertisements, and this includes tattoos for commercial brands and non-IPC symbols, such as the Olympic rings,” Craven said. “These rules were emphasized, re-emphasized to all competing teams and swimmers at that particular event, and, similarly, we’ll be doing so prior to the Games in Rio.”

Some Paralympians identify themselves as Olympians, too — some have event competed in both Games — but Craven made the difference clear.

The 65-year-old, five-time Paralympic wheelchair basketball player likened Olympic rings tattoos at the Paralympics to an NFL player with an NBA team tattoo.

Craven added that there has been no pressure from the IOC regarding the rule and that he would expect a hypothetical Paralympian competing at the Olympics to cover up a tattoo of the Agitos, which is the Paralympic logo.

“We want Paralympic athletes to show pride in promoting the Paralympic movement, including our symbol, which is the Agitos, which is very different from the Olympic rings,” Craven said. “When you have a Paralympic athlete, a para-athlete sporting a branding from another event, then it just creates confusion. It creates confusion for the IPC. It creates confusion for the IOC.”

MORE: Paralympic champ long jumper still hopes to be allowed into Olympics

First four U.S. Olympic archers qualified; Khatuna Lorig waits

Khatuna Lorig
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The first four U.S. Olympic archers for Rio are known, while Khatuna Lorig will learn in three weeks if she makes her sixth Olympic team.

A full men’s team of 2012 Olympic team silver medalists Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski and first-time Olympian Zach Garrett earned their spots at the U.S. Olympic Trials that ended Monday.

Mackenzie Brown clinched her first Olympic berth by winning the women’s trials Monday.

The U.S. can send two more women to Rio if it qualifies a full team at a World Cup event in Turkey in three weeks. Those two women would be Hye Youn Park and Lorig.

Lorig, 42, is best known for teaching archery to Jennifer Lawrence before “The Hunger Games.” Lorig also competed in the 1992 Olympics for the Unified Team, the 1996 and 2000 Games for Georgia and the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the U.S.

Lorig earned team bronze at Barcelona 1992 and finished fifth and fourth individually at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic team alternates are Daniel McLaughlin and La Nola Pritchard.

MORE: Full list of athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team