Lolo Jones

Undeterred Lolo Jones’ outlook not good to make World Championships

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Lolo Jones confessed that her hope of qualifying for the World Championships “looks not good right now” on Saturday, but she’s been in this position before.

Jones, one of 10 Americans to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, finished fourth in the 100m hurdles at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York on Saturday, clocking 12.95 seconds.

That time won’t nearly be fast enough to make the U.S. team for August’s World Championships, which will be the top three finishers at the U.S. Championships in Eugene, Ore., next weekend, plus defending World champion Brianna Rollins, who has a bye into Worlds.

But consider where Jones is coming from. The 32-year-old hurdler/bobsledder underwent right shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in November and tore her left hamstring in April, pulling out of the Drake Relays.

On Saturday, Jones said she was in a wheelchair a month and a half ago.

“Doctors said I wouldn’t even have a shot to even run before USAs,” Jones said. “I’m very blessed to get four races in.”

The Adidas Grand Prix marked her fourth competition in eight days across three countries. She previously competed in France and Norway, her best time a 12.93, ranking tied for 14th among Americans this year.

“It looks not good right now, but you know USAs [National Championships], crazy things happen,” Jones said after finishing fourth at the Adidas Grand Prix.

Like in 2012. Jones entered the U.S. Olympic trials coming off 2011 spinal surgery and two hamstring tears. She was the eighth-fastest American that year going into the trials at Oregon’s Hayward Field.

“Everybody’s like, no chance she’ll make this team,” Jones said, “and I snagged the last spot.”

Jones finished third at the 2012 trials, .04 ahead of dreaded fourth place, to make the three-woman team.

In London, she did finish fourth, missing a medal by one tenth of a second, four years after leading the Beijing Olympic final going into the penultimate hurdle, clipping it and falling to seventh place.

The U.S. may be deeper in the 100m hurdles than any other track and field event, which ups Jones’ challenge to make the Worlds team. Of the world’s 16 fastest times this year, 14 were run by a combined six different Americans.

The U.S. has a legitimate shot to sweep places one through four at the World Championships and is perhaps favored to do so, especially with Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia out following a broken wrist. Three other times has one nation taken the top four spots in a single event at Worlds, the last in 2011.

“USA’s been deep for a while now, though,” said Jones, who trains in Baton Rouge, La., with early-season breakthrough Jasmin Stowers, the only woman to go sub-12.50 this year, and doing so three times (12.35, 12.39, 12.40). “It doesn’t matter if it’s four deep or eight deep, that’s the same because they really only take three [to Worlds].”

Jones’ chances of making another Olympic team may be stronger for Pyeongchang 2018 than Rio 2016. She’s open to returning to bobsled after the Rio Games, a feeling reinforced by a recent International Bobsled Federation rule change cutting the maximum weight for women’s sleds and crew by 66 pounds.

“I was always kind of on the fence,” about returning to bobsled before the rule change, Jones said. “So that makes me very valuable right now because I’m 133 pounds. Before, the bobsled athletes would each have to lose about 10 kilos [22 pounds], but if they now choose me, they don’t have to lose as much.”

Before the rule change, Jones had set and achieved a goal of gaining about 30 pounds more than her track weight to compete in bobsled leading into the Sochi Olympics, where she finished 11th with pilot Jazmine Fenlator.

Now, she won’t have to scarf double bacon cheeseburgers and pour down milkshakes if she wants to go back to the Winter Games.

“I kind of like eating hamburgers,” Jones said. “That’s actually the lure of the sport.

“I’ll go back [to bobsled] if they need me. I love competing still. Just take it year by year. But what I love about my bobsled teammates is the fact that they absolutely told me after the Winter Olympics, they said, ‘You take these next two years and focus on Summer Olympics.’ They didn’t put any pressure for me to come back, but they said, ‘We absolutely want to see you back if you’re willing to come back.'”

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Katie Ledecky entered in five events at USA Swimming Nationals

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Katie Ledecky is signed up for five races at the USA Swimming National Championships (Summer Champions Series) next week.

The four-time Rio Olympic champion is entered in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles in Indianapolis. Full entry lists are here.

The top two per individual event qualify for the world championships in Budapest in July, plus extra swimmers in the 100m and 200m frees for relays.

Ledecky is slated to race four of five days in Indy, starting with a Tuesday double of the 100m and 800m frees. A full broadcast schedule is here.

At last year’s Olympic Trials, Ledecky raced the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m frees, when there was no 1500m free on the Olympic program.

The women’s 1500m free will debut at Tokyo 2020, but it has been on the world championships program since 2001.

At this same meet in the last Olympic cycle in 2013, Ledecky contested the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees, winning the three latter races and finishing second to Missy Franklin in the 200m free. Franklin will miss nationals next week as she continues to return from January shoulder surgeries.

Ledecky goes into this year’s nationals ranked No. 1 in the world in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees and No. 5 in the U.S. in the 100m free.

Ledecky showed marked improvement in the 100m free in the last four years. In Rio, she had the second-fastest split on the American 4x100m free relay team that took silver.

Ledecky is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. this year in the 400m individual medley but chose not to race it this summer.

Other headliners for nationals:

  • Ryan Murphy, Olympic 100m and 200m backstroke champion, is entered in all three backstrokes (50m, 100m and 200m) and the 100m freestyle, where he has an outside chance of earning a 4x100m relay berth.
  • Chase Kalisz, Olympic 400m IM silver medalist, is the top seed in the 200m IM and 400m IM and the No. 2 seed in the 200m butterfly.
  • Simone Manuel, four-time Rio medalist, is the top seed in the 50m and 100m frees and the No. 5 seed in the 200m free.
  • Lilly King, Olympic 100m breaststroke champion, is favored to make the team in the 50m, 100m and 200m breasts. She is also entered in the 200m IM.
  • The men’s 50m free is loaded with Olympic champions Anthony ErvinNathan AdrianCullen Jones and Caeleb Dressel as the top four seeds.

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Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor to stand trial on sex assault charges

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MASON, Mich. (AP) — A judge on Friday ordered a longtime doctor at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics to stand trial on charges of sexually assaulting six young gymnasts who said he molested them while they were seeking treatment for various injuries.

Judge Donald Allen Jr. made his decision after hearing testimony from the alleged victims over two days and watching a campus police interview of Dr. Larry Nassar.

It is one of four Michigan criminal cases against Nassar following reports last year in the Indianapolis Star about how USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, mishandled complaints about sexual misconduct involving the doctor and coaches. Women and girls said the stories inspired them to step forward with detailed allegations of abuse, sometimes when their parents were in the exam room at Michigan State.

“He convinced these girls that this was some type of legitimate treatment,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Poviliatis told the judge. “Why would they question him? Why would they question this gymnastics god?”

Nassar didn’t testify nor did his lawyers offer an argument against sending the case to trial. The legal threshold in Michigan is probable cause, a low standard at the initial stages of a criminal case.

The final evidence Friday was a video of Nassar’s 40-minute interview last August with a Michigan State police detective, who was investigating a complaint from a former gymnast, now in her 30s. He was not under arrest and spoke voluntarily.

Nassar denied any inappropriate contact and said he got no sexual pleasure from treating gymnasts. He said if he had an erection, as a gymnast claimed, “that’s rather embarrassing.”

The camera was above Nassar’s head. He repeatedly moved his arms and hands as he explained his techniques, using phrases such as “lift and shift” and “tissue tension” to describe treatments for back and hip injuries. He sighed, scratched his forehead and appeared frustrated with the allegations against him.

“I’m trying my best to help the patient. I’m trying to get real-time feedback. I don’t want to hurt someone,” Nassar told Det. Sgt. Andrea Munford.

The judge watched the video and later noted that Nassar had put his fingers in a position that matched the testimony of one of the alleged victims, who said the doctor had penetrated her with his hands in 2000.

“Every victim who testified was unambiguous” about being molested, Poviliatis said. “They were clear and consistent and precise.”

Outside of the criminal cases, Nassar and Michigan State are being sued by dozens of women and girls. Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics also is a defendant in some of the lawsuits.

Nassar will appear in court in Eaton County next Friday on assault charges involving two more gymnasts. He’s separately charged in federal court in Grand Rapids with possessing child pornography.

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