Bode Miller
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Bode Miller wants contract voided with eye on comeback

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Bode Miller is seeking to void a contract with his former ski sponsor restricting him from competing in the 2016-17 season, to potentially compete on different skis this season, according to court documents filed in California this week.

Court documents show a signed termination agreement dated May 2015 between Miller and Head USA, the company whose skis were formerly used by Miller, stating that Miller would not compete in World Cup or World Championships races until the 2017-18 season.

The complaint, filed Monday on behalf of the six-time Olympic medalist, states that Miller retired from ski racing after his last race at the February 2015 World Championships but has recently explored the possibility of coming out of retirement and competing this season. Miller crashed in his last competitive race, severing his right hamstring tendon.

After terminating his Head contract, Miller partnered with Bomber skis, though not originally to compete on them. Now, Miller wants the option to compete with Bomber.

“Since retiring from professional racing and no longer being as visible in the public eye, Bode’s ability to make money through endorsements has been greatly reduced,” the complaint read. “At the age of 39, Bode realized that his viability and marketability as a professional ski racer were rapidly dwindling, and that he needed to explore the possibility of coming out of retirement so that he could obtain quality endorsements to protect his family’s financial future. Bode discussed his financial concerns with [Bomber owner Robert] Siegel, and, in particular, the two discussed the possibility that Bode would return to racing in the 2016/2017 World Cup and World Championship season. … At age 39, it is likely Bode’s last real opportunity to competitively compete on the World Cup racing circuit and attract the lucrative endorsements needed to provide for his family.”

In recent months, Head has threatened legal action for breach of contract if Miller returned to ski racing this season using another company’s skis and has demanded that Miller announce by Monday that he will not compete in the 2016-17 season.

Although Miller is seeking to void his agreement with Head to potentially compete on Bomber skis, he has neither in widely reported comments stated that he retired nor that he definitively plans to race again.

In reported comments, Miller said in December 2015 there was “a good likelihood” he would race again but said earlier this month that he didn’t see “how it could possibly work.”

Miller is already the oldest U.S. Olympic Alpine skier in history. In 2018, he will be 40 years old, which is seven years older than the next-oldest U.S. Olympic Alpine skier in history.

The World Cup season begins Oct. 23 in Soelden, Austria.

VIDEO: Bode Miller’s crash in 2015 World Championships

Kerri Walsh Jennings pleased by result after longest break in 5 years

Kerri Walsh Jennings
FIVB World Tour
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Kerri Walsh Jennings returned from her longest competition break since 2013 and, with partner Nicole Branagh, nearly beat the world’s top-ranked team.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh ultimately were eliminated in the round of 16 at the Xiamen Open in China.

“We WILL do better,” was posted on Walsh Jennings’ social media. “We actually had a great showing and learned and battled and improved – sometimes the stats don’t show everything.”

Walsh Jennings and Branagh, a pair of 39-year-old moms, played together for the first time since July 22, when Walsh Jennings’ five-times surgically repaired right shoulder popped out mid-match.

Walsh Jennings, eyeing her sixth and final Olympics in 2020, underwent a sixth shoulder surgery and an ankle surgery and did not return to training on the beach until March (her longest break between hitting a ball on sand since switching from indoor following the 2000 Olympics).

The duo won their opening Xiamen match in three sets last week, then lost a three-setter to the world’s No. 1 team in group play. Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes prevailed 21-15, 22-24, 18-16 en route to the tournament title.

After Walsh Jennings and Branagh swept American qualifiers Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman in the first elimination round, they squandered a one-set lead in the round of 16. Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy eliminated them 19-21, 21-16, 20-18.

Walsh Jennings said before flying to Xiamen that she and Branagh would next play on the FIVB World Tour at the Itapema Open in Brazil in mid-May. In four FIVB World Tour events since partnering last year, they were eliminated in qualifying once, bounced in the round of 16 twice and forfeited a bronze-medal match due to that shoulder dislocation.

Early season partner changes defined the U.S. women’s landscape. In Xiamen, one of those new teams, Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar, reached the final, losing to the Canadians.

It marked the first final four appearance on the senior FIVB World Tour for the 22-year-old Claes, an NCAA champion at USC with former partner Sara Hughes, and for the 36-year-old Hochevar, the older sister of former Kansas City Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar.

MORE: Walsh Jennings documents comeback from surgeries

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Watch Dateline special on McKayla Maroney, Larry Nassar; full episode

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McKayla MaroneyAly Raisman and Martha and Bela Karolyi spoke about their experiences with Larry Nassar in “Silent No More,” an NBC News’ DATELINE special that aired Sunday night.

It marked Maroney’s first interview since she went public as one of the hundreds of survivors who said they were sexually abused by Nassar, a team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for two decades.

The Karolyis, both former U.S. women’s national team coordinators, spoke on camera for the first time regarding Nassar, too. Olympians said they were abused at the Karolyis’ ranch in Texas at national team training camps.

Maroney said that at 2011 Worlds in Tokyo she told John Geddert, the personal coach of teammate Jordyn Wieber and head coach for the U.S. team at the event, that Nassar abused her.

NBC News reported that three other people in the car at the time remembered Maroney’s account from seven years ago. Geddert did not respond to requests for comment.

Geddert was suspended by USA Gymnastics in January and is facing a criminal investigation after Nassar, who molested girls at Geddert’s gym in Michigan, was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison on Jan. 24. Geddert said he had “zero knowledge” of Nassar’s crimes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MORE: Karolyis deny knowledge of Nassar crimes | Maroney’s first speech on Nassar