John Daly
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John Daly announces skeleton comeback after Sochi heartbreak

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Skeleton slider John Daly is coming out of a two-year-retirement, seeking to make a third Olympic team after heartbreak at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

“I didn’t have anything else that made me feel the way sliding did,” Daly said, according to The Associated Press. “I have a great life. I’m not complaining. But nothing made me feel more alive than the Olympics.”

Daly was in fourth place after three of four runs at the Sochi Olympics, .04 of a second behind teammate Matt Antoine for bronze-medal position.

His medal hopes evaporated with a slip at the start of his final run, his sled came out of a groove in the ice and he had no chance of recovering the rest of the way down the track. 

Daly finished 15th, came to a stop with his helmet buried in his hands and spoke through tears afterward.

“I don’t regret anything,” Daly said on NBC that night, “but I do wish I could get that last run back for just one more chance. … Now I have four more years to wait.”

After Sochi, Daly went to “a really dark place” and “ran away from everything,” according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton.

“The last picture anyone saw was that awful picture of me sliding through the finish with my head in my hands,” Daly said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “That picture and that last interview where I was trying my hardest to keep it together choking back tears. It was horrible. I was completely devastated. My world fell apart in an instant.”

He decided by June 2014 to end his skeleton career, moving to Washington, D.C., and taking a medical sales job.

But as time went on, Daly began to miss the sport.

“I started to get a tiny smolder of a flame back,” he said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton, which added that he re-entered the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency drug-testing pool in March, the same month he was, jokingly he claimed, a forerunner at the U.S. Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Daly will be eligible to compete for a place on the World Cup team after he completes five competitions on three different tracks.

Olympic bronze medalist Matthew Antoine remains the class of U.S. men’s skeleton, though no Americans made a World Cup podium last season.

“Couldn’t go out like that,” Daly said of Sochi, according to the AP. “I owe this to myself and Team USA.”

MORE: Olympic skeleton champion unretires at age 43

Yulia Efimova wags finger as Lilly King rivalry heats up (video)

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The Lilly KingYulia Efimova rivalry is back on, but this time the Russian is wagging her finger.

Efimova missed the 100m breaststroke world record by .01 in the semifinals at the world swimming championships in Budapest on Monday.

Efimova celebrated her time by finger wagging, an homage to King’s famous move in the ready room at the Rio Olympics.  She and King will go head to head in the final as the top two seeds on Tuesday after King won her later semifinal in a personal-best time .17 slower than Efimova.

“I’m always looking at the results from the heat before,” King told media in Budapest, adding that she wasn’t shaved for Monday’s semifinals. “I saw a little finger wag. I saw it. It’s just motivating me more, so that’s OK.”

King, who criticized Efimova’s presence in Rio after serving a doping ban, beat the Russian in the Olympic 100m breaststroke final last year.

Efimova served a 16-month ban for testing positive for the banned steroid DHEA in 2013. She again tested positive in February 2016 for meldonium, though she said she stopped taking it before it became a banned substance Jan. 1 and was absolved along with other athletes.

“You’ve been caught for drug cheating, I’m just not a fan,” King memorably said in Rio, adding last fall, “[Doping] was on all of our minds. We had team meetings talking about what it was going to be like. We were going to be racing dopers, and we all knew it.”

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Katinka Hosszu wins 200m IM as swimmer leaves pool mid-race (video)

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Hungarian Katinka Hosszu delivered the gold-medal performance a raucous Budapest crowd hoped for at the world swimming championships.

Canadian Sydney Pickrem, a medal favorite, appeared to get out of the pool after 50 meters. Swimming Canada later said she “took on water” approaching the first wall.

“Unfortunately it inhibited her to the point where she wasn’t able to continue in the race,” a press release said.

Hosszu won her third straight world title in the 200m individual medley, clocking 2:07.00 at the frenzied Danube Arena. The Olympic champion and world-record holder was followed by Japan’s Yui Ohashi (2:07.91) and American Madisyn Cox (2:09.71).

“Just another stepping stone,” said Cox, who finished her University of Texas career this year and made her major international debut in Budapest. “Of course, I want to be better. That time will come.”

Hosszu was the overwhelming favorite, given she held the three fastest times in the world this year going into Monday’s final. The “Iron Lady” became the first woman to win 10 individual world championships medals, a mark that Sarah SjostromKatie Ledecky and Yulia Efimova can surpass later in the meet. Retired Australian Leisel Jones won nine, all in breaststroke.

Hosszu scratched her other event Monday night, the 100m backstroke, one of three events she won at the Rio Olympics. Hosszu could earn medals in the 200m backstroke and 400m individual medley later this week.

Pickrem ranked No. 3 in the world this year and had the third-fastest time in the semifinals behind Hosszu and American Melanie Margalis, who finished fourth.

Women’s 200m Individual Medley Results
Gold: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) — 2:07.00
Silver: Yui Ohashi (JPN) — 2:07.91
Bronze: Madisyn Cox (USA) — 2:09.71
4. Melanie Margalis (USA) — 2:09.82
5. Runa Imai (JPN) — 2:09.99
6. Kim Seoyeong (KOR) — 2:10.40
7. Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (GBR) — 2:10.41
DQ. Sydney Pickrem (CAN)

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