Madison Kocian, Jordyn Wieber
UCLA

Madison Kocian, Kyla Ross make history with NCAA gymnastics debuts

Leave a comment

UCLA freshmen Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross became the first U.S. Olympic female champions to compete in NCAA gymnastics on Saturday.

Kocian earned Rio gold in the team event and silver on uneven bars. Ross was part of the London Olympic champion team.

On Saturday, Kocian won the all-around (though only four gymnasts did all four events total) in a UCLA dual meet with Arkansas. Kocian and Ross were part of a three-way tie for the top uneven bars score.

Full results are here.

UCLA coach Valorie Kondos Field said the Pauley Pavilion crowd of 6,513 was the largest for the first meet of a season in program history.

Those watching included fellow Olympians Simone Biles and Danell Leyva, plus 2012 Olympic champion Jordyn Wieber, who is now a UCLA volunteer assistant coach.

Biles committed to compete for UCLA back in 2014, delaying her enrollment until after the Olympics, but then turned pro in 2015, giving up her NCAA eligibility.

No other U.S. Olympic gold-medal-winning female gymnasts competed collegiately, largely because most reached the Olympics before college and then turned professional, forfeiting NCAA eligibility.

Every member of the Magnificent Seven turned pro. As did 2004 Olympic champion Carly Patterson and 2008 Olympic champions Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson and every other member of the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s teams.

Many 2000, 2004 and 2008 U.S. Olympic female gymnasts who earned silver and bronze medals competed collegiately, some before earning their medals and some after.

Several men’s gold medalists competed collegiately before winning Olympic titles, most recently Barcelona 1992 high bar champion Trent Dimas.

MORE: When will Simone Biles return?

U.S. boblsedders remembering Steve Holcomb

Getty Images
Leave a comment

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The memories are impossible to ignore. Justin Olsen sees him in the start house. Elana Meyers Taylor hears him on her track walks. Mentions of his name bring some members of the team to tears, and others still can’t fully open up about how difficult moving on has been.

NBCOlymipcs.com: 2018 U.S. Olympic bobsled team

It’s been nine months since Steven Holcomb died.

USA Bobsled is not over it, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Holcomb was the best bobsledder in U.S. history, and he was supposed to be at these PyeongChang Olympics for what likely would have been the final races of his career. Instead, the Americans will head to the start house at the Alpensia Sliding Center on Sunday for the first bobsled races of these games and face the nearly impossible task of doing as well as he would have done.

This season has been one struggle after another for the Americans. Nerves have been frayed all year. Results have been far from what the U.S. wanted or envisioned. Getting a third men’s sled to PyeongChang was a challenge until the final possible moment, something that certainly would not have been the case if Holcomb was still driving.

Read the rest of the story and watch live streams by clicking here 

Mikaela Shiffrin opens up on slalom disappointment

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The day after an winning an Olympic gold in the women’s the giant slalom, Shiffrin was widely expected to defend her gold medal in the slalom.

Shiffrin, failed to do so, finishing in fourth position. In what she considered to be her favorite event, the American came up short by just eight one-hundredths of a second of winning the bronze. The American even admitted to vomiting before she took to the course. 

The American took to Twitter earlier this morning giving fans more detail about the race that’s been lingering on her mind, and the nerves that overcame her.

Shiffrin continues to detail in the tweets below that, though not the result she wanted, she was proud of herself for showcasing the passion and love that she has for the sport and for the Olympic Games.

An athlete who is held to the highest of standards, and when one Olympic gold medal might feel like a minute failure from someone who has been expected to dominated these Olympic Games, Shiffrin expressed the gratitude she feels to be a part of the 2018 Olympics and to compete alongside athletes, many of whom will walk away without any medal whatsoever.

Shiffrin continued:

Shiffrin did not participate in the super-G, which was astonishingly won by Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka. The dual-athlete wore Shiffrin’s skis en route to her own Olympic memory.

The American is expected to be competing next in the women’s downhill, where qualification begins on Feb. 21. Lindsey Vonn is also expected to be competing in the downhill.