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Laura Wilkinson announces diving comeback

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The 2000 Olympic diving champion Laura Wilkinson was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame on Thursday.

She announced a comeback on Thursday, too.

Wilkinson, a 39-year-old mother of three, plans to compete on the platform for the first time since 2008 at a small meet near her Texas home later this month.

She’s not committing to any national-level meets yet, but if she feels up to it, can see herself diving through this Olympic cycle. And possibly at the 2020 Tokyo Games, should she be able to qualify.

“As long as my body holds up, I’d love to go for [the Olympics] again,” Wilkinson said in a phone interview Thursday. “It feels good going back up there [atop the platform] again. Like home.”

It all started in fall 2015, when Wilkinson saw her old coach, Kenny Armstrong, while taking her kids to a local pool. Armstrong suggested Wilkinson return, when her kids were in school, and join his springboard divers for training once a week.

“It started coming back really quickly,” she said. “It kind of got me thinking.”

Wilkinson worked for NBC at the Rio Olympics and in the months since started driving 90 minutes each way once or twice a week to the University of Houston to train platform. Her local pool only has springboards.

To Wilkinson’s surprise, her body handled the impact of platform dives pretty well. By Thursday, she announced her comeback on social media via a YouTube video titled, #DreamChaser.

“I don’t know that it ever really leaves you,” said Wilkinson, who is being coached by Armstrong again. “When you love something, it’s always a part of you.”

Wilkinson pulled off one of the great stories of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, jumping from eighth place over five final-round dives to become the first U.S. woman in 36 years to win platform gold.

She prevailed six months after breaking three middle bones in her right foot, banging it on a piece of plywood used for training.

The U.S. would go 12 years before winning another Olympic diving title (David Boudia, men’s platform), but Wilkinson remains the most recent female U.S. Olympic diving champion.

Wilkinson competed in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and won the 2005 World title in between before retiring. She then gave birth to daughter Arella and son Zadok and, with her husband, adopted another baby, Zoe, from China.

“When I retired in 2008, I felt old enough, 30, and I’d been around forever,” Wilkinson said. “My body was beat up. I wanted to have a family.”

She made a brief domestic comeback in 2010 and 2011, on springboard, and qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials but decided not to compete.

“It’s like it’s new again, but it’s not,” Wilkinson said of this comeback. “It’s comfortable.”

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MORE: David Boudia to decide whether to retire

Sarah Hammer, four-time Olympic cycling medalist, retires

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Three-time Olympian Sarah Hammer, one of the most decorated track cyclists in U.S. history, is retiring after a prolific career spanning more than two decades.

The 34-year-old Hammer announced Monday that she’s stepping away from competitive riding to focus on the training facility that she founded in Colorado Springs with her coach and husband, Andy Sparks.

Hammer began riding at age 8 and won her first junior title in 1995. She briefly walked away from the sport in 2003, citing burnout, but returned to make the U.S. team for the 2008 Beijing Games.

Focusing on endurance events, Hammer won four Olympic medals and eight world titles and set two world records. Her team pursuit of a silver medal at the 2012 London Games — won with teammates Jennie Reed, Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tamayo — was chronicled in the documentary “Personal Gold: An Underdog Story.”

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How to watch Berlin Marathon world-record attempt

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The 26.2-mile world record could fall at the Berlin Marathon on Sunday, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold.

The NBC Sports Gold stream starts at 2:30 a.m. ET, with NBCSN coverage beginning at 3 a.m.

The time to beat is 2:02:57, the world record set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014, also in Berlin.

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge is the headliner of three candidates to lower that mark.

He won Berlin in 2015 in 2:04:00 with his insoles infamously slipping out the back of his shoes and flopping the last half of the race.

Kipchoge then prevailed at the 2016 London Marathon in 2:03:05, eight seconds shy of Kimetto’s world record, and the Rio Olympics in 2:08:44 in conditions not suitable for a fast time. He won the Olympic marathon by 70 seconds, the largest margin of victory since Frank Shorter won in 1972.

Then on May 6, Kipchoge ran 2:00:25 on an Italian Formula One race track in a bid to become the first person to run 26.2 miles in under 2 hours. It was contested under special conditions that made it ineligible for record purposes with pacers entering mid-race.

Berlin is the world’s fastest record-eligible marathon.

With its pancake-flat roads, the German capital was the site of the last six times the men’s 26.2-mile world record was lowered in the last 14 years, coming down from 2:05:38 to the current mark of 2:02:57.

Kipchoge will also benefit from a strong field.

He will likely be pushed to a fast time, if not beaten, by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, who won the 2016 Berlin Marathon in 2:03:03, the second-fastest time ever.

And by Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, who ran three of the eight fastest marathons ever.

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MORE: Top Americans set for major marathon later this month