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Aly Raisman’s coach takes over Australian gymnastics program

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While Aly Raisman takes a break from gymnastics, her longtime coach decided to make a big change.

Mihai Brestyan has been appointed the Australian women’s national team coach.

“We are thrilled a coach with the experience and proven results of Mihai will be guiding our next generation of gymnasts and coaches as we look towards the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and beyond,” Gymnastics Australia president Sam McKay said in a press release.

The Romanian-born Brestyan has the longest running streak of coaching U.S. female gymnasts at the Olympics.

He guided Alicia Sacramone to the 2008 Beijing Games and Raisman to London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Raisman, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, said in September that she would take a full year off and then return to training, like she did in the last Olympic cycle. Raisman has trained since 2004 with Mihai and Silvia Brestyan in Massachusetts.

Australia has never won an Olympic gymnastics medal. Its best team finish was sixth at Beijing 2008.

Brestyan succeeds Peggy Liddick, who coached Shannon Miller to seven Olympic medals and then spent 20 years at the helm in Australia, most famously during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

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Yuzuru Hanyu to miss Japan Figure Skating Championships

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world figure skating champion, will miss his national championships this week after suffering ankle and knee injuries this fall, according to Japanese media citing the Japan Skating Federation.

Hanyu can (and very likely will) be named to Japan’s three-man Olympic team despite missing nationals.

Hanyu has reportedly been off the ice for more than one month since a Nov. 9 practice fall.

“It is an important selection competition, and the Olympics are a big goal, so with that in mind we would like to think things through together,” Japan Skating Federation director Yoshiko Kobayashi said last week, according to Kyodo News.

Hanyu, who turned 23 on Dec. 7, fell on a quadruple Lutz attempted and then favored his right ankle in a Nov. 9 practice at a Grand Prix event (video here).

He skated the run-through for his free skate, although he elected not to do any more jumps.

“I have been told by the doctor that I need 10 days of complete rest,” Hanyu said in a statement on Nov. 12, according to Kyodo. “Following that, it will take three to four weeks to return and get back to where I was.”

Hanyu and world silver medalist Shoma Uno are favored to lead Japan’s Olympic men’s figure skating team. The third spot is likely to go to Takahito Mura or Keiji Tanaka.

Hanyu competed twice this season.

He posted a world-record short program score in his debut at a small September event in Canada, but struggled to fifth place in the free skate and finished second overall behind two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

He then finished second to U.S. champion Nathan Chen at the first Grand Prix event of the season in Moscow in October.

Chen is the only undefeated male singles skater this season.

Hanyu won four straight national titles before missing last season’s event with the flu.

He was still named to Japan’s team for worlds, where he won his second title in four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Green Bay Packers pull another Olympic sport TD celebration

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We’re halfway to a decathlon of Olympic sport touchdown celebrations over the last two seasons.

After the hurdles, the long jump, the bobsled and the relay came the race walk on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, once part of a three-man bobsled team, led three other teammates in a race walk after scoring in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. (Adams later left the game with a concussion.)

Adams won the race walk, which was much, much shorter than the standard Olympic distances of 20km and 50km, over teammates Jordy NelsonRandall Cobb and Geronimo Allison.

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