Simone Biles reacts to shock ‘Dancing with the Stars’ elimination

Leave a comment

Simone Biles was the best “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Monday night. She earned perfect scores from a panel of judges on both of her dances.

Yet the four-time Rio Olympic champion was shockingly eliminated from the show in fourth place. Biles and partner Sasha Farber were cut due to fan voting one week before the finals.

The announcement brought on a collective “Aww” from the studio audience. Two judges rose from their seats. One put his hands on his forehead. Another’s mouth was agape.

Biles was shocked, too.

“I thought they were going to pull a Steve Harvey on us,” she joked on “Good Morning America” after a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to New York City on Tuesday morning.

Ten hours earlier, Biles showed less expression in the immediate aftermath, before being enveloped in hugs from Farber and other contestants.

“We heard everyone, and I think everyone’s a little bit shocked,” Biles said in an E! interview. “Sometimes you don’t know [who is going to be eliminated].”

In gymnastics, Biles is undefeated in U.S. and world championships and Olympic all-around competitions. She reacted to a rare defeat with reflection.

“Yes, this is a journey that I’ve embarked on, and I’ve done things,” she said. “I’ve never danced in heels, never danced with a guy, so I feel like I’ve won a lot. I’ve won a friendship for life [with Farber]. I’ve been non-stop since the Olympics. I’ll have a week off.”

Biles was the fifth Olympic gymnast to compete on “Dancing with the Stars” and the third to finish in fourth place, joining Nastia Liukin and Aly Raisman. Raisman, a teammate of Biles’ in Rio, was in attendance Monday night.

Shawn Johnson won the Mirror Ball Trophy in 2009, and Laurie Hernandez was crowned champion in 2016.

“It’s hard to follow Laurie,” Biles said. “I feel like they [judges] wanted me to pick up where she left off.”

What’s next for Biles? Rest.

She has said she will not return to gymnastics training until the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018. Biles will be 23 years old come Tokyo 2020, older than any U.S. Olympic women’s artistic gymnast since 2004.

“I can’t wait to cheer her on at the Olympics,” Farber said.

None of the five women on the 2016 Olympic team have committed to competing this summer. The P&G Championships are in August. The world championships are in October.

U.S. women have won six straight Olympic or world all-around titles, but that streak appears in serious jeopardy.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Biles leads Olympians in Time 100

Michael Phelps still has ‘no desire’ to come back

AP
Leave a comment

Michael Phelps says he has “no desire” to return to competitive swimming, but he is eager to stay involved with the sport and cheer on those who follow in his enormous wake.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press while promoting a healthy pet food campaign, Phelps said he is excited about the birth of his second child and numerous opportunities away from the pool.

It was around this time four years ago when Phelps got serious about ending his first retirement, but he now seems content with his decision to step away again after the Rio Olympics.

His wife, Nicole, is about four months pregnant. The couple already has a 16-month-old son, Boomer.

“I’ve got no desire, no desire to come back,” the 32-year-old Phelps said flatly.

Phelps has attended a handful of swimming meets since the Rio Games, where the winningest athlete in Olympic history added to his already massive career haul by claiming five gold medals plus a silver. A few months ago, he conceded to the AP that he was eager to see how he would feel about a possible comeback after this year’s world championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Turns out, it had no impact.

Phelps said watching others compete “truly didn’t kick anything off or spike any more interest in coming out of retirement again.”

He is eager to follow the development of his heir apparent, Caeleb Dressel, who emerged as the sport’s newest star by winning seven gold medals at Budapest. The 21-year-old Floridian joined Phelps and Mark Spitz as the only swimmers to accomplish that feat at a major international meet.

“I’m happy Caeleb decided to go off this year instead of last year,” Phelps joked. “I’m kind of happy to see him swimming so well when I’m not there.”

With Dressel and Katie Ledecky now leading the American team, the U.S. is expected to remain the world’s dominant swimming country heading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Even without Phelps.

“It’s time to kind of move on,” he said, “and watch other people come into their own.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Michael Phelps: I’d give Conor McGregor a head start

Dutch cyclist returns from horrific Rio crash to win world title

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dutch road cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten came back from this dramatic Rio Olympic crash to win her first world title on Tuesday, taking the time trial in Bergen, Norway.

“This one is really beautiful without the crash in Rio, but this makes the story really, really special,” an emotional van Vleuten said. “Actually, I still cannot believe it. … This season I’m surprising myself what I can do. To be world champion in the time trial, I never thought I’d be able of this.”

Van Vleuten, 34, covered the 13-mile course in 28 minutes, 50.35 seconds, topping countrywoman Anna ven der Breggen by 12 seconds.

Australian Katrin Garfoot took bronze, 19.02 seconds ahead of Chloe Dygert, a U.S. Olympic silver medalist in track cycling. American Amber Neben, the defending champion, was 11th.

Full results are here.

In Rio, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped over into a ditch during the road race. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title.

Van Vleuten wasn’t out long. She raced at last October’s world championships, placing a career-high fifth in the time trial. She then won La Course in France, a two-day race, in July.

“To be an athlete is to have really ups and downs,” van Vleuten said Tuesday. “Sometimes really downs, but the downs make the ups even more beautiful, I think.”

Van Vleuten’s first celebratory act Tuesday was to climb past two barriers and into her mother’s arms.

“Last year my mum watched the Rio race on television, it was her birthday and she was with lots of my family, so it was a really hard day for her,” Van Vleuten said in a news conference, according to Cyclingnews.com. “My father died in 2008, and so it was really special to have her here and celebrate the good things of cycling together. We’ve dealt with bad things together in the past, so it’s important to be really happy and proud to celebrate and to also remember my father.”

The world championships continue Wednesday with the men’s time trial at 7 a.m. ET on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBCSports.com/live.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: World Road Cycling Championships broadcast schedule