Stone Mountain Tennis Center

Another 1996 Olympic venue to bite the dust

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The Atlanta Olympic tennis venue, where Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport famously won gold, will be demolished, possibly as soon as next month.

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners awarded a $1 million contract Tuesday to tear down the Stone Mountain Tennis Center, according to Atlanta media.

“Moving for demolition is not something we take very lightly at all,” Gwinnet County Commissioner John Heard said, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. “The Olympic tennis center that was built for the ‘96 Olympics has been in place for 25 years now and has been running down the entire time. All of the copper has been stolen out of it. It is a health and safety hazard right now.”

Images from last year showed the Stone Mountain Tennis Center’s main stadium in disrepair. It was closed in 2007. Plants sprouted from cracks in the court surface. It is surrounded by a chain-link fence capped by barbed wire with a “no trespassing” sign.

“It’s a huge liability with people breaking in and going in and shooting videos of themselves doing all sorts of crazy things in there,” Commissioner Lynette Howard said, according to the newspaper. “Somebody is going to get hurt.”

The tennis center is the latest 1996 Olympic venue to fall out of favor.

Centennial Olympic Stadium, which housed Opening and Closing Ceremonies and track and field, was downsized from 85,000 seats to 50,000 when it was converted to Turner Field for the Atlanta Braves in 1997. Now that the Braves have left Turner Field, it will be further trimmed to 23,000 seats to host Georgia State football.

The Georgia Dome, home of gymnastics and basketball finals, hosted its last Atlanta Falcons game this past season. It is scheduled to be demolished.

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the home for Olympic baseball and the Braves from 1966-96, was imploded after the Atlanta Games to make room for a parking lot for Turner Field.

Perhaps the saddest legacy of the Games is Herndon Stadium, a 15,000-seat field hockey stadium used during the filming of the movie “We Are Marshall.” It was abandoned after Morris Brown College ran into financial difficulties. Gutted by vandals, it was covered in graffiti and piles of trash as of last summer.

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PHOTOS: Atlanta Olympic venues, 20 years later

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Laurie Hernandez plans on competing in 2019, agent says

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Olympic gymnastics champion Laurie Hernandez plans on competing in 2019, her agent said.

Hernandez has not competed since taking team gold and balance beam silver at the Rio Olympics, followed by winning “Dancing with the Stars” later that fall.

She said in October that she hoped to compete in 2018 but would not rush a comeback. Hernandez since decided not to compete at the U.S. Championships this August.

No member of the Final Five has competed at the elite level since Rio, though Madison Kocian is in her sophomore season at UCLA and Simone Biles plans to return this summer.

Aly Raisman said in September 2016 that she planned to take one year off, then return to training for a Tokyo 2020 run. But her focus shifted in the last year to something more important — taking on USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee after Larry Nassar sexual-abuse crimes.

The last member of the Final Five, 2012 Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas, has not said in widely reported comments if or when she will return to competition.

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*Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated Hernandez earned Olympic silver on vault rather than beam.

Sonja Henie record at stake; figure skating worlds pairs preview

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When Aljona Savchenko won her first gold medal at her fifth Olympics with her third different partner in PyeongChang, she said she “wrote history.”

She can write some more this week.

Savchenko, who at 34 became the oldest female figure skating champion in Winter Olympic history, and partner Bruno Massot are the only pairs medalists from PyeongChang who are back for the world championships in Milan.

The Germans headline the field for the short program Wednesday and free skate Friday.

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Savchenko can tie Norwegian Sonja Henie for the female record of 11 world championships medals. She can grab a share of second on the all-time pairs list with a sixth world title, four shy of Soviet Irina Rodnina‘s record.

Savchenko, who won four crowns with now-retired Robin Szolkowy, goes for her first world title with Massot. They’re clear favorites.

Olympic silver medalists Sui Wenjing and Han Cong withdrew from worlds due to Sui’s foot injury. Olympic bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford retired.

It’s arguably a surprise that Savchenko and Massot chose to compete in Milan. They’re the first Olympic pairs champions to compete at a post-Olympic worlds since 1992.

Their top challengers are Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who outscored Savchenko and Massot in the Olympic short program but dropped off the podium in the free skate with a fall on their throw.

U.S. champions Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim, 15th at the Olympics, made the top 10 in all of their four world championships appearances with a best finish of seventh. The last U.S. pairs medal came in 2002, the nation’s longest drought in any figure skating discipline.

The Knierims were the only U.S. pair in PyeongChang, but in Milan they’re joined by Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay.

Stellato earned singles silver at the 2000 World Junior Championships, then retired at age 17 due to hip injuries. She came back at age 32 in 2016 in pairs and, with the Sochi Olympian Bartholomay, took bronze at this year’s nationals.

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