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USA Gymnastics cancels Karolyi ranch purchase

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USA Gymnastics canceled its agreement to purchase Bela and Martha Karolyi‘s training facility in Texas.

“The decision was made for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to unexpected financial expenditures associated with the purchase,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement Tuesday.

USA Gymnastics, which holds women’s national team camps at the Karolyi ranch, is continuing under its current lease agreement while exploring alternative locations for camps.

USA Gymnastics announced last July that it reached an agreement to purchase 36.2 acres of the 2,000-acre Karolyi ranch in Huntsville, Texas, including three training gyms, housing for up to 300 athletes and coaches as well as a dance studio, dining hall, medical and rehab facilities and recreational areas.

In the time between USA Gymnastics announced the ranch purchase and its cancellation Tuesday, former gymnasts claimed they were sexually abused at the ranch years ago by former team doctor Larry Nassar. One lawsuit named the Karolyis, who live at the ranch, alleging they turned a blind eye to molestations.

Nassar is accused of sexually assaulting athletes while working at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. He pleaded not guilty.

The Karolyis defected from Romania to the U.S. in 1981. The ranch, established an hour north of Houston in 1983, played a vital part in U.S. gymnastics’ rise from also-ran to dominant force. Martha Karolyi stepped down as national team coordinator after the Rio Olympics.

When Martha Karolyi was elevated to national team coordinator in 2001, she installed a centralized system that required national team members to make regular visits to the ranch for training and to foster a team environment that can be difficult to cultivate in an individual sport.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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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