Tony Dicicco
Getty Images

Tony DiCicco, coach of historic U.S. women’s soccer teams, dies at 68

Leave a comment

Tony DiCicco, who coached the first U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team to gold in 1996 and the 1999 Women’s World Cup winners, died Monday at age 68.

“While the health challenges Tony faced were confronted head on and with eyes open, we never could have foreseen the beautiful journey that truly defined the magnificence of this man’s life,” was posted on son Anthony DiCicco‘s social media.

DiCicco is the only U.S. coach to win a World Cup and the Olympics. He compiled a 103-8-8 international record at the helm of the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1994-99.

A former goalkeeper, DiCicco succeeded Anson Dorrance, who stepped down as U.S. coach in 1994. He was businesslike and uniquely humored, with a trademark thick black mustache.

Mia Hamm once told him, “Coach us like men, treat us like women,” and he stuck by it.

“I don’t yell at them [my players] a lot because I’m too busy yelling at the referees,” he said in 1999, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m a passionate guy, but I have a pretty good idea of how to impact a player’s performance. It’s not my style to get in their faces.”

DiCicco was largely out of the spotlight during the U.S. run to its famous 1999 Women’s World Cup title, but he was of course very instrumental in their success.

Take the final shootout against China, and Brandi Chastain‘s winner.

“Most soccer fans aren’t even aware that Chastain wasn’t supposed to take the penalty kick that changed her life,” according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “On the original list [Julie] Foudy filled that spot, with Chastain in reserve. But just before the kicks began, DiCicco switched the order because he believed Chastain’s grittiness suited the moment.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. Soccer, women’s national team agree on new contract

After accident, Olympian Jamie Nieto walks at his wedding

Ramon Galindo/NBC San Diego
Leave a comment

After two-time Olympic high jumper Jamie Nieto suffered a spinal cord injury while attempting a standing back flip in April 2016, he decided to set a goal for himself. Nietro was determined to walk down the aisle at his own wedding.

On Saturday, July 22, 2017, Nieto walked to the altar in front of everyone gathered at Christ Temple Apostolic Church in east San Diego – something his doctors said might not be possible.

Nieto, with some assistance, entered the church where he then married his bride, Jamaican hurdler Shevon Stoddart, exactly how he set out to – on his feet.

Images courtesy of Ramon Galindo/NBC San Diego

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Usain Bolt barely wins last race before world championships

Kerri Walsh Jennings dislocates shoulder in Poland (video)

FIVB
Leave a comment

Five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings dislocated her shoulder during the semifinals of a beach volleyball tournament in Poland and forfeited the bronze medal match.

Walsh Jennings and new partner Nicole Branagh were tied in the third set of their match against Canada on Saturday when Walsh Jennings dove for the ball with her right arm and twisted her hand in the sand. After a four-minute delay, Canada went on to win the third set 16-14 and advance to the gold medal match.

“I just went for a short dig and the surface in Europe is so shallow and so hard and there’s no give for our bodies,” Walsh Jennings explained after the match in an interview with her shoulder wrapped in ice.

Walsh Jennings had surgery on the same shoulder during the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she and April Ross won the bronze medal. Walsh Jennings won three gold medals with Misty May Treanor.

Walsh Jennings said she is looking forward to returning to the FIVB World Tour in Vienna in one week.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Kerri Walsh Jennings’ first choice for new partner said no