Morgan Hurd, new world all-around champ, bonds with J.K. Rowling

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U.S. gymnast Morgan Hurd‘s two highlights from the past week:

“Clearly winning,” said the surprise world all-around champion, ” … and clearly getting the tweet from J.K.”

Hurd, the 4 1/2-foot, 16-year-old who competes in glasses, was clearly the standout performer of last week’s world gymnastics championships in Montreal.

Fifth at the U.S. junior championships a year ago — and sixth at this year’s senior nationals (coming off elbow surgery) — Hurd surged to win the most coveted prize in the sport aside from the Olympics.

Word reached Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who has clearly had an effect on Hurd.

Then came Saturday and Sunday.

Teammate Jade Carey captured Hurd’s reaction to the first congratulatory tweet. Hurd was lying down, receiving treatment ahead of Sunday’s balance beam final.

“I stopped and started bawling,” Hurd said later. “I had tears streaming down my face.”

Hurd had trouble sleeping the last several nights, acknowledging lament in not being able to thank every single person who praised her on social media.

She awoke Sunday to see the second tweet from Rowling call her a hero.

“I started freaking out, but I had to be really quiet because [teammate] Ragan [Smith] was still sleeping,” Hurd said. “I was, like, jumping up and down in my bed.”

Hurd’s love for Rowling’s series about the boy wizard is compounded by the fact she is a rare gymnast who competes while wearing glasses. Very Potter-like.

“I tried contacts,” she said, according to FloGymnastics in May, “but they made my eyeballs dry, and when I got stuff in my eyes, I had to take them out and put them back in.”

Hurd is not the first elite gymnast to go the glasses route. Remember Fabian Hambuechen in Athens?

Hurd was born in China and adopted as a toddler, moving to Delaware. By developmental camps, she acted and looked like an adult, said her coach, Slava Glazounov.

“She would get herself a little cappucino, without the caffeine,” he said Sunday. “She would sit with her leg up and drink the coffee and read the book. And this was a 10-year-old kid. She does the same thing now.”

Hurd, who was born between “The Goblet of Fire” and “The Order of the Phoenix,” has twice taken the Pottermore quiz to determine her Hogwarts House.

Questions include — moon or stars? And would you rather be envied, imitated, trusted, praised, liked or feared?

Hurd was sorted into Ravenclaw — known for intelligence — and then, the second time, Gryffindor — marked by courage and bravery.

“I truly think I’m a Gryffindor because, I mean, I flip on a four-inch piece of wood,” said Hurd, who earned silver in Sunday’s balance beam final. “That’s got to count for something, right?”

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Sprinters age 100, 102 break records at USATF Masters Indoors (video)

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100-year-old sprinter Orville Rogers broke five world records in the 100-plus age group at the USATF Masters Indoors Championships over the weekend.

The retired pilot did so in the 60m (19.13 seconds), 200m (1:40.94), 400m (4:16.90), 800m (9:56.44) and 1500m (20:00.91), according to USA Track and Field.

Not to be outdone, 102-year-old Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins broke 100-plus age group records in the 60m and the shot put as the oldest female competitor in meet history.

In the 60m, Hawkins clocked 24.79 seconds, smashing Ida Keeling‘s record of 58.34 from February. Hawkins also threw the shot put 2.77 meters (or 9 feet, 1.25 inches).

Full meet results are here.

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Charles Hamelin finally claims short track world overall title

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Charles Hamelin won Canada’s first overall title at a world short track speed skating championships in 20 years, bagging the biggest missing prize from his extensive collection this past weekend.

The 33-year-old and four-time Olympian won the 1000m and 1500m at worlds in Montreal en route to the overall crown tallying results from those two events, a 500m and a 3000m.

Hamelin came into the meet as the only male skater in history to win individual gold medals at multiple Olympics yet never claim an overall world title. From 2007 through 2016, Hamelin finished second in the overall three times and third another three times at the annual worlds.

“I was missing two medals [before this year]: Olympic champion in the 1000m and first in overall standings at a world championship,” Hamelin said, according to the International Skating Union. “To win it here in Montreal in front of my family and friends, I’m at a loss for words.”

Hamelin was originally going to retire after worlds but decided in the last month — after failing to finish in the top five in any individual race for the first time at an Olympics and announcing a split with fiancée and triple Olympic medalist Marianne St-Gelais — that he would continue at least through the 2018-19 season.

He won the overall at worlds with 81 points, nearly double the points of silver medalist Liu Shaolin Sándor, who was part of Hungary’s Olympic 5000m relay champion team. South Korean Hwang Dae-Heon took overall bronze with 44 points, one point behind Liu.

The last Canadian to win the world overall title was Marc Gagnon in 1998, the last of his four crowns.

On the women’s side, South Korean Choi Min-Jeong won her third world overall title in four years by claiming 500m, 1500m and 3000m wins. Olympic teammate Shim Suk-Hee was second, followed by Chinese Li Jinyu. South Korean won every female gold medal.

The U.S. went medal-less at a fourth straight worlds and didn’t advance any skaters past the semifinals. Its roster included individual Olympic medalists John-Henry Krueger and J.R. Celski and recently crowned world junior 500m champion Maame Biney.

Viktor Ahn, the six-time Olympic champion left off the list of Russians invited to PyeongChang by the International Olympic Committee, failed to advance past any individual semifinals.

Italian Arianna Fontana, the most decorated short track skater in PyeongChang with a medal of every color, competed only in the relay in Montreal due to emotional exhaustion, according to her social media.

Brit Elise Christie, the 2017 World overall champion, missed the championships altogether after suffering ankle ligament damage in a crash at the Olympics.

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