Bode Miller
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Bode Miller joins NBC Olympics, explains end of ski racing career

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Bode Miller will head to PyeongChang as an Alpine skiing analyst for NBC Olympics, rather than bid to make a sixth Olympic team at age 40.

Miller, the most decorated U.S. Olympic skier with six medals, called his decision not to race again “easy.” He made it months ago. Nothing changed in his life that made him rethink it.

“It had kind of been a long time coming,” said Miller, who last raced at the February 2015 World Championships, severing a hamstring tendon in a super-G crash (video here). “But just with my kids and the time and life, when I look at skiing now, I don’t really feel like I have anything, the motivation, the desire, the everything to kind of go through it again. Aside from the logistical challenges and my priorities and my family being first and not being able to put any of that aside to train and prepare the way I know I need to, I have so much experience. I know there’s no shortcuts in what I would have to do to really take a pretty solid commitment on my part. That would mean sacrificing a lot of other things.

“It would be one thing if it was a different sport like, you know, golf or tennis or something where I could go out there and limp into it. But skiing is just so dangerous and risky, and there’s so much there that can go bad for you. I think just the preparation for it is so demanding. It’s just not feasible to get that done.”

It’s the end of arguably the greatest Olympic skiing career in U.S. history.

Miller, who debuted at the Olympics in 1998 at age 20, earned two silver medals in 2002, a medal of every color in 2010 (after a well-publicized failure in 2006) and a bronze in 2014 (oldest Olympic Alpine medalist in history).

Only retired short track speed skater Apolo Ohno has more Winter Olympic medals among Americans with eight.

Miller also won world championships in four different disciplines and a pair of World Cup overall titles.

What will he miss? Any regrets?

“I never really feel like I miss anything,” he said. “I had such a long career. I think things ran their course. I tend to process things pretty much real time. I think that I was aware as I went through it I made sure I got the most out of skiing and my experiences. … I definitely don’t have regrets about the way that I did things.”

Miller did things his way. On the race courses with a trademark go-for-broke style. Off of it, too. He rubbed some the wrong way and even competed separate from the U.S. Ski Team at times.

“Of course, I made a lot of mistakes and stupid things, but above all I was able to do it the way that I wanted to and the way that I felt I should,” Miller said. “That, I think, is my biggest accomplishment.”

Miller is the first of the golden generation of U.S. Alpiners to bring the curtain down. Miller, Ted LigetyLindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso all developed in the early 2000s and won Olympic gold medals.

The PyeongChang Winter Games are expected to be the final Olympics for Vonn and Mancuso. Ligety, at 33 years old with a wife and child, has not ruled out 2022.

Miller gained experience as an analyst for NBC Sports the last two World Cup seasons. It came pretty naturally. He has no reservations offering critical analysis of his former peers.

“I think people have always pointed out that I can be critical and kind of harsh that way,” Miller said. “Once you get to know me, or once you see that it’s never done in a malicious way at all, I just don’t have that in me. It’s not coming from a place of mean. It’s coming from a place of stating factual stuff from my perspective. I think people are OK with that for the most part.”

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Jana Novotna, Wimbledon champ and Olympic medalist, dies at 49

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PRAGUE (AP) — Jana Novotna, who won the hearts of the tennis world when she sobbed on the shoulder of a member of the British royal family after a heartbreaking loss in the Wimbledon final, has died at the age of 49.

The WTA announced Novotna’s death on Monday, saying she died Sunday in her native Czech Republic following a long battle with cancer.

Novotna died “peacefully, surrounded by her family,” the women’s tennis body said.

Her family confirmed her death to the Czech Republic’s CTK news agency. No details were given.

Martina Navratilova, the tennis great who was also born in what was then Czechoslovakia, tweeted: “The tennis world is so sad about the passing of Jana Novotna. I am gutted and beyond words. Jana was a true friend and an amazing woman.”

Novotna won her only Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 1998, eventually triumphing after two losses in the final at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in 1993 and 1997.

She added three Olympic tennis medals — singles bronze at Altanta 1996 (knocking out top seed Monica Seles) and doubles silver in 1988 and 1996 with Helena Sukova.

She also lost in the 1991 Australian Open final.

While she finally captured the Grand Slam singles title she longed for in 1998, she won over the Wimbledon crowd five years earlier after wasting a big lead in the decisive set in a tough three-set loss to Steffi Graf.

Unable to hide her disappointment, Novotna cried on the shoulder of Britain’s Duchess of Kent at the prize giving ceremony and was gently comforted by the royal, who told her: “I know you will win it one day, don’t worry.”

Novotna ultimately had her moment five years later when she beat Nathalie Tauziat in straight sets to win Wimbledon. At the time, she was the oldest first-time winner of a Grand Slam singles title at age 29.

There wear tears again from Novotna, this time of joy, and the Duchess of Kent was present again to congratulate her.

“She was a true champion in all senses of the word, and her 1998 triumph will live long in the memory,” Wimbledon organizers the All England Club said in tribute to Novotna. “The thoughts of all those at Wimbledon are with her family and friends.”

Fellow Czech and four-time Grand Slam champion Hana Mandlikova, who coached Novotna for her Wimbledon win, said: “It’s hard to find words. Jana was a great girl and I’m happy that she won Wimbledon after all. It’s so sad when someone so young dies.”

During a 14-year professional career, Novotna won 24 singles titles and reached a career-high No. 2 in the singles rankings in 1997. She was a prolific and top-ranked doubles player, collecting 16 slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles.

She also won the Fed Cup with her country in 1988. Novotna was inducted into tennis’ Hall of Fame in 2005.

Even after retiring in 1999, Novotna was desperate to stay involved in tennis and became a commentator and coach.

“I’m dependent on tennis,” she said in an interview two years ago. “A day without it would be terrible.”

Members of the current Czech Fed Cup team said Novotna “supported us in the stands any time she could be there. We’ll miss her.”

“Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her,” WTA chief executive Steve Simon said. “Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA.”

Houston Texans turn TD celebration into relay race (video)

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The relaxation of NFL celebration rules generated another Olympic sport-themed touchdown celebration on Sunday.

Four Houston Texans players combined to make up a relay team in Sunday’s 31-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Running back Lamar Miller led off after scoring on a seven-yard pass.

Miller, who reportedly ran a 100m in 10.71 seconds as a 16-year-old, handed the football off to DeAndre Hopkins, followed by Braxton Miller and finally Bruce Ellington on anchor.

“I think [Hopkins] came up with that out there,” said Lamar Miller, who briefly sprinted at the University of Miami. “He was like, whoever scored, we should do a relay.”

Unlike some recent U.S. men’s 4x100m teams at the Olympics and world championships, the Texans got the baton around clean.

“No rehearsal,” Lamar Miller said. “I think we would be a great 4x100m team.”

Last month, the Green Bay Packers celebrated like a bobsled team.

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