Seven gold medalists who still can’t vote

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Dear America: go vote.

No, seriously, if you’re an American of voting age currently reading this and you haven’t voted, please turn off your computer (or phone, or what have you) and go to your local polling location. Done? Cool.

One of our favorite Olympians in history, Bob Mathias, was only 17 when he won his first of two consecutive decathlon golds at the 1948 London Games. Unfortunately the teen champ then fell about 15 days shy of voting in the election when Truman famously defeated Dewey a couple months later.

We say unfortunately because we assume Mathias would have been one of the first people at the polls. And he likely would have tried to tip the scales in Dewey’s favor since he later became a four-term republican congressman from California, but we’ll never know for sure.

So with another London Olympics is in the books wanted to know which 2012 American gold medalists are still too young to vote. We’d like to imagine at least one of the seven teen gold medalists, who accounted for 11 golds between them, will follow in Mathias’s footsteps and  one day represent her state on Capitol Hill.

Katie Ledecky, 15, Maryland – swimming gold in 800m freestyle
Gabby Douglas, 16, Iowa – gymnastics gold in team and all-around competition
McKayla Maroney, 16, California – gymnastics gold in team competition, silver in vault
Kyla Ross, 16, California – gymnastics gold in team competition
Jordyn Weiber, 17, Michigan – gymnastics gold in team competition
Missy Franklin, 17, Colorado – swimming gold in 100m and 200m back, and two relays
Claressa Shields, 17, New York – boxing gold in the middleweight division

Also notable: Lia Neal of New York won a swimming bronze in London at only 17, and our entire ladies table tennis team, which includes Ariel Hsing, Erica Wu, and Lily Zhang, is made up of 16-year-olds from California.

Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”