Phil Mickelson’s long-term goal is 2016 Olympics

Phil Mickelson
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Phil Mickelson has designs on making the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team at age 46.

The five-time major champion explained his excitement at golf’s Olympic debut in a video interview published Thursday.

“The thing I’m working for is ’16,” Mickelson said. “I want to be an Olympic athlete. I think it’d be really cool. I think it’d be a life experience. I think it’d be something I never thought would happen because golf’s never been in the Olympics.”

But can he make it? The Olympic qualification system for golf allows the top 15 players in the world to automatically make it, capped at four players from one nation. After that, the field is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking with players from countries that don’t already have two players.

So, Mickelson pretty much has to be top 15 and one of the top four Americans. He is currently No. 4 and the second American overall, behind No. 1 Tiger Woods. The next best American, Steve Stricker, is three years older than Mickelson.

After that, he’s got competition from Matt KucharBrandt SnedekerJason DufnerDustin JohnsonZach Johnson and Keegan Bradley, all in their 20s or 30s.

“It’ll be a challenge for me to be playing at the highest level when I’m 46 in three years, but right now I’m still one of the top guys in the world,” Mickelson said. “I’m playing some of the best golf I’ve ever played.

“I’m so excited about these upcoming years, but really with the longer term goal, three years down the road, of being an Olympic athlete.”

Olympic decathlon champion wants to make 2020 Olympics in golf

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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