Steve Holcomb

Steven Holcomb competed at Olympics with torn Achilles

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That calf strain that Steven Holcomb fought through to win two bronze medals in Sochi was actually a torn Achilles, according to the bobsledder’s social media.

Before the diagnosis, Holcomb said his two- and four-man bobsled teams could have won two silver medals in Sochi if not for his injury.

“Unfortunately, my calf injury held us back,” Holcomb said at the Best of U.S. Awards in Washington last week. “These guys [teammates] rose to the occasion. I couldn’t push quite as hard as I wanted to.”

Holcomb said gold medals, even if healthy, were out of reach because of Russian Aleksandr Zubkov‘s experience on his home-nation track. Zubkov’s sled set track records in winning both the two- and four-man competitions.

Holcomb and his four-man teammates Chris FogtSteven Langton and Curt Tomasevicz haven’t seen too much of each other since Sochi after essentially living together in the previous six months.

Holcomb said he will continue his break until May or June. Tomasevicz, 33 and the only push athlete on both the 2010 and 2014 sleds, has retired.

“There’s going to be 100 second thoughts,” Tomasevicz said last week. “Come September, October, it’s going to be tough sitting around, watching, and not being a part of it. Hopefully, I’ll find something else to occupy my focus.”

The Army Capt. Fogt will go back on active duty in May, heading to Fort Huachuca in Arizona. He expects to spend six months there and then around a year and a half “wherever the Army sends me.” He speculated Germany, Korea or Georgia.

“I’m very, very excited,” said Fogt, who hopes to return to bobsledding before the 2018 Olympics. “After the last [Olympics], I went to Iraq for a year. That was my first love. I joined the Army in 2005 and started bobsledding in 2007. It’s been a great experience. I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity of being a regular Joe and working with soldiers again.”

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Swimming short-course records in peril as FINA recognizes ISL times

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In the debut season of the International Swimming League, six U.S. short-course records have fallen. USA Swimming has recognized the new circuit’s times from the outset.

International body FINA, which at first threatened to ban swimmers who participated in the ISL and then said it would not recognize records from the team-based league, which debuted in October and will hold its first final meet Dec. 20-21 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, is now recognizing those times, and the effects on its statistics have been drastic.

MORE: Ledecky sets U.S. record in ISL debut

This morning, a downloaded list of the top times in the world this year included no ISL times. By the afternoon, times from the ISL’s meet over the weekend in College Park, Md., accounted for most of the times on the lists, including the top 10 in the women’s 50m freestyle and women’s 100m freestyle.

So far, the ISL hasn’t figured into the top five on many all-time FINA lists. But the best short-course times are typically posted near the end of the year, and the ISL has two meets remaining.

The U.S. record book has already changed. In October, Katie Ledecky set the 400m freestyle record (3:54.06) and Melanie Margalis set the 200m medley mark (2:04.18).

In College Park this weekend, Margalis also set the U.S. 400m medley record (4:24.46) and Ian Finnerty set two records the 50m breaststroke (25.99), with runner-up Michael Andrew also beating the previous record, and the 100m breaststroke (56.29). Also, Caeleb Dressel set the 50m butterfly record (22.21).

Only half of the swimmers in the ISL will advance to the final, and qualification isn’t necessarily in their hands. After the College Park meet, the Cali Condors and LA Current clinched spots in Las Vegas. That’s bad news for Andrew (New York Breakers), Finnerty (DC Trident) and Ledecky (DC Trident).

Dressel, Margalis and Lilly King — all representing the Condors — will have another shot at records in Vegas. 

FINA, as usual, is running its World Cup circuit during the fall and early winter, and some swimmers — including overall World Cup champions Vladimir Morozov and Cate Campbell — are pulling double duty between the World Cup and ISL.

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IOC announces deal with Airbnb to add housing for future Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee has moved to help with the scramble to house the influx of athletes, staff and spectators with each Olympics, making a deal with online housing broker Airbnb to add accommodations for the Games through 2028.

“The agreement includes accommodation provisions that will reduce costs for Olympic Games organizers and stakeholders, minimize the need for construction of new accommodation infrastructure for the Olympic Games period, and generate direct revenue for local hosts and communities,” the IOC announced.

Airbnb’s partnership also includes accommodation for disability athletes for the Paralympic Games, and the company will join large global companies such as Coca-Cola, Visa and Panasonic as worldwide Olympic partners.

Athletes also will have a chance to make money by hosting travelers.

“As an Olympian host, you can create and lead an experience inspired by your expertise and interests,” reads an explanation on the Olympic athlete support portal Athlete365.

Outside the Olympics and Olympic athlete experiences, the IOC and Airbnb are pledging to work together on long-term support to refugees.

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