Jeremy Abbott ‘kind of on the fence’ about retiring

Jeremy Abbott
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NEW YORK — Jeremy Abbott isn’t ready to retire just yet.

The four-time U.S. champion is reconsidering a plan to walk away from competitive figure skating after the recently finished season. He cited his performance at the World Championships two weeks ago, where he finished fifth, as a motivator.

“Going through the whole week of worlds, I really felt like I could potentially compete another year,” said Abbott, smiling and wearing a colorful bow tie at a Figure Skating in Harlem event in Central Park on Monday night. “I’m kind of on the fence at the moment. I really need to take some time away from the sport and really meditate over it and mull things over inside. If I continue, what I would want to do it for and why.”

Abbott, 28, matched his best career World Championships finish in Saitama, Japan, in his fifth World Championships appearance. He was coming off a second straight disappointing Olympic showing, taking 12th in Sochi after placing ninth in Vancouver in 2010. Abbott did win a bronze medal in the Olympic team event.

“I learned so much about myself this season, as a skater, as a competitor, more than I have in my entire career,” Abbott said in between autographing pictures and skates indoors, sheltered from plodding rain. “I really felt like I gained a lot of momentum. I kind of want to put that to use.”

Abbott was in eighth place after the short program at the World Championships but had the fourth best free skate, trailing only the gold, silver and bronze medalists.

“If that was my finale, what a way to go,” Abbott said. “If not, hopefully I have more to give.”

Abbott will continue skating no matter what. If it’s not in competitions, it will be in shows such as the ongoing Stars on Ice tour. He gained perspective on his career listening to his introduction at the first show last week.

“Olympic bronze medalist, four-time national champion” preceded his name.

“Have I really been at this that long?” he said.

Abbott has won more U.S. titles than Evan Lysacek or Johnny Weir and the same number as Scott Hamilton and Brian Boitano.

“I’ve always wanted to skate,” Abbott said. “If and when I decide to retire … I want to perform. I want to be on the ice. I want to continue contributing to the sport. I feel like I still have a lot to offer.”

Mirai Nagasu talks about missing Olympics

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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