Erin Hamlin, bronze medal hanging with the stars since Sochi Olympics

Erin Hamlin
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NEW YORK — The bronze medal is a a little dinged and scratched, but Erin Hamlin says that just gives it a little character.

“It needs to be loved,” she said.

It’s seen an array of stars in the two months since Hamlin, the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic luge medal, returned from Sochi. Hamlin met Ben Affleck at the Oscars, President Barack Obama at the White House and noticed actors Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart from her floor seats at a Knicks game.

“Pretty much the best seats you could possibly have,” she said.

Hamlin’s latest tour stop took place Thursday, when she spoke to 125 middle school kids for one of her sponsors, Citi, and threw out a first pitch before the Mets-Cardinals game at Citi Field.

Hamlin, a three-time Olympian, expects to compete next season. She hopes to slide with the same attitude she took going into the Olympics. No pressure.

“There’s not too much that’s right in front of me that I’m like, I need to accomplish this,” she said. “I just slid well, I’m going fast, why would I stop now? … I just feel like I shouldn’t be done yet.”

Hamlin’s menu of accomplishments is unrivaled all time among U.S. singles lugers. She has the Olympic bronze, a 2009 World Championships gold, a Best of U.S. Award as the top female Sochi Olympian and her own sundae at Soda Fountain, a restaurant in her hometown of Remsen, N.Y.

How would she rank the four?

“Can I just have them all tied?” she joked. She thought it over and listed them:

1. Olympic bronze medal
2. World Championships gold medal
3. Best of U.S. Award
4. World champion Erin Hamlin Sundae

“As much as I love my sundae, winning a medal was definitely the cherry on top of the sundae,” said Hamlin, who last indulged on one of the sundaes in March — vanilla ice cream with peanut butter, hot fudge, Oreos, peanut butter cups, whipped cream and a cherry for $6.95.

Hamlin met Obama on April 3, one day after winning her Best of U.S. Award in Washington.

“He asked me how on Earth I got into luge and then proceeded to tell me how crazy I am,” Hamlin said. “Which is pretty spot on. We get that a lot. I told him he should come try it some time. I don’t know if that’ll happen.”

Since coming home, Hamlin has yet to see video of the entirety of any of her four runs from the Sochi Olympics.

“I’ve only seen a couple pieces of the final run and the highlight from me winning the medal,” she said. “It’s killing me. I want to see my runs really bad.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final

Annemiek van Vleuten, with broken elbow, becomes oldest to win world road race title

Annemiek van Vleuten
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WOLLONGONG, Australia — Annemiek van Vleuten surprised herself and the rest of cycling by recording the finest win of her career on Saturday at the world road championships.

Overcoming an elbow fracture sustained three days earlier, the Dutch great won her second world road race title with an attack in the last 600 meters that caught the other eight leaders napping.

The 39-year-old rider and her Dutch teammates were in disbelief at the finish after she put the exclamation mark on a 164.3-kilometer event. She became the oldest man or woman to win a world championships road race, according to Gracenote.

The 2019 World champion and reigning Olympic and world time trial winner claimed cycling’s triple crown this year when she landed the Italian, French and Spanish tours.

But for Van Vleuten, who will retire at the end of next season, what she did on Saturday was extra special.

“Maybe this is my best victory . . . I am still speechless, I still can’t believe it,” she said. “It took me some time to realize I’d really pulled it off because I’m waiting for the moment that they tell me there was someone in front or it was a joke. I had the feeling it cannot be true.”

She crashed in Wednesday’s mixed team relay at the worlds and sustained the fracture, describing the pain during Saturday’s race as “hell.”

The win also continues the domination of the Dutch women, who have finished on the road race podium at all but three of the last 20 worlds.

Earlier Saturday, Britain’s Zoe Backstedt celebrated her 18th birthday by turning the junior road event into a one-woman race.

In wet and cold conditions, Backstedt cycled away from the peloton with a solo attack at 10 kms and stayed clear for the remaining 57 kms to win by more than two minutes. Eglantine Rayer of France was second ahead of Dutch rider Nienke Vinke.

Backstedt retained her junior road race title and also is a world champion on the track and in cyclocross.

The championships end Sunday with the men’s road race.

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