Martha Karolyi, Gabby Douglas

Martha Karolyi gives updates on Gabby Douglas, more after training camp

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Gabby Douglas is gradually picking up her old skills, said USA Gymnastics National Team coordinator Martha Karolyi, who would like to see the Olympic all-around champion compete twice to be considered for October’s World Championships team.

Douglas attended a U.S. camp last week at the Karolyi ranch for the first time since winning two gold medals at the London Games.

Karolyi said at the end of the five-day camp that she was pleasantly surprised with Douglas’ fitness and the gymnast had a reasonable chance to get back into full shape before the World Championships in China that begin Oct. 3.

“I didn’t know what to expect because I did not see Gabby for two years,” Karolyi said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Every camp we start with verification of physical abilities, and I just saw her doing everything just like she did before.”

That doesn’t mean Douglas is in competition shape, though. Karolyi said Douglas’ intention is to prepare to compete in August. The National Team coordinator wants to see Douglas at the next National Team camp in three weeks and in competition at the Secret U.S. Classic on Aug. 2 in Hoffman Estates, Ill., and the P&G Championships from Aug. 21-24 in Pittsburgh.

“It was pretty nice to see that most of her skills are back, not connected in her routines, but separately,” Karolyi said. “Everything will depend on how much she will be focusing in her training, just like she trained before the Olympics, if she will be able to get ready and compete successfully.”

Douglas must compete at the P&G Championships to be eligible for the World Championships, but since she has not competed since the Olympics, she is not automatically eligible for the P&G Championships yet. Competing at the Secret U.S. Classic could qualify her into the U.S. Championships, or she skip it and petition her way to Pittsburgh.

Karolyi also provided updates on other U.S. gymnasts who have been away from action.

World all-around champion Simone Biles withdrew from April’s Pacific Rim Championships with a shoulder injury. She participated at last week’s camp.

“This training camp, her training on bars was a little bit behind, but the other events, they were looking very good,” Karolyi said. “So she’s on her way to get back in shape just in the right time to compete in [the Secret U.S.] Classic and [P&G] Championships.”

World vault champion McKayla Maroney had knee surgery in March and did not attend last week’s camp.

“I know that she was just released from her therapy, after the surgery,” Karolyi said. “She did strong recuperation. I think she will resume her training, in my opinion, in a very short time.”

Olympic floor exercise champion Aly Raisman is still in training. Raisman, who hasn’t competed since the London Games, has said she wants to return for her first National Team camp after the World Championships in October.

“She is working hard and getting also back her skills,” Karolyi said. “She definitely has aspirations to come back. She even wanted me to listen to some music for her new floor routine. I’m hoping that definitely next year it will be happening.”

Another Olympian, Jordyn Wieber, finishes her freshman year at UCLA this week, but she, too, has not competed since the Olympics.

“I really don’t know anything about Jordyn,” Karolyi said. “I don’t know absolutely anything about her training.”

Karolyi mentioned two other gymnasts when asked to name strong performers at last week’s camp.

“[Olympian] Kyla Ross has always [been] a great role model of very consistent work, and she is doing great, and she is an absolutely beautiful gymnast. I’m very much basing on her contribution to the World team,” Karolyi said. “Another name, which probably nobody has this name in their mind, is MyKayla Skinner. She is one of the gymnasts who came to our camps for several years but never was strong enough to be considered, but at this time her skill level is very high, and she improved her execution, which is also very important, her presentation and execution. That improved a lot. She has an excellent shot to be important at this World Championship.”

One more gymnast gaining attention is McKenna Kelley, the 17-year-old daughter of 1984 Olympic all-around champion Mary Lou Retton.

Kelley is in the process of moving into the U.S. elite program from the lower Junior Olympic program, but likely won’t improve quickly enough to be considered for this year’s World Championships, Karolyi said.

“She certainly is almost as bouncy as Mary Lou was,” said Karolyi, who coached Retton with her husband, Bela, three decades ago. “She would need a little bit more time, but she shows great potential. … She will be in the elite program, but it’s just the beginning, and it takes time to move up to a higher level.”

Olympic silver medalist signs with Chicago White Sox

Vonn wins Spirit of Sport Award at Laureus World Sports Awards

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MONACO (AP) — Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods, Novak Djokovic and the France national soccer team were among the winners at the Laureus World Sports Awards, with Woods claiming the Comeback Award 19 years after he was first recognized.

Vonn, who retired during the recent Alpine skiing world championships , took home the Spirit of Sport Award, which is given to an athlete for relentless dedication to his or her career, and France was honored for winning the World Cup in July.

Woods, who won the inaugural World Sportsman of the Year award in 2000, won the Tour Championship in September for his 80th PGA Tour title and his first since August 2013.

Djokovic matched Usain Bolt’s record by being named World Sportsman of the Year for the fourth time after winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He also earned the honor in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Simone Biles was named World Sportswoman of the Year for winning four gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the gymnastics world championships. Naomi Osaka won the Breakthrough Award for winning the U.S. Open and Chloe Kim was named the World Action Sportsperson of the Year.

The awards were given in recognition of outstanding sports performance in 2018.

Remembering the day Dan Jansen struck Olympic gold, 25 years ago

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By US Speedskating

Many of us remember that momentous day 25 years ago (Friday, Feb. 18, 1994), when Dan Jansen finally achieved his dream and won an Olympic gold medal in the 1000m in world record fashion at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

It was a moment of triumph and exhilaration for Jansen. It was also a time of celebration for many Americans, the whole world for that matter, to see the down-to-earth, all-American good guy finally snap the Olympic medal jinx in such dramatic fashion. The world was a nicer place when Jansen struck Olympic gold.

“Overall I have been very blessed, because of who I am, what I’ve done and how I did it,” Jansen said. “I am in a position to do positive things in this world. If my visibility and character can be used to create more awareness and raise funds for worthy causes, I am happy to do what I can.”

Dan turned his Olympic glory into another form of gold when he started the Dan Jansen Foundation. Thanks to the generosity of individual donors, corporate contributions and his own charity golf outing, his foundation is helping in the fight against leukemia, assisting high school seniors in pursuit of higher education, and supporting a variety of youth sports programs.

Since 1995, the DJ Foundation has contributed more than $800,000 to needy families and causes.

The DJF/Jane Jansen Beres Family Aid Fund has benefited over 700 families affected by leukemia and related cancers. The DJF Scholarship Fund has helped more than 100 high school seniors who need financial aid and have demonstrated the Dan Jansen spirit toward life, education and overcoming adversity. Olympic speed skaters striving to realize their Olympic dream have been among those who also have benefited.

The goal this year for Dan and the Dan Jansen Foundation is to surpass the $1 million mark in total funds donated to worthy causes and those in need.

In honor of Jansen’s epic Olympic gold medal performance, a special Dan Jansen 25th (Gold turns Silver) Anniversary Tribute is being planned on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Donors and participants are being invited to take a trip down memory lane with Jansen; catch up with an Olympic icon and one of Wisconsin’s favorite sons; and honor his achievements with special tributes from the likes of Olympic gold medalists Mike Eruzione (hockey), Kristi Yamaguchi (figure skating), Bonnie Blair (speedskating) and other luminaries. They’ll also be showing their support for the Dan Jansen Foundation.

In addition, Dan serves on the Board of Directors for Cool Kids Campaign Foundation. This foundation provides services and resources to children with cancer and their families in Baltimore, MD and soon in Charlotte, NC. To learn more about Cool Kids Campaign Foundation, go to coolkidscampaign.com

For information on the attending this charity fundraising event or making a donation to this, cause visit djfoundation.org or contact Sean Callahan, Executive Director Dan Jansen Foundation at 414-687-7781.

MORE: Catching up with Bonnie Blair

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