Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt celebrates in style at Commonwealth Games; plans 2017 retirement

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Usain Bolt danced to a popular Scottish song, sprinted on a wet track for 10 seconds and took a half-hour victory lap, wearing a tartan hat and scarf for much of it at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Saturday.

Bolt, at his first meet of 2014 after missing the early season with a foot injury, anchored the Jamaican 4x100m relay team to gold in a Commonwealth Games-record time (race video here).

He confirmed afterward that he planned to retire after the 2017 World Championships, which he also indicated two years ago.

“I have always said that after Rio [de Janeiro 2016 Olympics] I wanted to retire, but they keep saying I should go onto 2017, so I think I might just do that, so that will be my last championship,” Bolt said, according to News Corp Australia.

“This training thing is not so easy. I am just happy I have done what I wanted to do in this sport.

“I remember I asked Michael Johnson why he retired when he was on top, and he told me there wasn’t nothing left to accomplish.

“When you are in sport and you have accomplished everything, then you should just retire. Because to stay in sports with these young kids coming up, you may just start getting beaten and for me, I hate losing.”

In the race, the six-time Olympic champion crossed the finish line at Hampden Park in 37.58 seconds.

He received the red baton about even with England and opened up a .44 winning margin, running hard for his leg and even dipping at the finish.

Then the party began. Bolt flashed his signature “To Di World” pose and yelled, “Money in the bank!” in front of a camera.

He spent about a half-hour on his victory lap, putting on a blue and green tartan hat and scarf and carrying both the Jamaican and Scottish flags.

He stopped for several selfies and even took a fan’s camera for his own selfie in front of five girls. The embrace of Scotland was even more significant given a Times of London report he made disparaging comments about the Commonwealth Games last week, comments Bolt refuted.

“I tell you man, these selfies make victory laps very long,” Bolt said, according to News Corp Australia.

Here’s Bolt dancing before the race to The Proclaimers’ song, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”:

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Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

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Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

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