Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps hope to meet for first time before Olympic farewell

Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps
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Usain Bolt recently played the game Heads Up in a video interview, taking index cards and raising them above his head, one by one, without looking at the words on the card.

For each card, the interviewer gave Bolt clues for him to guess what was written on the card. Midway through the game, an interesting card came up.

The clue: “He was the most accomplished athlete in the 2008 Olympics.”

Bolt’s answer: “Usain Bolt,” without hesitating.

The name on the card: “Michael Phelps.”

Bolt quickly corrected himself and said, “Michael Phelps,” after the interviewer shook his head but before the interviewer could say the swimmer’s name. Bolt smiled, laughed a little and said he was “messing around” in first naming himself.

It was just one moment in a humorous exercise, but it was a reminder that two of the greatest Olympians of all time, who peaked at the same Beijing Games, both will likely say their Olympic farewells in Rio de Janeiro in two years (assuming Phelps continues on his comeback toward Rio; Bolt has said he will retire in 2017).

And they say they have never met. Not at an awards show. Not even at three previous Olympics together, inside the athletes’ village.

“Normally you see athletes that you pass and you say hello to,” Phelps said last month. “I’ve never seen him, never walked past him.”

Both Phelps and Bolt said they would like to meet one another.

“I mean, you definitely would want to meet the fastest man in the  world,” Phelps said.

“It’d be cool to meet him,” Bolt said. “Just to have a conversation with him.”

Bolt said he’s never been to any of Phelps’ races, but he’s watched swimming on TV in the athletes’ village.

“It’s just outstanding, what he does,” Bolt said. “I know swimming is hard. I have respect for every sport because I’ve tried different sports at different times. I’ve noticed the hard work that people put in.

“Somebody to go out and win eight gold medals, that’s no joke. It’s nothing but respect.”

Asked what he thought of Bolt, Phelps said:

“Obviously, he’s a  very talented athlete, and the fastest man to ever walk the Earth. I don’t really know what else to say.”

Usain Bolt Q&A on Olympic history, Justin Gatlin, more

Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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Kaillie Humphries begins trek to 2026 Winter Olympics with monobob World Cup win

Kaillie Humphries
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Kaillie Humphries is off to a strong start to a four-year cycle that she hopes ends with her breaking the record as the oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

Humphries, the women’s record holder with three Olympic bobsled titles, earned her first World Cup victory since February’s Winter Games, taking a monobob in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Humphries, the first Olympic monobob champion, prevailed by .31 of a second over German Lisa Buckwitz combining times from two runs at the 2002 Olympic track.

Humphries has said since February’s Olympics that she planned to take time off in this four-year cycle to start a family, then return in time for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games. Humphries, who can become the first female Olympic bobsledder in her 40s, shared her experiences with IVF in the offseason on her social media.

“We’ve pushed pause so that I could go and compete this season, maintain my world ranking to be able to still work towards my 2026 goals, and we’ll go back in March to do the implantation of the embryos that we did retrieve,” she said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The next Games come 20 years after her first Olympic experience in Italy, which was a sad one. Humphries, then a bobsled push athlete, was part of the Canadian delegation at the 2006 Torino Games, marched at the Opening Ceremony and had her parents flown in to cheer her on.

But four days before the competition, Humphries learned she was not chosen for either of the two Canadian push athlete spots. She vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She has since become the greatest female driver in history — Olympic golds in 2010, 2014 and 2022, plus five world championships.

Her longtime rival, five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, plans to return to competition from her second childbirth later in this Olympic cycle and can also break the record of oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

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