David Boudia

David Boudia scraps springboard plan; Nick McCrory retires

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Olympic diving champion David Boudia will stick with the platform and not try to add a springboard event going into the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Boudia, who in London became the first U.S. Olympic diving gold medalist since 2000, competed in national and international springboard events in 2013 and 2014 for the first time since 2010.

Boudia last competed in July and said then that he wanted to make the 2016 Olympic team in three events — individual platform (his gold medal event), synchronized platform and either individual or synchronized springboard.

That’s no longer the case.

Boudia said he and his coach, Adam Soldati, and USA Diving high-performance director Steve Foley discussed his options in February and came to the conclusion he would try for two events in Rio. Boudia also entered two events at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

“We want to have me set up for the best success that we can,” Boudia said in a phone interview Tuesday. “We want to put all our eggs in one basket in platform. That’s what I’ve been doing all my career. That’s what I’m good at.”

Boudia, 25, will compete next week for the first time in eight months and the first time individually on platform in 11 months, at the FINA Diving World Series opener in Beijing (full U.S. roster here).

“I’m not really expecting to be at the top of my game,” Boudia said. “I’m eager to see what the other divers look like, but I’m even more eager to get back up on the 10-meter [platform].”

Boudia showed promising early results in springboard last season, finishing eighth at the FINA World Cup in Shanghai but only 17 points out of third place.

He also saw that his platform rivals, such as Chinese World champion Qiu Bo and Great Britain’s Tom Daley, were still specializing in platform only.

“It’s just a hard event, and it’s even harder when you’re doing both,” Boudia said. “If I decided to do three events, I could do fairly well.”

He speculated finishing something like fourth, fifth and sixth at a major meet in three events. Canadian Alex Despatie was second, fourth and fifth in three events at the Athens 2004 Olympics.

Boudia would rather try to become the first man since Greg Louganis (1984, 1988) to repeat as Olympic platform champion than become the first American since Mark Ruiz (2000) to make the Olympics in both springboard and platform. He left the door open to add springboard after the 2016 Olympics.

In December, Boudia suffered a broken right foot slipping on the springboard in “a fluke accident” in practice and joked it may have been a sign he should quit springboard.

He’s also dealt with wrist tweaks, common for platform divers, but a little bit of adversity for Boudia, who stayed relatively injury-free since his Olympic debut at age 19 in 2008.

Boudia also became a father on Sept. 10, when wife Sonnie gave birth to daughter Dakoda.

In November, he learned that his Olympic synchro platform partner Nick McCrory retired to pursue medical studies. McCrory, who earned bronze with Boudia in London, had barely competed since the 2012 Games. Boudia had already started training and competing with a new partner, Purdue’s Steele Johnson.

Boudia and Johnson will return to synchro competition in May, after Johnson’s NCAA season.

Pan American Games medals include Braille (photos)

Gracie Gold qualifies for nationals, Polina Edmunds shut out

NBC Sports Gold
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2014 Olympian Gracie Gold qualified for the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships by virtue of a third-place finish at the Eastern Sectional Singles Final on Saturday in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

“Bronze: so hot this fall,” Gold posted on Instagram. She last competed at U.S. nationals in 2017, when she finished sixth. She won the national title in 2014 and 2016.

Gold sat second after the short program with 63.55 points, and ultimately finished third overall with 109.90 points in the free skate for 173.45 points. The top four at the event qualify for the national championships in Greensboro, North Carolina in January.

Her free skate included a fall on the opening triple Lutz and an under-rotation on the triple Lutz, double toe loop combination. She also put a hand down on the landing of a double Axel. The rest of the program, though, was clean.

Her performance, set to “She Used to be Mine” by Sara Bareilles, can be found at the 2:05 mark of the on-demand stream of the event for NBC Gold Pass subscribers.

Meanwhile, her Sochi teammate Polina Edmunds was shut out of nationals based on a fifth-place finish at the Pacific Coast Sectional Singles Final (top four qualify). Her performance can be found for NBC Gold Pass subscribers at the 1:50 mark of the on-demand stream for the event. Edmunds last competed at Nationals in 2016, when she earned the silver medal behind Gold.

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Bronze: so hot this fall 🥉

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Brittany Bowe extends unbeaten streak to open speed skating World Cup

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Brittany Bowe extended one of the most dominant runs for any U.S. Winter Olympian, earning her first straight World Cup 1000m win to open the season on Sunday.

Bowe, fourth and eighth in the event at her two Olympics, clocked 1:15.35 in Minsk, Belarus, to beat PyeongChang gold medalist Jorien ter Mors by six tenths. Ter Mors missed all of last season after knee surgery.

Bowe won every World Cup 1000m dating to last December, plus her second world title in the event last February, lowering track records at each stop.

She ended last season by breaking the world record by .48 of a second on the fast ice of the 2002 Olympic oval in Kearns, Utah. That time — 1:11.61 — would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1997.

Bowe, a former Florida Atlantic point guard who missed all of 2016-17 with a concussion, is up to 23 career World Cup wins. That’s fifth on the U.S. all-time list behind Bonnie Blair (69), Shani Davis (58), Dan Jansen (46) and Heather Bergsma (34), according to schaatsstatistieken.nl.

The World Cup moves to Poland next week.

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