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)

First Olympic women’s aerials champion Cheryazova dies at 50

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MOSCOW (AP) Lina Cheryazova, the first woman to win an Olympic aerials skiing gold medal, has died. She was 50.

Officials in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where Cheryazova was living for the last two decades, said she died “following a lengthy illness,” without giving further details.

Competing for Uzbekistan, Cheryazova won gold with a triple flip when aerials skiing debuted on the Olympic program in 1994 in Lillehammer.

Shortly after winning, she learned her mother died three weeks before.

Cheryazova’s career was derailed later that year when she suffered a serious head injury while training in the United States, and spent days in a coma. She retired after failing to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Clare Egan notches first World Cup podium in biathlon season finale

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In the final biathlon event of the 2018-19 season, American Clare Egan recorded her first career World Cup podium finish, placing third in the mass start in Oslo, Norway. She hit 19 of 20 targets and crossed the finish line 10.4 seconds behind winner Hanna Oberg of Sweden. Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff finished second.

Egan, 31, made her Olympic debut at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, but considered retiring from biathlon at the end of the last season. “I decided that I wanted to do one more year, just for fun, just to see how much I could learn and how good a biathlete I could become,” Egan said in a U.S. Biathlon press release.

Her decision to continue has paid off: since the start of the 2018-19 season, Egan has posted the top eight finishes of her career (including three top-10 results). She concludes the season ranked 18th in the overall World Cup standings.

“I skied much faster this year than I have in the past and I think that was due to finally finding a good balance in my training, between working hard and resting. I did not train more, but the quality was much higher. I’m very excited for the next season,” Egan told U.S. Biathlon.