Jordyn Wieber announces gymnastics retirement

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U.S. Olympic team champion Jordyn Wieber announced her elite gymnastics retirement Friday, writing she’s been away from the gym for about a year and confirming a December report she would not try to make the 2016 Olympic team.

“Since the age of four, gymnastics was the center of my entire life,” Wieber wrote. “Deciding to end that part of my life was one of the most difficult, emotion-filled decisions I have ever made.”

Wieber, 19, hasn’t competed since she won gold as part of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

Wieber’s career goes down as one of the best in U.S. history. Wieber and Shannon Miller are the only U.S. gymnasts to win World Championships individual all-around gold medals and Olympic team golds.

At the 2012 Olympics, Wieber placed fourth overall in all-around qualifying but third among Americans, behind Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman. One nation may qualify a maximum two athletes for each individual final, meaning Wieber missed the Olympic all-around final one year after winning the World all-around title.

Two days later, she helped the U.S. to its first Olympic team gold since 1996. She later placed seventh in the floor exercise final.

Medical tests after the Olympics showed Wieber competed in London with a stress fracture in her right leg.

“I want to be sure it is known that I am completely fulfilled and content with my experience at the Games,” Wieber wrote. “It was difficult to accept the reality of having an injury at the most crucial moment in my career. I am grateful that I was able to compete and be part of winning the Olympic Team Gold.”

In 2011, Wieber swept the American Cup, U.S. Championships and World Championships all-around titles in her first year as a senior gymnast. She also won the 2012 American Cup and 2012 U.S. Championship before placing second to Douglas at the Olympic trials.

The other four members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team plan to continue competing. Douglas and Raisman rejoined the U.S. national team in November and could compete this month for the first time since the Olympics.

Olympic vault silver medalist McKayla Maroney won the World title on vault in 2013 but missed all of 2014 following knee surgery in March.

Kyla Ross, the youngest member of the 2012 Olympic team, competed each of the last two years. She won silver and bronze in the all-around at the 2013 and 2014 World Championships behind the new U.S. star, Simone Biles.

No U.S. women’s gymnast has made back-to-back Olympic teams since Amy Chow and Dominique Dawes in 1996 and 2000.

Biles headlines the American Cup in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday (NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra, 1-3 p.m. ET).

Is Simone Biles unbeatable?

Chicago Marathon features Emily Sisson’s return, Conner Mantz’s debut, live on Peacock

Emily Sisson
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At Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, Emily Sisson makes her return, nearly three years after Olympic Trials disappointment. Conner Mantz makes one of the most anticipated U.S. men’s debuts in 26.2-mile racing.

It is not the norm, but an American will be one of the spotlight runners in both the men’s and women’s elite races at a major marathon. Peacock airs live coverage at 8 a.m. ET.

Sisson, 30, starts her first mass marathon since dropping out of the Olympic Trials on Feb. 29, 2020, her legs “destroyed” on the hilly Atlanta course where she started as arguably the favorite. She ran the virtual New York City Marathon later in 2020, but that was solo (and not in New York City). Her 2:38:00 isn’t recorded in her official results on her World Athletics bio.

Since, Sisson won the Olympic Trials 10,000m on the track and was the top American in Tokyo in 10th place. She moved back to the roads, winning national titles at 15km and the half marathon and breaking the American record in the latter.

Sisson vaulted into the elite group of U.S. female marathoners in 2019, when she clocked the second-fastest debut marathon in American history, a 2:23:08 on a windy day in London, where the early pace was slow.

At the time, it was the 12th-best U.S. performance all-time. In the last two years, Keira D’Amato, 37, and Sara Hall, 39, combined to run seven faster marathons. At Chicago, a flat course that produced a world record three years ago, Sisson can answer them and perhaps get close to D’Amato’s American record 2:19:12.

“I’m hoping sub-2:20,” coach Ray Treacy said, according to LetsRun.com. “With the [super] shoes and the training behind her, I would think that’s [worth] at least three minutes.”

It is less likely that Sisson can challenge for the win on Sunday given the presence of Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the 2019 World champion and defending champion in the Windy City. The 28-year-old mom is the fifth-fastest woman in history with a personal best of 2:17:08. And Ethiopian Ruti Aga, a podium finisher in Berlin, New York City and Tokyo with a best time of 2:18:34, though she has one marathon finish since the pandemic (a seventh place).

Like Sisson, Mantz has shown strong recent road racing form. The American men’s debut marathon record of 2:07:56 (Leonard Korir) is in play. If he can break that, Mantz will be among the five fastest U.S. marathoners in history.

Rarely has a U.S. male distance runner as accomplished as Mantz moved up to the marathon at such a young age (25). At BYU, he won NCAA cross-country titles in 2020 and 2021 and placed fifth in the Olympic Trials 10,000m, then turned pro and won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships last December.

“If everything goes as planned, I think sub-2:08 is realistic,” Mantz said in a Citius Mag video interview last month. “If everything goes perfect on the day, I think a sub-2:07, that’s a big stretch goal.”

The men’s field doesn’t have the singular star power of Chepngetich, but a large group of East Africans with personal bests around 2:05. The most notable: defending champion Seifu Tura of Ethiopia and 2021 Boston Marathon winner Benson Kipruto of Kenya.

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Alpine skiing to test new format for combined race

Alpine Skiing Combined
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Alpine skiing officials will test a new format for the combined event, a race that is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the International Ski Federation (FIS) will test a new team format for the combined, which has been an individual event on the Olympic program since 1988. L’Equipe reported that a nation can use a different skier for the downhill and slalom in the new setup, quoting FIS secretary general Michel Vion.

For example, the U.S. could use Breezy Johnson in the downhill run and sub her out for Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom run, should the format be adopted into senior competition.

The format will be tested at the world junior championships in January in St. Anton, Austria, according to the report.

In response to the report, a FIS spokesperson said, “Regarding the new format of the combined is correct, and our directors are working on the rules so for the moment the only thing we can confirm is that there will be this new format for the Alpine combined that has been proposed by the athletes’ commission.”

Some version of the combined event has been provisionally included on the 2026 Olympic program, with a final IOC decision on its place coming by April.

This will be the third consecutive World Cup season with no combined events. Instead, FIS has included more parallel races in recent years. The individual combined remains on the biennial world championships program.

L’Equipe also reported that the mixed team parallel event, which is being dropped from the Olympics, will also be dropped from the biennial world championships after this season.

“There is nothing definitive about that yet, but it is a project in the making,” a FIS spokesperson said in commenting on the report.

Vion said the mixed team event, which debuted at the Olympics in 2018, was not a hit at the Beijing Games and did not draw a strong audience, according to L’Equipe.

The World Cup season starts in two weeks with the traditional opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria.

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