Jordyn Wieber announces gymnastics retirement

Leave a comment

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?

Noah Lyles raises black-gloved fist, wins 200m in Monaco

Leave a comment

Noah Lyles said he had plans going forward to make statements, beyond his rapid sprint times. He did that in Monaco on Friday.

Lyles raised a black, fingerless-gloved right fist before getting into the blocks to win a 200m in his first international race of the season, conjuring memories of the famous 1968 Olympic podium gesture.

He clocked 19.76 seconds, leading a one-two with younger brother Josephus. Full results are here.

“As athletes it’s hard to show that you love your country and also say that change is needed,” was posted on Lyles’ Instagram, along with hashtags including #blacklivesmatter. “This is my way of saying this country is great but it can be better.”

Lyles, the world 200m champion, also paid respect to 1968 Olympic 200m gold and bronze medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos three hours before the race.

He tweeted an iconic image of Smith and Carlos raising their single black-gloved fists on the medal stand at the Mexico City Games. Thirteen minutes earlier, Lyles posted an Instagram Story image of his socks for the meet — plain, dark colored.

Smith and Carlos wore black socks without shoes on the podium to signify endemic poverty back in the U.S. at the time.

Lyles is known for his socks, often posting images of colorful pairs he wears before races, themes including Speed Racer, R2-D2 and Sonic the Hedgehog.

“We are at the point where you can’t do nothing anymore,” Lyles said Wednesday. “There aren’t any rules set out. You’re kind of just pushing the boundary as far as you can go. Some people have said, even if there were rules, they’re willing to go farther than that.”

MORE: Noah, Josephus Lyles take 4-year journey to Monaco

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!


Joshua Cheptegei breaks 5000m world record in Monaco

Leave a comment

Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei broke a 16-year-old world record in the 5000m by nearly two seconds, clocking 12:35.36 in Monaco on Friday.

Cheptegei, the 2019 World 10,000m champion who reportedly needed 80 hours to travel from Uganda for the Diamond League meet, took 1.99 seconds off Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele‘s world record from 2004. Bekele is also the 10,000m world-record holder and the second-fastest marathoner in history.

“It took a lot of mind setting to keep being motivated this year because so many people are staying at home, but you have to stay motivated,” Cheptegei said, according to organizers. “I pushed myself, I had the right staff with me, the right coach.”

Cheptegei, 23, came into Monaco as the 73rd-fastest man in history with a personal best of 12:57.41. But he declared before the meet that the world record was his goal, given he had no Olympics or world championships to peak for this year.

“It is very difficult to run any world record,” was posted on the Instagram of Bekele, who is part of the NN Running Team with Cheptegei. “Congratulations to my teammate [Cheptegei].”

Full Monaco results are here. The Diamond League next moves to Stockholm on Aug. 23.

In other events Friday, Noah Lyles easily won a 200m after raising a black-gloved first before the start. More on Lyles’ gesture and victory here.

Donavan Brazier extended a year-plus 800m win streak, clocking 1:43.15 and holding off countryman Bryce Hoppel by .08. Brazier won his last seven meets, including national, world and Diamond League titles in 2019, when he broke a 34-year-old American record.

Olympic silver medalist Orlando Ortega of Spain won the 110m hurdles in 13.11 seconds, overtaking world champion Grant Holloway. Holloway, who won worlds in 13.10 last autumn, finished fourth in 13.19.

Timothy Cheruiyot followed his 2019 World title by clocking his second-fastest 1500m ever. The Kenyan recorded 3:28.45, holding off Norwegian 19-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who set a European record of 3:28.68.

Sifan Hassan, the world’s top female distance runner, dropped out of the 5000m with two and a half laps left while in the lead pack. Two-time world champion Hellen Obiri won in 14:22.12, surging past Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey on the final lap.

Karsten Warholm ran the joint eighth-fastest 400m hurdles in history, a 47.10 against a field that lacked rivals Rai Benjamin and Abderrahman Samba. Warholm, the two-time world champion, ranks second in history with a personal best of 46.92, trailing only American Kevin Young‘s 46.78 from the 1992 Olympics.

American Lynna Irby won her Diamond League debut with a 50.50 in the 400m. Irby, the second-fastest American in 2018, failed to make the 2019 World team. On Friday, she beat Wadeline Jonathas, the top American in 2019.

Pole vault world-record holder Mondo Duplantis needed three tries to clear 5.70 meters, then won with a 5.80-meter clearance (and then cleared six meters). Duplantis, whose mom drove his poles 25 hours from Sweden to Monaco, brought the world record to 6.18 meters in February.

American Sam Kendricks, two-time reigning world pole vault champion, did not compete because his poles did not arrive.

MORE: Noah, Josephus Lyles take 4-year journey to Monaco

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!