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?

World short-track speedskating championships will be moved, postponed or canceled

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The International Skating Union announced Tuesday that the world short-track speedskating championships will not proceed as scheduled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Seoul’s Mokdong Ice Rink, where the competition was set to be held March 13-15, held the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships earlier this month but closed on Monday.

The ISU left open the possibility that the championships will be postponed or relocated, but the window to do so may close rapidly.

“Taking into account the uncertain world-wide development of the coronavirus, the limited and uncertain available time slots during the coming weeks and the logistical challenges of potential organizers and participating teams, a postponement and/or relocation of the Championships would be difficult to achieve,” the ISU said. “Nevertheless, a postponement and/or relocation of this Championships might be considered if the circumstances would allow so in due time.”

South Korea is one of short-track speedskating’s traditional powers. Last year, the country dominated the world championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, winning both relays and taking gold in all of the men’s individual races. South Korea also led the medal count on home ice in the 2018 Olympics.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced the cancellation of many events in China, where the illness was first found. The world indoor track and field championships were pushed back a whole year.

With the virus spreading to other regions, other countries’ sports schedules are being affected. Several soccer games are proceeding in empty stadiums in Italy and Iran.

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Daniel Romanchuk’s ascent to marathon stardom accelerated at University of Illinois

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The rise of Daniel Romanchuk has been one of the major stories of this Paralympic cycle. The wheelchair racer was eliminated in the first round of all five of his races in Rio.

But now, he’s the world’s best marathoner with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, a world-record holder on the track and already qualified for the Tokyo Games.

Romanchuk, born with spina bifida, was profiled by NBC Sports Chicago as part of a series of NBC Sports Regional Networks pieces published this week — marking 150 days until the Tokyo Olympics and six months until the Tokyo Paralympics.

NBC RSN Olympic and Paralympic Profiles
NBC Sports Bay Area

Abbey Weitzeil (Swimming) — LINK

NBC Sports Boston
Margaret Bertasi (Rowing) — LINK
Abbey D’Agostino Cooper (Track and Field) — LINK

NBC Sports Chicago
Ryan Murphy (Swimming) — LINK

NBC Sports Northwest
Galen Rupp (Marathon) — LINK
Mariel Zagunis (Fencing) — LINK

NBC Sports Philadelphia
Vashti Cunningham (Track and Field) — LINK
Julie Ertz (Soccer) — LINK

NBC Sports Washington
Katie Ledecky (Swimming) — LINK
Kyle Snyder (Wrestling) — LINK

Romanchuk, 21, swept the Boston, London, Chicago and New York City Marathon titles in 2019. He attributes that success to his native Baltimore and his training residence of the University of Illinois.

At age 2, he was enrolled in Baltimore’s Bennett Blazers, an adaptive sports program for children with physical disabilities. Tatyana McFadden, a 17-time Paralympic medalist who dominated women’s wheelchair marathons, planted her athletic roots there.

“Their motto is to teach kids they can before they’re told they can’t,” Romanchuk said.

Things really blossomed for Romanchuk after he moved from Baltimore to the University of Illinois. Illinois was designated a U.S. Paralympic training site in 2014 and has produced McFadden, Jean Driscoll and other U.S. Paralympic stars.

“Without this program, I certainly would not be where I am,” Romanchuk said. “It’s a very unique combination of coaching and teammates.”

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MORE: Ten Paralympic hopefuls to watch for 2020 Tokyo Games