Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang will announce his retirement to his 32 million followers on Weibo next week, according to Chinese reports.
“Liu’s long-term coach, Sun Haiping, reportedly told local media insiders on a private occasion this week that the 31-year-old former World and Olympic champion is likely to announce his retirement through his Weibo account next Tuesday,” Shanghai Daily reported.
Liu, the 2004 Olympic 110m hurdles champion, hasn’t competed since an Achilles injury derailed him for a second straight Olympics at London 2012. He underwent surgery after the Games.
In February, Liu downplayed his chances of competing at the World Championships in Beijing this summer.
“I really want to compete at the World Championships, especially on my home soil, but the chances for me to compete in Beijing seem to be very limited,” Liu said in February, according to Xinhua News Agency. “I will try to find other ways to join the Beijing Worlds.”
“I think the possibility is pretty slim,” Liu said, according to China Daily. “I might be able to take part in the event in another role.”
Liu is the first Chinese men’s track and field Olympic champion, but the Achilles injury also took him out during heats at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, where he was arguably the biggest star of those Games. The 2015 World Championships will be at the same revered venue, the Bird’s Nest stadium.
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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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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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