Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach ‘planning on playing’ in Rio, ‘still need time to decide’

3 Comments

Abby Wambach said she’s “planning on playing” at the Rio Olympics next summer but needed time to make future decisions, speaking on a morning TV show in her native Rochester, N.Y., on Wednesday.

“What’s next for me, my life plan, I haven’t decided about what I’m going to do,” Wambach said (video here). “I’m planning on playing next summer in Rio, but I gotta let my body recover, because that’s the other thing about playing on artificial surface. Seven games is a lot of games [at the World Cup], and it wasn’t a long period of time we were playing over. So my body took some hits, and I’m trying to recover. I’m going to vacation with my family over the next couple of weeks. … I’m excited to go and vacation, get away from a little bit of the whirlwind I’ve been on, to rest, relax and to be able to make maybe some of those future decisions.”

Wambach also said, “If I’m asked to play on the team, at that point I’m going to have to make a decision the next couple of months depending on my fitness level and whatnot,” according to Yahoo. “I’m getting older, definitely not getting younger, but the reality is, if I’m asked to play for my country it might be difficult to say no. But I haven’t made any definitive decisions yet.”

Wambach, 35, said before the World Cup and directly after winning it July 5 that she would take the weeks and months following the World Cup, even into next year, to decide on the Olympics, seeing how her body feels.

Wambach, international soccer’s all-time leading scorer, won gold with the U.S. in 2004 and 2012. She missed the Beijing 2008 Olympics due to a broken leg suffered one month before the Games.

Wambach will turn 36 two months before the Rio Olympics. Two U.S. players older than that have played in the Olympics since women’s soccer was added in 1996 — Christie Rampone in 2012 and Joy Fawcett in 2004, according to sports-reference.com.

It would be tougher for Wambach to make the 2016 Olympics than the 2015 World Cup not only because she will be one year older, but also because the Olympic roster size is 18 players. The World Cup was 23 players.

The U.S. is stacked with attackers to challenge Wambach for roster spots and playing time, including Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Christen Press and Amy Rodriguez.

Christie Rampone open to fifth Olympics, age record

Leanne Smith leads U.S. gold medalists at para swim worlds

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Leanne Smith has never competed at a Paralympics. Came into this week’s world championships with zero world medals. But she leaves London with three individual golds, most for any American, one year before the Tokyo Games.

Smith, 21, won the 150m individual medley, 50m breaststroke and 100m freestyle in her classification, all in American record times. The last two titles came on the final day of the seven-day meet on Sunday.

Smith, diagnosed with a rare neurological muscle disease called dystonia in January 2012, began swimming in 2013. By 2017, she broke a world record and then debuted at the world championships with a best individual finish of sixth.

The U.S. finished with 35 total medals and 14 golds, ranking sixth in the overall standings. Ukraine, usually strong at the Paralympics, led the way with 55 medals. Full results are here.

Jessica Long, the second-most-decorated U.S. Paralympian in history with 23 medals, earned six this week — five silvers and a bronze — to give her 52 career world championships medals.

Two-time Paralympian Mallory Weggemann earned two golds this week, giving her 15 world titles in three appearances (her others being in 2009 and 2010).

She won 50m titles in the butterfly and freestyle. Weggemann won a 2012 Paralympic 50m free title but was fortunate just to make it back for Rio after a 2014 accident that she said was harder to come back from than her teenage paralysis. She left Rio with no medals but a resolve to return for a third Games in Tokyo.

“I’m two seconds away from bursting into tears,” Weggemann said after winning the first of her two golds in the 50m fly, according to U.S. Paralympics. “I had a really rough go these past three years since Rio, so to finally be back after busting my butt to be here, and to be here in London of all places, is absolutely incredible.”

Fellow Rio Paralympians McKenzie Coan and Robert Griswold added two golds a piece.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Five storylines to watch for Tokyo Paralympics

Heimana Reynolds wins skateboard world title, nears an Olympic goal from age 10

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In February 2009, a 10-year-old Heimana Reynolds was profiled by his local NBC TV station on Oahu.

“My goal is to become a professional skateboarder and compete in the X Games and the Olympics,” he said, according to the report.

Skateboarding would not be added to the Olympics for another seven years. But here Reynolds is, age 21, having just won the world title in park, one of two skateboarding events that debut at the Games in Tokyo.

Reynolds, who wasn’t named to the four-man U.S. national team in March, consolidated his lead in the Olympic qualification rankings by prevailing over a pair of Brazilians in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A shirtless Reynolds scored 88 points in the final, beating Luis Francisco (85.50) and Pedro Quintas (85).

No more than three Americans can make the Olympic team in the event, which will make it difficult if three-time Olympic halfpipe snowboarding champion Shaun White decides to continue his skateboarding pursuit. White was the sixth-best American, bowing out in the semifinals in 13th place on Saturday in just his second contest since returning to competitive skating last year.

Back to Reynolds. He grew up on the North Shore and attended the Punahou School, where Barack Obama is the most famous alum. His first name is Tahitian, reportedly referring to the power of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Reynolds, the son of a surfer, proved a natural on land. After pre-teen media profiles, he blossomed into a world silver medalist last year. He won an Olympic qualifier in China in July to take the top spot in the Olympic rankings despite a best career X Games finish of sixth.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Chloe Kim details tough Princeton transition