Martha Karolyi: ‘It will be very hard’ if McKayla Maroney wants to return for Olympics

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INDIANAPOLIS — McKayla Maroney has recently been “in and out of the gym” for health reasons, and if she hopes to make a second Olympic team in 2016, it will be very tough, U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi said Wednesday.

Maroney hasn’t competed since the 2013 World Championships and is not competing at the P&G Championships that start here Thursday. The Olympic vault silver medalist’s health issues are documented here.

On Wednesday, Karolyi was asked if she had any updates on Maroney’s status and if Maroney was still training for the Rio Olympics.

“I don’t think so,” Karolyi said. “I just talked to [one of Maroney’s coaches] Galina [Marinova at the Secret Classic the week of July 25]. … She said [Maroney] still looks like [she] has some heart problems, so she was in and out of the gym. So I feel like it will be very hard at this moment if she is not included in a very regimented training because it mostly will be like it happened in the last cycle with some of the girls.”

In the last Olympic cycle, 2008 Olympians Nastia LiukinShawn JohnsonAlicia Sacramone and Chellsie Memmel tried to return after breaks of various lengths to make the 2012 Olympic team. None made it.

When asked to confirm Karolyi’s comment later Wednesday, an official from Maroney’s longtime California gym repeated that Maroney has been in and out of the gym due to injury.

Maroney was adamant in an August 2014 interview that she’s determined to make the 2016 Olympic team.

“For people who don’t think I’m, like, really serious about this, you’re wrong,” Maroney said in a USA Gymnastics interview while attending the 2014 Secret Classic. “I want this so bad. I’m not just messing around, chilling, acting. I’ll do that later.”

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Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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