Five Olympic questions with Abby Wambach

0 Comments

Abby Wambach‘s back from a well-earned vacation the first two weeks of August, which means she’ll return to being asked more questions about the Rio Olympics.

Will she or won’t she play one more year has been the talk since Wambach won her first World Cup with the U.S. on July 5.

She is undecided but ready for the challenge that awaits should she continue on at age 35. While Wambach mulls that, she answered other Olympic questions shortly before embarking on that two-week break earlier this month.

OlympicTalk: You weren’t on the Sydney 2000 Olympic team [during your junior year at the University of Florida], but while you were at UF, was the possibility of trying to make that team ever on your mind?

Wambach: I didn’t know if it was a possibility, to be honest.

OlympicTalk: Are there any parellels that can be drawn to your situation now from the lead-up to the Athens 2004 Olympics, when Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett and Mia Hamm announced they would retire following those Games?

Wambach: Sure, I bet there are a lot of familiarities. I’m sure that what I’m feeling right now, in terms of the exhaustion and running around and everything, is what they kind of were dealing with. I was just a young kid on the block at that point [in 2004]. So I’m lucky and honored, to be quite honest, to be able to be in a position to represent my country and having another opportunity to represent my country. If I could it, that would be great, but I still haven’t made that decision.

OlympicTalk: You broke your left leg in July 2008 and missed the Beijing Olympics. Did you watch the gold-medal game, and if so, from where did you watch it?

Wambach: I watched the final on crutches in a vacation spot, where my family always vacations at. It was horrible, but also really inspiring to see my teammates rise, even though one of their leading goal scorers and one of their leaders had been knocked down just before those Games. It was really inspiring to see them still persevere and win gold, even though I wasn’t there.

OlympicTalk: If the Olympic roster size was not 18 players but instead 23 players, like it is for the World Cup, would that play any difference in the decision you’ll make for 2016?

Wambach: No. I just know that there’s a lot that needs to happen between now and then. I just have to make the right decision for myself. I know that I’m confident in my skill as a player. I just want to make sure that I have what it takes to play in the tournament, if I can help my team win an Olympic gold medal.

OlympicTalk: Could you skip the Olympic qualifying tournament [in February in Texas] and also want to play in the Olympics, or would you want to do both?

Wambach: I would never do that [skip the qualifying tournament and still want to play in Rio]. That’s not who I am. If I’m in, I’m all-in. If I were to not play in the qualifying tournament [and still want to play in Rio], it would only be because of injury.

Predicting U.S. Olympic women’s soccer roster based off World Cup

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
0 Comments

The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
Getty
0 Comments

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!