Simone Biles, Aly Raisman
AP

‘Grandma’ Aly Raisman and ‘baby’ Simone Biles

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Aly Raisman and Simone Biles have a unique relationship on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team.

“She’s like our sleeping little grandma,” Biles said of Raisman.

“She always says that I sleep a lot,” Raisman said. “She looks at me like I’m the crazy one, but I think she’s the crazy one, because it’s normal to be tired when you work out a lot, but she’s just never tired.”

They’re likely to spend a lot of time together over the next seven months, maybe even the rest of the year, at national team camps, competitions, perhaps even the Olympics and a post-Olympic tour.

Biles, the 18-year-old, three-time reigning World all-around champion, felt inspired watching Raisman’s gold medal-winning floor exercise routine at the London 2012 Olympics.

“I wanted to be just like her, and floor was like my specialty also,” said Biles, who also won floor exercise gold at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Worlds.

Raisman, 21, can become the oldest U.S. Olympic women’s artistic gymnast since 2004 this year. She and Gabby Douglas are in line to become the first women to make back-to-back Olympic gymnastics teams since 2000.

If there’s anything keeping the consummate leader Raisman up at night, it’s the energetic Biles.

“We’re kind of pretty much similar in the gym, but outside of the gym, I’m passed out sleeping, and she’s eating candy and jumping up and down on the beds,” Raisman said in November.

“There’s sometimes when I see her eating candy, and I literally just like snatch it from her, because that’s the last thing that she needs. She was eating these energy things the other day and I was just like, she’s not gonna sleep for like a month. She’s just crazy all the time. So I don’t know. Simone reminds me of that little kid that just doesn’t sit still. … I watch how much sugar she has. She was drinking tea, and she put seven packets of sugar in her tea. It was a small cup of tea, and I was like, ‘That is the last thing that you need, and that’s disgusting.’

“I mean, one packet of sugar is sweet enough. She put seven in a small cup. … So I took it away from her, and she was mad at me. I was like, ‘Sorry, I’m your mom.'”

What about Raisman, what kind of grandmotherly advice does she dole out?

“Go to bed early,” Biles joked.

Raisman, though, sees a little bit of herself in Biles. Never sitting still, except when she’s napping of course.

“If I were to stop doing gymnastics, I would probably be bouncing off the walls all the time,” Raisman said. “Worse than Simone.”

MORE GYMNASTICS: Sam Mikulak looks to ceiling in return from injury

 

David Taylor wins wrestling world title, at long last

United World Wrestling
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David Taylor, the formerly dominant NCAA wrestler known as the Magic Man, was stuck for five years.

Stuck finishing second or third in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Championships team trials in the U.S.’ toughest weight class owned by Jordan Burroughs. When Taylor moved up a division, he suffered the same fate in 2016 (Olympic Trials) and 2017.

At last, at 27 years old, Taylor made his first world team this summer. It helped that United World Wrestling expanded the number of weight classes from eight to 10, meaning Taylor didn’t have to go through Burroughs, Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox or four-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake at trials. But Taylor earned his place, going undefeated internationally this year.

Then in Budapest on Sunday, Taylor completed a breakthrough run through the 86kg bracket, becoming a world champion.

Taylor is the oldest first-time Olympic or world champion for USA Wrestling since 2006, when now-freestyle head coach Bill Zadick did so at 33. Taylor reached the top four years after ending an NCAA career at Penn State that included two Hodge Trophies, given to the college wrestler of the year.

Taylor had to work from start to finish in Budapest, upsetting Iran’s Olympic and world champion Hassan Yazdani in his first match Saturday. He then dumped Turkey’s top-seeded Fatih Erdin in the final, scoring a two-point takedown in the first 10 seconds and getting a 12-2 tech fall.

Also Sunday, the 2012 Olympic champ Burroughs rallied for a bronze medal, beating Cuban-born Italian nemesis Frank Chamizo via tiebreaker by scoring the last point with 26 seconds left. It’s the seventh Olympic or world medal for Burroughs in eight global tournaments, coming one day after he suffered just his seventh defeat in seven-plus years on the senior stage.

In the 61kg bracket, worlds rookie Joe Colon earned a bronze medal, two weeks after replacing U.S. champion Nahshon Garrett on the team. Garrett, who beat Colon in the world team trials final in June, is out with a torn pectoral.

Cox and Dake advanced to Monday’s gold-medal matches in the 92kg and 79kg divisions, respectively.

Logan Stieber, a 2016 World champion, lost his opening match at 65kg. Thomas Gilman, the 2017 World silver medalist at 57kg, lost his semifinal match and will go for bronze Monday.

Olympic champions Kyle Snyder and Helen Maroulis begin their world title defenses on Monday and Wednesday, respectively.

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MORE: Wrestling worlds TV schedule

Ethiopian marathoner who made Olympic protest returns from exile

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The Ethiopian marathon runner who made global headlines with an anti-government gesture at the Rio Olympics finish line returned from exile on Sunday after sports officials assured him he will not face prosecution.

Feyisa Lilesa’s return from the United States came several months after a reformist prime minister took office and announced sweeping political reforms. He received a warm welcome at the airport from the foreign minister and other senior officials.

Feyisa said the new government is “a result of the struggle by the people” and he hopes it will address concerns after years of repression in Africa’s second most populous nation.

The silver medalist crossed his wrists at the finish line in 2016 in solidarity with protesters in his home region, Oromia, who like many across Ethiopia were demanding wider freedoms.

Feyisa later said he feared he would be imprisoned or killed if he returned home. But he became a symbol of resistance for many youth until the pressure on the government led to a change of power, with 42-year-old Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed taking office in April.

Abiy is the country’s first leader from the Oromo ethnic group since the ruling coalition came to power 27 years ago.

Ethiopia’s government did not immediately comment Sunday on the runner’s return.

Asked by The Associated Press if he has any political ambitions, Feyisa said: “I don’t have any ambition in politics! Actually I didn’t get close to politics, politics gets close to me.”

Feyisa broke down in tears while speaking about youth who lost their lives during the years of protests. “I will continue to remember those who lost their lives for the cause. Many people lost their lives for it.”

Turning his attention to running, he said his next race will be the Dubai Marathon in January.

“My training while I was in exile was not good, so it has affected my performance,” Feyisa said. He missed two races in recent weeks as he prepared to return to Ethiopia. “I will resume my regular training after a week.”

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