Christian Sprenger, Olympic silver medalist breaststroker, retires

Christian Sprenger
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Australian Christian Sprenger, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist and 2013 World champion in the 100m breaststroke, retired, citing a 2014 shoulder injury and inability to compete at an elite level.

“I tried to get it back, but the power just wasn’t there, and I didn’t want to go to the Olympics to swim a heat,” Sprenger said, according to the Australian.

Sprenger, 30, also broke the 200m breaststroke world record in the 2009 World Championships semifinals (he would win bronze), keeping it until Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta broke it in the 2012 Olympic final.

In London, Sprenger was beaten by South African Cameron van der Burgh by .47 for gold in the 100m breast, the Australian’s only career Olympic individual final.

Van der Burgh, however, broke a rule by doing multiple underwater dolphin kicks at the start of the race en route to a world record.

‘‘If you’re not doing it, you’re falling behind,” van der Burgh said in 2012, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s not obviously — shall we say — the moral thing to do, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my personal performance and four years of hard work for someone that is willing to do it and get away with it.

‘‘I think every single swimmer does that. At the point in time before the ’fly kick was legal [when swimmers weren’t allowed any dolphin kicks at all], [Japan’s four-time Olympic gold medallist Kosuke] Kitajama was doing it, and obviously the Americans were complaining.”

Sprenger, who relegated van der Burgh to silver at the 2013 Worlds, held no ill-will toward the South African, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I know why he did it,” Sprenger said, according to the newspaper. “I understand at that point in time and even now probably, people are doing it all around the world. And they’re doing it because they think they can get away with it.

“I understand he was trying to even the playing field. I get that. But I believe that he would have been good enough to win an Olympic gold medal without that. I don’t think that’s what people need to focus on. I think if you take that out of the equation, I think he would have won at the end of the day.

“I know him well. He’s a friend of mine. And that’s why at the Olympics I didn’t kick up a stink. I could have done all sorts of things, taken it anywhere I wanted to take it.”

Sprenger was eliminated in the first-round heats of the 50m and 100m breast at the World Championships last August.

“The injury I sustained in 2014 really took a bigger toll on me than I thought it would,” Sprenger said, according to the Australia Olympic Committee. “After returning in 2015, after almost four months out of the water, I worked hard to get back what I had lost, but although I may have thought I wanted it, it wasn’t enough.

“Towards the end of 2015, my breaststroke just didn’t feel how it used to, and I became more and more frustrated.

“The Olympic gold is the only thing missing from my collection, but in this sport, if the mind and body are not perfectly in sync and focused beyond capacity, the performance will not come.

“Ultimately for me, I am not there anymore, and although I may be good enough to make the Olympic team, I can’t just be a number on a team, that is not who I am.”

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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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