Kyla Ross retires from international gymnastics

Kyla Ross
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Kyla Ross, the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team, has retired from elite gymnastics.

Ross reportedly mulled the decision for months and came to a conclusion after a January national team camp.

“Pretty much the past year has been a little bit difficult,” Ross said, according to the Orange County (Calif.) Register. “I know I’ve been thinking about it and just trying to understand and decide what I was going to do, so I thought coming into the new year I’d see how my feelings were and if I still had the drive and passion to pursue the Olympics. I went to the first training camp of the year and I just didn’t feel like my mind was in the right spot and I know that I didn’t want to go for the Olympics and put myself through all of it if my heart just wasn’t really there.”

Ross, then 15, made the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in her first year as a senior gymnast. She was the youngest U.S. Olympic gymnast since 1996.

She was the only U.S. woman to make all of the 2012 Olympic, 2013 Worlds and 2014 Worlds teams. She won silver and bronze in the all-around at the 2013 and 2014 Worlds behind gold medalist Simone Biles.

In 2015, Ross placed 10th in the all-around at the P&G Championships and removed herself from consideration for the six-woman World Championships team.

No U.S. woman has made back-to-back Olympic gymnastics teams since 2000.

“I’ve been competing for a really long time,” Ross said, according to the newspaper. “I know in 2012 I was really new and I was excited to be a senior and I think that’s why I had a lot of success, but recently it’s just been a little bit more difficult and I just feel like my drive and motivation is not the same as it was before.”

Ross, who is expected to compete collegiately for UCLA, is the second member of the five-woman 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team to retire from elite gymnastics, joining Jordyn Wieber.

Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas and floor exercise gold medalist Aly Raisman returned to competition last year and made the World Championships team.

McKayla Maroney, the Olympic vault silver medalist, has not competed since 2013.

MORE: ‘Grandma’ Aly Raisman and ‘baby’ Simone Biles

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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