Gabby Douglas wins Jesolo Trophy; Aly Raisman sixth

Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman
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Gabby Douglas is two for two in the Olympic year, beating a field that included Olympic teammate Aly Raisman at the Jesolo Trophy in Italy on Saturday.

The 2012 Olympic all-around champion Douglas won the Jesolo all-around with 59.65 points. Douglas competed for the second time this year, after winning the AT&T American Cup two weeks earlier.

“I need to work on being more confident, and just believing in myself a little bit more and being a little bit more aggressive,” Douglas said. “But overall I think I did well. Still more improvements to come.”

Raisman, the 2012 Olympic floor exercise champion, totaled 57.85 for sixth place Saturday, falling on a difficult Amanar vault. Douglas scored higher with a less difficult vault.

Douglas and Raisman both returned to competition at last year’s Jesolo Trophy for the first time since the London Games. They are attempting to become the first U.S. women to make back-to-back Olympic gymnastics teams since 1996 and 2000.

In five competitions together in their comeback, Douglas holds a 3-2 head-to-head edge over Raisman in all-around finishes. Neither Douglas nor Raisman has beaten Simone Biles, the three-time reigning World all-around champion who is a heavy favorite for gold in Rio.

Biles is expected to make her 2016 competition debut at the Pacific Rim Championships in April.

Douglas, Raisman and Biles were the three U.S. gymnasts chosen to perform in the all-around at the World Championships last October, with Biles and Douglas taking gold and silver.

Raisman was fifth in qualifying but didn’t advance because a nation can’t have more than two gymnasts in an Olympic or Worlds individual final.

Douglas, Raisman and Biles are favorites to make the five-woman Olympic team that will be named after July’s trials.

MORE: Gabby Douglas’ family Oxygen TV series premiere date set

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

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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

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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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