Skylar Diggins
Getty Images

Best women’s basketball players who haven’t made the Olympics

Leave a comment

Elena Delle DonneBrittney Griner and Breanna Stewart are arguably the three most accomplished players in the WNBA era yet to play in the Olympics.

(Yes, Stewart hasn’t played a pro game yet, but her NCAA record is unmatched)

That should all change in August, when the trio plus nine Americans who already own gold medals make up Team USA in Rio.

Who does that leave as the best players in the WNBA’s 19 seasons not to play at the Olympics?

Seven All-WNBA first-team players haven’t made an Olympic team:

1999, 2000 — Ticha Penicheiro
2001 — Merlakia Jones
2005, 2007 — Deanna Nolan
2006 — Katie Douglas
2008 — Sophia Young
2014 — Skylar Diggins
2015 — DeWanna Bonner

Penicheiro is Portuguese, and her national team never qualified for the Olympics.

Jones made the first three WNBA All-Star Games in 1999, 2000 and 2001, but she was not one of six alternates for the 2000 Olympic team.

Nolan and Douglas were on the 21-woman U.S. national team for 2007-08 but not the 12-woman roster in Beijing. In fact, Nolan tried out for the Russian Olympic team in 2008 but didn’t make it (unlike Becky Hammon).

Young was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, became a U.S. citizen in 2011 and was among 21 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

Diggins was one of the final four cuts for the 2014 World Championship team and was among 25 finalists for the Rio team but didn’t make it. She’s coming back from a June 28 torn ACL.

Bonner was not among the 25 finalists for the Rio Olympic team.

The WNBA players with the most All-Star nods not to make an Olympic team:

7 — Nykesha Sales (1999-2006)
6 — Taj McWilliams-Franklin (1999-2001, 2005-07)
5 — Katie Douglas (2006-07, ’09, ’11, ’14)
5 — Candice Dupree (2006-07, ’09, ’14-15)

Sales was one of six alternates for the 2000 Olympic team.

There’s no widespread mention of McWilliams-Franklin being in the running for an Olympic spot in 2000, 2004 or 2008. Her best WNBA seasons were in the middle of an Olympic cycle in 2005 and 2006.

Dupree made the 2014 World Championship team and was among 25 finalists for the Rio Olympic team.

MORE: Why Candace Parker was left off Olympic team

*Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Merlakia Jones did not make a WNBA All-Star team.

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
Leave a comment

Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

Leave a comment

Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

VIDEO: Steven Holcomb’s mother’s speech after accepting Olympic medals