Olympic sports headlines: May 12

Gevvie Stone
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A look at what’s making news in Olympic sports this morning, in addition to OlympicTalk posts:

Alpine Skiing: Canadian Larisa Yurkiw, third in last season’s World Cup downhill standings, surprisingly retired. (Instagram)

Archery: A profile of 19-year-old Collin Klimitchek, eyeing his first Olympic team. (AP)

Badminton: A Q&A with newly minted U.S. Olympian Howard Shu. (NBC Olympics)

Basketball: The U.S. select team of young players who train with the senior national team is taking shape. (ProBasketballTalk)

Diving: A look at Chinese springboard superstar Wu Minxia. (Olympic.org)

Golf: Canada unveils Olympic uniforms.

Gymnastics: Childhood photos of Simone Biles. (NBC Olympics)

Gymnastics: A profile of U.S. Olympic hopeful Donnell Whittenburg. (NBC Olympics)

Pyeongchang 2018: The organizing committee elected its new president, which it nominated last week. (AP)

Rio 2016: Olympic grass is being laid at the Maracanã. (Globo)

Rio 2016Video of the Olympic flame paragliding into Governador Valadares. (Globo)

Rio 2016: What’s new in the sports program for the Games. (Olympic.org)

Rowing: A profile of doctor and two-time Olympian in singles sculls Gevvie Stone. (New York Times)

Sochi 2014: The IOC “would not hesitate” to retest doping samples after a report that Russian gold medalists were doping. (AP)

Swimming: A profile of U.S. Olympic butterfly hopeful Kelsi Worrell. (USA Today)

Tokyo 2020: French prosecutors confirm $2 million associated with Tokyo’s Olympic bid was paid to an account linked to the son of the disgraced former IAAF president, though Tokyo organizers deny it. (AP)

Track and Field: USATF lays out the Americans competing in the Shanghai Diamond League meet Saturday. (USATF)

Track and FieldWillie Gault, the Super Bowl XX champion wide receiver, is USATF Athlete of the Week. (USATF)

Track and Field: An agent alleges North Korean runners cut a marathon course to qualify for the Olympics. (Race Results Weekly)

Track and Field: An interview with Olympic bronze medalist Reese Hoffa, lover of turkey legs. (Track and Field News)

Track and Field: The quest for the two-hour marathon. (New York Times)

Triathlon: Who will make the U.S. Olympic team? (NBC Olympics)

Triathlon: A look back at the only American to earn an Olympic medal. (NBC Olympics)

VolleyballHelen Hunt will star in a film about an Iowa high school volleyball team’s march to a state title after the death of its starting setter. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Wrestling: A glance at all 14 U.S. Olympians now that qualifiers are over. (NBC Olympics)

Have any more headlines? Email nick.zaccardi@nbcuni.com

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Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James
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Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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