Aly Raisman wins Secret Classic; Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas in limited action

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Aly Raisman opened the Olympic selection season just as she did four years ago — with an all-around victory at the Secret Classic.

The three-time London 2012 medalist totaled 59.25 points in Hartford, Conn., beating an all-around field that did not include Olympic champion Gabby Douglas and World champion Simone Biles. Full scores are here.

“Every single night before I go to sleep, I have butterflies in my stomach, it’s like I can’t turn it off,” Raisman, trying to become with Douglas the first women to make back-to-back Olympic teams since 2000, told Andrea Joyce on NBC Sports Live Extra. “We are all kind of freaking out.”

Biles and Douglas each took it easy Saturday, competing on two of four events (strong on uneven bars; imperfect on balance beam) to warm up for the P&G Championships in three weeks and the U.S. Olympic Trials in five weeks. The five-woman Olympic team will be announced after the Olympic Trials.

“I would grade it … like 75 percent,” Biles said. “I still had wobbles here and there and my form on bars [was off]. … You don’t want to be 100 percent just yet. At P&Gs and trials, that’s where we want to give it our all and start peaking.”

Raisman notched her first all-around title since the 2012 Secret Classic, when she similarly beat a field that didn’t include the other top U.S. women (Douglas and Jordyn Wieber at the time).

“I still feel like the same as I was in 2012,” Raisman, 22, said.

On Saturday, Raisman fell in the first 10 seconds of her first routine on uneven bars, her weakest event. She stayed on her feet on balance beam and floor exercise and then closed with the difficult Amanar vault, taking a small hop on the landing.

“It’s always really crazy when you’re trying to think positive and then one second you feel good, and the next you’re off the bar,” Raisman said. “If I make the Olympic team, it’s not going to be for bars, so I knew that I needed to prove myself on the other three events. … that’s what [U.S. national team coordinator] Martha [Karolyi] is looking for.”

Raisman decided to come back for a second Olympic run in part because she missed the London Games all-around podium, losing bronze by a tiebreaker.

If she makes the Rio team, Raisman will have to beat one of Douglas and Biles on qualification day at the Games to reach the Olympic all-around final (assuming she’s used on all four events in qualifying, by far not a given). Raisman failed to do so at the 2015 World Championships, where Biles and Douglas went on to take gold and silver.

On Saturday, Biles posted the highest balance beam score (15.65). Douglas had the third-highest uneven bars score (15.65).

Gymnastics competition concludes in Hartford on Sunday, with the final day of the P&G Men’s Championships, the first of two Olympic men’s selection meets.

Donnell Whittenburg leads after the first day, eyeing his first U.S. all-around title.

NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage of the men from 1-4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

NBC Olympics gymnastics producer Julia Fincher contributed to this report from Hartford.

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Shelby Houlihan shatters American 5000m record

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Shelby Houlihan chopped 10.52 seconds off her own American 5000m record, clocking 14:23.92 at a Bowerman Track Club intrasquad meet in Portland, Ore., on Friday night.

Houlihan, who was 11th in the Rio Olympic 5000m, has in this Olympic cycle improved to become one of the greatest female distance runners in U.S. history.

She first broke Shannon Rowbury‘s American record in the 5000m by 4.47 seconds in 2018. In 2019, she broke Rowbury’s American record in the 1500m by 1.3 seconds in finishing fourth at the world championships in 3:54.99.

On Friday, Houlihan and second-place Karissa Schweizer both went under the American record. Schweizer, 24 and three years younger than Houlihan, clocked 14:26.34, staying with Houlihan until the winner’s 61-second final lap.

“I knew Karissa was going to try to come up on me and take the lead. She does that every time,” Houlihan told USATF.tv. “I had decided I was not going to let that happen.”

Houlihan improved from 41st to 12th on the world’s all-time 5000m list, 12.77 seconds behind Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba‘s world record.

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Can T.J. Oshie, other established Olympic hockey stars hold on for 2022?

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T.J. Oshie will be 35 years old during the next Winter Olympics. Jonathan Quick will be 36. Now that the NHL is one key step closer to returning to the Winter Games, the question surfaces: which 2014 Olympians will have a difficult time returning to rosters in 2022?

Oshie was the last of the 14 forwards chosen for the U.S. Olympic team for Sochi, beating out Bobby Ryan and Brandon Saad, in part for his shootout prowess.

In group play against Russia, Oshie was memorably tapped by U.S. head coach Dan Bylsma six times in a shootout, including all five in the sudden-death rounds. Oshie beat Sergei Bobrovsky four times, including the game winner.

“After I went out for my third attempt, I figured I was going to keep going,” Oshie said, according to USA Hockey. “Each time I would look up to see what [Bylsma] had to say, and he would just give me a nod every time. I kind of started laughing toward shot five and six because it was getting kind of ridiculous.”

Oshie became known as “T.J. Sochi” on social media. President Barack Obama congratulated him on Twitter. The U.S. eventually lost to Canada in the semifinals and Finland in the bronze-medal game.

When the NHL chose not to send its players to the PyeongChang Winter Games, it may have spelled the end of Oshie’s Olympic career.

Consider that the oldest forward on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team was 29, six years younger than Oshie will be come 2022. A recent Olympic roster prediction from The Hockey Writers put Oshie in the “Just Missed Out” list.

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire has Oshie among the finalists for the last forward spots in his early U.S. roster prediction.

“I wouldn’t discount T.J. Oshie because shootout is still part of it,” McGuire said. “He still has his shootout moves, even though he’s not getting any younger.”

Quick, the unused third goalie in 2010, played 305 out of 365 minutes in net for the U.S. in Sochi. He was coming off a Stanley Cup in 2012 and en route to another one in 2014.

Since, he was sidelined by a knee injury that required surgery. He remains the Los Angeles Kings’ No. 1 goalie, which almost automatically puts an American in the Olympic roster discussion these days.

“Somebody like Jonathan definitely merits consideration just because of his achievement level over time, but I think he’d be the first person to tell you injuries have definitely affected him,” McGuire said of Quick, looking to become the second-oldest U.S. goalie to play in the Olympics after Tom Barrasso in 2002. “It’s not going to be easy for him.”

The U.S. could bypass Quick for three Olympic rookies in 2022. Connor Hellebuyck, John Gibson and Ben Bishop have superior save percentages and goals-against averages and more games played than Quick since the start of the 2018-19 season.

A wild card is Spencer Knight, the 19-year-old No. 1 from the world junior championships who last year became the highest-drafted goalie since 2010 (No. 13 to the Florida Panthers). Knight would break defenseman Bryan Berard‘s record as the youngest U.S. Olympic hockey player in the NHL era.

The Canadian roster has traditionally been deeper than the U.S. The talent is overwhelming at center, led by Sidney CrosbyConnor McDavidPatrice Bergeron and Nathan MacKinnon. The Canadians must get creative if the likes of veterans Jonathan Toews and John Tavares will join them in Beijing.

Toews, then 21, was the best forward at the 2010 Vancouver Games and Canada’s only one on the all-tournament team. While Toews’ last NHL All-Star selection was in 2017, his last two seasons have been his best in terms of points per game since 2011.

“The one thing that Canada is very good at, they do it extremely well, they select players that fit roles,” McGuire said, noting Mike Richards shifting to the wing during the 2010 Olympics. “When you look at the overwhelming depth that Canada has, that’s going to be the thing that’s going that’s going to be very interesting to watch to see how it plays out at center.”

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