First gymnasts named to U.S. Olympic team

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The first eight members of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team were named Sunday night, including the first rhythmic group to qualify for a Games.

Individual rhythmic gymnast Laura Zeng, trampoline gymnasts Logan Dooley and Nicole Ahsinger and five rhythmic group gymnasts from Illinois are going to Rio.

The U.S. Olympic artistic gymnastics teams will be named in the next month.

The list of U.S. athletes qualified for the Rio Games is now at 181.

Zeng, who was born Oct. 14, 1999, is the youngest U.S. woman to qualify for the Rio Olympic team and three months shy of becoming the second American born in the 2000s to qualify for Rio (Kanak Jha, table tennis).

Zeng finished eighth in the rhythmic individual all-around at the 2015 World Championships, the best-ever finish for an American. In May, she became the first U.S. gymnast to earn a medal at a World Cup event.

Russia dominates rhythmic gymnastics, having won every Olympic title since 2000 and sweeping every individual gold and silver medal at the 2015 Worlds.

The U.S. qualified a rhythmic team for the Olympic group competition for the first time. Its only previous appearance was as the automatically qualified host nation at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

The five-woman U.S. group includes Kiana EideAlisa KanoNatalie McGiffertMonica Rokhman and Kristen Shaldybin. Three were born in 1997 and one in 1998. Rokhman’s identical twin, Jenny, was named the alternate.

The six gymnasts knew for months that five of them would be chosen for Rio, with a sixth being the alternate. They qualified for Rio by finishing 13th at the 2015 Worlds and being the highest non-Asian or European country.

In trampoline, Ahsinger earned the single Olympic berth after the top U.S. trampolinist, Charlotte Drury, suffered a broken talus on her right foot in training Friday.

Dooley, 28, will be the oldest first-time U.S. Olympic gymnastics competitor since 1972, according to sports-reference.com. Dooley was an Olympic alternate in 2008 and 2012.

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South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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