Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross set Rio goal on TODAY (video)

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Gold medal contenders Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross joined Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on TODAY, and set a goal to speak with Lauer again on TODAY in Rio after winning gold (Guthrie won’t be in Brazil).

Should that happen, Walsh Jennings would be holding her fourth consecutive Olympic beach volleyball gold medal. It would be a first for Ross, but her second Olympic medal.

Ross teamed with Jen Kessy at the London Games and earned silver after falling to Walsh Jennings and her longtime partner, Misty May-Treanor, in the women’s final. Walsh Jennings and Ross teamed up soon thereafter, a move sparked by something Walsh Jennings whispered into Ross’ ear as they hugged following the final match in London.

“Now let’s go win gold in Rio,” Walsh Jennings said, recalling the moment on TODAY.

“And I did answer,” Ross said. “She didn’t think that I answered.”

“I think I was like, ‘What just came out of my mouth?'” Walsh Jennings said.

Walsh Jennings and Ross teaming up was certainly a possibility as the two played against each other in London, as May-Treanor and Kessy planned on taking some time away from the sport following the Games. When the partnership finally materialized in 2013, they immediately became the U.S.’s best pair on the beach.

“We never talked about it beforehand, but it was for sure in the back of my head – obviously (she’d be my) No. 1 choice,” Ross said. “But for her to bring it up right in that second was surprising… But it was awesome. I was like, Of course, let’s do it.”

Here’s the full interview:

Walsh Jennings and Ross have found their form in 2016. They’ve competed in seven FIVB World Tour events, advancing to the semifinals each time and winning four gold medals. The duo has also competed in one AVP Tour event, which they also won.

The AVP Tour swings through New York City this weekend. The finals will be aired on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra from 4-6 p.m. ET Saturday and 4:30-6 p.m. ET Sunday.

Walsh Jennings and Ross’ biggest foe in the Olympics will be the home-crowd favorites. The Americans have been the best team this year, but two Brazilian pairs will hold higher seeds. The Rio Olympic competition begins Aug. 6 on Copacabana Beach.

“We love beating Brazil, in Brazil especially,” Walsh Jennings said. “The world is so good at beach volleyball and to play Brazil at home, it’s going to be super heightened, super crazy. But that’s exactly what we like.”

MORE: NBC Sports’ broadcast schedule of the 2016 AVP Tour

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

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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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.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

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

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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.

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