Pat Summitt
AP

Cheryl Miller’s cartwheel in front of Pat Summitt put 1984 Olympic hopes in peril

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When Tennessee coach Pat Summitt lost her NCAA Championship Game debut in 1984 to USC, then-Trojans star Cheryl Miller did a cartwheel in celebration. Right in front of Summitt.

Summitt, then still known to Miller as Pat Head, would be the coach of the to-be-named Olympic team that summer.

The cartwheel might have been a mistake.

“My teammates were like, ‘You’re not going to make the Olympic team, you just did a cartwheel in front of Pat Head!'” Miller said in a phone interview Tuesday. “You just committed Olympic suicide right there.”

Miller appealed to her USC coach, Linda Sharp.

“So, I probably shouldn’t have done the cartwheel,” Miller said.

“That probably wasn’t the smartest thing,” Sharp replied.

Miller did end up making the Los Angeles 1984 team coached by Summitt to the first U.S. Olympic women’s basketball title.

But at one point leading up to the Olympics, before the team was named, Miller and the U.S. team had an awful first half in a game. And Summitt let them know about it in the locker room.

“She walked up to me and goes, ‘Cheryl Miller, I will win or lose a gold medal without you,'” Miller recalled. “And I got benched the second half.”

Two days later, Miller and Summitt had a one-on-one meeting in Miller’s room. This is how Miller remembered the conversation:

Summitt: How did you feel about what I said?

Miller: You won’t win a gold medal without me.

Summitt: Yeah, you might be right.

Miller: What do you want from me coach? I give you my everything.

Summitt: I need you to be the player on the planet. You’re already the best player in the country. I need you to be the best player in the world.

“From that day forward, practices took on another level,” Miller said. “I was diving for loose balls, taking charges, doing everything she needed me to do.”

After Miller earned her place on the Olympic team, she remembered another exchange with Summitt.

Summitt: I don’t get you, and I sometimes don’t like you, but I know I can’t win without you.

Miller: Coach, I can’t win without you.

In the Olympic final, Miller paced the U.S. with 16 points, including leading a 14-0 run in the second half after South Korea had cut the lead to 10 points, according to The New York Times.

Miller’s post-game celebration at the Forum was far different than at the NCAA final at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion four months earlier.

Miller helped carry Summitt on the court after the U.S. beat South Korea 85-55. Her father has a photo of it, and Miller called him on Tuesday to retrieve it and then posted it on social media.

“We didn’t know if we should raise her up because we didn’t know if she would get angry,” Miller said. “Once we dropped her on the floor, she looked at me and said well done, Miller, well done.”

MORE: Summitt’s unprecedented U.S. Olympic basketball feat

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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