Catalina Ponor
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Catalina Ponor named Romania flag bearer, expected to compete in Rio

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Five-time Olympic medalist Catalina Ponor was named Romania’s flag bearer for the Rio Opening Ceremony on Wednesday and is expected to compete in her third Games.

Romania has one Olympic berth in women’s gymnastics, with Ponor and two-time world all-around medalist Larisa Iordache competing for the spot in recent months.

Ponor, who retired after taking three gold medals at the 2004 Athens Games and again after earning two medals at London 2012, is more ready to compete in Rio than rival Larisa Iordache, according to the Romania Gymnastics Federation.

Though Ponor wasn’t announced as a Rio Olympian on Wednesday, and Iordache is expected to travel to Rio, Iordache will compete “only if an unfortunate accident happens to Catalina and can not compete,” a Romanian Gymnastics Federation official said Wednesday. The official said it would be incorrect to call Iordache an alternate.

Romania shockingly failed to qualify a full, five-woman team for the Rio Olympics because it finished 13th at October’s world championships (top eight qualified for Rio) and seventh at April’s Olympic test event (top four qualified for Rio).

Romania, which earned a women’s team medal at every Olympics from 1976 through 2012, was left with one individual berth in the Rio Games.

Romania is still hoping to be given a second Olympic women’s gymnastics spot, according to Romania newspaper ProSport on Wednesday.

Iordache and Simone Biles were the only women to make the all-around podium at both of the last two world championships.

MORE: U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Trials broadcast schedule

Bobby Joe Morrow, triple Olympic sprint champion, dies at 84

Bobby Joe Morrow
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Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.

Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.

Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.

Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.

He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.

“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Johnny Gregorek runs fastest blue jeans mile in history

Johnny Gregorek
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Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.

Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.

Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.

Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.

“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”

MORE: Seb Coe: Track and field needs more U.S. meets

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