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

Catalina Ponor
Getty Images
2 Comments

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

Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
Getty
0 Comments

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2024 Tour de France to end with Nice time trial due to Paris Olympics

2024 Tour de France Nice
Getty
0 Comments

The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.

The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.

Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.

Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.

The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.

Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!