U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team revealed (video)

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Simone Biles goes to the Rio Olympics with a shot at cementing her status as the greatest female gymnast of all time.

Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman will return to the Olympics, becoming the first U.S. women to make back-to-back Olympic teams since 2000.

And first-time Olympians Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian round out a team of five looking to deliver a repeat team title for the first time in U.S. gymnastics history.

“Fierce Five, second generation,” Biles told Andrea Joyce on NBC.

The U.S. women’s roster was announced after the Olympic Trials finished in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday night. And it was the team most expected.

Biles, the three-time reigning world all-around champion, clinched the lone automatic berth by winning the two-day all-around title by 2.1 points over Hernandez, despite falling off the balance beam. Raisman was third. Full results are here.

Douglas was seventh but may have all but clinched her Olympic team spot last year, when she finished second to Biles in the all-around at the world championships. She fell off the balance beam both days in San Jose.

“It’s very emotional right now, and even though I had a couple mistakes on Day 2, they still trusted and believed in me,” Douglas, with tears, told Joyce on NBC.

The Americans will be heavy favorites for the team title in Rio, given they swept the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. Plus, the recent decline of powers Russia, China and Romania. Romania won’t even send a full team to Rio.

Biles alone has a shot at five gold medals — team, all-around, vault, floor exercise and balance beam. Three U.S. female gymnasts have earned five medals at a single Games — Mary Lou RettonShannon Miller and Nastia Liukin.

Raisman’s motivation to come back after three medals in 2012 was in part due to a fourth-place finish in the London Olympic all-around. She tied for third, actually, but was bumped out of the medals due to a tiebreaker. She’s also the reigning Olympic floor exercise champion.

Given Raisman finished second to Biles at the P&G Championships and third at the Olympic Trials, she could do all four events in qualifying in Rio, setting her up for a shot at the all-around final.

Hernandez, the first U.S. Olympic gymnast born in the 2000s, was third at the P&G Championships and second at the Olympic Trials and may also be a U.S. all-arounder in Rio.

Three could do the all-around in qualifying (but only two if Douglas and Madison Kocian do uneven bars). No more than two per nation can advance to the all-around final.

Kocian is a contender to take uneven bars gold. She shared the 2015 World title with three other gymnasts. She made the Olympic team over Ashton Locklear, the 2014 U.S. champion on the event.

Locklear, MyKayla Skinner and Ragan Smith are alternates.

MORE: U.S. gymnasts walk fine line between training, overtraining

Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

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Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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