American Heather O’Reilly is retiring from the U.S. national team, ending one of the most successful international soccer careers.
“I have spent nearly half my life in a U.S. Soccer uniform, so making the decision to retire from international play was incredibly hard and emotional,” she said in a press release. “But quite simply, after 230 caps, thousands of practices, many trips around the world, and having played in three World Cups, and three Olympics, it just feels like the right time. I’ve had an incredibly complete career playing for my country and it has been an absolute honor to represent the USWNT for the last 15 years. I’m leaving this team with a lot happiness in my heart and pride for what we’ve accomplished. I truly love this game and it will be in my life forever. Now, I’m looking forward to being a USWNT fan. American Outlaws, where do I sign up?”
O’Reilly is one of four players to win three Olympic soccer gold medals, the others being teammates Christie Rampone, Heather Mitts and Shannon Boxx.
O’Reilly was the youngest member of the 2004 Athens Olympic team at age 19, after her freshman year at the University of North Carolina, and returned in 2008 and 2012.
O’Reilly played on the 2007, 2011 and 2015 Women’s World Cup teams, but her string of major-tournament appearances ended this year when she was named an alternate for the Olympics.
O’Reilly retires at age 31 with 230 national-team caps, seventh-most in U.S. history, including a U.S. record 74 straight matches played from 2007 to 2011.
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Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement after a professional tennis career that includes five Grand Slam wins, 36 singles titles and an Olympic silver medal.
Sharapova was only 17 when she won her first major in 2004 at Wimbledon. She won the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008 before completing her career Grand Slam in the 2012 French Open. She won the French Open again in 2014.
After moving from Russia to Florida at age 9 to train at the Bollettieri Academy, she made her professional debut just after her 14th birthday in 2001. She graduated to top-level events and majors within two years and reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2003.
In 2004, she upset Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams at Wimbledon and beat Williams again at the Tour Championships.
By 2005, the 6-foot-2 player had claimed the top spot in the world rankings. She remained in the top five for most of the next four years before suffering an injury to her right shoulder that limited her tournament schedule in 2008 and 2009. By 2011, she had reclaimed her status as a top-five player and remained there until 2016.
Her career declined after a positive drug test at the 2016 Australian Open. The substance in question, meldonium, had been given by Russian doctors to many athletes.
An initial suspension of two years was reduced to 15 months, but she wasn’t able to get back to her previous form. She won one more tournament in 2017 and reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 French Open, but she fared poorly in sporadic appearances in 2019. Her last match was a loss to Donna Vekic in the first round of the Australian Open in January.
SEE: Sharapova discusses reduced ban on TODAY
Her meldonium suspension also cost her commercial sponsorships and her role as a UN Development Program ambassador, which she earned with her work to help survivors of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.
She was involved in the Olympics as a silver medalist in 2012, losing to Williams in the final, and as one of the final torch bearers in the relay to the 2014 Olympics opening ceremony in her home country.
She’s also third on the all-time WTA earnings list behind Serena and Venus Williams, taking in more than $38m in her career on top of lucrative endorsement deals.
Mikaela Shiffrin‘s prolonged absence from the World Cup Alpine skiing circuit has opened the door for Italy’s Federica Brignone to break the American’s grip on the season title, but Brignone hopes her friend and rival will be back in competition soon.
“I really do hope that she will return soon for herself so she can do again what she loves most,” Brignone said.
Brignone took the season lead from Shiffrin, who has won the last three World Cup overall titles, on Sunday and has a 73-point advantage with 11 of the season’s 40 races remaining. She also leads Shiffrin by 74 points in the giant slalom standings.
READ: Brignone moves into World Cup lead
No Italian woman has won the overall World Cup. Brignone was fifth in 2017 and won the Alpine combined discipline title last season.
Brignone will have a chance to clinch another Alpine combined discipline title and extend her overall lead in her home country this weekend. While some other sports events in Italy have been canceled or otherwise affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the host resort of La Thuile has so far been spared from the virus’ spread.
Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, the only other skier with a realistic chance of winning the overall trophy, is dealing with a knee injury and might not be able to race this weekend. Vhlova leads Shiffrin by 20 points in the slalom standings.
Shiffrin has not competed since the death of her father Feb. 2, and she has not announced plans to return. She was not on pace to match her astounding 17-win 2018-19 season but still had six wins and had reached the podium in 13 of 19 races.
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