Helen Maroulis
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Helen Maroulis gets help from Cal Ripken Jr. on first pitch

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It would be memorable for any D.C. area person to throw a pitch to Cal Ripken Jr. Helen Maroulis can say she did it twice, with a great story behind it.

Maroulis, a Maryland native who in Rio became the first U.S. women’s wrestling champion, visited the Aberdeen IronBirds to throw a ceremonial first pitch Thursday as part of her tour of area pro sports teams.

Her catcher was none other than Ripken, the IronBirds owner, who said he had never before caught a pitch from an Olympic gold medalist. (A little surprising given Michael Phelps is a noted Ripken fan)

Maroulis, who lifted Teddy Roosevelt at a Washington Nationals game but did not throw a first pitch last week, practiced with Ripken in the bullpen before her pitch Thursday.

Once she got to the more sloped pitcher’s mound, her ceremonial toss bounced once before reaching Ripken, well off the plate. Rather than accept it, the Baltimore Orioles legend lofted the ball back to Maroulis and told her to try again.

“It felt incredible, but you know what, I’m more happy about the lessons I got beforehand,” Maroulis told the Baltimore Sun. “No one saw that, but Cal is awesome, so I don’t know if I would have gotten that to home plate without him.

“If Cal’s throwing you the ball back, you better get it right the second time. So I was going for broke at that point.”

Maroulis felt butterflies, just like she does before wrestling matches. Ripken sensed it.

“It’s nerve-wracking going out on the field and throw, if it’s not what you do,” Ripken said. “We practiced down here in the bullpen, and we measured it off down there to see if she could do it, and she took it all the way to 60 feet. I didn’t tell her about the slope of the mound, it kind of messed her up the first time, so we had to have a take two.”

Maroulis and Ripken then shared a Maryland tradition, cracking steamed crabs.

Last Saturday, Maroulis gave the Baltimore Ravens a pre-game, locker-room speech. On Friday, she is to throw a first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game.

MORE: Maroulis’ rival from Japan decides not to retire

Olympic cycling champion faces army reprimand for bare-bottom White House photo

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BERN, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic cycling champion Nino Schurter faces being reprimanded by the Swiss Army after posting a photo on social media showing his bare bottom with the White House in the background.

The army confirmed details reported in Swiss media that the 33-year-old mountain biker faces a possible warning from his senior officers over the incident this month, though any disciplinary action will not be announced.

The Rio gold medalist and record eight-time world champion is supported in his career by Switzerland’s military.

Schurter was on service duty between races in the United States two weeks ago when he posted a photo on Instagram with three team colleagues all dropping their pants while facing the White House.

The photo, since deleted but viewable here, was tagged to President Donald Trump and included the message “white (peach emoji) for the White House.”

The Swiss Army says it did not want to make a scandal of the incident, and Schurter had apologized to his commanding officer. He told Swiss media taking the photo had been spontaneous and he loved being in the U.S.

Schurter is the current Swiss sportsman of the year, beating tennis great Roger Federer into second place in December in a public vote.

MORE: World Road Cycling Championships TV Schedule

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2019 World Road Cycling Championships TV, live stream schedule

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The World Road Cycling Championships begin Sunday in Yorkshire, Great Britain. Every race streams live for NBC Sports Gold “Cycling Pass” subscribers.

Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBCSN also air TV coverage of the eight-day championships.

Look for a possibly wide-open men’s time trial on Wednesday given 2017 champion Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands is out after missing the Tour de France with a knee injury. Australian Rohan Dennis, last year’s winner, is a bit of an unknown after quitting the Tour de France in a dispute with his team.

Slovakian Peter Sagan looks to reclaim the road race on the final day on Sept. 29. Sagan won three straight titles before 39-year-old Alejandro Valverde of Spain took last year’s event on a climber’s course.

Dutch women swept the time trial and road race titles the last two years. They’re once again led by Anna van der Breggen, the reigning Olympic and world road race champion, and Annemiek van Vleuten, who recovered from her head-first Rio Olympic crash to win the last two world time trials.

But look out for another Dutch veteran, Marianne Vos, a 32-year-old having a resurgent season. The London Olympic road race champ seeks her first world medal since the tail end of her single-day road dominance in 2013.

The U.S. roster is led by Amber Neben, who won her second time trial world title in 2017 at age 42, and Chloe Dygert Owen, the 22-year-old track world champion who wants to make the Olympic team in both disciplines.

The American men feature Chad Haga, who won the final-stage time trial at the Giro d’Italia in June, and fellow Tour de France veterans Brent Bookwalter and Lawson Craddock.

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MORE: Chris Froome: Pre-Tour de France crash like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ scene

Date Event Time (ET) Network
Sept. 22 Team Time Trial Mixed Relay 8:10 a.m. Streaming
5:30 p.m.* Olympic Channel
Sept. 23 Women’s Junior Individual Time Trial 5 a.m. Olympic Channel
Men’s Junior Individual Time Trial 8:30 a.m. Olympic Channel
Sept. 24 Men’s U23 Individual Time Trial 5 a.m. Olympic Channel
Women’s Individual Time Trial 9:30 a.m. Olympic Channel
Sept. 25 Men’s Individual Time Trial 8 a.m. Olympic Channel
Sept. 26 Men’s Junior Road Race 7 a.m. Olympic Channel
Sept. 27 Women’s Junior Road Race 3:30 a.m. Olympic Channel
Men’s U23 Road Race 9 a.m. Olympic Channel
Sept. 28 Women’s Road Race 5:40 a.m. Streaming
2:30 p.m.* Olympic Channel
Sept. 29 Men’s Road Race 3:30 a.m. Olympic Channel
10 p.m.* NBCSN

*Same-day delayed broadcast.