Simone Biles
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Simone Biles: I’ll be taking a year off, I think

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Simone Biles said Thursday that she expects to take at least one year off after winning four gold medals, and five overall, at the Rio Olympics.

“I will be taking a year off, I think, just ’til everything settles down, because now we have photo shoots and other opportunities that will come our way,” Biles said in a Sports Illustrated video interview. “It will be really hard for us to be in and out of the gym and train very serious during this time period. So afterwards, then we’ll see.”

Biles, 19, said in August that she would take an indefinite break, though she will participate in a USA Gymnastics tour of shows from Sept. 15-Nov. 13. Retiring U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi said in Rio that Biles told her she wanted to take one year off.

Technically, Biles could go one year between competitions and not miss the biggest meets of 2017. The P&G Championships are Aug. 17-20, and the world championships in Montreal are in late September and early October next year.

None of the four previous U.S. Olympic women’s all-around champions competed in the world championships the year after their Olympic triumphs. Nastia Liukin came the closest, placing fourth on the balance beam at the 2009 U.S. Championships after a break, but withdrawing from world championships consideration before the team was named, citing not being in ideal physical shape.

If Biles sits out all of 2017, it will open the door for a new world all-around champion. Biles three-peated from 2013 through 2015.

The top contenders start with the three Americans who finished runner-up to Biles at major competitions in the last year — Olympic silver medalist Aly Raisman, world silver medalist Gabby Douglas and Olympic Trials second-place finisher Laurie Hernandez.

It’s unknown if any of the three will compete next year, but Hernandez figures to be the most probable, since she is 16 and Raisman and Douglas are in their 20s and coming off their second Olympics.

Internationally, 2014 World all-around silver medalist Larisa Iordache of Romania could challenge if she returns to form following an injury-plagued year. Russian Aliya Mustafina took all-around bronze at the last two Olympics, but it’s unknown if she will compete in 2017.

MORE: Biles’ longtime coach takes new job

David Boudia adjusts diving event, goal for world championships

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David Boudia earned diving medals at his last three world championships and the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, but that was on the platform. He competes on the global stage on the springboard for the first time at worlds this week.

“I don’t have a lot of high hopes,” Boudia, who is still learning the springboard after switching to it in the last year, said in a phone interview from South Korea, where he begins competition Wednesday (TV schedule here). “But I think my biggest goal is to walk away with an Olympic spot.”

An Olympic spot not necessarily for himself, but for the U.S.

Boudia, a 30-year-old father of three, and any other American will clinch 2020 Olympic quota spots by placing in the top 12 in their respective individual events this week. Those spots, and any others earned at later competitions in the next year, will be filled at trials in June in Indianapolis.

NBC Sports analyst Cynthia Potter believes Boudia, who left the sport to sell homes in 2017 and came back and suffered a concussion off the platform in 2018, can meet his goal of making Friday’s 12-man final in Gwangju.

“He would have to dive well, but not better than he’s been diving,” she said. “His springboard is really well-timed, rhythmic, and he’s for a long time known how to go into the water without making a splash.”

But challenging Rio Olympic gold and silver medalists Cao Yuan of China and Jack Laugher of Great Britain, plus defending world champion Xie Siyi of China would be very tough.

Boudia lacks their degrees of difficulty, for now. He hopes to switch out two of his six dives before his first competition of 2020, though he could insert one of them should he make the world final.

“I need a good six months, so from August to December is when we’re kind of really drilling the fundamentals of learning those new dives and getting them perfected,” he said.

Boudia rallied to beat Rio Olympic springboard diver Michael Hixon for the title in May at nationals, where the top two per event earned world berths. But Boudia competed there with about a month of competition dive practice, about half as long as he would prefer.

“Hix and I are going to have a lot of training to do if we want to be even close to cracking that top five,” at worlds, Boudia said in May, according to TeamUSA.org.

Boudia is the lone U.S. diver to earn an individual world medal in an Olympic diving event since 2009.

The U.S. produced breakthroughs at worlds so far. Sarah Bacon became the first American woman to earn a world title since 2005, taking the non-Olympic 1m springboard event. Murphy Bromberg and Katrina Young bagged bronze in synchronized platform, ending a decade-long medal drought in any synchro event.

But Boudia’s goal must be shared among the whole team — as many top-12 finishes individually and top three in synchro events to gobble up Tokyo 2020 quota spots. The U.S. failed to qualify full teams for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

“Getting in the top 12 in the four individual Olympic events is the big deal right now,” Potter said. “Whether you are on the awards stand or not, that would be icing on the cake for a lot of these divers.”

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MORE: Diving Worlds TV Schedule

Anita Wlodarczyk, one of track and field’s most dominant, sidelined

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Poland hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk, the only woman to win the last five combined Olympic and world titles in a track and field event, will not go for a fourth straight world championship this fall.

Wlodarczyk had season-ending, arthroscopic left knee surgery on Monday, according to Polish media citing her coach.

Wlodarczyk, 33, has the top 15 throws on the IAAF’s all-time list, and 27 of the top 29. Her world record of 82.98 meters (scribbled on her leg pre-op) is 11 and a half feet farther the second-best woman in history. She originally took silver at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 Worlds but was upgraded to gold after Russian Tatyana Lysenko was stripped for doping.

Wlodarczyk won a reported 42 straight finals between 2014 and 2017, then suffered three losses in 2018 and two so far this year in three lower-level meets before the operation.

Americans DeAnna Price and Brooke Anderson rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the world this year. A U.S. woman has never finished in the top five of an Olympic or world championships hammer throw, which debuted at worlds in 1999 and the Olympics in 2000.

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