Simone Biles
Getty Images

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

Leave a comment

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

The Wrap from Day 1 of the World Championships

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan — Matt Lindland sees progress taking place within the United States Greco-Roman program.

He sees accountability and ownership. He sees a desire to compete with the global Greco powers and a willingness to pay the price to get there.

“There’s definitely been progress,” Lindland said. “We’ve got great guys. It’s about them. They want to be here. They want to do what it’s going to take to get to that next level, and you can see it. They’re frustrated when things don’t go their way, and they’re going to figure out how to fix those things. Yeah, we’re making the right progress. We’ve got the right guys, we’ve got the right attitude.”

But Lindland also sees hesitation at times, too. He sees too much analyzing and not enough reactionary aggression.

“I think our guys are second-guessing themselves, they’re questioning and they’re thinking,” he said. “They’re thinking about what’s going to happen instead of being in the moment and just being present and letting things fly. Really great athletes out there on America’s team and they’re super capable. When they start thinking and questioning what’s going to happen and wondering what the referee is going to call, they’ve just got to go out there and do what they’re all capable of doing.”

Both dynamics — the signs progress and the work-in-progress symbols — were on display Saturday on the opening day of the World Championships.

Max Nowry, Ryan Mango and Raymond Bunker notched opening-round wins Saturday. For perspective, only three Americans posted Greco victories at the World Championships in 2018.

On the flip side, though, each of the three ran into roadblocks when they couldn’t hold leads in their second bout, and Mango and Bunker got eliminated later in the day.

Nowry and John Stefanowicz, however, got pulled into the repechage and have a chance to wrestle Sunday for medals. Nowry got an extra opportunity when Kazakhstan’s Khorlan Zhakansha stunned 2018 World champ and No. 1 seed Eldaniz Azizli of Azerbaijan, 11-5, in the 55-kilogram semifinals.

Stefanowicz dropped a 7-0 decision in the Round of 16 at 82 kilograms against Georgia’s Lasha Gobadze. But the Georgian posted two more victories to set Stefanowicz up with another chance at a medal.

Read the rest of the article at Track Wrestling

Sky Brown, 11 years old, is third at world skateboarding championships ahead of Olympic debut

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sky Brown, an 11-year-old who appears en route to becoming the youngest female Summer Olympian in 50 years, took third at the world skateboarding championships in Sao Paulo on Saturday. The sport debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo.

Brown posted her highest score of her four finals runs in the last round, 58.13 points, of the park event. It was not enough to overtake Japanese Misugu Okamoto and Sakura Yosozumi. The new world champion Okamoto is 13 years old. Yosozumi is 17.

Brown has been raised in Japan by a Japanese mother and a British father. The 2018 Dancing with the Stars: Juniors winner appeared in a Nike “Dream Crazier” ad with Simone BilesSerena Williams and Chloe Kim in February.

She has not clinched an Olympic spot yet but is well on her way as the qualifying season continues.

She turns 12 years old just before the Tokyo Olympics begin and would be the youngest Olympian since Romanian rowing coxswain Carlos Front at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

She would be the youngest female Olympian since Chinese ice dancer Liu Luyang in 1988 and the youngest female Summer Olympian since Puerto Rican swimmer Liana Vicens in 1968, according to the OlyMADMen.

The Tokyo Games feature four skateboarding events — men’s and women’s street and park.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Chloe Kim details tough Princeton transition