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Final Five throw acrobatic first pitches, like McKayla Maroney, Dominique Moceanu

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Olympic gymnasts have been throwing ceremonial first pitches for years, but only recently have flips and cartwheels become part of the routine.

On Saturday, Final Five members Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian performed those acrobatics en route to their tosses to home plate at MLB games.

In July, Simone Biles did the same at a Houston Astros contest.

Heck, even Magnificent Seven team member Dominique Moceanu did so at a minor-league game in August.

The first time a U.S. Olympic gymnast flipped for a first pitch, and it went viral, was in 2014, when McKayla Maroney did so at a Chicago White Sox game.

The other four 2012 Olympic team members — Gabby DouglasAly RaismanJordyn Wieber and Kyla Ross — have thrown first pitches of the more traditional variety. As have Nastia LiukinShawn JohnsonCarly Patterson and Mary Lou Retton (Retton once threw one underhand).

Of everyone, Kocian appeared to enjoy herself the most.

Her love for the Rangers may have sparked in June 1997, when her father had to leave a game at The Ballpark in Arlington during the first weekend of interleague play in MLB history for Kocian’s birth.

On Saturday, Kocian said she preferred meeting Rangers All-Star Adrián Beltré — and receiving an autographed bat — to Beyoncé at the MTV Video Music Awards six days earlier.

“It was very fun meeting Beyoncé, she was very nice, and I’m happy that we got to present her a VMA,” Kocian said Saturday. “But I’m a very big Rangers fan, so Beltré giving me the bat was just the cherry on top.”

MORE: Biles plans to take one year off

Olympian Dominique Moceanu flipping through the first pitch ⚾️🏅 #magnificent7

Posted by Lake Erie Crushers on Friday, August 12, 2016

Olympians @matt_ghaffari & @Dmoceanu threw out the first pitch. Wait until you see what happens! SportsCenterhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhYc2ncQ_0c

Posted by Lake Erie Crushers on Friday, August 12, 2016

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everyone told me not to do this

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Joey Mantia extends U.S. medal streak at speed skating worlds; Dutch dominance returns

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Joey Mantia ensured the host U.S. finished with a medal at the world single distances championships. Ireen WüstKjeld Nuis and Jorrit Bergsma ensured the Netherlands finished atop the medal standings.

Mantia joined Shani Davis as the only U.S. men to earn individual medals at three different editions of the championships, taking bronze in the 1500m on the last day of the speed skating meet at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Mantia won the mass start at the last two worlds in 2017 and 2019 (and finished fifth on Sunday, after the 1500m bronze).

Mantia clocked a personal best 1:42.16 in the fifth of 12 pairs of the 1500m. It held up until Nuis (1:41.66) and countryman Thomas Krol (1:41.73) in the last two pairs.

“Was starting to think that I’m so old that I can’t time trial anymore,” Mantia, a 34-year-old whose last 1500m personal best came in 2015, told media in Utah. “Maybe there’s a little bit of hope left.”

Mantia’s medal extended the U.S. streak of making the podium at every world championships this millennium — 16 straight. The single bronze is the smallest medal output since 2000.

Full results are here.

Wüst and Nuis gave the Dutch a sweep of the men’s and women’s 1500m titles, two years after they did the same at the PyeongChang Olympics. Bergsma, an Olympic and world 10,000m champion, earned his first global medal of any color — gold — in the 16-lap mass start.

The Netherlands failed to earn any golds on the first two days of the four-day competition. The dominant Dutch, who topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, entered Sunday trailing Russia.

But Wüst began the day by clocking 1:50.92 to win the 1500m by .21 over Russian Yevgenia Lalenkova. American medal hope Brittany Bowe, the 2015 World champion who took bronze last year, finished 14th a day after taking eighth in her world-record 1000m distance.

Nuis and Krol went one-two in the men’s 1500m to tie Russia’s medal total. Then Irene Schouten took bronze in the women’s mass start to put the Netherlands ahead for good, followed by Bergsma’s capper.

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MORE: Shani Davis retires, takes new role in speed skating

Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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MORE: World Single Distances Championships broadcast schedule