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Venus Williams targets 2020 Olympics at age 40

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Venus Williams is “kind of targeting” the 2020 Olympics, the five-time Olympian said when asked how much longer she will play tennis.

“I am targeting that to see if it’s possible to play there,” Williams said on a Hallmark Channel show that airs this week. “While you’re out there playing, I love that challenge, I love the pressure, it’s all a privilege. If I can be out there, I will be.”

In Rio, Williams won her fifth medal, silver in mixed doubles with Rajeev Ram, and became the most decorated tennis player in Olympic history. And she left the door open for Tokyo 2020.

“God willing, I imagine if I really wanted to be there, I could,” Williams said Aug. 14. “So Tokyo is about if I want to be there. If I want to continue to work as hard. It’s a lot of hard work. I have to want to do the work. So we’ll see.”

Now it sounds like Williams, who will be 40 in 2020, is willing to put in the work.

In Rio, Williams became the second-oldest singles player since the sport returned to the Olympic program following a 64-year break in 1988. If she is back for Tokyo, she will break Jonas Bjorkman’s record as the oldest singles player.

If Olympic tennis qualifying remains the same, Williams will have to be one of the top four Americans in WTA singles rankings come spring 2020 to outright qualify for singles.

Williams is currently No. 17, trailing Serena Williams (No. 2) and Madison Keys (No. 8) and ahead of Sloane Stephens (No. 35) and Coco Vandweghe (No. 37).

If her singles ranking falls, Williams could still make her sixth Olympics in doubles only.

One American has competed in more than six Olympics — equestrian J. Michael Plumb.

MORE: Bryan brothers had mixed doubles partners lined up before withdrawing from Rio

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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