Dana Vollmer’s plan for second child may include racing while pregnant

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Dana Vollmer pulled off the remarkable in Rio, earning a medal of every color, 17 months after childbirth. The butterfly swimmer wants to have another baby and return to competition again, and she’s preparing differently this time.

Vollmer has talked with her swimsuit maker, Tyr, about designing a suit for whatever size belly she has if and when she is pregnant. The goal is sooner rather than later.

“I didn’t swim at all with [baby boy] Arlen, so I’m hoping to be able to train through more of the pregnancy, hopefully,” Vollmer said last month. “Last time I was on bedrest. Really hoping that doesn’t happen.”

The seven-time Olympic medalist could even see a scenario where she competes in the early stages of pregnancy. Perhaps in 2017.

In the last Olympic cycle, Vollmer competed in the season after the London Olympics. Then she took 23 months off from competition before returning 13 months before the Rio Games.

“This time, if we get pregnant soon, then I’ll have more time than I had leading up to Rio,” Vollmer said. “I do feel like that I kind of ran out of time. I could have been faster in Rio. It’s part of what motivates me to continue swimming right now. I still feel like I have a faster swim in me.”

Vollmer was plenty fast in 2016, regaining her form as the fastest American in the 100m butterfly and posting the top 100m freestyle time in the country for the year going into the Olympic Trials.

In Rio, she took bronze in the 100m butterfly, silver as part of the 4x100m freestyle relay and gold with the 4x100m medley relay.

The 100m fly is her signature event.

At the 2012 Olympics, Vollmer broke Sarah Sjöström‘s world record in the 100m fly final and won gold.

In Rio, Sjöström broke the world record in the 100m butterfly and won gold. Vollmer, beaten by a gaping 1.15 seconds, then joked to her Swedish rival.

“Next is my turn,” Vollmer said, hinting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Vollmer laughed about that comment in an interview last month.

“I would have liked to be a little closer to her to give her a little more of a scare for the gold medal,” she said. “For her to go as fast as she did [a half-second better than Vollmer’s personal best] was insane.”

Vollmer will be 32 come 2020, which is older than any previous U.S. Olympic female swimmer save Dara Torres, who raced at Sydney 2000 at age 33 and Beijing 2008 at 41.

Vollmer has been touched by words from other moms at playdates in the park this fall. They say she inspired them to believe they can achieve a life balance of being a mom while also pursuing their own self-interests, particiularly in physical fitness.

It could be just the start, especially if a pregnant Vollmer suits up for meets in the next year or so.

“I don’t know what my ‘fly would look like, and I don’t know how slow it might be,” she said. “It would be more about getting in and having fun racing a 100 fly.”

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Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

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Alexis Pinturault wins world championships combined; American in fourth

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France’s Alexis Pinturault won the world Alpine skiing championships combined at his home venue after defending world champion Marco Schwarz blew a lead in the final seconds of his slalom run.

Pinturault, a 31-year-old who hadn’t won a race in nearly two years (the longest drought of his distinguished career), prevailed by one tenth of a second over the Austrian Schwarz in Courchevel, France.

“I hope to enjoy it because it was pretty difficult some months ago,” Pinturault said.

Austrian Raphael Haaser took bronze in an event that combined times from a morning super-G run and an afternoon slalom run, one day after his older sister took bronze in the women’s combined.

River Radamus was fourth, a quarter of a second from becoming the first U.S. man to win an Alpine worlds medal since 2015. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom, which is scheduled for Feb. 17 at worlds.

“It’s nice, but honestly, you don’t come to world championships hoping to get fourth,” Radamus said.

Five skiers finished within 2.98 seconds of the winner in an event that has been dropped from the annual World Cup schedule and is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Pinturault had the fastest super-G run by six hundredths over Schwarz. Schwarz, a slightly better slalom skier than Pinturault, erased that deficit early in the slalom and had a three tenths lead at the last intermediate split.

He gave it all away about six gates from the finish, slamming on the brakes. Moments later, he crossed the finish line one tenth behind Pinturault, who reacted by pumping his fists in the air.

The Frenchman earned his first race victory since the March 2021 World Cup Finals giant slalom, where he clinched his first World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Last season, Pinturault went winless on the World Cup for the first time since he was a teenage rookie in 2011, plus went medal-less at the Olympics.

Pinturault, who grew up in Courchevel and now co-owns the family’s five-star Hotel Annapurna there, had retirement cross his mind in the offseason, according to Eurosport. He skipped a pre-worlds Sunday press conference due to illness.

Nonetheless, Pinturault was on the front page of French newspapers this week, including L’Equipe on Tuesday. In a sports cover story for Le Figaro, Pinturault said that, given the circumstances, it would be almost a “nice surprise” to go for a medal at these worlds.

Olympic champion Johannes Strolz of Austria skied out of the slalom after tying for 29th in the super-G.

Olympic silver and bronze medalists Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Jack Crawford of Canada were among the speed specialists who did not start the slalom. They essentially used the event as a training run for Thursday’s super-G.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the women’s super-G, where Mikaela Shiffrin is a medal contender but not the favorite. She can tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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