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For Gabby Douglas, this break from gymnastics is different

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Gabby Douglas has been away from gymnastics training for nearly one year now, her longest break since she took up the sport at age 6.

The 2012 Olympic all-around champion has not retired, but unlike Final Five teammates Simone BilesAly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez, has no set plan to return to the gym. Yet.

“We’ll see. I mean, right now, it’s up in the air,” Douglas said while promoting Post-it’s “Make it Stick” back-to-school initiative on Wednesday. “I’m enjoying the time off.”

At this time in the last Olympic cycle, Douglas had already returned to coach Liang Chow‘s gym in West Des Moines, Iowa, for two months. However, she would leave for Los Angeles in summer 2013 before ultimately landing in Ohio for her return to competition in March 2015.

It was all different five years ago. Today is the fifth anniversary of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.

Douglas rose from out of nowhere — compared to Simone Biles, who dominated from 2013 through Rio — to win her Olympic all-around title and then repeatedly said the rest of summer 2012 that she planned a run to Rio.

“This time is different because I’ve been to two Olympics, and I always wanted to go to two Olympics,” Douglas said Wednesday. “But right now since I’ve been doing gymnastics for 14 years, I am taking this time off, especially growing into my own person.”

Douglas confirmed she’s keeping her gymnastics options open by saying she’s still filling out whereabouts forms for drug testing. Generally, Olympic medalists make their retirements official by filing paperwork to take their names out of a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool (see Michael Phelps).

But her focus is clearly outside of the gym for the forseeable future. Douglas began taking acting classes in Los Angeles in June, like fellow gymnastics medalist Danell Leyva (who doesn’t plan to come back).

Her ultimate goal is to appear in movies.

“It’s the same, but different,” Douglas said of acting versus gymnastics. “You have to expose your vulnerability a little bit in acting classes.”

Douglas is aware that 2012 and 2016 Olympic teammate Aly Raisman hopes to make a third Olympic team in 2020. Does Douglas think Raisman is inspirational or just crazy?

“It’s whatever you want to do,” she said, “whatever you want to achieve.”

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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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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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