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U.S. Olympic women’s bobsled team named; no Lolo Jones

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Sochi Olympic medalist drivers Elana Meyers Taylor and Jamie Greubel Poser and medalist push athlete Aja Evans headline the U.S. Olympic women’s bobsled team for PyeongChang.

Lolo Jones did not make the team.

Meyers Taylor, Greubel Poser and Evans are joined by Olympic rookie push athlete Lauren Gibbs to round out the team.

“Unfortunately, I did not make the Olympic Team but I’m pumped for @lagibbs84 to make her first Oly team and join returning vets @eamslider24 @JamieGreubel and @AjaLEvans,” was tweeted from Jones’ account minutes after the announcement. “They will rep USA very well.”

Jones, 35, was bidding to become the first American to compete in multiple Summer Olympics and multiple Winter Olympics.

She helped push Meyers Taylor to her first World Cup win this season earlier Saturday in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Jones hasn’t won an Olympic medal, and this was likely her last chance.

Jones led the 2008 Olympic 100m hurdles final before hitting the penultimate hurdle and finishing seventh. She was fourth in the 2012 Olympic 100m hurdles, then 11th in the her Winter Olympic debut in 2014.

She overcame shoulder surgery (November 2014), hip surgery (October 2015, which ended up causing her to miss the July 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials) and concussion symptoms from an October bobsled crash.

Gibbs, 33, competed in six of the seven World Cups this season.

Jones competed in just one of the first six, then re-entered a World Cup sled Saturday for the first time since Nov. 18.

Jones and other push athletes who missed out saw their chances diminish Saturday morning, when Canada joined Germany as the two nations to earn the maximum three sleds for PyeongChang.

The U.S., which had three sleds in 2010 and 2014, was narrowly edged by Canada in the final quota standings.

“Six push athletes have been battling it out week after week and winning medals on the World Cup circuit this year, but we only have two spots for the Games,” USA Bobsled CEO Darrin Steele said in a press release. “We don’t take this decision light-heartedly. The selection committee chose the athletes they think have the best chance of bringing home hardware from Korea for Team USA. I wish we could take the entire team with us because they’ve all proven how hard-working and determined they are in addition to being incredibly talented.”

Meyers Taylor, the first female bobsledder to make three U.S. Olympic teams, will pair with Gibbs in PyeongChang. They will try to dethrone Canadian Kaillie Humphries, who seeks her third straight Olympic title.

Meyers Taylor led Humphries after three of four runs in Sochi but dropped to second place with Lauryn Williams in the last run. Williams retired in 2015.

Greubel Poser and Evans will share a sled again, just as they did for bronze in Sochi and at last season’s world championships.

The alternate push athlete is Briauna Jones.

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MORE: Would Usain Bolt make a good bobsledder?

Simone Biles returns to the gym, going from mental drain to physical pain

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For Simone Biles, this was supposed to be the stretch run of a legendary career.

Instead, she returned to her gym on May 18 with long-term thoughts of waiting 14 months until the Tokyo Olympics. And the immediate aches of a world-class gymnast who just missed nearly two months of regular training.

“After that amount of time off, it kind of sucks because your body hurts and then you get really sore,” Biles said in a pre-recorded ESPNW interview that aired Thursday. “So you just have to get back into the swing of things. But it felt nice to see my coaches, my teammates, and just to be back on the equipment and in the environment.”

In that same Texas gym three months ago, Biles had a far different outlook. One that would have put fear into any gymnast who still harbored ambition of ending her near-seven-year win streak.

“I never felt more ready this early in the season,” she said. “I was so ready for the Olympics to be this year.”

Biles repeated in interviews the last two months that the Olympic postponement to 2021 was devastating. Thoughts zig-zagged: How do I go on another year, at age 23, in a sport recently dominated by (but not limited to) teenagers?

“I’m getting pretty old,” she said in the interview published Thursday. “Will I be at the top of my game?”

Biles proved the last two years — after a year off — that she can win — and comfortably — while not at her best. She grabbed the 2018 World all-around title by a record margin — with two falls. Last year, she became the most decorated gymnast in world championships history. In Tokyo, she can become the first woman to repeat as Olympic all-around champion, and the only one older than 20, in more than 50 years.

This for a gymnast whose early goal was to earn a college scholarship. Biles did, to UCLA, but had to give it up by turning professional.

“So I’ve exceeded that,” Biles said. “And then I wanted to go to world championships and Olympics, and I’ve been to five worlds and one Olympic Games. So, I’d be more than happy [to walk away].”

After gymnastics, Biles has another goal — to be a voice for foster kids. She was in foster care multiple times before being adopted at age 6 by grandparents Ron and Nellie.

Those plans, along with so much else for Biles and so many others, have been pushed back a full year.

“I was already being mentally drained and almost, not done with the sport, but just going into the gym and feeling tired and being like, OK, I’m going to get my stuff [done], get out,” she said. “We have this one end goal, and now that it’s postponed another [year], it’s just like, how are we going to deal with that? We’re already being drained, and so it’s to keep the fire in the sport within yourself alive.”

MORE: Top U.S. gymnasts disagree with Tokyo Olympic age rule

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2022 Pan Pacific Championships canceled as swimming calendar shifts

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The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, a quadrennial major international meet, will not be held in 2022 “out of respect for the recent changes to the international sporting calendar,” according to a press release.

The Pan Pacs’ charter nations — the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan — agreed to the move. The 2026 event will be held in Canada, which was supposed to be the 2022 host.

The decision came after the 2021 World Championships were moved to May 2022, following the Tokyo Olympics moving from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The quadrennial multi-sport Commonwealth Games — which includes Australia and Canada, but not the U.S. or Japan — are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7, 2022.

“Organizing a third major championships in that window presented several challenges,” according to the Pan Pacs release.

Pan Pacs mark the third-biggest major international meet for U.S. swimmers, held in non-Olympic, non-world championships years.

MORE: Caeleb Dressel co-hosts a podcast. It’s not about swimming.

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