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Ronda Rousey: UFC return just as likely as Olympic return

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Ronda Rousey repeated that she doesn’t know if she will return to UFC in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres published Tuesday.

“It’s just as likely as me going to back to another Olympics for judo,” the 31-year-old Rousey said. “No one demanded a written resignation from me for judo, and I don’t really think the same thing is necessary for fighting. I’m just doing what I enjoy, and WWE is what I enjoy right now.”

Rousey, a 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist, is now under contract with WWE. She is scheduled for a match debut at WrestleMania on April 8 in a mixed tag-team event with 1996 Olympic wrestling champion Kurt Angle as her partner.

“I’m nervous, but it’s not like Olympics nervous,” Rousey said. “The worst thing that’ll happen is I’ll look stupid.”

Rousey said in an ESPN interview published Jan. 28 that WWE has “first priority on my time the next several years.” Rousey shrugged off a question about retirement from mixed martial arts.

“That’s what everybody else seems to say,” Rousey said. “I mean, I never retired from judo. If that’s what you guys want to think, all I know is that I really want to devote 100 percent of my time to wrestling right now, and whatever people want to call that, they can call it.”

Previously, Rousey said she needed “to take some time to reflect and think about the future” on Dec. 31, 2016, one day after losing her second straight UFC fight via a brutal TKO at the pummeling hands of Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in Las Vegas.

Rousey has been out of MMA ever since.

UFC president Dana White said in January 2017 that he believed Rousey would never fight in UFC again.

“I think she’s probably done,” White said then. “I think she’s going to ride off into the sunset and start living her life outside of fighting.”

White said he made those comments after speaking to Rousey earlier that same day.

“Her spirits are good. She’s doing her own thing,” he said. “In the conversation that I had with her, if I had to say right here, right now — and, again, I don’t like saying right here, right now because, you know, it’s up to her and her thing — but I wouldn’t say she fights again.”

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World short-track speedskating championships will be moved, postponed or canceled

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The International Skating Union announced Tuesday that the world short-track speedskating championships will not proceed as scheduled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Seoul’s Mokdong Ice Rink, where the competition was set to be held March 13-15, held the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships earlier this month but closed on Monday.

The ISU left open the possibility that the championships will be postponed or relocated, but the window to do so may close rapidly.

“Taking into account the uncertain world-wide development of the coronavirus, the limited and uncertain available time slots during the coming weeks and the logistical challenges of potential organizers and participating teams, a postponement and/or relocation of the Championships would be difficult to achieve,” the ISU said. “Nevertheless, a postponement and/or relocation of this Championships might be considered if the circumstances would allow so in due time.”

South Korea is one of short-track speedskating’s traditional powers. Last year, the country dominated the world championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, winning both relays and taking gold in all of the men’s individual races. South Korea also led the medal count on home ice in the 2018 Olympics.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced the cancellation of many events in China, where the illness was first found. The world indoor track and field championships were pushed back a whole year.

With the virus spreading to other regions, other countries’ sports schedules are being affected. Several soccer games are proceeding in empty stadiums in Italy and Iran.

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Daniel Romanchuk’s ascent to marathon stardom accelerated at University of Illinois

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The rise of Daniel Romanchuk has been one of the major stories of this Paralympic cycle. The wheelchair racer was eliminated in the first round of all five of his races in Rio.

But now, he’s the world’s best marathoner with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, a world-record holder on the track and already qualified for the Tokyo Games.

Romanchuk, born with spina bifida, was profiled by NBC Sports Chicago as part of a series of NBC Sports Regional Networks pieces published this week — marking 150 days until the Tokyo Olympics and six months until the Tokyo Paralympics.

NBC RSN Olympic and Paralympic Profiles
NBC Sports Bay Area

Abbey Weitzeil (Swimming) — LINK

NBC Sports Boston
Margaret Bertasi (Rowing) — LINK
Abbey D’Agostino Cooper (Track and Field) — LINK

NBC Sports Chicago
Ryan Murphy (Swimming) — LINK

NBC Sports Northwest
Galen Rupp (Marathon) — LINK
Mariel Zagunis (Fencing) — LINK

NBC Sports Philadelphia
Vashti Cunningham (Track and Field) — LINK
Julie Ertz (Soccer) — LINK

NBC Sports Washington
Katie Ledecky (Swimming) — LINK
Kyle Snyder (Wrestling) — LINK

Romanchuk, 21, swept the Boston, London, Chicago and New York City Marathon titles in 2019. He attributes that success to his native Baltimore and his training residence of the University of Illinois.

At age 2, he was enrolled in Baltimore’s Bennett Blazers, an adaptive sports program for children with physical disabilities. Tatyana McFadden, a 17-time Paralympic medalist who dominated women’s wheelchair marathons, planted her athletic roots there.

“Their motto is to teach kids they can before they’re told they can’t,” Romanchuk said.

Things really blossomed for Romanchuk after he moved from Baltimore to the University of Illinois. Illinois was designated a U.S. Paralympic training site in 2014 and has produced McFadden, Jean Driscoll and other U.S. Paralympic stars.

“Without this program, I certainly would not be where I am,” Romanchuk said. “It’s a very unique combination of coaching and teammates.”

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