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U.S. men’s curling team’s dream run falls short at worlds

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The U.S. men’s curling team won five straight games, just like at the Olympics. But this time, at the world championship, they needed six straight to make the medal round.

A rink led by Greg Persinger finished sixth at worlds in Las Vegas over the weekend. The Americans overcame a 1-6 start to sneak into the playoffs, where they lost to eventual silver medalist Canada with a semifinal spot at stake on Saturday.

Sweden, skipped by Niklas Edin, took gold after being upset by the U.S. Olympic team skipped by John Shuster in the PyeongChang final. It marked Edin’s third world title to go with two Olympic medals.

Shuster’s team missed nationals last month as it promoted the sport nationwide following its Olympic stunner. In their absence, Persinger’s rink claimed the U.S. title to earn the world spot.

Persinger, a 40-year-old father of three, owns a Cold Stone Creamery franchise with his wife in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“We played every team that’s in the playoffs to the end. I mean you got your money’s worth with us. I think every game but against Edin, we went to the last rock,” team member Rich Ruohonen said, according to USA Curling. “We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, and everyone knows we can play with the best in the world.”

Persinger’s team played just over 20 games together before worlds, according to USA Curling. Their five-game winning streak included a victory over Canada’s Brad Gushue, the defending world champion, but Gushue’s rink topped the Americans 6-4 in the playoffs.

Persinger and team members Colin Hufman and Philip Tilker played for skip Brady Clark at November’s Olympic Trials and finished in last place out of five teams, going 1-7 in round-robin play.

Ruohonen, 47, was an alternate for Heath McCormick‘s team that was runner-up to Shuster at trials.

Shuster’s team was fourth, third and fifth at the previous three worlds, the best string of U.S. men’s or women’s results at that level in a decade.

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VIDEO: U.S. men’s curling team fails with ceremonial first pitches

Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian come forward as Larry Nassar survivors

Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian
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Kyla Ross and Madison Kocian said they are survivors of Larry Nassar‘s sexual abuse, making it seven out of eight gymnasts between the last two Olympic champion teams to come forward.

Ross, a 2012 Olympian, and Kocian, a 2016 Olympian, spoke at “CBS This Morning” on Thursday.

“It was such a normalized thing that, between us, we didn’t think any different of it,” Kocian said. “We were told that it was a medical procedure. A lot of us had back injuries or hamstring injuries. That was our only option because he was our team doctor. That was our only avenue to accomplish our Olympic dreams. So, if we were to speak up, you probably wouldn’t have been in consideration for making that team.”

Ross said she wants an apology from USA Gymnastics.

“At first, hearing all the news about Larry, I really was in denial of it ever happening to me,” she said. “When I was 13, when it first happened to me, I believed that it was a legitimate form of treatment, but as the years have gone on and hearing all the impact statements of all the girls that have come forward already, I’ve realized that it was something terrible that happened to us.”

Previously, all of Ross’ London Olympic teammates said they are survivors — Gabby DouglasMcKayla MaroneyAly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber. And three of Kocian’s four Rio Olympic teammates — Simone Biles, Douglas and Raisman.

“It was almost like a family member, and on international trips he would bring us food or he would just kind of be the person that would always ask how are you doing, because the culture that was at the Karolyi ranch was a culture of fear, a culture of silence,” Kocian said. “That’s what let him to be able to abuse us.”

Ross and Kocian are rising juniors on UCLA’s gymnastics team. They are not competing on the elite level and thus not entered in this week’s U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

Ross earned world all-around silver and bronze medals in 2013 and 2014. Kocian is an Olympic uneven bars silver medalist and 2015 World champion on bars.

“USA Gymnastics’ support is unwavering for Kyla, Madison and all athletes who courageously came forward to share their experiences,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement, according to CBS. “Their powerful voices and stories will continue to be a basis for our future decisions.”

Nassar, 55, will likely never get out of prison. Once his 60-year federal term for child porn possession ends, he would begin serving the 40- to 175-year sentence in state prison after at least 169 women and girls provided statements in his January sentencing.

Athletes accused him of sexually abusing them under the guise of medical treatment, including while he worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Yelena Shushunova, 1988 Olympic all-around champion, dies at 49

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Yelena Shushunova, the 1988 Olympic all-around champion, died Thursday at age 49, according to Russia’s gymnastics federation.

Shushunova died of complications from pneumonia, a Russia gymnastics federation official said, according to TASS.

Shushunova earned two golds, a silver and a bronze at the Seoul 1988 Games at age 19. She beat Romanian Daniela Silivas by .025 of a point in the all-around, needing and scoring a 10 on her final apparatus on vault.

Shushunova and Silivas each tallied seven 10s at those Games, matching Nadia Comaneci‘s record from the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Shushunova also earned 11 medals between the 1985 and 1987 World Championships in one of the most impressive Olympic cycles for a gymnast.

She made the Soviet national team in time for the 1984 Olympics, but the nation boycotted the Los Angeles Games.