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Tyler George steps away from curling after Olympic gold medal

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The U.S. Olympic champion men’s curling team will not look the same next season. It may have thrown its final stone together.

Tyler George, the vice skip for John Shuster‘s rink, said he is stepping away from elite competitive curling for “a little bit,” according to USA Curling.

“It’s been a long road of a long season, and when you play as much as we have, it takes a lot of time and wear and tear on the body,” George, a 35-year-old liquor store manager whose first bed was a roasting pan at the Duluth Curling Club in Minnesota, said in a press release. “I’ve played down for 20 straight years with one minor break. It just seems like the right time to step away for a little bit and recharge the battery, let my body heal. Maybe I’ll come back stronger down the road – only time will tell.

“I don’t plan on disappearing from the game. I can fill in for the guys whenever they need me.”

George will be replaced on Shuster’s team next season by Chris Plys, known best to Olympic followers as the alternate who briefly replaced a struggling Shuster as skip at the 2010 Vancouver Games. The team also has its PyeongChang alternate, Joe Polo, who will miss the first half of next season due to shoulder surgery.

George, who led his own rinks at the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Trials, joined Shuster’s new team of curlers rejected from USA Curling’s high performance program after Shuster’s 2-7 finish at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Together, Shuster, George, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner finished third, fourth and fifth at the world championships before breaking through in PyeongChang. On the brink of elimination, they won their last five games to take the first U.S. Olympic curling title.

George was magnificent in PyeongChang, where The New York Times noticed he competed in ragged, eight-year-old Skechers and bought him new shoes. He led the U.S. quartet by shooting 88 percent against Sweden in the final.

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

Sports execs oppose esports in Olympics, survey shows

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A global survey of sports industry executives shows 57 percent oppose Olympic status for video gaming.

Audit firm PwC says more than 400 sports industry professionals from 42 countries answered an online questionnaire for its annual survey. The findings were discussed Tuesday at the Olympic Museum, where the IOC hosted an esports conference in July on possible Olympic status for the booming games market.

The PwC survey asked “Is esports an Olympic sport?“: 28 percent said, “no, because esports does not qualify as ‘sport,’” and 29 percent said esports should grow independently of the Olympics.

A further 26.7 percent said esports must first unify under a single governing body, and 10.4 percent said esports should join “as soon as possible.” Almost 6 percent said they did not know or abstained.

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Annemiek van Vleuten, back from horrific Rio Olympic crash, leads Dutch sweep at cycling worlds

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Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten led the first medal sweep by one nation in a world road cycling championships elite time trial, repeating as gold medalist two years after a horrific crash at the Rio Olympics.

Van Vleuten, 35, clocked 34 minutes, 25.36 seconds on the 17-mile course in Innsbruck, Austria.

She bettered Olympic road race champion Anna van der Breggen by 28.99 seconds, matching their one-two finish from 2017 Worlds. Ellen van Dijk, the 2013 World champ, completed the Dutch sweep with bronze, 1:25.19 back.

Van Dijk edged Canadian Leah Kirchmann by 1.62 seconds. The top American was Leah Thomas in fifth. Full results are here.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the men’s time trial on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold. A full broadcast schedule is here.

In the Rio Olympic road race, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped into a ditch. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title.

Van Vleuten wasn’t out long. She raced at the October 2016 World Championships, placing a career-high fifth in the time trial. She then won La Course in 2017 and 2018 and the Giro Rosa in July, in addition to the 2017 World time trial.

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