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Matt Hamilton uses Olympic curling gold medal as golf ball marker

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Matt Hamilton is squeezing every bit of value out of his Olympic curling gold medal.

Hamilton, while playing in this week’s Web.com Tour pro-am event, pulled out the medal to mark his golf ball on a green. Not only that, Hamilton was wearing a Team USA cap and clad in red, white and blue stars up and down his shirt and pants.

Also Thursday, Hamilton hit an errant ball that was returned to him by a local resident. Hamilton let the man hold his gold medal as he held a large soda cup but was adamant that he wouldn’t take his eyes off of it.

“I wouldn’t give this [medal] to my mom,” Hamilton said.

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MORE: Top moments from Team USA’s run to curling gold

Chellsie Memmel, 12 years after her Olympics, came back to gymnastics as a mom

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Chellsie Memmel, a 2008 Olympic gymnast who retired in 2012, documented what she titled an Adult Gymnastics Journey the last 16 weeks on YouTube, but she felt nervous about uploading last Friday’s video.

That’s because of what she chose to include at the end, a short conversation with her father and coach, Andy, inside M&M Gymnastics, the family’s gym in New Berlin, Wis., just outside Milwaukee.

“OK, anything else you want to say,” Andy asked.

“Well, I guess it’s time to admit this is a comeback,” Memmel said.

What does that mean? Well, Memmel called U.S. women’s high-performance team coordinator Tom Forster in July to discuss just that.

The first step toward competing for the first time in eight years would be attending a camp, though the coronavirus pandemic put the sport on pause.

“It would be fun to make it to a competition,” Memmel, a 32-year-old mother of two, said by phone Sunday. “We haven’t set our sights on anything specific yet, but thinking about routines and formulating plans.”

Memmel isn’t yet speculating about the national championships or Olympics (in 2021, she will be older than any U.S. Olympic gymnast in 60 years), but said it would be cool to get another skill named after her.

She’s consistently working on a piked Arabian flip on the balance beam, which no woman has performed in international competition. If Memmel can do that, perhaps at a World Cup meet, it will be named after her, to go along with an eponymous skill she already has on floor exercise.

She went about seven years between doing skills on a four-foot-tall and four-inch-wide beam.

Memmel’s father said in a video posted June 11 that she was “95 percent in shape.”

“The dad in me is like, she’s crazy, why are we still doing this?” he said. “And the coach is going, it’s so easy, why are you not still doing this?”

By posting Friday’s video, Memmel hit a milestone in a process that began in late 2018.

“That just gives it more of a commitment,” Memmel said of the video, which had 38,000 views as of Monday morning. “I’m committed to doing gymnastics. I’m committed to training. Once you do that [say ‘comeback’], there’s a certain level of expectation. More just from me. Not from anybody else.”

It all started with “Chellsie Challenge” videos — also uploaded to her YouTube channel — of gymnastics-related exercises. She called that conditioning, one year after giving birth to her second child, daughter Audrielle.

By early 2019, Memmel, also a gymnastics coach to 18 girls ages 12 to 18 and a judge at all six of Simone Biles‘ national championships, began “playing around more” with gymnastics.

“I’m in shape. I like doing gymnastics. I like flipping. Let’s just see how it feels,” Memmel said. “I had done that hard part [conditioning], so why not reward myself with flipping again? Once I started doing that, it was that much more fun, and I looked forward to working out even more because I was doing gymnastics again.”

In her most recent video, Memmel trained in a mid-2000s era leotard (due to losing a bet).

Her first international splash came in 2003, winning the world title on uneven bars at age 15. She broke a bone in her left foot in April 2004 and petitioned into an Olympic selection camp, but ultimately traveled to the Athens Games as an alternate.

Memmel asked her dad to start coaching her for the 2008 Olympic cycle. She grabbed the 2005 World all-around title by .001 over Nastia Liukin, and in doing so won a bet with her father from the previous year. Andy bought her a silver Audi TT.

In 2006, Memmel qualified first into the world all-around final. But, between qualifying and individual events, she felt her right shoulder pop during a transition skill on bars in the team final. She finished the routine, withdrew from the meet and had surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff.

It took about two months to lift her arm over her head again. She didn’t fully return until 2008, taking third behind Shawn Johnson and Liukin at the national championships and Olympic Trials. In Beijing, Memmel broke a bone in her right ankle in training, limiting her to one apparatus, bars, in qualifying and the team final where the U.S. took silver.

Memmel didn’t quit.

She came back from two more shoulder surgeries in September 2011 and February 2012 to bid for the London Olympic team. She competed on one event at a tune-up meet, falling twice off the balance beam at the May 2012 U.S. Classic. Her petition to the U.S. Championships was controversially denied by USA Gymnastics. She retired later that year.

She was back at nationals in 2013, as a judge, and has been throughout the Biles era. She stayed close to the sport amid major life changes in her 20s — marriage to Kory Maier and the birth of son Dashel in 2015 and Audrielle in 2017.

Bars were Memmel’s trademark as a teenager. It’s been the toughest apparatus to get back this year. She’s exercising patience swinging on those shoulders.

“It took the longest to convince myself to try bars,” she said. “They [shoulders] feel really great now. I want them to stay that way.”

Memmel trains three days a week and is in the gym more than that, usually accompanied by her kids, who take gymnastics classes.

“When I started working out and taking time each week to do something that was just for me, it made me a happier person, and it made me a better mom,” she said. “Then, when I started doing gymnastics more, they can see that you can set goals and work hard for something and try to achieve something. I think that’s a really great message to send to your kids. Not just to tell them, but to actively show them.”

MORE: Simone Biles’ closest rival chases comeback

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Sam Mikulak to retire from gymnastics after Tokyo Olympics

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Sam Mikulak, the U.S.’ top male gymnast, said he will retire after the Tokyo Olympics, citing a wrist injury and emotional health revelations during a forced break from the sport due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It does sound like some pretty crazy news, but there’s a lot of factors that go into it,” Mikulak said in a YouTube video published Sunday night. “I’ve had a lot of time to think about it during quarantine.”

The 27-year-old is a two-time Olympian, six-time U.S. all-around champion and the only active U.S. male gymnast with Olympic experience.

Mikulak said he noticed significant wrist inflammation last year that was temporarily healed by a November cortisone shot. But during quarantine, the wrist worsened even though he wasn’t doing gymnastics. He took a month off from working out, but the wrist didn’t heal.

He thought for a time that he might not return to gymnastics at all. A doctor told him he would need cortisone shots for the rest of his career.

“At that point, it was really made for me that this has to be my final year of gymnastics because I don’t want to ruin myself beyond this sport,” Mikulak said.

Mikulak also noted realizations from the forced time out of the gym. He learned that he’s much less stressed while not doing gymnastics, a sport he began at age 2. Mikulak’s parents were gymnasts at Cal.

“For so long, I’ve been sacrificing, and I’m sick of it,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to being able to be free from gymnastics and being able to do all these things that I’ve been putting off in my life for so long.”

Mikulak realized a career goal in 2018 when he earned his first individual world championships medal, a bronze on high bar. He wants to cap his career with a first Olympic medal in Tokyo, then, perhaps, become a coach or open his own gym.

Mikulak recently got engaged to Mia Atkins, and they got another puppy, Barney.

“Everything I’ve done in gymnastics is enough for me right now,” said Mikulak, who plans to document the next year on YouTube. “I was actually somewhat happy that I was able to come to that type of decision because for so long I felt like gymnastics really wasn’t going to be fulfilling until I’ve gotten my Olympic medal. And during quarantine, I had this whole revelation where, you know what, I am happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life, and I’m not doing gymnastics, so even if I don’t accomplish these goals, I am still going to be so damn happy.”

MORE: Simone Biles’ closest rival chases comeback

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