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USA Gymnastics names new women’s national team coordinator

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USA Gymnastics named Tom Forster its new women’s national team coordinator, succeeding Valeri Liukin, who resigned in February after he replaced Martha Karolyi after the Rio Olympics.

“When considering this very visible and important leadership role in the women’s program, I believe that whoever filled this role had to have a training philosophy that is aligned with transforming to a culture of empowerment that encourages, supports and hears our athletes,” USA Gymnastics CEO and President Kerry Perry said in a press release. “Because this is such an important role for our national teams, we spoke with one former and two current national team members and three current elite coaches, who collected interview questions from national team athletes and coaches. The coaches’ and athletes’ questions were included in the interview process. The feedback and thoughts from the elite athletes and coaches were incorporated into the review and selection process. Following the interviews, we spoke with the elite athletes and coaches about the candidates to hear their perspectives. Based on the feedback from the coaches, athletes and interviewing panel, Tom was the obvious choice.”

Forster, who briefly coached Kerri Strug in the 1990s, was already working with USA Gymnastics as interim elite development program director since February and part of the elite development national staff since 2010.

He has coached at two Pan American Games and three world championships, according to USA Gymnastics.

He takes over after the revelations of Larry Nassar‘s sexual abuse crimes against gymnasts under the guise as team doctor that led to top USA Gymnastics officials either resigning or being forced out.

“I believe in coaching through inspiration not intimidation,” Forster, who owned and operated Colorado Aerials gymnastics in Colorado Springs and his gym since 1982, said in the release. “I am committed to making every athlete and coach feel valued, heard, and supported.

“Team USA’s continued success in international competition is amazing, but I think the heart and dedication shown by every athlete and coach is more impressive than the medal count.”

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Bobby Joe Morrow, triple Olympic sprint champion, dies at 84

Bobby Joe Morrow
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Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.

Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.

Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.

Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.

He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.

“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Johnny Gregorek runs fastest blue jeans mile in history

Johnny Gregorek
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Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.

Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.

Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.

Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.

“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”

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