AP

Koreas to discuss unified 2020 Olympic gymnastics team, report says

Leave a comment

South Korea’s gymnastics federation plans to talk with North Korean officials about fielding a unified 2020 Olympic gymnastics team during next month’s world championships, according to Yonhap News Agency.

It would be the latest in a series of inter-Korean moves in Olympic sports this year, beginning with the joint Olympic women’s hockey team in PyeongChang.

The two nations also marched together in the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony behind the Korea Unification flag. Last month, they fielded joint canoeing, rowing and women’s basketball teams at the Asian Games.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In said in a statement that the countries planned to jointly bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics, and they would look to cooperate in major sports events such as the 2020 Games, without elaborating.

In artistic gymnastics, South Korea has qualified men’s teams to the last seven Olympics, while North Korea last had a team at the 1980 Moscow Games. North Korea has the reigning Olympic vault champion, Ri Se-Gwang.

Neither North Korea nor South Korea had a full women’s team at any of the last three Olympics.

However in Rio, South Korean gymnast Lee Eun-Ju took a selfie with North Korean Hong Un-Jong as they trained for competition. The photo captured global headlines, and IOC president Thomas Bach described it as a “great gesture.”

The 2020 Olympic gymnastics team event fields will include 12 for the men and 12 for the women, with qualifying beginning at next month’s worlds in Doha.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Sam Mikulak leads new-look U.S. men’s gymnastics team for worlds

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned four years

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)