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Allyson Felix to go for 2020 Olympics as a mother

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Allyson Felix will try to make a fifth Olympic team in 2020, but it would be her first as a mom.

Felix, a nine-time Olympic sprint medalist, wrote that she had daughter Camryn on Nov. 28 via emergency C-section 32 weeks into her pregnancy, according to ESPN.com. The news was confirmed Thursday morning.

“I didn’t care if I ever ran track again. I was just praying that she would be OK,” Felix wrote, according to the report. “The thing I remember most about the November 28 surgery is that I barely got to see her face or hear her cry.”

Felix, 33, wrote that Camryn, born at 3 pounds, 7 ounces, will be in the NICU “for a while, but she’s OK and I’m so, so grateful.”

Felix said the surgery was scheduled because the baby’s heart rate was decelerating and her own blood pressure was too high.

“I’ve always wanted to be a mother,” she wrote. “This shouldn’t be a secret. I want to share this journey with everyone who has ever known me or cheered for me.”

Felix, who is married to former sprinter Kenneth Ferguson, said she learned she was pregnant in May during a season where she scantly competed. Ardent track and field followers first learned of the typically private Felix’s pregnancy and marriage on Thursday.

“Having a child felt like I’d be risking my career and disappointing everyone who expected me to always put running first,” she wrote. “This is a risk. It could affect how I run in 2019 and 2020. I know it’s going to be tough in a way that I haven’t experienced before. But I’m up for it.

“If I come back and I’m just not the same, if I can’t make a fifth Olympic team, I’m gonna know that I fought, that I was determined, and that I gave it my absolute all. And if it doesn’t end up the way I imagined in my head, it’ll be OK. I just have to go for it, because that’s just simply who we are now.”

Felix is already the most decorated female U.S. Olympic track and field athlete with nine medals. She’s one shy of Carl Lewis‘ record for any U.S. track and field athlete and three shy of the most medals for a U.S. woman in any sport. She could tie the record for U.S. Olympic track and field appearances in Tokyo. But Felix will be 34 in 2020, and the U.S. is deep in her best event, the 400m, with 20-somethings.

Felix also owns 16 world outdoor championships medals, most for any track and field athlete in history.

Back in June, she did not enter the USATF Outdoor Championships for the first time since 2002, when she was 16 years old. With no world outdoor championships or Olympics this year, it wasn’t seen as major news.

“In the 19 years that I’ve been running track, I’ve never taken a break,” Felix said in May. “Never had a year where I took it easy. … Now that this is kind of a year without a championship, I’ve had to force myself to have a different approach because my goal is 2020. … To be able to be at my best when it counts, I think that means not having as intense of a year as I usually do. Being a competitor and an athlete, that’s something that I struggle with. … This year, that’s what I’m really trying to force myself to do is have quality races, quality over quantity. … So, if you guys don’t see me at as many of the races as I usually run, don’t worry, I’m fine, I’m just challenging myself to be smarter.”

Star sprinters to compete at the Olympics as moms include the Netherlands’ Fanny Blankers-Koen, who earned four golds at the 1948 London Games while also holding two world records in events that she didn’t enter at those Games.

Wilma Rudolph had daughter Yolanda two years before sweeping the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Evelyn Ashford earned 4x100m golds in 1988 and 1992 after becoming a mom.

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Federica Brignone passes Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup overall lead

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Italian Federica Brignone passed an absent Mikaela Shiffrin for the World Cup overall standings lead by winning a combined in Switzerland on Sunday.

Brignone prevailed by .92 of a second adding times from super-G and slalom runs in Crans-Montana. Full results are here.

Brignone moved 73 points ahead of Shiffrin in the overall through 29 of 40 scheduled races. A race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place finisher. The season runs through March 22.

Shiffrin, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, has not competed since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Brignone, 29, is having a career season with five wins and 10 podiums across four disciplines.

Brignone’s best previous World Cup overall standings finish was fifth. She earned giant slalom medals at the 2018 Olympics (bronze) and 2011 World Championships (silver).

She could become Italy’s first female World Cup overall champion. The last Italian male winner was Alberto Tomba in 1995.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves to La Thuile, Italy, for a super-G and a combined next Saturday and Sunday.

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Jade Carey on brink of becoming first gymnast to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

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The U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials aren’t until late June, but Jade Carey is in position to qualify for the Tokyo Games in March.

Carey, seeking an individual Olympic gymnastics spot outside of the team competition, earned the maximum points in a World Cup series that is one path to Olympic qualification.

Carey has three wins each on floor exercise and vault with two World Cups left in March. Carey will mathematically clinch an Olympic spot if no other gymnasts earn maximum points on one of the apparatuses to force a tiebreaker.

A gymnast’s top three finishes across the eight-stop series count in Olympic qualifying. If Carey finishes atop the floor or vault standings, she goes to the Olympics.

Carey picked up those third wins on floor and vault at the sixth World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend.

So far, no other gymnast has two wins on floor. One other gymnast can get to the maximum points on vault with one win between the last two stops (and others with two).

The one downside to qualifying this route: Carey would not be able to compete in the team competition at the Olympics. Those four spots will be determined at and after June’s trials in St. Louis, with Simone Biles likely grabbing one of them.

“I knew I would be giving up being on the team,” Carey said in October of going the World Cup route, “but I think, for me, it made sense to just go for it.”

Carey is a world medalist on vault and floor, but she doesn’t have the all-around credentials of Biles and some other U.S. gymnasts.

Olympic team event roster sizes were cut from five to four for Tokyo, putting a greater onus on all-around prowess given a team must put three gymnasts on each apparatus in the Olympic final.

The U.S. is the deepest country in women’s gymnastics, so the only truly safe pick to make the four-woman Olympic team event roster is Biles.

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