Katie Meili
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Katie Meili, Olympic breaststroke medalist, retires from swimming

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Katie Meili, the 2016 Olympic 100m breaststroke bronze medalist, has retired from swimming, a year before the Tokyo Games.

“It is with a heart full of joy and gratitude that I announce my retirement from competitive swimming,” was posted on Meili’s social media. “My swimming career has been a dream come true and I am so grateful for the lessons it has taught me, the opportunities it has provided me, and most importantly, the incredible people it has brought into my life.

“This chapter is closing, but I’m very much looking forward to the challenges and adventures the next one will bring.”

Meili, 28, had already taken her name off the team for this month’s world championships as she focuses on law school at Georgetown this year and next. She’s spending the summer as an associate at Jones Day law firm in Washington, D.C.

In April, Meili said whether she would go for a second Olympics in 2020 was “the million-dollar question,” according to the Washington Post.

“If I choose not to do it, it’ll be for all the right reasons: It’s just time,” Meili said then, according to the newspaper. “I’ve always said I’ll keep swimming as long as I’m enjoying it and as long as I’m able. A lot of factors go into both of those prongs. But if I decide I’m not going to swim next year and I’m not going to try to make Tokyo, then I will be happy and at peace with that decision.”

Meili’s success in 2016 was the product of perseverance. She swam at Columbia (not among the NCAA powers) and planned to retire after graduating in 2013. She was offered a legal assistant job in New York and planned to take it before visiting coach David Marsh in Charlotte and accepting a place in Marsh’s training group.

Meili, who faked a headache at her first swim practice as a kid and hid in the bathroom because she thought it was too hard, lowered her 100m breast personal best by 1.8 seconds in 2015 and made the Rio Olympic team by placing second to Lilly King at trials.

In Rio, Meili took bronze behind King and Russian Yuliya Efimova and added a gold as a prelim swimmer on the medley relay. She earned a medal of every color at her lone world championships appearance in 2017, including silver in the 100m breast, again behind King. She retires as the sixth-fastest woman in history in the event.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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Heimana Reynolds wins skateboard world title, nears an Olympic goal from age 10

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In February 2009, a 10-year-old Heimana Reynolds was profiled by his local NBC TV station on Oahu.

“My goal is to become a professional skateboarder and compete in the X Games and the Olympics,” he said, according to the report.

Skateboarding would not be added to the Olympics for another seven years. But here Reynolds is, age 21, having just won the world title in park, one of two skateboarding events that debut at the Games in Tokyo.

Reynolds, who wasn’t named to the four-man U.S. national team in March, consolidated his lead in the Olympic qualification rankings by prevailing over a pair of Brazilians in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A shirtless Reynolds scored 88 points in the final, beating Luis Francisco (85.50) and Pedro Quintas (85).

No more than three Americans can make the Olympic team in the event, which will make it difficult if three-time Olympic halfpipe snowboarding champion Shaun White decides to continue his skateboarding pursuit. White was the sixth-best American, bowing out in the semifinals in 13th place on Saturday in just his second contest since returning to competitive skating last year.

Back to Reynolds. He grew up on the North Shore and attended the Punahou School, where Barack Obama is the most famous alum. His first name is Tahitian, reportedly referring to the power of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Reynolds, the son of a surfer, proved a natural on land. After pre-teen media profiles, he blossomed into a world silver medalist last year. He won an Olympic qualifier in China in July to take the top spot in the Olympic rankings despite a best career X Games finish of sixth.

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Primoz Roglic, ex-ski jumper, wins Vuelta a Espana

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In a year of new talent in cycling, a former world junior champion ski jumper won the last Grand Tour.

Primoz Roglic, a 2007 World junior team ski jumping champion, won the Vuelta a Espana, becoming the first Slovenian to capture a Grand Tour. He prevailed by 2 minutes, 16 seconds over Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde after Sunday’s final stage, a largely ceremonial ride into Madrid.

“Not much words to say about it,” Roglic said in a speech atop the podium. “See you next races.”

Roglic, 29, became the fifth straight first-time Grand Tour champion dating to Geraint Thomas‘ 2018 Tour de France title.

Roglic benefited from Thomas and other stars like Chris Froome skipping the Vuelta, but he also had the credentials, having finished fourth in the 2018 Tour and third in this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Valverde deserves acclaim, too, having, at age 39, made his ninth Grand Tour podium and seventh at the Vuelta. Valverde, the reigning world road race champion, has gone 16 years between his first and most recent Vuelta podium. He also had a record-breaking 19th Grand Tour top 10, according to Gracenote.

Then there’s third-place finisher Tadej Pogacar, a 20-year-old Slovenian who became the youngest Grand Tour podium finisher since 1974.

Roglic, who suffered this scary crash before leaving ski jumping, joined Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz and Colombian Egan Bernal as this year’s Grand Tour winners. All ride for different teams.

Roglic is with Jumbo-Visma, which also includes this year’s Tour de France third-place finisher Steven Kruijswijk and will include, starting in 2020, 2018 Tour de France runner-up Tom Dumoulin.

Kruijswijk abandoned the Vuelta with a knee injury in the fourth stage. Dumoulin did not start the Vuelta.

The road cycling season continues with the world championships in Yorkshire, Great Britain, later this month.

MORE: Chris Froome: Pre-Tour de France crash like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ scene

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