Getty Images

Sarah Bacon is first U.S. female diver to earn world medal in 14 years

Leave a comment

Sarah Bacon became the first U.S. female diver to earn an individual Olympic or world championships medal since 2005, taking silver on Saturday at worlds in the 1m springboard, which is not an Olympic event.

Chen Yiwen won Saturday with 285.45 points as China swept the first two events at worlds (including the mixed synchro platform), which includes 13 total events and runs through next weekend.

Bacon, the 22-year-old NCAA champion from Minnesota, tallied 262 points on the first day of finals in Gwangju, South Korea, to become the first U.S. woman on an Olympic or world podium since Laura Wilkinson won the 2005 world title on the platform.

The last U.S. woman to make a springboard podium was Mary Ellen Clark, who took bronze at the 1996 Olympics. The last to do it at worlds was Wendy Lucero, in the 1m in 1991.

Bacon endured two shoulder surgeries, a concussion, stress fractures in her back and mental struggles to get here. Bacon said she wanted to quit before enrolling at Minnesota, where former U.S. national team coach Wenbo Chen is at the helm.

“I wanted nothing to do with it. I came here not even wanting to dive,” she said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But my parents said, ‘You should go dive with [Chen]. See if that sparks your interest again.’ And he completely changed the way I view it.”

Bacon, a rising senior, is at her first senior worlds. She also qualified as the second U.S. woman in the 3m springboard behind Brooke Schultz. That is an Olympic event and will take place later next week.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Diving Worlds TV Schedule

U.S. Olympic 3×3 basketball qualifying teams named with former NBA player, WNBA stars

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Former NBA player Robbie Hummel and WNBA stars lead U.S. Olympic qualifying teams in the new Olympic event of 3×3 basketball.

The four-man and four-woman teams will compete in a global qualifier in India in March, each favored to grab one of three available Olympic berths per gender for the U.S.

Hummel, who unretired to become world champion in 3×3, is joined on the U.S. Olympic men’s qualifying team by Team Princeton teammates Canyon Barry and Kareem Maddox, plus Dominique Jones, who has played with Team Harlem. Team Princeton is guided by an investment firm CEO who once beat Michael Jordan one-on-one.

Last year, Hummel, Maddox and Barry (one of Rick Barry‘s sons) were part of a team that won the world title.

The U.S. women’s 3×3 qualifying roster is made up of WNBA stars Napheesa Collier, Stefanie DolsonAllisha Gray and Kelsey Plum. The U.S.’ top-ranked 3×3 player, as of last month, is Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu, who can’t play internationally this spring as she is in the thick of the NCAA season.

Olympic teams will not necessarily be made up of players from the qualifying tournament.

If the U.S. qualifies for Tokyo, it will then choose its roster(s) in a similar fashion to its traditional basketball teams — via selection committee. It’s unlikely active NBA players will be eligible.

Like with the qualifying tournament, two of the four Olympic players must be ranked in the top 10 among Americans in FIBA 3×3 rankings (as of a May 22 cutoff).

In 3×3, games last 10 minutes, or until one team reaches 21 points. Games are played on a half-court with a 12-second shot clock, and offense immediately turns to defense after a team scores.

MORE: Kobe Bryant embraced the Olympics, on and off the court

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

First U.S. sailors qualify for Olympics; gold medalist misses on tiebreak

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The first five members of the U.S. Olympic sailing team were finalized this past weekend. The last American sailor to win an Olympic title missed on a tiebreaker.

Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea (49er FX), Anna Weis and Riley Gibbs (Nacra 17) and Charlie Buckingham (Laser) qualified after world championships competition concluded in Australia. The U.S. Olympic roster across all sports is now at 43 qualified athletes.

The closest race for a U.S. Olympic spot came in 49er FX. Roble and Shea edged Paris Henken and 2008 Olympic champion Anna Tobias on a tiebreak. Roble and Shea, both first-time Olympic qualifiers, won Saturday’s medal race and earned an overall bronze medal.

That put the two U.S. duos in a tie in Olympic qualifying — combining placements from the 2019 and 2020 Championships, according to TeamUSA.org. The tiebreak went to Roble and Shea for having the better finish at this year’s worlds.

Tobias, a 37-year-old who won the individual 2008 Olympic Laser Radial as Anna Tunnicliffe, came out of retirement in a bid for a third Olympics. She left competitive sailing in 2014, took up CrossFit competitions and returned to crew for Henken more than two years ago.

“We are very sad and upset,” was posted on Tobias’ Instagram, “but we wish them [Roble and Shea] the best of luck.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: LeBron, Curry lead finalists for Olympic men’s basketball roster