USA Cycling names Olympic long team, finalists for Tokyo Games

Kate Courtney
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World champion Kate Courtney leads the finalists for the U.S. Olympic cycling team across the road, track and mountain events.

USA Cycling named its “long team” on Thursday in a live streamed announcement on its YouTube page featuring actor Patrick Dempsey and NBC Sports anchor Steve Schlanger. Most of the cyclists will ultimately make the Tokyo Olympic roster. The rest will be alternates. Nobody outside of the long team can go to the Olympics, according to USA Cycling.

The long team features world champions in Courtney, Chloe Dygert (the lone cyclist among the finalists who previously clinched an Olympic spot), Amber Neben, Jennifer Valente, Emma White and Lily Williams.

Courtney won the 2018 World title in mountain bike and eyes the first U.S. Olympic title in the discipline that debuted at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Dygert is a reigning world champion on the road and the track. Valente, White and Williams joined Dygert on a team pursuit squad that won a world title on Feb. 27. Neben won world road time trial titles in 2008 and 2016.

The men on the long team are led by Tour de France veteran Tejay van Garderen.

Van Garderen placed fifth in the Tour de France in 2012 and 2014, the best finish for an American at the three-week stage race since 2008. Van Garderen also has the top Tour de France finish for an American in this Olympic cycle — 32nd in 2018.

Van Garderen withdrew from Rio Olympic consideration due to Zika virus concerns four years ago, when his wife was pregnant with their second child,

The full Olympic long team for road, track and mountain events:

Road
Chloe Dygert
Krista Dobel-Hickock
Katharine Hall
Amber Neben
Coryn Rivera
Lauren Stephens
Leah Thomas
Taylor Wiles
Ruth Winder
Lawson Craddock
Ian Garrison
Alex Howes
Sepp Kuss
Brandon McNulty
Neilson Powless
Tejay van Garderen

Track
Christina Birch
Chloe Dygert
Maddie Godby
Megan Jastrab
Mandy Marquardt
Kendall Ryan
Jennifer Valente
Emma White
Lily Williams
Adrian Hegyvary
Daniel Holloway
Gavin Hoover

Mountain
Haley Batten
Kate Courtney
Lea Davison
Hannah Finchamp
Erin Huck
Chloe Woodruff
Christopher Blevins
Keegan Swenson

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MORE: Chloe Dygert wanted to be Prefontaine. Then Bird. Now, her coach.

Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and reportedly said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together.”

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”

Asher Hong leads U.S. men’s gymnastics world team selection camp after first day

Asher Hong
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Asher Hong, 18, posted the highest all-around score on the first of two days of competition at the U.S. men’s gymnastics selection camp to determine the last three spots on the team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Hong, bidding to become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009, totaled 84.6 points in Colorado Springs. He edged Colt Walker by one tenth. Tokyo Olympians Shane Wiskus (84.15) and Yul Moldauer (83.95) were next. Full apparatus-by-apparatus scores are here.

Brody Malone, who repeated as U.S. all-around champion at August’s national championships, and runner-up Donnell Whittenburg already clinched spots on the five-man team for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. They did not compete Monday, though their results from the first day of nationals are shown in the official scores.

The three remaining team spots will not necessarily go to the top three all-arounders at this week’s camp, which is supposed to be weighed equally with results from August’s nationals. Hong was third at nationals, but if excluding difficulty bonus points from that meet that will not be considered by the committee, would have finished behind Walker and Moldauer in August.

A selection committee is expected to announce the team soon after the second and final day of selection camp competition on Wednesday evening. The committee will look at overall scoring potential for the world team final, where three men go per apparatus, and medal potential in individual events.

Stephen Nedoroscik, who last year became the first American to win a world title on the pommel horse, is trying to make the team solely on that apparatus. He wasn’t at his best at nationals and struggled again on Monday, hurting his chances of displacing an all-arounder for one of the last three spots.

The U.S. has reason to emphasize the team event over individual medals at this year’s worlds. It will clinch an Olympic berth by finishing in the top three, and its medal hopes are boosted by the absence of the Russians who won the Olympic team title. All gymnasts from Belarus and Russia are banned indefinitely from international competition due to the war in Ukraine.

In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

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