Justin Olsen
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Justin Olsen is last bobsledder to retire from 2010 Olympic champion team

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Justin Olsen, part of the 2010 U.S. Olympic champion four-man bobsled team that ended a 62-year drought, became on Wednesday the last member of that quartet to end his competitive career.

“It seems an impossible task to encapsulate the memories, relationships, accomplishments, and struggles that have transpired over the past 13 years,” the 33-year-old Olsen wrote, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “My desire to be part of a team and continue to compete at an extremely high level was all I needed to say yes to bobsled. Everything that followed was a bonus.”

Olsen wrote that he was sidelined by injury over the past year. He last raced internationally in February 2019.

Minutes after the retirement announcement, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton announced Olsen was hired as a start coach for the program.

“I spent some time coaching last season since I couldn’t be in a sled, and I found out that I had a blast doing it,” he said in a press release. “I realized that my ability to have an impact on people was much greater as a coach than as an athlete. It’s the right time to make this transition.”

In 2010, Olsen was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic bobsled team in Vancouver. The Texan had played football until 2006, including tight end at Air Force. He took up bobsled in 2007 after two football-related knee surgeries. Olsen’s mom, Kim, encouraged him after hearing about tryouts on the radio.

After one season, he earned a place on the top U.S. four-man sled driven by Steven Holcomb. In 2009, Olsen, along with Holcomb, Steve Mesler and Curt Tomasevicz, won the U.S.’ first four-man world title since 1959.

The following year, they won the U.S.’ first Olympic men’s bobsled title since 1948, riding the Night Train.

“What an incredible ride it was,” Olsen wrote in his retirement announcement. “Thank you for taking a chance on a young 21 year old.”

Olsen finished 10th in the U.S. No. 2 bobsled in 2014. Then he switched to driving and placed 14th and 20th in 2018, competing 13 days after an emergency appendectomy.

Olsen joined the National Guard after the Vancouver Games and, as of the PyeongChang Olympics, was a sergeant in the World Class Athlete Program.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

MORE: Elana Meyers Taylor’s claims of racism in bobsled being investigated

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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Conseslus Kipruto tests positive for coronavirus, canceling world-record bid

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Conseslus Kipruto, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion, tested positive for the coronavirus without symptoms, which will keep him from a world-record chase on Friday, according to his social media.

The Kenyan was to race in the first in-person Diamond League meet of the year in Monaco on Friday.

“Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities,” was posted. “Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League.

“I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well.”

Kipruto, 25, is the 14th-fastest steepler in history with a personal best of 8:00.12. The world record is 7:53.63, set by Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2004.

Last year, Kipruto won the world title by .01, extending a streak of a Kenyan or Kenyan-born man winning every Olympic or world title in the event since the 1988 Seoul Games. He was sidelined by a stress fracture in his left foot until opening his season extremely late on Aug. 24.

MORE: Trayvon Bromell’s road back through destruction, death

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Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities. Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League on August 14th. I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well. Wish to thank Monaco for all the work they have done and I wish them and my colleagues a wonderful competition. Athletics is back and I will be back as well. Anyone willing to organise a steeple once I can be cleared? @diamondleaguemonaco #nike #quarantine #WR #Kenya

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