For Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe, engagement can lead to more Olympic history

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Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe are engaged, according to the Seattle Storm, after Bird’s Instagram appeared to break the news. Bird and Rapinoe, already icons in their sports, can make more Olympic history together.

They could become the first known married same-sex couple of U.S. athletes to compete at an Olympics, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon of the OlyMADMen.

Previously, soccer players Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger wed. Though Harris and Krieger each made the Rio Olympic team, Harris, a backup goalie, did not play in a match.

Other famous Olympian marriages included one American and one athlete from a different nation, such as hockey players Meghan Duggan and Gillian Apps and Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette. Or British field hockey players Helen Richardson-Walsh and Kate Richardson-Walsh, who were part of a gold-medal team in Rio.

Bird and Rapinoe could also become the first married couple of U.S. Olympic champions in different sports, Mallon said.

Previously, swimmer Charlie Hickcox and diver Lesley Bush were married (and then divorced). But, technically, they competed in different disciplines of the same sport of aquatics.

Other famous married Olympic champion couples either competed in the same sport (such as Al Joyner and Florence Griffith-Joyner) or for different countries (such as Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf).

Should Bird and Rapinoe get married before the Tokyo Games — and each be selected for the U.S. Olympic team — they could become the first known U.S. married couple to compete in different sports at the same Summer Olympics.

Four years ago, runner Ben True and triathlete Sarah True attempted the same feat, but Ben failed to qualify for the Olympic team.

Bird and Rapinoe first met at a November 2015 NBC and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee media summit in West Hollywood, Calif.

They later spent time together at the Rio Olympics and, in fall 2016, began dating. They went public in July 2017.

Bird will likely play in her fifth and final Olympics in Tokyo. At 40 years old, she will be three years older than the current oldest U.S. Olympic basketball player in history (Tamika Catchings from Rio).

It could also be the last Olympics for Rapinoe, who turns 36 next July.

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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