Chellsie Memmel, 2008 Olympian, enters first gymnastics meet in 9 years

Chellsie Memmel
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Chellsie Memmel, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist who retired from gymnastics in 2012, is entered in next week’s U.S. Classic, her first meet in nine years.

Memmel, a 32-year-old mother of two who resumed gymnastics training in 2019, is likely to compete on two of the four apparatuses, balance beam and vault, she said this week.

Memmel, who became a gymnastics judge in retirement (and judged a qualifier for the U.S. Classic in January), detailed her comeback last summer.

“I wanted to try to get back to where I was, try to even get better on some of the things and see how my body responded,” Memmel told NBC Sports this week. “See if I could compete. See if I even could be competitive.

“This whole process has been about joy and loving doing gymnastics, and that’s the only reason I’m still doing it.”

She hoped to return to competition in February, but an ankle injury delayed it to the U.S. Classic, the primary tune-up meet for the national championships in June.

Memmel can petition for a spot at nationals in three weeks even without competing on all four apparatuses at Classic.

“This coming weekend is going to be a huge test,” Memmel said, noting the closest thing she’s had to a competition was doing American Ninja Warrior last summer. “I don’t know how it’s going to go. I hope it’s going to go well.”

Memmel hasn’t publicly said she wants to make another Olympic team, but it would be cool to get a new skill named after her on the balance beam. That would require performing it at an international competition, perhaps a World Cup in the next Olympic cycle.

The Classic field includes every contender for the U.S. Olympic team of six women.

Most notably, Simone Biles, who previously announced that Classic will be her first competition since the October 2019 World Championships. Biles is expected to compete in the all-around at the meet on May 22.

Peacock live streams coverage of the first session at 1 p.m. ET (including Memmel and Laurie Hernandez). NBCSN airs the second session at 7 p.m. (including Biles and Morgan Hurd).

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Rosie MacLennan, Olympic trampoline legend, retires

Rosie MacLennan
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Canadian Rosie MacLennan, the lone person to win two Olympic trampoline gold medals, announced her retirement at age 34.

“After 10 World Championships and 4 Olympic Games, it is time for me to hang up my shiny spandex,” she posted on social media. “Trampoline has been such an integral part of my life and sport will continue to be, even if my role in sport is changing. My experience as an athlete has exceeded even my wildest childhood dreams.”

MacLennan won Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 in an event that debuted at the 2000 Sydney Games. She was fourth at her last Olympics in Tokyo. MacLennan, Canada’s flag bearer at the 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremony, also earned world titles in 2013 and 2018 among seven world medals overall.

MacLennan came back from two concussions in 2015 — over-rotating a jump in training and later when she was accidentally hit on the head by a car trunk — to win her second Olympic title. She came back from an April 2019 broken ankle to reach her fourth Olympics.

MacLennan, who qualified for her first world age group competition at age 11, spent more than 26 years in the sport.

NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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Jessie Diggins ties U.S. record for World Cup cross-country skiing wins

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Jessie Diggins tied Kikkan Randall‘s U.S. record with her 13th career individual cross-country skiing World Cup victory, taking a 10km freestyle in Lillehammer, Norway, on Friday.

Diggins, the most decorated U.S. Olympic cross-country skier with a medal of every color, prevailed by 3.8 seconds over German Katharina Hennig in the interval start event. Diggins trailed Hennig by one second at the 8.2-kilometer split, then made up 4.8 seconds over the final four minutes of the course.

“My fitness and brain were in a really good place,” Diggins said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “When I asked my body to go deep into the pain cave, it responded.”

Diggins tied the record of Randall, who in 2007 became the first U.S. woman to win a World Cup cross-country skiing race and ended her career by teaming with Diggins to win the first U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing title at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. (Another skier, Alison Owen-Spencer, won a race in 1978 that U.S. Ski and Snowboard counts as a World Cup, but the International Ski Federation does not.)

Diggins opened this World Cup season last weekend in Ruka, Finland, with a best finish of 10th among three races. She trended up each day, finishing that stop with the second-fastest time in last Sunday’s individual pursuit (where she started 19th).

Diggins, 31, has spread out her goals this season. One of the biggest is helping the U.S. win a relay medal for the first time at the world championships in three months. Diggins has been a part of relays that finished fourth at four different worlds.

She also eyes the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in the sport that goes to the best all-around skier for the season. In 2020-21, Diggins became the second American — and first American woman — to win the overall in a season where Norway’s top skiers, including superstar Therese Johaug, skipped early season races and chances to gain points for the overall title.

Johaug retired after winning three individual golds at last February’s Olympics. Diggins is the top returning skier given the absence of reigning overall champ Natalya Nepryayeva, who cannot compete due to the ban on Russian athletes for the war in Ukraine.

The World Cup season continues with a freestyle sprint on Saturday and a classic 20km mass start on Sunday in Lillehammer.

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