Laurie Hernandez, Morgan Hurd will not compete at Olympic Gymnastics Trials

Laurie Hernandez
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Olympic champion Laurie Hernandez and world champion Morgan Hurd will not compete at the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials in two weeks.

USA Gymnastics on Wednesday updated its national championships recap from early Monday morning to reflect that “no additional names will be added” to the Olympic Trials field of 18 following a concluded petition process.

The original 18 were named after nationals on Sunday night — the top 17 in the all-around standings plus Riley McCusker, who finished second on uneven bars.

Hernandez, who earned team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, withdrew from nationals after performing on one event after hyperextending her left knee in balance beam warm-ups on Friday. She returned to competition this year after a four-and-a-half-year break following Rio.

“Definitely heartbroken that this week didn’t quite go the way I’d planned,” was posted on Hernandez’s social media on Sunday.

Hurd, the 2017 World all-around champion in Simone Biles‘ year off, competed in two of the four events on both days of nationals. She finished 23rd on floor and 26th on beam after undergoing her fifth and sixth career right elbow surgeries in March.

“The future is an unwritten place. cannot express my gratitude enough to everyone for the constant love and support,” Hurd posted on social media on Monday. “i wouldn’t be where i am or accomplish what i have without it. congrats to all the girls who made olympic trials, can’t wait to watch you kill it!”

Chellsie Memmel, the 2005 World all-around champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist who competed this year for the first time in nine years, is also not in the Olympic Trials field.

A committee reviewed petitions to be included at Trials from Hurd, McCusker and Memmel and approved McCusker’s based on criteria outlined in procedures.

  • Simone Biles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre
  • Skye Blakely, Frisco, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics
  • Jade Carey, Phoenix, Ariz./Arizona Sunrays
  • Jordan Chiles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre
  • Kayla DiCello, Boyds, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics
  • Amari Drayton, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre
  • Kara Eaker, Grain Valley, Mo./Great American Gymnastics Express
  • Addison Fatta, Wrightsville, Pa./Prestige Gymnastics
  • Shilese Jones, Westerville, Ohio/Future Gymnastics Academy
  • Emily Lee, Los Gatos, Calif./West Valley Gymnastics School
  • Sunisa Lee, St. Paul, Minn./Midwest Gymnastics Center
  • Emma Malabuyo, Flower Mound, Texas/Texas Dreams
  • Grace McCallum, Isanti, Minn./Twin City Twisters
  • Riley McCusker, Brielle, N.J./Arizona Sunrays
  • Zoe Miller, Spring, Texas, World Champions Centre
  • Ava Siegfeldt, Williamsburg, Va./World Class Gymnastics
  • MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights Gymnastics
  • Leanne Wong, Overland Park, Kan./Great American Gymnastics Express

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Chicago Marathon features Emily Sisson’s return, Conner Mantz’s debut, live on Peacock

Emily Sisson
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At Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, Emily Sisson makes her return, nearly three years after Olympic Trials disappointment. Conner Mantz makes one of the most anticipated U.S. men’s debuts in 26.2-mile racing.

It is not the norm, but an American will be one of the spotlight runners in both the men’s and women’s elite races at a major marathon. Peacock airs live coverage at 8 a.m. ET.

Sisson, 30, starts her first mass marathon since dropping out of the Olympic Trials on Feb. 29, 2020, her legs “destroyed” on the hilly Atlanta course where she started as arguably the favorite. She ran the virtual New York City Marathon later in 2020, but that was solo (and not in New York City). Her 2:38:00 isn’t recorded in her official results on her World Athletics bio.

Since, Sisson won the Olympic Trials 10,000m on the track and was the top American in Tokyo in 10th place. She moved back to the roads, winning national titles at 15km and the half marathon and breaking the American record in the latter.

Sisson vaulted into the elite group of U.S. female marathoners in 2019, when she clocked the second-fastest debut marathon in American history, a 2:23:08 on a windy day in London, where the early pace was slow.

At the time, it was the 12th-best U.S. performance all-time. In the last two years, Keira D’Amato, 37, and Sara Hall, 39, combined to run seven faster marathons. At Chicago, a flat course that produced a world record three years ago, Sisson can answer them and perhaps get close to D’Amato’s American record 2:19:12.

“I’m hoping sub-2:20,” coach Ray Treacy said, according to LetsRun.com. “With the [super] shoes and the training behind her, I would think that’s [worth] at least three minutes.”

It is less likely that Sisson can challenge for the win on Sunday given the presence of Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the 2019 World champion and defending champion in the Windy City. The 28-year-old mom is the fifth-fastest woman in history with a personal best of 2:17:08. And Ethiopian Ruti Aga, a podium finisher in Berlin, New York City and Tokyo with a best time of 2:18:34, though she has one marathon finish since the pandemic (a seventh place).

Like Sisson, Mantz has shown strong recent road racing form. The American men’s debut marathon record of 2:07:56 (Leonard Korir) is in play. If he can break that, Mantz will be among the five fastest U.S. marathoners in history.

Rarely has a U.S. male distance runner as accomplished as Mantz moved up to the marathon at such a young age (25). At BYU, he won NCAA cross-country titles in 2020 and 2021 and placed fifth in the Olympic Trials 10,000m, then turned pro and won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships last December.

“If everything goes as planned, I think sub-2:08 is realistic,” Mantz said in a Citius Mag video interview last month. “If everything goes perfect on the day, I think a sub-2:07, that’s a big stretch goal.”

The men’s field doesn’t have the singular star power of Chepngetich, but a large group of East Africans with personal bests around 2:05. The most notable: defending champion Seifu Tura of Ethiopia and 2021 Boston Marathon winner Benson Kipruto of Kenya.

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Alpine skiing to test new format for combined race

Alpine Skiing Combined
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Alpine skiing officials will test a new format for the combined event, a race that is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the International Ski Federation (FIS) will test a new team format for the combined, which has been an individual event on the Olympic program since 1988. L’Equipe reported that a nation can use a different skier for the downhill and slalom in the new setup, quoting FIS secretary general Michel Vion.

For example, the U.S. could use Breezy Johnson in the downhill run and sub her out for Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom run, should the format be adopted into senior competition.

The format will be tested at the world junior championships in January in St. Anton, Austria, according to the report.

In response to the report, a FIS spokesperson said, “Regarding the new format of the combined is correct, and our directors are working on the rules so for the moment the only thing we can confirm is that there will be this new format for the Alpine combined that has been proposed by the athletes’ commission.”

Some version of the combined event has been provisionally included on the 2026 Olympic program, with a final IOC decision on its place coming by April.

This will be the third consecutive World Cup season with no combined events. Instead, FIS has included more parallel races in recent years. The individual combined remains on the biennial world championships program.

L’Equipe also reported that the mixed team parallel event, which is being dropped from the Olympics, will also be dropped from the biennial world championships after this season.

“There is nothing definitive about that yet, but it is a project in the making,” a FIS spokesperson said in commenting on the report.

Vion said the mixed team event, which debuted at the Olympics in 2018, was not a hit at the Beijing Games and did not draw a strong audience, according to L’Equipe.

The World Cup season starts in two weeks with the traditional opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria.

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