Longtime U.S. women’s basketball team director Carol Callan stepping down after Tokyo

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USA Basketball women’s national team director Carol Callan will step down after the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her role as the president of FIBA Americas.

Callan has been with the national team since 1995 and has worked behind the scenes to help the U.S. win six consecutive Olympic gold medals. She was the person who made the call to players to let them know if they made a USA Basketball team. Callan also was in charge of the logistics whenever a team would travel to a tournament or training camp.

Callan said she has been talking with USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley for several years about stepping down.

“This will be my seventh Olympics,” Callan said in a phone interview Monday with The Associated Press. “I remember when Lindsay Whalen retired she took herself out of consideration for the Olympics. I’ve had my chance and now someone else should have their chance to.”

Callan will still engaged with women’s basketball on the international stage. She was elected by the International Basketball Federation’s Zone Board in 2019 to serve a four-year term, becoming the first female to hold the position as head of FIBA Americas.

“I loved every minute of it,” Callan said about working with USA Basketball, adding “with the FIBA Americas presidency, there’s an opportunity to continue to serve women’s basketball and basketball in general in our zone in the Americas and have influence throughout FIBA. I’ve been been doing multiple jobs and now can give a more full-time effort to that.”

The U.S. has also won five World Cup championships with her in charge. Callan will be enshrined into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame next month. She will continue to be a consultant for USA Basketball’s newly formed foundation working on initiatives supporting women and youth and sport development.

“What a great way to be able to step aside a little bit and still have an opportunity to consult with USA Basketball,” she said of her work with the foundation.

The Americans’ only loss in major international competition during Callan’s tenure as national team director was in the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup. The U.S. rebounded with a bronze medal and hasn’t lost on the biggest stages since.

Callan said no successor has been chosen yet.

“This is why the announcement was today to give USA Basketball a chance to see who’s out there,” she said. “I think there some time now although the World Cup is in September 2022 so you don’t want to wait too long.”

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

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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

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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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