Elana Meyers Taylor gets first bobsled win as a mom

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Three-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor notched her first international bobsled victory since becoming a mom, winning the new Olympic event of monobob on the first weekend of the World Cup season in Igls, Austria.

Meyers Taylor, who took silver or bronze in two-woman bobsled at the last three Olympics, prevailed by .13 of a second over world champion Kaillie Humphries combining times from two runs on Saturday. German Laura Nolte took bronze.

“For me, monobob is still a learning process,” Meyers Taylor said of her first victory in the event that is driver-only with no brakewoman. “All of our brakemen helped with sled preparations so that we are prepared for both monobob and two-man, so it’s a team effort.”

Meyers Taylor, 37, had son Nico in her native Georgia while her peers were between the third and fourth heats of the 2020 World Championships in Germany. Meyers Taylor, who took the entire 2019-20 season off, was in labor for two days, induced three weeks early, before undergoing an emergency C-section.

On Nico’s birthday, Feb. 22, doctors told the Taylors they suspected he had Down syndrome. Two days later, Meyers Taylor was in the neonatal intensive care unit — Nico spent his first eight days there — when it was confirmed. Nico also had profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and has since worn hearing aids.

“From the moment we laid eyes on him, of course we fell in love with him,” Meyers Taylor said last winter. “It didn’t even matter what diagnosis he had.”

She returned to competition last January. She returned to the podium in her third race back and finished second or third in five consecutive monobob or two-woman races to finish the World Cup season, holding Nico on the awards stand.

Meyers Taylor had lobbied for four-woman bobsled to be added to the Olympic program for 2022, but officials preferred monobob, choosing the latter in July 2018.

“To be fair, this is historic in that it adds another discipline for women’s bobsled and that should be celebrated,” Meyers Taylor wrote to fans and friends in a Facebook message in 2018. “Personally it’s a discipline that weighs heavily in my favor as I am one of the fastest pushing pilots in the world. However, I would be remiss if I did not express my disappointment as myself and many others have been laying the groundwork for 4woman. We will keep fighting.”

While the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation lobbied for four-woman, IOC sports director Kit McConnell said in 2018 that the IBSF was “very supportive” of monobob, in part because it was already on the Youth Olympic program.

“Woman’s four-man bob costs three or four times of monobob,” McConnell said when monobob was added. “We felt there would be more universality in the women’s monobob. We really didn’t see more than a handful of countries really developing women’s four-man programs because of the costs involved.”

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U.S. men’s gymnastics team named for world championships

Asher Hong
Allison and John Cheng/USA Gymnastics
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Asher Hong, Colt Walker and world pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik were named to the last three spots on the U.S. men’s gymnastics team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Brody Malone and Donnell Whittenburg earned the first spots on the team by placing first and second in the all-around at August’s U.S. Championships.

Hong, Walker and Nedoroscik were chosen by a committee after two days of selection camp competition in Colorado Springs this week. Malone and Whittenburg did not compete at the camp.

Hong, 18, will become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009. He nearly earned a spot on the team at the U.S. Championships, but erred on his 12th and final routine of that meet to drop from second to third in the all-around. At this week’s camp, Hong had the lowest all-around total of the four men competing on all six apparatuses, but selectors still chose him over Tokyo Olympians Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus.

Walker, a Stanford junior, will make his world championships debut. He would have placed second at nationals in August if a bonus system for attempting difficult skills wasn’t in place. With that bonus system not in place at the selection camp, he had the highest all-around total. The bonus system is not used at international meets such as world championships.

Nedoroscik rebounded from missing the Tokyo Olympic team to become the first American to win a world title on pommel horse last fall. Though he is the lone active U.S. male gymnast with a global gold medal, he was in danger of missing this five-man team because of struggles on the horse at the U.S. Championships. Nedoroscik, who does not compete on the other five apparatuses, put up his best horse routine of the season on the last day of the selection camp Wednesday.

Moldauer, who tweeted that he was sick all last week, was named the traveling alternate for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. It would be the first time that Moldauer, who was fourth in the all-around at last fall’s worlds, does not compete at worlds since 2015.

Though the U.S. has not made the team podium at an Olympics or worlds since 2014, it is boosted this year by the absence of Olympic champion Russia, whose athletes are banned indefinitely due to the war in Ukraine. In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

The U.S. women’s world team of five will be announced after a selection camp in two weeks. Tokyo Olympians Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles are in contention.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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