U.S. Olympic short track team roster finalized on last day of trials

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Returning Olympian Maame Biney and five more short track speed skaters qualified for the U.S. team for Beijing on the last day of the Olympic trials on Sunday.

Corinne Stoddard, Julie Letai, Eunice Lee, Ryan Pivirotto and Andrew Heo also qualified based on results over three days of racing at the Utah Olympic Oval outside Salt Lake City.

They join Kristen Santos, the lone American man or woman ranked in the top 10 in the world in any event, who grabbed the first spot on the team on Saturday.

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for 2022 Olympics

Santos and Biney combined to win the six races at trials — two each at 500m, 1000m and 1500m. Santos won four; Biney took two.

Santos, ranked second in the world in the 1000m and fourth in the 1500m, is the hope to win the U.S.’ first Olympic women’s short track medal since 2010.

Biney, born in Ghana and raised in Virginia, was the lone skater at trials who has competed at the Olympics before. She was 14th and 31st in two events in 2018 at age 18.

“It’s been a rough couple of years,” Biney, who considered quitting the sport while struggling emotionally and with injury during this Olympic cycle, said through sobs. “I’ve been through so much mentally, and also my dad isn’t here [in attendance].”

Stoddard and Letai joined Santos and Biney on the World Cup team this fall.

Lee, a 17-year-old who has never been on the national team, is in line to be the youngest U.S. short track skater to compete at the Olympics since 1998, according to Olympedia.org, should she be chosen to compete in the relay.

Lee, a former figure skater and competitive gymnast who was born in South Korea, did not make the team in any individual events.

On the men’s side, Pivirotto eyes his Olympic competition debut after making the team in 2018 for the relay pool but not being selected to race in PyeongChang.

“It’s going to be different [than in 2018],” he said, “and I cannot wait.”

Heo beat out Brandon Kim, the highest-ranked American man at No. 29 in the world, for the second spot. Heo skated with a nearly three-inch-long scar on his left forearm from a summer 2019 training crash that required 24 stitches.

The U.S. won at least one men’s short track medal at the last five Olympics, but this year failed to qualify a relay team for the first time since 1992.

Therefore, the U.S. has two total U.S. men going to the Olympics, its smallest contingent since 1992, when the sport made its medal-event debut.

ON HER TURF: Meet the U.S. Olympic women’s short track team

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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

Joel Embiid
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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

Delta LA 2028
LA 2028
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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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