Olympic medalists, Lolo Jones not on bobsled team for last race before Olympic team named

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U.S. bobsled coaches did not choose their most experienced push athletes — Olympic silver medalist Lauren Gibbs, Olympic bronze medalist Aja Evans and Summer and Winter Olympian Lolo Jones — to compete in the last World Cup before the Olympic team is named.

None have raced in 2022. It’s possible none will be on the Olympic team.

Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor, who are expected to be the two Olympic drivers, are paired with Sylvia Hoffman and Kaysha Love, respectively, for a World Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland, this weekend, U.S. head coach Mike Kohn said. A broadcast schedule is here.

Those were also the pairings at the most recent World Cup last weekend, where Humphries and Meyers Taylor finished third and fourth behind a pair of German sleds on a German track.

“We had good results there,” Kohn said. “Coaches decided we give that another look.”

The federation is expected to announce the Olympic team, likely two drivers and two push athletes, plus a traveling alternate, soon after this weekend’s competition. The federation chooses push athletes via discretionary criteria, including looking at this season’s results.

World Cup starters and the Olympic team are chosen by separate groups using different criteria. Kohn is the only person who is in both of the groups.

“Long story short, [Olympic selection] involves a lot more than current season results,” Kohn said. That criteria is here, including international experience over the last four years and preseason combine results.

Hoffman and Love, trying for their first Olympics, have competed five and four times on the World Cup this season, respectively. Gibbs, Jones and Lake Kwaza and Evans competed once.

In Kohn’s opinion, Hoffman and Love have been the most impressive U.S. push athletes this season.

“I think the coaching staff feels the same way,” he said. “Will they be able to sustain that and perform this weekend and be ready for the Games? I don’t know. That’s a selection committee decision.”

Last week, all six push athletes each took one run with either Meyers Taylor or Humphries in training. Five out of the six push times were within .02 of a second of each other. Hoffman, pushing with Humphries, had the fastest push time and top velocity. Love, also with Humphries, had the second-best velocity and one of the fastest push times, Kohn said.

Gibbs, a 2018 Olympic silver medalist pushing for Meyers Taylor, raced in one World Cup on Dec. 19.

On Monday, Gibbs shared on Instagram that she was not chosen to compete in St. Moritz, then listed her career accomplishments and wrote, “And all I can say is… I did the dam thing!”

Evans, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist when she pushed for the now-retired Jamie Greubel Poser, competed internationally once since placing fifth with Greubel Poser in PyeongChang. She returned to the national team last year, but was set back by a Dec. 3 training accident that put her in a hospital with facial lacerations.

Evans was scheduled to compete on the World Cup that weekend until the injury happened.

“I’ve gone over a hundred different ways this could’ve ended me,” was posted on Evans’ social media Monday. “But, I’m STILL HERE. Life is about how you handle the uncertainty, the obstacles, and the difficulties that come along the way.”

Jones, who won a world championship pushing for Humphries last season, dealt with a torn adductor before the season and competed once internationally this season on Nov. 28. In that race, she and Humphries finished 10th with the 10th- and 11th-fastest start times, the worst result for a U.S. sled this season.

“It just did not go well, and we didn’t expect it to be that way,” Kohn said. “I don’t know what happened.”

Jones shared on social media that her father died right before the holidays in December, and she chose to stay in Europe with the team, Kohn said.

If selected for the Olympics, Jones will likely be the oldest U.S. female athlete across all sports in Beijing at age 39.

Jones has been hoping to potentially cap her Olympic career in the city where it started, Beijing, where she hit the penultimate hurdle while leading the 2008 Olympic 100m hurdles final and ended up seventh. That race was held in the Bird’s Nest, where the Opening Ceremony will be on Feb. 4.

“The selection committee has got a tough job,” Kohn said. “I’ve had an incredible journey with them, and I hate to see it come to an end. I wish I could take every one of them to the Olympic Games.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Evans has not competed this season, based on erroneous International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation official results. 

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Ryan Crouser breaks world record in shot put at Los Angeles Grand Prix


Two-time Olympic champion Ryan Crouser registered one of the greatest performances in track and field history, breaking his world record and throwing three of the six farthest shot puts of all time at the Los Angeles Grand Prix on Saturday.

Crouser unleashed throws of 23.56 meters, 23.31 and 23.23 at UCLA’s Drake Stadium. His previous world record from the Tokyo Olympic Trials was 23.37. He now owns the top four throws in history, and the 23.23 is tied for the fifth-best throw in history.

“The best thing is I’m still on high volume [training], heavy throws in the ring and heavy weights in the weight room, so we’re just starting to work in some speed,” the 6-foot-7 Crouser, who is perfecting a new technique coined the “Crouser slide,” told Lewis Johnson on NBC.

Sha’Carri Richardson won her 100m heat in 10.90 seconds into a slight headwind, then did not start the final about 90 minutes later due to cramping, Johnson said. Richardson is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 100m in 2023 (10.76) and No. 2 in the 200m (22.07).

Jamaican Ackeem Blake won the men’s 100m in a personal best 9.89 seconds. He now ranks third in the world this year behind Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala and American Fred Kerley, who meet in the Diamond League in Rabat, Morocco on Sunday (2-4 p.m. ET, CNBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock).

The next major meet is the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in early July, when the top three in most individual events qualify for August’s world championships.

Richardson will bid to make her first global championships team, two years after having her Olympic Trials win stripped for testing positive for marijuana and one year after being eliminated in the first round of the 100m at USATF Outdoors.

LA GRAND PRIX: Full Results

Also Saturday, Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico won the 100m hurdles in 12.31, the fastest time ever this early in a year. Nigerian Tobi Amusan, who at last July’s worlds lowered the world record to 12.12, was eighth in the eight-woman field in 12.69.

Maggie Ewen upset world champion Chase Ealey in the shot put by throwing 20.45 meters, upping her personal best by more than three feet. Ewen went from 12th-best in American history to third behind 2016 Olympic champion Michelle Carter and Ealey.

Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic ran the fastest women’s 400m since the Tokyo Olympics, clocking 48.98 seconds. Paulino is the Olympic and world silver medalist. Olympic and world champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas is on a maternity break.

Rio Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy won the 800m in 1:44.75, beating a field that included most of the top Americans in the event. Notably absent was 2019 World champion Donovan Brazier, who hasn’t raced since July 20 of last year amid foot problems.

CJ Allen won the 400m hurdles in a personal best 47.91, consolidating his argument as the second-best American in the event behind Olympic and world silver medalist Rai Benjamin, who withdrew from the meet earlier this week.

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Primoz Roglic set to win Giro d’Italia over Geraint Thomas

106th Giro d'Italia 2023 - Stage 20
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Primož Roglič all but secured the Giro d’Italia title on Saturday by overtaking leader Geraint Thomas on the penultimate stage despite having a mechanical problem on the mountain time trial.

Roglič started the stage 26 seconds behind Thomas — who was trying to become the oldest Giro champion in history — but finished the route 40 seconds quicker than the British cyclist after the demanding climb of the Monte Lussari.

That saw Roglič move into the leader’s pink jersey, 14 seconds ahead of Thomas going into the race’s mainly ceremonial final stage.

Roglič was cheered on all the way by thousands of fans from just across the border to his native Slovenia. They packed the slopes of the brutal ascent up Monte Lussari, which had an elevation of more than 3,000 feet and gradients of up to 22%.

The 33-year-old Roglič celebrated at the end with his wife and son, who was wearing a replica of the pink jersey.

“Just something amazing, eh? It’s not at the end about the win itself, but about the people, and the energy here, so incredible, really moments to live and to remember,” said Roglič, who had tears in his eyes during the post-stage television interview, which he did with his son in his arms.

It will be a fourth Grand Tour victory for Roglič, who won the Spanish Vuelta three years in a row from 2019-2021

Roglič also almost won the Tour de France in 2020, when he was leading going into another mountain time trial on the penultimate stage. But that time it was Roglič who lost time and the race to compatriot Tadej Pogačar in one of the most memorable upsets in a Grand Tour in recent years.

It appeared as if the Jumbo-Visma cyclist’s hopes were evaporating again when he rode over a pothole about halfway through the brutal climb up Monte Lussari and his chain came off, meaning he had to quickly change bicycles.

His teammates and staff had their hands over their heads in disbelief.

Despite that setback, Roglič — who had been 16 seconds ahead of Thomas at the previous intermediate time check — went on to increase his advantage.

“I dropped the chain, I mean it’s part of it,” he said. “But I got started again and I just went … I had the legs, the people gave me extra (energy).”

The 33-year-old Roglič won the stage ahead of Thomas. Joao Almeida was third, 42 seconds slower.

For Thomas, his bad luck at the Giro continued. In 2017, he was involved in a crash caused by a police motorbike, and three years later he fractured his hip after a drinks bottle became lodged under his wheel – being forced to abandon both times.

Thomas turned 37 on Thursday. The Ineos Grenadiers cyclist had seemed poised to become the oldest Giro winner in history — beating the record of Fiorenzo Magni, who was 34 when he won in 1955.

“I could feel my legs going about a kilometer and a half from the top. I just didn’t feel I had that real grunt,” Thomas said. “I guess it’s nice to lose by that much rather than a second or two, because that would be worse I think.

“At least he smashed me and to be honest Primoz deserves that. He had a mechanical as well, still put 40 seconds into me so chapeau to him. If you’d told me this back in (February), March, I would have bit your hand off but now I’m devastated.”

Thomas and Roglič exchanged fist bumps as they waited their turn to ride down the ramp at the start of the 11.6-mile time trial.

The Giro will finish in Rome on Sunday, with 10 laps of a seven-mile circuit through the streets of the capital, taking in many of its historic sites.

“One more day to go, one more focus, because I think the lap is quite hard, technical. So it’s not over til it’s finished,” Roglič said. “But looks good, voila.”

The route will pass by places such as the Altare della Patria, the Capitoline Hill, the Circus Maximus and finish at the Imperial Forums, in the shadow of the Colosseum.

The Tour de France starts July 1, airing on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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