Suni Lee to return to Auburn gymnastics team for sophomore season

Suni Lee
Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Suni Lee, the first Olympic all-around champion to compete in college, will return for her sophomore season at Auburn, a representative for the gymnast said Friday, confirming a report.

“Her intention is to come back,” Auburn coach Jeff Graba told reporters after talking to Lee on Thursday morning, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “NCAA gymnastics has been good for her in a lot of ways. But she’s going to have to balance it out. She’s going to have to make decisions in the future, but right now the decision is: ‘I think I can still do both.’ So I think that’s where we are.”

Lee, a 19-year-old from Minnesota, followed her Olympic gold medal by taking runner-up in the NCAA Championships all-around behind Trinity Thomas of Florida. She also won the balance beam title and helped Auburn to a fourth-place team finish, the best in program in history.

Since Tokyo, Lee repeated an unspecified desire to get back into international competition, which usually entails a different training plan and routines than in college, ahead of the 2024 Paris Games.

“She has to make a decision whether she trains for 2024 or not,” Graba said, according to the newspaper. “She wants to train. She doesn’t want to get caught off guard. And she doesn’t want to commit herself, because she’s pretty dang busy right now.”

For the first time in history, four U.S. Olympians went directly into NCAA competition after the Games — Lee, Grace McCallum, Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles.

Carey and Chiles plan to return to elite competition. McCallum said last month she was undecided.

The fifth member of the Olympic team, Simone Biles, hasn’t ruled out a run for a third Olympics in 2024, but has not announced any specific comeback plans.

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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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