Simone Biles cheers for LeBron James at Cleveland Cavaliers game (photos)

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After winning three straight Olympic medals in men’s basketball, LeBron James sat out the 2016 Summer Olympics and watched Team USA from home. He used social media to cheer on gymnast Simone Biles, who won four gold medals and a bronze in Rio. The athlete known as “King James” called Biles and swimmer Simone Manuel “young queens” and said they were inspirations to his daughter.

Biles repaid the compliment in person this past weekend when she attended a Cleveland Cavaliers game. 6-foot-8 James had to bend down about two feet to give 4-foot-8 Biles a hug. She also posed with 6-foot-10 Kevin Love, another Olympic gold medalist, and the Cavs mascot Moondog.

This isn’t the first time Biles has proved that Olympians come in all shapes and sizes. During the Rio Olympics, she posed back to back with 6-foot-8 volleyball player David Lee, and in October she reached new heights by taking a photo with 7-foot basketball player Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzski was Germany’s flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Both Biles and James were finalists for Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, with James winning the title over Biles, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Katie Ledecky and more.

Biles was born in Columbus, Ohio. She attended the game with her father, Ron, who is a Cleveland native. The next day, the pair attended a Browns game and met football legend Jim Brown.

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Eliud Kipchoge, Rio gold medalist, training to break two-hour marathon mark in 2017

Eliud Kipchoge
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The reigning Olympic marathon champion has teamed with Nike for Breaking2, an attempt to run 26.2 miles in under two hours.

In the official press release, Nike referred to the project as “an innovation moonshot designed to unlock human potential.”

Over the past two years, WIRED and Runner’s World reports, Nike has dedicated a team of scientists, coaches, designers and statisticians to breaking the two-hour marathon barrier. According to WIRED, the Breaking2 team is “working to address every single factor that might slow the runners down. They’re looking at the aerodynamic properties of running apparel; pacing strategies of world-class runners as well as what they eat and how they train; the look, size, and feel of racing shoes; even the environment and shape of the track.”

Nike has recruited three top athletes for the project: Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, a three-time Olympic medalist who won gold in the men’s marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympics; Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese, who holds the half marathon world record and also won a bronze medal in the 10,000m at the Athens Olympics; and Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa, a two-time Boston Marathon winner.

Tadese told Runner’s World, “I know one day [two hours] will be broken. I want to be part of it.”

The current world record, set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya at the Berlin Marathon in Sept. 2014, is 2:02:57.

Kipchoge’s personal best time is 2:03:05, notched at the 2015 London Marathon. His winning time in Rio was 2:09:54.

It’s expected that the Breaking2 team will not attempt to break the two-hour mark during a traditional marathon. Instead, Kipchoge, Tadese and Desisa will likely race on a specially-designed course that’s closed to the public.

The special marathon is reportedly planned for spring 2017, with the exact date and location yet to be announced.

Nike hasn’t addressed whether their attempt at breaking the world record will be sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federation.

“At the end of the day, we just want to show it can be done,” Nike’s VP of Footwear Innovation, Tony Bignall, told Runner’s World. “We want to show that it’s within the capability of human physiology.”

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Rio 2016 Olympic torch unveiled

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The Rio Olympic torch and torch relay route were unveiled on Friday, 399 days out from the opening of the 2016 Rio Games.

The unique design of the torch incorporates “Brazilian flair,” the Rio 2016 website explains. The open segments reveal “harmonious diversity, contagious energy and exuberant nature–with the ground, sea, mountains, sky and sun represented in the colors of the Brazilian flag.” The segments will open up at the “moment of the kiss, when the flame is passed from one bearer to another.”

The torch relay will begin with the traditional flame lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece, where the Ancient Olympic Games were born. Then the torch will begin its tour of Brazil in May 2016.

Starting in the capital city of Brasilia and passing through an expected 500 cities and towns, the Olympic torch route was designed to reach as much of the Brazilian population as possible–an estimated 90 per cent of the public. Carlos Arthur Nuzman, Rio 2016 President, said, “We want to show the world the chemistry that we believe will be born when the Olympic Flame meets the warmth of the Brazilian people.”

The torch relay will end on August 5th, when it will light the Olympic Cauldron at Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony. The relay will last between 90 and 100 days, allowing for technical breaks or special photo events.

The Olympic torch relay creates excitement for the upcoming Games and allows the citizens of the host country to participate in the festivities. Here are some photos of past Olympic torches and relays:

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The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games torch, held by Prince Albert II of Monaco (L) with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) (Photo by SERGEI CHIRIKOV/AFP/Getty Images)
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The London 2012 Summer Olympics torch, held by LOCOG Chair and former Olympian Lord Sebastian Coe. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics torch, held by Jean Toussignant, one of the members of the assembly team from Bombardier. (Photo by ROGERIO BARBOSA/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics torch. (Photo by Osports/Getty Images)
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The Turin 2006 Winter Olympics torch, held by TOROC president Valentino Castellani. (Photo by ROBERTO BARRETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
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The 2004 Athens Summer Olympics torch relay on June 7, 2004 in Seoul, Korea. The Olympic Flame travels to 34 cities in 27 countries en route to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
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The 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics torch, held by Lance Armstrong. (Photo by TODD WARSHAW/AFP/Getty Images)
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The 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics torch, carried by Olympic decathalete Rafer Johnson. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Allspo)

 

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