Wednesday July 28th, 2010

Don't count Apolo Ohno out of the 2014 Olympics just yet. The man with eight Olympics medals, the most of any U.S. Winter Olympian in history, hasn't ruled out a return to the ranks of competitive short track speedskating. "I've been so busy since Vancouver and I haven't been on the ice since," Ohno said Monday in New York. "Tuesday was my first day on the ice. I'm taking a long break from the sport. I'm looking forward to seeing the London Games, the Sochi Games in some capacity, but I haven't made a decision about that yet ... I think it would take me a minimum of two years to be ready for another Olympics. This is a true break I've never had before. I've had urges. I wanted to go to Utah and just show up for training."

It's been a whirlwind transition for Ohno, 28, who recently launched his own line of nutritional supplements called 8zone and has a book due out later this year. He was a keynote speaker at a recent nutritional seminar. Alaska Airlines put his face and racing form on the side of one of its airplanes shortly before the Vancouver Games. He has also been involved in numerous charitable endeavors. He tried out for a recent movie role as Ares, but found that his streamlined 145-pound skating frame was not what producers were looking for. "I needed a good two months to bulk up for the part," Ohno explained. "They wanted a weightlifter and I looked more like a Tour de France rider."

• One of the legends of USA softball made her last appearance for the national team Monday night, as Jennie Finch walked away at age 29. Finch went 0-for-3, while playing first base in her final outing, as the U.S. team defeated Japan, 5-1, in Oklahoma City. To honor Finch, her U.S. teammates donned glitter headbands sporting her motto, "Dream and Believe" and the first-base bag had her No. 27 painted on it.

Finch, a 10-year veteran of the national team, captured a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and a silver four years later in Beijing. Best known as a pitcher, she tossed a one-hitter against the Olympic champion Japanese squad on their home turf at the Japan Cup last year. Finch tossed 18 2/3 scoreless innings during the World Cup and hit a home run in her first at bat. All this followed a stellar collegiate career at Arizona, where she broke Rebecca Aase's NCAA record of 51 consecutive scoreless innings, a streak that subsequently grew to 60 games.

But Finch was even more recognizable off the field, crossing into the mainstream as a celebrity apprentice with Donald Trump and a guest on The Real Housewives of Orange County. She often faces major leaguers from a softball mound during a segment of This Week in Baseball. Her own husband, Casey Daigle, is a member of the Houston Astros organization and has bounced back and forth between Houston and the minors and has a 1-1 record in the majors this season.

• It was a big week for junior athletes in a number of Olympic sports. U.S. oarsmen had their best showing at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Brest, Belarus, capturing seven medals, three more than the team's previous best, established in 2002. The U.S. women dominated the sweep events, winning golds in the pair, four and eight. Ashley Kroll and Felice Mueller set a world best time in winning the pairs. Lindsay Meyer also won the team's first ever medal, a bronze, in the women's single sculls.

Germany led all teams at the competition with a robust 12 medals in 21 events, led by Karl Schulze's upset win in the single sculls. Brothers Valent and Martin Sinkovic propelled Croatia's quad sculls to a second straight title, and Iran Mohsen Shadi Naghadeh won a second straight title in the lightweight single sculls, giving his country a rare hope in an Olympic sport in which it has never won an Olympic medal.

• The U.S. track and field team won 15 medals, tying Kenya for top spot, at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton. Though U.S. sprinters are often doomed by poor baton passing at world championships and Olympic Games, they swept the four relay events in Moncton. Stormy Kendrick also won the women's 200 meters and Conor McCullough set a U.S. junior record, taking the hammer throw with a winning toss of 80.79 meters.

Kenya led all nations by winning seven golds. They won 15 of their medals in distance running events from 800 meters to 10,000, taking either a men's or women's gold at each distance. Marija Vukovic won Montenegro's first major international medal of any kind, soaring 1.91 meters to win the women's high jump.

• Wrestler Victoria Anthony won her second straight gold medal at the Junior World Championships last weekend. Anthony defeated Davaasuren Bayarmagnai of Mongolia, 1-0, 6-0, to defend her title at 48 kgs. (105.5 pounds). Helen Maroulis and Chris Perry won the other medals, both bronzes, for the U.S. at the championships.

• Brazil captured its ninth World League volleyball title on Sunday, knocking off Russia, three games to one (25-22, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23) to take the final match in Cordoba, Argentina. Serbia defeated Cuba (28-30, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 15-12) to take the bronze medal. The Brazilians went unbeaten in 13 matches. In the final, the side was led by Dante Amaral, the two-time Olympic medalist who came back after two years away from the national team and recorded a game-high 18 points for Brazil. The U.S. team placed eighth in the tournament.

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