Olympics Weightlifting Slideshow

Even after being on the receiving end of abuse on social media, Laurel Hubbard, a transgender weightlifter from New Zealand, won silver at the IWF World Weightlifting Championships.
Transgender weightlifter wins silver medal after social media abuse
Even after being on the receiving end of abuse on social media, Laurel Hubbard, a transgender weightlifter from New Zealand, won silver at the IWF World Weightlifting Championships.
Even after being on the receiving end of abuse on social media, Laurel Hubbard, a transgender weightlifter from New Zealand, won silver at the IWF World Weightlifting Championships.
Transgender weightlifter wins silver medal after social media abuse
Even after being on the receiving end of abuse on social media, Laurel Hubbard, a transgender weightlifter from New Zealand, won silver at the IWF World Weightlifting Championships.
2016 Rio Olympics - Weightlifting - Final - Men's +105kg - Riocentro - Pavilion 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 16/08/2016. Lasha Talakhadze (GEO) of Georgia reacts. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
Weightlifting - Men's +105kg
2016 Rio Olympics - Weightlifting - Final - Men's +105kg - Riocentro - Pavilion 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 16/08/2016. Lasha Talakhadze (GEO) of Georgia reacts. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Weightlifting - Final - Men's 94kg - Riocentro - Pavilion 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 13/08/2016. Ali Hashemi (IRI) of Iran competes. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
FILE PHOTO: Weightlifting - Men's 94kg
FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Weightlifting - Final - Men's 94kg - Riocentro - Pavilion 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 13/08/2016. Ali Hashemi (IRI) of Iran competes. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
2016 Rio Olympics - Weightlifting - Final - Men's 94kg - Riocentro - Pavilion 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 13/08/2016. Sonny Webster (GBR) of Britain competes. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
Weightlifting - Men's 94kg
2016 Rio Olympics - Weightlifting - Final - Men's 94kg - Riocentro - Pavilion 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 13/08/2016. Sonny Webster (GBR) of Britain competes. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
FILE - In this Tuesday Sept. 20, 1988 file photo, Naim Suleymanoglu of Turkey yells it out during one of the lifts which won him a gold medal in the 60-kilogram Olympic weightlifting competition at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Suleymanoglu, the Turkish weightlifter who was known as "Pocket Hercules" and who won three straight Olympic gold medals for Turkey between 1988 and 1996, has died. Suleymanoglu was considered one of the sport's greatest athletes and earned his nickname for his strength and diminutive size. He was 50. (AP Photo/Kang Hyoung, File)
'Pocket Hercules,' 3-time Olympic champion, dies at 50
FILE - In this Tuesday Sept. 20, 1988 file photo, Naim Suleymanoglu of Turkey yells it out during one of the lifts which won him a gold medal in the 60-kilogram Olympic weightlifting competition at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Suleymanoglu, the Turkish weightlifter who was known as "Pocket Hercules" and who won three straight Olympic gold medals for Turkey between 1988 and 1996, has died. Suleymanoglu was considered one of the sport's greatest athletes and earned his nickname for his strength and diminutive size. He was 50. (AP Photo/Kang Hyoung, File)
<p>At 35 years old, Lolo Jones’ dreams of winning an Olympic medal are still alive. The two-time Summer Olympian and 2014 Winter Olympian is looking to be one of three women picked to push bobsleds at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang.</p><p>Jones is best known for her success as a hurdler in track and field. She was a favorite to win gold in the 100 meter hurdles at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing before she clipped the penultimate hurdle and she stumbled to the finish. She also competed at the 2012 Olympics in London and finished fourth, just .01 seconds out of the medals. She withdrew from the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials due to injury and was unable to compete in Rio de Janeiro. She bypassed the 2017 track and field season, where she would have made more money than in bobsled, to prepare for the Winter Olympics.</p><p>She finished 11th in Sochi when she was paired with pilot Jazmine Fenlator. But four years later, she’s been vocal about the state of United States bobsledding women being the best they have ever been, so her competition to get to South Korea is not as easy.</p><p><em>Sports Illustrated caught up with Jones in New York City with 100 days to go until the Games begin. Jones will open her World Cup season on Friday night in Park City, Utah and will be paired with Elana Meyers Taylor.</em></p><p><strong>SI: </strong><em>We’ve crossed paths many times over the years trackside. Bobsled isn’t my bread and butter and to many other people it isn’t either, so could you break down the qualification process for the next few months?</em></p><p><strong>Lolo Jones: </strong>We’ve already started the process. We had the push championships in Calgary, Canada and I got second there. Then we underwent a series of in-house tests including a 30-meter sprint and some weightlifting tests. We got numbers on all of those. Now we’re in the final part where we start racing. Within those races, we’ll get more numbers and evaluate from there. It’s different from track and field. In track, we have the U.S. Olympic Trials where it’s top three and you go to the Games. This is a very different situation because there’s multiple chances for you to get numbers. It’s never just top three and you’ve got a spot. They’re taking a cumulative season of numbers. So it’s as if you’re taking all of your races from a track and field season and then comparing it against somebody else’s races to try and figure out who would be your best athlete.</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>That sounds like it could get controversial.</em></p><p><strong>LJ:</strong> I’m glad you said it because it is. When I really try to break it down for a track and field athlete, I always say that it’s similar to how they pick the 4x100-meter relay team. As you’ve seen in past years, the team has been named and everyone is comfortable with who is on it but then there’s also been times when athletes have been named and people go “Hmmm…” Whenever it’s not a secure top three, anything can happen. But the thing with bobsled is that you can’t have a race where everyone gets numbers at the same time so you know it’s equal. We compete on ice. Conditions on that surface can change within minutes. Even if you have two people go back-to-back, the second person could be faster but the first person may have better results because the ice changes. That’s how crazy the sport is. </p><p>It really takes a series of numbers and just trying to process with the coaches. You have to trust that they’re going to make the best decision to put the best team forward to win medals. I’ve been on the other side of things too. There’s been two times for bobsled that I’ve made the national team but then missed out on the world championships at the end of the season. It’s wild. The coin can flip either way. This sport tries my faith more than any other sport. In track and field, it comes down to me and numbers. In bobsled, there’s so many things that you need to be well-versed on and being a good teammate is one of them.</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>It’s not like you’ve made the process easier the second time around. You gave bobsled a try and then some other track and field athletes have tried their hand at the sport.</em></p><p><strong>LJ:</strong> I know, right! It was stupid of me to do that! I wasn’t aware of this but the other day some of the men on the national team did an autograph session and they were asked how they heard about bobsled. Ryan Bailey [2012 U.S. Olympic 100m dash finalist] and Chris Kinney said that it was because of me. I try to bring attention and awareness to the sport and maybe it hurts me on the women’s side. It hurt me for Sochi because it helped recruit Lauryn [Williams] and she ended up getting promoted to the sled that medaled. I wasn’t but when I look back at my Olympic career, I want to be able to say that I competed against the best and won a medal against the best. </p><p>In my London race, which everyone gives me crap about, even though I came back from surgery, to this day it’s the fastest Olympic final in history. Even Rio, which the American women swept, my time at the London Games would’ve got me a medal at any Olympic final ever. I don’t have a medal to show my kids but I went down in one of the fastest Olympic races in history so the same goes for bobsled. I’m cool with recruiting people even if it bites me in the butt but I’m confident in my abilities to compete. I’m a warrior. I have assured determination and grit so I say bring it.</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>Why does the translation from track to bobsled work for some athletes but not for others?</em></p><p><strong>LJ: </strong>There have been some track and field athletes that have tried it and fizzled out. The explanation for that is it’s a very hard sport. In track, we head to the track and carry a backpack and do our workout before calling it a day. In bobsled, we’re out there for hours. It’s cold. It’s miserable. We have bobsled practice but then have to go and take care of the bobsled. It’s 12-hour days with a lot of travel. In track, the prize purse can sometimes be $10,000 for a race if you win. In bobsled, you’d be one of the top athletes if you made that for a full season with months of working. </p><p>When you have some track and field athletes come and tell them, I’m going to need you to work longer hours, you’ll take a pay cut and it’s a harder dynamic, it’s a lot. Throw in also the risk of injury. We’re flying down these tracks. You can crash and there’s a concussion risk. Every time you step to the line, there can be a little bit of fear and it gets in people’s way. There’s so many different elements but sometimes maybe they just don’t like it.</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>You also have to put on weight for it.</em></p><p><strong>LJ:</strong> They’ll like that part. (Laughs) That’s the reason why I came back!</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>Break it down for me. How much are you eating?</em></p><p><strong>LJ:</strong> 9,000 calories is what I was taking in when I was in a time crunch to gain weight. This time, I’m already at weight. I didn’t run track this year so that I could have that time to gain weight. I take a weight gainer twice a day and then usually have two dinners separated by two hours. Here’s the weird thing: My breakfast and lunch are quite normal. I just try to have more milk throughout the day too. If I can’t get protein or weight gainer, you may see me chugging milk.</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>That still sounds so tough to handle.</em></p><p><strong>LJ:</strong> It is. I feel sorry for my roommate with me always in the bathroom. I’m so tired of always running to the bathroom.</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>Is the plan still to go back to track after all of this?</em></p><p><strong>LJ: </strong>Yeah, I’m going right back. It was a little frustrating when people assume that I’ve retired but I never made that announcement. I think I really could’ve ran last year. During bobsled season, they allowed me to train and still go to the track and do hurdles. I was hurdling for part of the bobsled season. I discussed things with Paul Doyle, my track and field agent, and my coaches. They said that it would be a close race to try and make this bobsled team. The girls are really close and it’s hard to separate the numbers. For me, I had to make the decision to give up one of my last prime years in track and field to compete at the world championships in London, which I would’ve loved to have returned to. I decided to put it all on the line to take one last stab at this Winter Olympic medal. I said Winter. Who knows? I could do the Gail Devers and go through to 2020 but let’s not go there yet. </p><p>It pained me to watch the world championships. Especially to see Sally Pearson and Dawn Harper-Nelson as the two old heads coming in with medals and I knew they would. They relied on their experience at that stage, especially since it was the Olympic track. It was frustrating to see that those were people I’ve been competing against throughout my career and I could’ve been right there. I had to give it up. At the end of the day, another world championship medal was going to do nothing for my career. I’m a two-time world champion. I’m the American record holder for indoors. I get teased all the time that I need to win a medal. I’m like ‘Wait, I’m actually a world champion in track and field and bobsled.’ It happens all the time. I’m going for it. If I fall on my face, I’m content knowing I left it all out there.</p><p><strong>SI: </strong><em>OK, we’ve done many of these interviews, and the same goes for people who follow you on social media, you always bring up this lack of an Olympic medal. You’re cracking jokes sometimes but mentally how have you dealt with it over the years?</em></p><p><strong>LJ:</strong> I joke about it but honestly, I’ve gone through stages in my career. I’ve always been a self-deprecating person and that’s my humor. I think too many times people try to shy away from what may be painful experiences for them. This doesn’t burn me anymore. I didn’t win an Olympic medal but I’ve had an amazing journey with great sponsors. Not to go super bobsled on you but in <em>Cool </em><em>Runnings</em>, John Candy says, “If you&#39;re not enough without the medal, you&#39;ll never be enough with it.”</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>Last thing, I’m going to give you a chance now to fire back at Sports Illustrated for that Fittest 50 list that we released a few months ago. You tweeted at me that it was wrong. Explain it to me.</em></p><p><strong>LJ: </strong>That was terrible.</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>What was the problem with it?</em></p><p><strong>LJ: </strong>What was the problem?! Don’t make me cuss in this interview. If I went through the list again, I could pinpoint things to you. The numbers were wack. They should’ve been re-shuffled but even that wouldn’t fix the issue. I looked at some of the people ahead of me and said, ‘I’m killing myself with two jobs!’ And then, you put me down at No. 49?!</p>
Q&A: Lolo Jones on Targeting Another Olympics, the Medal That Eludes Her

At 35 years old, Lolo Jones’ dreams of winning an Olympic medal are still alive. The two-time Summer Olympian and 2014 Winter Olympian is looking to be one of three women picked to push bobsleds at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang.

Jones is best known for her success as a hurdler in track and field. She was a favorite to win gold in the 100 meter hurdles at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing before she clipped the penultimate hurdle and she stumbled to the finish. She also competed at the 2012 Olympics in London and finished fourth, just .01 seconds out of the medals. She withdrew from the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials due to injury and was unable to compete in Rio de Janeiro. She bypassed the 2017 track and field season, where she would have made more money than in bobsled, to prepare for the Winter Olympics.

She finished 11th in Sochi when she was paired with pilot Jazmine Fenlator. But four years later, she’s been vocal about the state of United States bobsledding women being the best they have ever been, so her competition to get to South Korea is not as easy.

Sports Illustrated caught up with Jones in New York City with 100 days to go until the Games begin. Jones will open her World Cup season on Friday night in Park City, Utah and will be paired with Elana Meyers Taylor.

SI: We’ve crossed paths many times over the years trackside. Bobsled isn’t my bread and butter and to many other people it isn’t either, so could you break down the qualification process for the next few months?

Lolo Jones: We’ve already started the process. We had the push championships in Calgary, Canada and I got second there. Then we underwent a series of in-house tests including a 30-meter sprint and some weightlifting tests. We got numbers on all of those. Now we’re in the final part where we start racing. Within those races, we’ll get more numbers and evaluate from there. It’s different from track and field. In track, we have the U.S. Olympic Trials where it’s top three and you go to the Games. This is a very different situation because there’s multiple chances for you to get numbers. It’s never just top three and you’ve got a spot. They’re taking a cumulative season of numbers. So it’s as if you’re taking all of your races from a track and field season and then comparing it against somebody else’s races to try and figure out who would be your best athlete.

SI: That sounds like it could get controversial.

LJ: I’m glad you said it because it is. When I really try to break it down for a track and field athlete, I always say that it’s similar to how they pick the 4x100-meter relay team. As you’ve seen in past years, the team has been named and everyone is comfortable with who is on it but then there’s also been times when athletes have been named and people go “Hmmm…” Whenever it’s not a secure top three, anything can happen. But the thing with bobsled is that you can’t have a race where everyone gets numbers at the same time so you know it’s equal. We compete on ice. Conditions on that surface can change within minutes. Even if you have two people go back-to-back, the second person could be faster but the first person may have better results because the ice changes. That’s how crazy the sport is.

It really takes a series of numbers and just trying to process with the coaches. You have to trust that they’re going to make the best decision to put the best team forward to win medals. I’ve been on the other side of things too. There’s been two times for bobsled that I’ve made the national team but then missed out on the world championships at the end of the season. It’s wild. The coin can flip either way. This sport tries my faith more than any other sport. In track and field, it comes down to me and numbers. In bobsled, there’s so many things that you need to be well-versed on and being a good teammate is one of them.

SI: It’s not like you’ve made the process easier the second time around. You gave bobsled a try and then some other track and field athletes have tried their hand at the sport.

LJ: I know, right! It was stupid of me to do that! I wasn’t aware of this but the other day some of the men on the national team did an autograph session and they were asked how they heard about bobsled. Ryan Bailey [2012 U.S. Olympic 100m dash finalist] and Chris Kinney said that it was because of me. I try to bring attention and awareness to the sport and maybe it hurts me on the women’s side. It hurt me for Sochi because it helped recruit Lauryn [Williams] and she ended up getting promoted to the sled that medaled. I wasn’t but when I look back at my Olympic career, I want to be able to say that I competed against the best and won a medal against the best.

In my London race, which everyone gives me crap about, even though I came back from surgery, to this day it’s the fastest Olympic final in history. Even Rio, which the American women swept, my time at the London Games would’ve got me a medal at any Olympic final ever. I don’t have a medal to show my kids but I went down in one of the fastest Olympic races in history so the same goes for bobsled. I’m cool with recruiting people even if it bites me in the butt but I’m confident in my abilities to compete. I’m a warrior. I have assured determination and grit so I say bring it.

SI: Why does the translation from track to bobsled work for some athletes but not for others?

LJ: There have been some track and field athletes that have tried it and fizzled out. The explanation for that is it’s a very hard sport. In track, we head to the track and carry a backpack and do our workout before calling it a day. In bobsled, we’re out there for hours. It’s cold. It’s miserable. We have bobsled practice but then have to go and take care of the bobsled. It’s 12-hour days with a lot of travel. In track, the prize purse can sometimes be $10,000 for a race if you win. In bobsled, you’d be one of the top athletes if you made that for a full season with months of working.

When you have some track and field athletes come and tell them, I’m going to need you to work longer hours, you’ll take a pay cut and it’s a harder dynamic, it’s a lot. Throw in also the risk of injury. We’re flying down these tracks. You can crash and there’s a concussion risk. Every time you step to the line, there can be a little bit of fear and it gets in people’s way. There’s so many different elements but sometimes maybe they just don’t like it.

SI: You also have to put on weight for it.

LJ: They’ll like that part. (Laughs) That’s the reason why I came back!

SI: Break it down for me. How much are you eating?

LJ: 9,000 calories is what I was taking in when I was in a time crunch to gain weight. This time, I’m already at weight. I didn’t run track this year so that I could have that time to gain weight. I take a weight gainer twice a day and then usually have two dinners separated by two hours. Here’s the weird thing: My breakfast and lunch are quite normal. I just try to have more milk throughout the day too. If I can’t get protein or weight gainer, you may see me chugging milk.

SI: That still sounds so tough to handle.

LJ: It is. I feel sorry for my roommate with me always in the bathroom. I’m so tired of always running to the bathroom.

SI: Is the plan still to go back to track after all of this?

LJ: Yeah, I’m going right back. It was a little frustrating when people assume that I’ve retired but I never made that announcement. I think I really could’ve ran last year. During bobsled season, they allowed me to train and still go to the track and do hurdles. I was hurdling for part of the bobsled season. I discussed things with Paul Doyle, my track and field agent, and my coaches. They said that it would be a close race to try and make this bobsled team. The girls are really close and it’s hard to separate the numbers. For me, I had to make the decision to give up one of my last prime years in track and field to compete at the world championships in London, which I would’ve loved to have returned to. I decided to put it all on the line to take one last stab at this Winter Olympic medal. I said Winter. Who knows? I could do the Gail Devers and go through to 2020 but let’s not go there yet.

It pained me to watch the world championships. Especially to see Sally Pearson and Dawn Harper-Nelson as the two old heads coming in with medals and I knew they would. They relied on their experience at that stage, especially since it was the Olympic track. It was frustrating to see that those were people I’ve been competing against throughout my career and I could’ve been right there. I had to give it up. At the end of the day, another world championship medal was going to do nothing for my career. I’m a two-time world champion. I’m the American record holder for indoors. I get teased all the time that I need to win a medal. I’m like ‘Wait, I’m actually a world champion in track and field and bobsled.’ It happens all the time. I’m going for it. If I fall on my face, I’m content knowing I left it all out there.

SI: OK, we’ve done many of these interviews, and the same goes for people who follow you on social media, you always bring up this lack of an Olympic medal. You’re cracking jokes sometimes but mentally how have you dealt with it over the years?

LJ: I joke about it but honestly, I’ve gone through stages in my career. I’ve always been a self-deprecating person and that’s my humor. I think too many times people try to shy away from what may be painful experiences for them. This doesn’t burn me anymore. I didn’t win an Olympic medal but I’ve had an amazing journey with great sponsors. Not to go super bobsled on you but in Cool Runnings, John Candy says, “If you're not enough without the medal, you'll never be enough with it.”

SI: Last thing, I’m going to give you a chance now to fire back at Sports Illustrated for that Fittest 50 list that we released a few months ago. You tweeted at me that it was wrong. Explain it to me.

LJ: That was terrible.

SI: What was the problem with it?

LJ: What was the problem?! Don’t make me cuss in this interview. If I went through the list again, I could pinpoint things to you. The numbers were wack. They should’ve been re-shuffled but even that wouldn’t fix the issue. I looked at some of the people ahead of me and said, ‘I’m killing myself with two jobs!’ And then, you put me down at No. 49?!

Russia&#39;s Ruslan Albegov reacts after failing a lift attempt during the men&#39;s +105kg Group A clean and jerk weightlifting competition at the ExCel venue during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler
Russia's Ruslan Albegov reacts after failing a lift attempt during the men's +105kg Group A clean and jerk weightlifting competition during the London 2012 Olympic Games
Russia's Ruslan Albegov reacts after failing a lift attempt during the men's +105kg Group A clean and jerk weightlifting competition at the ExCel venue during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler
<p>Cancer survivor and <em>Flip or Flop</em> host El Moussa and Harris, former <em>Dancing With the Stars </em>host, celebrated the American Cancer Society’s Giants of Science Gala fundraiser in L.A. On the red carpet, El Moussa explained how his diet and lifestyle have been affected by his cancer diagnosis, although he’s revealed that <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BPtpiMDjFbd/?taken-by=therealtarekelmoussa" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:he’s currently cancer-free" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">he’s currently cancer-free</a>. “<span>I’m doing more cardio than weightlifting — I used to do more weightlifting,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Diet wise, I’ve been doing more juicing. I try to eat organic.” </span>(Photo: Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for The American Cancer Society) </p>
Samantha Harris and Tarek El Moussa

Cancer survivor and Flip or Flop host El Moussa and Harris, former Dancing With the Stars host, celebrated the American Cancer Society’s Giants of Science Gala fundraiser in L.A. On the red carpet, El Moussa explained how his diet and lifestyle have been affected by his cancer diagnosis, although he’s revealed that he’s currently cancer-free. “I’m doing more cardio than weightlifting — I used to do more weightlifting,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Diet wise, I’ve been doing more juicing. I try to eat organic.” (Photo: Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for The American Cancer Society)

<p>Cancer survivor and <em>Flip or Flop</em> host El Moussa and Harris, former <em>Dancing With the Stars </em>host, celebrated the American Cancer Society’s Giants of Science Gala fundraiser in L.A. On the red carpet, El Moussa, who has revealed that he’s now <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BPtpiMDjFbd/?taken-by=therealtarekelmoussa" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cancer-free" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cancer-free</a>, explained how his diet and lifestyle have been affected by his cancer diagnosis. “<span>I’m doing more cardio than weightlifting — I used to do more weightlifting,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Diet wise, I’ve been doing more juicing. I try to eat organic.” </span>(Photo: Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for the American Cancer Society) </p>
Samantha Harris and Tarek El Moussa

Cancer survivor and Flip or Flop host El Moussa and Harris, former Dancing With the Stars host, celebrated the American Cancer Society’s Giants of Science Gala fundraiser in L.A. On the red carpet, El Moussa, who has revealed that he’s now cancer-free, explained how his diet and lifestyle have been affected by his cancer diagnosis. “I’m doing more cardio than weightlifting — I used to do more weightlifting,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Diet wise, I’ve been doing more juicing. I try to eat organic.” (Photo: Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for the American Cancer Society)

FILE- In this Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012 file photo Kazakhstan&#39;s Ilya Ilyin reacts after a world record 233-kg clean-and-jerk lift during the men&#39;s 94-kg, group A, weightlifting competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The International Weightlifting Federation has suspended nine leading countries for a year on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, as it tries to combat an epidemic of doping. Those banned include some the sports biggest stars, such as Ilya Ilyin from Kazakhstan, a four-time world lifter of the year who was stripped of his 2008 and 2012 gold medals for taking anabolic steroids. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, file)
Russia, China among 9 top weightlifting countries suspended
FILE- In this Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012 file photo Kazakhstan's Ilya Ilyin reacts after a world record 233-kg clean-and-jerk lift during the men's 94-kg, group A, weightlifting competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The International Weightlifting Federation has suspended nine leading countries for a year on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, as it tries to combat an epidemic of doping. Those banned include some the sports biggest stars, such as Ilya Ilyin from Kazakhstan, a four-time world lifter of the year who was stripped of his 2008 and 2012 gold medals for taking anabolic steroids. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, file)
International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President Tamas Ajan said the IWF would contintinue to work with China, Russia to support anti-doping activities (AFP Photo/GOH CHAI HIN)
International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President Tamas Ajan said the IWF would contintinue to work with China, Russia to support anti-doping activities
International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President Tamas Ajan said the IWF would contintinue to work with China, Russia to support anti-doping activities (AFP Photo/GOH CHAI HIN)
<p><i>The best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina&#39;s Thoughts each day by <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyTraina" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:following on Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">following on Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/trainaj/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:liking on Facebook" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">liking on Facebook</a>. Catch up on <a href="https://www.si.com/author/jimmy-traina" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:previous editions of Traina Thoughts" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">previous editions of Traina Thoughts</a>. And check Jimmy Traina&#39;s weekly podcast, &quot;Off The Board,&quot; <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/off-the-board-with-jimmy-traina/id1258303282?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:on iTunes" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">on iTunes</a>, <a href="https://soundcloud.com/offtheboard" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SoundCloud" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SoundCloud</a> and <a href="https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/dgital-media/off-the-board" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stitcher" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stitcher</a>.</i></p><p><strong>1</strong>. If last night is any indication, NFL ratings are going to be a big story again in 2017. The Presidential election took a big chunk of viewers last year, with the league&#39;s ratings down 14 percent pre-election on Nov. 8 and just one percent post-election. However, the rating for last night&#39;s Chiefs-Patriots game was down considerably from past season openers.</p><p>Were people watching Hurricane Irma coverage instead? Are people still glued to cable news to keep up with what&#39;s going on in the White House? Or does the NFL have a problem with its product? If the hated Patriots getting their asses kicked couldn&#39;t bring in a big number, what will? This will be a storyline that gets a lot of play if those numbers continue. </p><p>Meanwhile, NBC&#39;s PR department tried its best to spin the weak number, but the effort was a tad cringeworthy.</p><p><strong><em>* UPDATE: <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyTraina/status/906137335632420865" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:As I predicted Friday morning on Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">As I predicted Friday morning on Twitter</a>, despite the low rating, NBC is touting is streaming numbers for the game.</em></strong></p><p><strong>2</strong>. As for the Chiefs impressive 42-27 upset over the Patriots, the stats to come out of the game were just staggering. For instance:</p><p>* The Patriots were 105-0 when leading going into the fourth quarter at home during the Tom Brady era.</p><p>* The Patriots were 81-0 when leading at halftime at Gillette Stadium in regular season.</p><p>* 42 points were the most ever given up in a game by a Patriots team coached by Bill Belichick.</p><p>* The Chiefs had one offensive play go for 75 or more yards last season. They had two touchdowns of 75 yards against the Patriots.</p><p><strong>3</strong>. Each Friday, I&#39;m going to give you some NFL Week. Here are three for Week 1:</p><p><strong>Packers -3 vs. Seahawks</strong>: I&#39;m high on Green Bay this year. I like them having an early test at home. Aaron Rodgers has a lot of weapons.</p><p><strong>Rams -4 vs. Colts</strong>: Two words: Scott Tolzien. Who knows what Jared Goff will do this season, but Wade Phillips&#39; defense should feast against Tolzien, who will start in place of Andrew Luck.</p><p><strong>Saints +3.5 at Vikings</strong>: New Orleans made a ton of changes, but Drew Brees remains. We&#39;ll take him over Sam Bradford in this matchup.</p><p><strong>4</strong>. The Craig Carton saga continues. On top of his arrest earlier this week for a Ponzi scheme, the <em>New York Post</em> <a href="http://nypost.com/2017/09/07/cartons-do-nothing-charity-may-have-been-ponzi-scheme-tool/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reports that the WFAN radio host allegedly used his charity for some questionable activities" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reports that the WFAN radio host allegedly used his charity for some questionable activities</a>.</p><p><strong>5</strong>. The Indians 15-game winning streak <a href="http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2017/09/08/253135986/local-cleveland-shop-celebrates-indians-winning-streak-with-large-home-repair-promo" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:has cost a window company $1.7 million in free repairs" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">has cost a window company $1.7 million in free repairs</a>.</p><p><strong>6</strong>. Roman Reigns and John Cena will meet at an upcoming WWE pay-per-view event, but they&#39;ve been feuding on Twitter. Reigns got in a good shot at Cena over his numerous weightlifting videos that get a lot of pickup in the blogosphere.</p><p><strong>7</strong>. Jimmy Fallon&#39;s Superlatives were back last night, targeting Chiefs and Patriots players.</p><p><strong>8</strong>. This week&#39;s Off The Board podcast features SI&#39;s Richard Deitsch. We talked about the Carton situation, Mike Francesa, NFL media stories to watch in the 2017 season, Ed Cunningham quitting his job with ESPN over concerns about the violence in football and much more. You can listen below or on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/off-the-board-with-jimmy-traina/id1258303282?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:iTunes" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">iTunes</a>, <a href="https://soundcloud.com/offtheboard" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SoundCloud" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SoundCloud</a> or <a href="https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/dgital-media/off-the-board" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stitcher." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stitcher.</a></p><p><strong>9</strong>. <strong>RANDOM WRESTLING VIDEO OF THE DAY</strong>: With John Cena engaged in a war of words with Roman Reigns, let&#39;s remember time Cena got taken down by a Rock sing-a-long.</p>
Traina Thoughts: NFL Ratings Problem Is Not Getting Better

The best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts. And check Jimmy Traina's weekly podcast, "Off The Board," on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

1. If last night is any indication, NFL ratings are going to be a big story again in 2017. The Presidential election took a big chunk of viewers last year, with the league's ratings down 14 percent pre-election on Nov. 8 and just one percent post-election. However, the rating for last night's Chiefs-Patriots game was down considerably from past season openers.

Were people watching Hurricane Irma coverage instead? Are people still glued to cable news to keep up with what's going on in the White House? Or does the NFL have a problem with its product? If the hated Patriots getting their asses kicked couldn't bring in a big number, what will? This will be a storyline that gets a lot of play if those numbers continue.

Meanwhile, NBC's PR department tried its best to spin the weak number, but the effort was a tad cringeworthy.

* UPDATE: As I predicted Friday morning on Twitter, despite the low rating, NBC is touting is streaming numbers for the game.

2. As for the Chiefs impressive 42-27 upset over the Patriots, the stats to come out of the game were just staggering. For instance:

* The Patriots were 105-0 when leading going into the fourth quarter at home during the Tom Brady era.

* The Patriots were 81-0 when leading at halftime at Gillette Stadium in regular season.

* 42 points were the most ever given up in a game by a Patriots team coached by Bill Belichick.

* The Chiefs had one offensive play go for 75 or more yards last season. They had two touchdowns of 75 yards against the Patriots.

3. Each Friday, I'm going to give you some NFL Week. Here are three for Week 1:

Packers -3 vs. Seahawks: I'm high on Green Bay this year. I like them having an early test at home. Aaron Rodgers has a lot of weapons.

Rams -4 vs. Colts: Two words: Scott Tolzien. Who knows what Jared Goff will do this season, but Wade Phillips' defense should feast against Tolzien, who will start in place of Andrew Luck.

Saints +3.5 at Vikings: New Orleans made a ton of changes, but Drew Brees remains. We'll take him over Sam Bradford in this matchup.

4. The Craig Carton saga continues. On top of his arrest earlier this week for a Ponzi scheme, the New York Post reports that the WFAN radio host allegedly used his charity for some questionable activities.

5. The Indians 15-game winning streak has cost a window company $1.7 million in free repairs.

6. Roman Reigns and John Cena will meet at an upcoming WWE pay-per-view event, but they've been feuding on Twitter. Reigns got in a good shot at Cena over his numerous weightlifting videos that get a lot of pickup in the blogosphere.

7. Jimmy Fallon's Superlatives were back last night, targeting Chiefs and Patriots players.

8. This week's Off The Board podcast features SI's Richard Deitsch. We talked about the Carton situation, Mike Francesa, NFL media stories to watch in the 2017 season, Ed Cunningham quitting his job with ESPN over concerns about the violence in football and much more. You can listen below or on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.

9. RANDOM WRESTLING VIDEO OF THE DAY: With John Cena engaged in a war of words with Roman Reigns, let's remember time Cena got taken down by a Rock sing-a-long.

<p>Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. She bagged the bronze medal in the 69-kg weightlifting category </p>
Karnam Malleswari at the Sydney Olympics, 2000

Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. She bagged the bronze medal in the 69-kg weightlifting category

Gold medalist Cao Lei of China poses during the medal ceremony for the women&#39;s 75 kg weightlifting event during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 15, 2008 (AFP Photo/JUNG YEON-JE)
Gold medalist Cao Lei of China poses during the medal ceremony for the women's 75 kg weightlifting event during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 15, 2008
Gold medalist Cao Lei of China poses during the medal ceremony for the women's 75 kg weightlifting event during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 15, 2008 (AFP Photo/JUNG YEON-JE)
FILE PHOTO: Cao Lei of China poses with her gold medal in the women&#39;s 75kg weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 15, 2008. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Cao Lei of China poses with her gold medal in the women's 75kg weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
FILE PHOTO: Cao Lei of China poses with her gold medal in the women's 75kg weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 15, 2008. REUTERS/Yves Herman
FILE PHOTO: Cao Lei of China poses with her gold medal in the women&#39;s 75kg weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 15, 2008. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Cao Lei of China poses with her gold medal in the women's 75kg weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
FILE PHOTO: Cao Lei of China poses with her gold medal in the women's 75kg weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 15, 2008. REUTERS/Yves Herman
<p>Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. She bagged the bronze medal in the 69-kg weightlifting category </p>
Karnam Malleswari at the Sydney Olympics, 2000

Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. She bagged the bronze medal in the 69-kg weightlifting category

<p>Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. She bagged the bronze medal in the 69-kg weightlifting category </p>
Karnam Malleswari at the Sydney Olympics, 2000

Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. She bagged the bronze medal in the 69-kg weightlifting category

<p>Katie Uhlaender crouches in the left-turn lane of W 58th St. and makes eye contact with the driver next to her. She cracks a smile, motioning toward the intersection to initiate a race. The driver declines the challenge, and Uhlaender sprints past—a red tangle of hair flying down the street.</p><p>It’s an 80-degree afternoon in New York City. Uhlaender, a three-time Olympian in skeleton who has her sights set on PyeongChang 2018, is midway through a recovery week that has conveniently fallen over the July 4 holiday. She’s in town for a job interview, but that won’t keep her from a workout.</p><p>The hotel parking garage was too cramped, though, so Uhlaender and her impromptu cameraman—a friend she made during hip surgery, the ninth operation of her career—find themselves on the sidewalk. It’ll do.</p><p>Uhlaender, who turns 33 on July 17, only travels during recovery weeks these days. It’s a grind now, just seven months away from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.</p><p>Her life has been based out of the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., since the 2016–17 Skeleton World Cup ended in March. There’s structure there, along with food and housing. But with a new $15,000 sled on the horizon, Uhlaender is in town for a job interview at a advertising and production company.</p><p>But that’s not until Thursday. Today is Wednesday, and Uhlaender is just a veteran Olympian who has a very real shot at qualifying for the 2018 Winter Games.</p><p>Uhlaender, the daughter of former MLB player Ted Uhlaender, has segmented her Olympic training into four-week sections this year. She steadily builds for three weeks, then takes the fourth week at a reduced volume. These recovery weeks are often based on “perceived effort,” she says, where the intensity is there but not necessarily strict sets and programs.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m going by feel,” she explains. “My hip was kinda strained after a hard few days so my goal is to get that to go away. I&#39;m just gonna do enough this week. Normally I&#39;d lift, but I&#39;m going to maximize my recovery.&quot;</p><p>This workout begins with a 30-minute warmup of stretching, short sprints and some yoga. Then she takes to the sidewalk (and turning lane) for two sets of strides at sub-maximal effort.</p><p>She challenges a handful of construction workers to races. They decline, including one who is hauling bricks down the sidewalk. Uhlaender is disappointed. She thrives on the competition.</p><p>&quot;Most people are scared to come work out with an Olympian,” she says. “Well, first of all, I&#39;m not a track star. I&#39;m far from it, just ask Lolo [Jones]. But I love running with people that are extremely fast. I&#39;ll run with all the guys, with Lolo, with Lauryn Williams—who crushed me—because there&#39;s something about pushing myself to be the best I can be. Even if I don&#39;t beat them, I feel really good running with them.”</p><p>In lieu of a challenger, Uhlaender decides to have some fun with her workout in the city.</p><p>&quot;I put my headphones on and I start dancing, I start enjoying what I&#39;m doing,” she says. “If I have to listen to music and dance my way through it, I&#39;m doing it. If I talk to random people for motivation, I&#39;m doing it … I guess the best time to do something is when we most don&#39;t want to.”</p><p>She begins the final segment: Six, eight-second hill sprints at maximal effort. She decides to cut it two sets short, saying her form is deteriorating and her hip isn’t feeling all too great. It’s probably a good call, seeing as it’s 3 p.m. and all she’s had today is some coffee.</p><p>Skeleton, for those uninitiated, is a winter sport that features a lone racer going headfirst down an icy track at 80 miles per hour. Women have been competing in the sport at the Olympic level since 2002, and Uhlaender has been in every Games since 2006.</p><p>One of skeleton’s complexities is its running start, which adds a training complexity.</p><p>&quot;You want to be as lean as possible, as fast as possible and as strong as possible—all the things,” Uhlaender says with a laugh. “You want to be fast sprinting, but you have to be strong because you run bent over. It&#39;s like doing a bear crawl at top speed.”</p><p>Uhlaender is aiming to lose 10 pounds by the time the 2017-18 season starts in October. That means dietary changes (she says she’s learned that carbs are no longer the devil) and intense training (brushing her teeth at the end of an average day can feel like “a chore”).</p><p>Because speed and quickness are key for skeleton racers, Uhlaender says she always follows a slow exercise like squats or deadlifts with something quick. She explains that she wants her brain to understand that everything is supposed to be fast and powerful.</p><p>Over the years, Uhlaender has found success in a plethora of sports. She’s branched out to compete at the international level recently in both weightlifting and track cycling. Through those experiences, she has been able to incorporate wide-ranging lessons into her Olympic preparation.</p><p>“Olympic lifting is great for functional strength and movement,” she says. “It&#39;s something that works really well for me. I don&#39;t squat as much anymore because I have a great strength base. I&#39;ve been training for 15 years.”</p><p>Most workouts, however, aren’t like this New York City street adventure. Uhlaender calls herself a perfectionist in her fitness regimen, recording everything and training at a high, consistent level—especially during the three weeks of steady building. It’s all part of a plan to stay healthy on her way toward the 2017-18 season and Olympic qualification.</p><p>The 2014 Winter Games were devastating for Uhlaender. She came up empty-handed, losing out on a bronze medal by four-hundredths of a second. She’ll admit that she’s still grappling with that loss to this day (the third-place winner remains under investigation for doping allegations, which has left just enough uncertainty to allow the issue to linger for years), but she says the result has served as a powerful motivator.</p><p>If she’s healthy, though, watch out. Uhlaender, a competitor in every sense of the word, isn’t about to slow down anytime soon—and she has a podium in sight.</p>
This three-time Olympian is prepping for PyeongChang 2018 with workout on NYC streets

Katie Uhlaender crouches in the left-turn lane of W 58th St. and makes eye contact with the driver next to her. She cracks a smile, motioning toward the intersection to initiate a race. The driver declines the challenge, and Uhlaender sprints past—a red tangle of hair flying down the street.

It’s an 80-degree afternoon in New York City. Uhlaender, a three-time Olympian in skeleton who has her sights set on PyeongChang 2018, is midway through a recovery week that has conveniently fallen over the July 4 holiday. She’s in town for a job interview, but that won’t keep her from a workout.

The hotel parking garage was too cramped, though, so Uhlaender and her impromptu cameraman—a friend she made during hip surgery, the ninth operation of her career—find themselves on the sidewalk. It’ll do.

Uhlaender, who turns 33 on July 17, only travels during recovery weeks these days. It’s a grind now, just seven months away from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Her life has been based out of the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., since the 2016–17 Skeleton World Cup ended in March. There’s structure there, along with food and housing. But with a new $15,000 sled on the horizon, Uhlaender is in town for a job interview at a advertising and production company.

But that’s not until Thursday. Today is Wednesday, and Uhlaender is just a veteran Olympian who has a very real shot at qualifying for the 2018 Winter Games.

Uhlaender, the daughter of former MLB player Ted Uhlaender, has segmented her Olympic training into four-week sections this year. She steadily builds for three weeks, then takes the fourth week at a reduced volume. These recovery weeks are often based on “perceived effort,” she says, where the intensity is there but not necessarily strict sets and programs.

"I'm going by feel,” she explains. “My hip was kinda strained after a hard few days so my goal is to get that to go away. I'm just gonna do enough this week. Normally I'd lift, but I'm going to maximize my recovery."

This workout begins with a 30-minute warmup of stretching, short sprints and some yoga. Then she takes to the sidewalk (and turning lane) for two sets of strides at sub-maximal effort.

She challenges a handful of construction workers to races. They decline, including one who is hauling bricks down the sidewalk. Uhlaender is disappointed. She thrives on the competition.

"Most people are scared to come work out with an Olympian,” she says. “Well, first of all, I'm not a track star. I'm far from it, just ask Lolo [Jones]. But I love running with people that are extremely fast. I'll run with all the guys, with Lolo, with Lauryn Williams—who crushed me—because there's something about pushing myself to be the best I can be. Even if I don't beat them, I feel really good running with them.”

In lieu of a challenger, Uhlaender decides to have some fun with her workout in the city.

"I put my headphones on and I start dancing, I start enjoying what I'm doing,” she says. “If I have to listen to music and dance my way through it, I'm doing it. If I talk to random people for motivation, I'm doing it … I guess the best time to do something is when we most don't want to.”

She begins the final segment: Six, eight-second hill sprints at maximal effort. She decides to cut it two sets short, saying her form is deteriorating and her hip isn’t feeling all too great. It’s probably a good call, seeing as it’s 3 p.m. and all she’s had today is some coffee.

Skeleton, for those uninitiated, is a winter sport that features a lone racer going headfirst down an icy track at 80 miles per hour. Women have been competing in the sport at the Olympic level since 2002, and Uhlaender has been in every Games since 2006.

One of skeleton’s complexities is its running start, which adds a training complexity.

"You want to be as lean as possible, as fast as possible and as strong as possible—all the things,” Uhlaender says with a laugh. “You want to be fast sprinting, but you have to be strong because you run bent over. It's like doing a bear crawl at top speed.”

Uhlaender is aiming to lose 10 pounds by the time the 2017-18 season starts in October. That means dietary changes (she says she’s learned that carbs are no longer the devil) and intense training (brushing her teeth at the end of an average day can feel like “a chore”).

Because speed and quickness are key for skeleton racers, Uhlaender says she always follows a slow exercise like squats or deadlifts with something quick. She explains that she wants her brain to understand that everything is supposed to be fast and powerful.

Over the years, Uhlaender has found success in a plethora of sports. She’s branched out to compete at the international level recently in both weightlifting and track cycling. Through those experiences, she has been able to incorporate wide-ranging lessons into her Olympic preparation.

“Olympic lifting is great for functional strength and movement,” she says. “It's something that works really well for me. I don't squat as much anymore because I have a great strength base. I've been training for 15 years.”

Most workouts, however, aren’t like this New York City street adventure. Uhlaender calls herself a perfectionist in her fitness regimen, recording everything and training at a high, consistent level—especially during the three weeks of steady building. It’s all part of a plan to stay healthy on her way toward the 2017-18 season and Olympic qualification.

The 2014 Winter Games were devastating for Uhlaender. She came up empty-handed, losing out on a bronze medal by four-hundredths of a second. She’ll admit that she’s still grappling with that loss to this day (the third-place winner remains under investigation for doping allegations, which has left just enough uncertainty to allow the issue to linger for years), but she says the result has served as a powerful motivator.

If she’s healthy, though, watch out. Uhlaender, a competitor in every sense of the word, isn’t about to slow down anytime soon—and she has a podium in sight.

<p>Katie Uhlaender crouches in the left-turn lane of W 58th St. and makes eye contact with the driver next to her. She cracks a smile, motioning toward the intersection to initiate a race. The driver declines the challenge, and Uhlaender sprints past—a red tangle of hair flying down the street.</p><p>It’s an 80-degree afternoon in New York City. Uhlaender, a three-time Olympian in skeleton who has her sights set on PyeongChang 2018, is midway through a recovery week that has conveniently fallen over the July 4 holiday. She’s in town for a job interview, but that won’t keep her from a workout.</p><p>The hotel parking garage was too cramped, though, so Uhlaender and her impromptu cameraman—a friend she made during hip surgery, the ninth operation of her career—find themselves on the sidewalk. It’ll do.</p><p>Uhlaender, who turns 33 on July 17, only travels during recovery weeks these days. It’s a grind now, just seven months away from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.</p><p>Her life has been based out of the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., since the 2016–17 Skeleton World Cup ended in March. There’s structure there, along with food and housing. But with a new $15,000 sled on the horizon, Uhlaender is in town for a job interview at a advertising and production company.</p><p>But that’s not until Thursday. Today is Wednesday, and Uhlaender is just a veteran Olympian who has a very real shot at qualifying for the 2018 Winter Games.</p><p>Uhlaender, the daughter of former MLB player Ted Uhlaender, has segmented her Olympic training into four-week sections this year. She steadily builds for three weeks, then takes the fourth week at a reduced volume. These recovery weeks are often based on “perceived effort,” she says, where the intensity is there but not necessarily strict sets and programs.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m going by feel,” she explains. “My hip was kinda strained after a hard few days so my goal is to get that to go away. I&#39;m just gonna do enough this week. Normally I&#39;d lift, but I&#39;m going to maximize my recovery.&quot;</p><p>This workout begins with a 30-minute warmup of stretching, short sprints and some yoga. Then she takes to the sidewalk (and turning lane) for two sets of strides at sub-maximal effort.</p><p>She challenges a handful of construction workers to races. They decline, including one who is hauling bricks down the sidewalk. Uhlaender is disappointed. She thrives on the competition.</p><p>&quot;Most people are scared to come work out with an Olympian,” she says. “Well, first of all, I&#39;m not a track star. I&#39;m far from it, just ask Lolo [Jones]. But I love running with people that are extremely fast. I&#39;ll run with all the guys, with Lolo, with Lauryn Williams—who crushed me—because there&#39;s something about pushing myself to be the best I can be. Even if I don&#39;t beat them, I feel really good running with them.”</p><p>In lieu of a challenger, Uhlaender decides to have some fun with her workout in the city.</p><p>&quot;I put my headphones on and I start dancing, I start enjoying what I&#39;m doing,” she says. “If I have to listen to music and dance my way through it, I&#39;m doing it. If I talk to random people for motivation, I&#39;m doing it … I guess the best time to do something is when we most don&#39;t want to.”</p><p>She begins the final segment: Six, eight-second hill sprints at maximal effort. She decides to cut it two sets short, saying her form is deteriorating and her hip isn’t feeling all too great. It’s probably a good call, seeing as it’s 3 p.m. and all she’s had today is some coffee.</p><p>Skeleton, for those uninitiated, is a winter sport that features a lone racer going headfirst down an icy track at 80 miles per hour. Women have been competing in the sport at the Olympic level since 2002, and Uhlaender has been in every Games since 2006.</p><p>One of skeleton’s complexities is its running start, which adds a training complexity.</p><p>&quot;You want to be as lean as possible, as fast as possible and as strong as possible—all the things,” Uhlaender says with a laugh. “You want to be fast sprinting, but you have to be strong because you run bent over. It&#39;s like doing a bear crawl at top speed.”</p><p>Uhlaender is aiming to lose 10 pounds by the time the 2017-18 season starts in October. That means dietary changes (she says she’s learned that carbs are no longer the devil) and intense training (brushing her teeth at the end of an average day can feel like “a chore”).</p><p>Because speed and quickness are key for skeleton racers, Uhlaender says she always follows a slow exercise like squats or deadlifts with something quick. She explains that she wants her brain to understand that everything is supposed to be fast and powerful.</p><p>Over the years, Uhlaender has found success in a plethora of sports. She’s branched out to compete at the international level recently in both weightlifting and track cycling. Through those experiences, she has been able to incorporate wide-ranging lessons into her Olympic preparation.</p><p>“Olympic lifting is great for functional strength and movement,” she says. “It&#39;s something that works really well for me. I don&#39;t squat as much anymore because I have a great strength base. I&#39;ve been training for 15 years.”</p><p>Most workouts, however, aren’t like this New York City street adventure. Uhlaender calls herself a perfectionist in her fitness regimen, recording everything and training at a high, consistent level—especially during the three weeks of steady building. It’s all part of a plan to stay healthy on her way toward the 2017-18 season and Olympic qualification.</p><p>The 2014 Winter Games were devastating for Uhlaender. She came up empty-handed, losing out on a bronze medal by four-hundredths of a second. She’ll admit that she’s still grappling with that loss to this day (the third-place winner remains under investigation for doping allegations, which has left just enough uncertainty to allow the issue to linger for years), but she says the result has served as a powerful motivator.</p><p>If she’s healthy, though, watch out. Uhlaender, a competitor in every sense of the word, isn’t about to slow down anytime soon—and she has a podium in sight.</p>
This three-time Olympian is prepping for PyeongChang 2018 with workout on NYC streets

Katie Uhlaender crouches in the left-turn lane of W 58th St. and makes eye contact with the driver next to her. She cracks a smile, motioning toward the intersection to initiate a race. The driver declines the challenge, and Uhlaender sprints past—a red tangle of hair flying down the street.

It’s an 80-degree afternoon in New York City. Uhlaender, a three-time Olympian in skeleton who has her sights set on PyeongChang 2018, is midway through a recovery week that has conveniently fallen over the July 4 holiday. She’s in town for a job interview, but that won’t keep her from a workout.

The hotel parking garage was too cramped, though, so Uhlaender and her impromptu cameraman—a friend she made during hip surgery, the ninth operation of her career—find themselves on the sidewalk. It’ll do.

Uhlaender, who turns 33 on July 17, only travels during recovery weeks these days. It’s a grind now, just seven months away from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Her life has been based out of the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., since the 2016–17 Skeleton World Cup ended in March. There’s structure there, along with food and housing. But with a new $15,000 sled on the horizon, Uhlaender is in town for a job interview at a advertising and production company.

But that’s not until Thursday. Today is Wednesday, and Uhlaender is just a veteran Olympian who has a very real shot at qualifying for the 2018 Winter Games.

Uhlaender, the daughter of former MLB player Ted Uhlaender, has segmented her Olympic training into four-week sections this year. She steadily builds for three weeks, then takes the fourth week at a reduced volume. These recovery weeks are often based on “perceived effort,” she says, where the intensity is there but not necessarily strict sets and programs.

"I'm going by feel,” she explains. “My hip was kinda strained after a hard few days so my goal is to get that to go away. I'm just gonna do enough this week. Normally I'd lift, but I'm going to maximize my recovery."

This workout begins with a 30-minute warmup of stretching, short sprints and some yoga. Then she takes to the sidewalk (and turning lane) for two sets of strides at sub-maximal effort.

She challenges a handful of construction workers to races. They decline, including one who is hauling bricks down the sidewalk. Uhlaender is disappointed. She thrives on the competition.

"Most people are scared to come work out with an Olympian,” she says. “Well, first of all, I'm not a track star. I'm far from it, just ask Lolo [Jones]. But I love running with people that are extremely fast. I'll run with all the guys, with Lolo, with Lauryn Williams—who crushed me—because there's something about pushing myself to be the best I can be. Even if I don't beat them, I feel really good running with them.”

In lieu of a challenger, Uhlaender decides to have some fun with her workout in the city.

"I put my headphones on and I start dancing, I start enjoying what I'm doing,” she says. “If I have to listen to music and dance my way through it, I'm doing it. If I talk to random people for motivation, I'm doing it … I guess the best time to do something is when we most don't want to.”

She begins the final segment: Six, eight-second hill sprints at maximal effort. She decides to cut it two sets short, saying her form is deteriorating and her hip isn’t feeling all too great. It’s probably a good call, seeing as it’s 3 p.m. and all she’s had today is some coffee.

Skeleton, for those uninitiated, is a winter sport that features a lone racer going headfirst down an icy track at 80 miles per hour. Women have been competing in the sport at the Olympic level since 2002, and Uhlaender has been in every Games since 2006.

One of skeleton’s complexities is its running start, which adds a training complexity.

"You want to be as lean as possible, as fast as possible and as strong as possible—all the things,” Uhlaender says with a laugh. “You want to be fast sprinting, but you have to be strong because you run bent over. It's like doing a bear crawl at top speed.”

Uhlaender is aiming to lose 10 pounds by the time the 2017-18 season starts in October. That means dietary changes (she says she’s learned that carbs are no longer the devil) and intense training (brushing her teeth at the end of an average day can feel like “a chore”).

Because speed and quickness are key for skeleton racers, Uhlaender says she always follows a slow exercise like squats or deadlifts with something quick. She explains that she wants her brain to understand that everything is supposed to be fast and powerful.

Over the years, Uhlaender has found success in a plethora of sports. She’s branched out to compete at the international level recently in both weightlifting and track cycling. Through those experiences, she has been able to incorporate wide-ranging lessons into her Olympic preparation.

“Olympic lifting is great for functional strength and movement,” she says. “It's something that works really well for me. I don't squat as much anymore because I have a great strength base. I've been training for 15 years.”

Most workouts, however, aren’t like this New York City street adventure. Uhlaender calls herself a perfectionist in her fitness regimen, recording everything and training at a high, consistent level—especially during the three weeks of steady building. It’s all part of a plan to stay healthy on her way toward the 2017-18 season and Olympic qualification.

The 2014 Winter Games were devastating for Uhlaender. She came up empty-handed, losing out on a bronze medal by four-hundredths of a second. She’ll admit that she’s still grappling with that loss to this day (the third-place winner remains under investigation for doping allegations, which has left just enough uncertainty to allow the issue to linger for years), but she says the result has served as a powerful motivator.

If she’s healthy, though, watch out. Uhlaender, a competitor in every sense of the word, isn’t about to slow down anytime soon—and she has a podium in sight.

<p>MacKenzie Gore thought he could be great, but he did not know for sure. There was considerable hype surrounding the lefthander in tiny Whiteville, N.C., but Gore hadn’t spent much time facing the country’s top competition. He had delayed the start of serious travel ball by a year to stay in the legion league with his friends. He rarely got a look at a radar gun. To manage his workload, he didn’t pick up a baseball for months during the off-season and as a result, he’d thrown hundreds, if not thousands, of fewer pitches than most top players his age.</p><p>So the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic, held last summer at San Diego’s Petco Park, offered him a chance to find out how close he was to his goal of being the best amateur player in the country. In the fifth inning the Whiteville High rising senior took the mound, poised to mow down a collection of top hitting prospects. He went into his pretzel-like windup, right knee to his left armpit, right toes nearly in line with his hands . . . and then labored through a 39?pitch frame, surrendering two walks and a couple of runs.</p><p><em>Man</em>, he realized as he trudged to the dugout. <em>I’m not even the best player on the field today.</em></p><p>Gore had always been diligent, never missing a workout and practicing his delivery in his bedroom mirror each night. His coaches encouraged him to first learn finesse and control, promising he would add velocity as he matured. After the Petco outing Gore decided to accelerate the process. So—cue the <em>Rocky</em> montage—he added a daily weightlifting session, focusing on his lower body, and packed an extra 15 pounds onto his then 6&#39; 1&quot;, 170-pound frame. He refined his delivery. He grew an inch.</p><p>Today he is the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year, the <em>Baseball America</em> high school player of the year and the No. 3 pick in the 2017 MLB draft. He’s collected so many awards that he’s started sharing them with his teammates. Though he asked to be excluded from consideration for a third state championship MVP in four years, Gore earned the plaque, posed with it, then handed it to the freshman who’d delivered the title-winning hit.</p><p>His statistics this season approached perfection: Gore allowed just two earned runs (in 74 1?3 innings) for an ERA of 0.19, whiffed hitters at a rate of 14.89 per seven innings and had as many walks (five) as complete games. Says Whiteville High coach Brett Harwood, “He’d strike out 13 and we’d say, Aw, he didn’t have his best stuff today.”</p><p>Gore also played first base and the outfield well enough, scouts say, to have gone in the third or fourth round as a position player. He once hit a ball so hard that the opposing rightfielder, without taking a step, turned and waved goodbye as it sailed over the fence.</p><p>But Gore’s future is on the mound. His fastball sits between 92 and 95 mph; it has touched 97. He also mixes in a curve, slider, and changeup. Last month the Padres signed him for $6.7 million, the largest bonus in franchise history. San Diego will start recouping its money before Gore ever throws a pitch for the Padres: Whiteville’s two sporting goods stores immediately placed orders for Padres gear to display alongside their Braves merchandise.</p><p>* * *</p><p>Thirty years ago tobacco plants seemed to stretch from downtown Whiteville (pop. 5,601) to the horizon. But as the industry declined, the town did, too; farmers struggled to make do with corn, soybeans and sweet potatoes, while their children left for nearby Wilmington or Raleigh. Civic pride is especially meaningful in a place like this, where nearly everyone knows MacKenzie Gore from church or from seeing him stocking shelves at McNeill’s Pharmacy.</p><p>The town ground to a halt this spring whenever Gore took the mound. Harwood fielded so many questions about scheduling that he finally declared that Gore would just pitch every Tuesday. The local youth leagues cancelled their games the day of his last home start, and school let out at 11:30 a.m. on the opener of the state tournament—the baseball and softball teams both qualified—so fans could beat the traffic on the drive to Raleigh. An enterprising burglar could have made a fortune by checking the playoff schedule; Gore’s postseason starts drew nearly 20% of the town.</p><p>Pint-sized Whiteville pitchers with exaggerated leg kicks are on the rise. Even Gore’s mother, Selena, uses MacKenzie as a model, telling her fifth-grade students, “You have to do your homework before you play. MacKenzie does his.” Gore signed autographs after outings for clusters of wide-eyed local elementary-schoolers—and then, at road playoff games, for kids in opposing team colors.</p><p>It would be tempting to say that he sees himself in them, but when he was their age, MacKenzie couldn’t have been less interested in baseball. T-ball had bored him in preschool, and at age eight he insisted he wanted to play soccer. <em>All your friends are playing baseball this year</em>, his parents cajoled. <em>You’re going to be lonely. If you hate it, you can quit</em>.</p><p><em>Fine</em>, MacKenzie agreed. <em>I’ll play if I can quit</em>. That was the last time they heard that word. Selena and her husband, Evan, knew their boy had found a home on the mound, at 11. He threw a strike—and stopped to clap for himself.</p><p>Since then the applause has come from others. Even in the community <em>Sport</em> magazine dubbed Baseball Town USA in the 1980s amid a string of state championships and first-round draft picks, no one had seen anything like the commotion surrounding Gore. He worked in obscurity early in high school because he had eschewed the showcase circuit, but after he no-hit the top seed in the playoffs as a freshman, the seats behind home plate began to fill with college coaches. He met with UNC, Clemson and Virginia, but signed with East Carolina the summer after his sophomore year.</p><p>The circus got bigger as scouts began paying attention before teams with later picks realized they were wasting their time. The Gores’ home phone rang nonstop. In an attempt to keep dinnertime sacred for MacKenzie and his sisters, Meredith and Lexie, the family relocated the traditional home visits to Harwood’s office during MacKenzie’s lunch period.</p><p>To outsiders Gore’s unruffled demeanor was surprising: He was a rock star, the unquestioned leader of a team on which he was not only the best player but also the only senior, and a young man whose future rested on his ability to perform at his peak while a hundred adults studied him for flaws. Yet his main concern was that if he missed his midnight curfew, he would lose car privileges. “Part of what makes him great,” says Hammond, “is handling the mental part.”</p><p>East Carolina coach Cliff Godwin, in a phrase borrowed from Bill Belichick, tells his players to “ignore the noise.” No one heeded that more than Gore. (After yet another 97?mph heater, the coach would text Gore: “MacKenzie, you need to back off that a little bit if you’re going to come to East Carolina!”) Godwin checked in regularly about Gore’s outings and the scouting attention and was unsurprised when, after a mock draft placed the lefty in the top 10, Gore shrugged. “They’re not the ones picking,” he said of the analysts.</p><p>When the Wolfpack lost in the Class 1A finals his junior year, Gore blamed himself for the team not having the right mix of calm and intensity and vowed to remember that his teammates were studying him for cues. Early in his senior season, while Hammond’s heart raced as his ace warmed up in front of scouts, Gore just grinned. “This is fun,” he said.</p><p>That attitude has already helped him adapt to life in Phoenix, where he joined his rookie-level team. Aside from the new coaches and more advanced hitters, Gore will also have to adjust to the relative anonymity of minor league life. If he ever misses being a celebrity, he can check in with the citizens of Whiteville. “They’ll probably give him the key to the city soon,” says Godwin. “If he has the career we expect, they’ll probably name the town after him.”</p><p>Gore’s goal is simpler. Next time he takes the mound at Petco Park, he wants to pitch well enough to make that last inning a distant memory.</p>
Gatorade Athlete of the Year MacKenzie Gore enjoyed a baseball season of near perfection

MacKenzie Gore thought he could be great, but he did not know for sure. There was considerable hype surrounding the lefthander in tiny Whiteville, N.C., but Gore hadn’t spent much time facing the country’s top competition. He had delayed the start of serious travel ball by a year to stay in the legion league with his friends. He rarely got a look at a radar gun. To manage his workload, he didn’t pick up a baseball for months during the off-season and as a result, he’d thrown hundreds, if not thousands, of fewer pitches than most top players his age.

So the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic, held last summer at San Diego’s Petco Park, offered him a chance to find out how close he was to his goal of being the best amateur player in the country. In the fifth inning the Whiteville High rising senior took the mound, poised to mow down a collection of top hitting prospects. He went into his pretzel-like windup, right knee to his left armpit, right toes nearly in line with his hands . . . and then labored through a 39?pitch frame, surrendering two walks and a couple of runs.

Man, he realized as he trudged to the dugout. I’m not even the best player on the field today.

Gore had always been diligent, never missing a workout and practicing his delivery in his bedroom mirror each night. His coaches encouraged him to first learn finesse and control, promising he would add velocity as he matured. After the Petco outing Gore decided to accelerate the process. So—cue the Rocky montage—he added a daily weightlifting session, focusing on his lower body, and packed an extra 15 pounds onto his then 6' 1", 170-pound frame. He refined his delivery. He grew an inch.

Today he is the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year, the Baseball America high school player of the year and the No. 3 pick in the 2017 MLB draft. He’s collected so many awards that he’s started sharing them with his teammates. Though he asked to be excluded from consideration for a third state championship MVP in four years, Gore earned the plaque, posed with it, then handed it to the freshman who’d delivered the title-winning hit.

His statistics this season approached perfection: Gore allowed just two earned runs (in 74 1?3 innings) for an ERA of 0.19, whiffed hitters at a rate of 14.89 per seven innings and had as many walks (five) as complete games. Says Whiteville High coach Brett Harwood, “He’d strike out 13 and we’d say, Aw, he didn’t have his best stuff today.”

Gore also played first base and the outfield well enough, scouts say, to have gone in the third or fourth round as a position player. He once hit a ball so hard that the opposing rightfielder, without taking a step, turned and waved goodbye as it sailed over the fence.

But Gore’s future is on the mound. His fastball sits between 92 and 95 mph; it has touched 97. He also mixes in a curve, slider, and changeup. Last month the Padres signed him for $6.7 million, the largest bonus in franchise history. San Diego will start recouping its money before Gore ever throws a pitch for the Padres: Whiteville’s two sporting goods stores immediately placed orders for Padres gear to display alongside their Braves merchandise.

* * *

Thirty years ago tobacco plants seemed to stretch from downtown Whiteville (pop. 5,601) to the horizon. But as the industry declined, the town did, too; farmers struggled to make do with corn, soybeans and sweet potatoes, while their children left for nearby Wilmington or Raleigh. Civic pride is especially meaningful in a place like this, where nearly everyone knows MacKenzie Gore from church or from seeing him stocking shelves at McNeill’s Pharmacy.

The town ground to a halt this spring whenever Gore took the mound. Harwood fielded so many questions about scheduling that he finally declared that Gore would just pitch every Tuesday. The local youth leagues cancelled their games the day of his last home start, and school let out at 11:30 a.m. on the opener of the state tournament—the baseball and softball teams both qualified—so fans could beat the traffic on the drive to Raleigh. An enterprising burglar could have made a fortune by checking the playoff schedule; Gore’s postseason starts drew nearly 20% of the town.

Pint-sized Whiteville pitchers with exaggerated leg kicks are on the rise. Even Gore’s mother, Selena, uses MacKenzie as a model, telling her fifth-grade students, “You have to do your homework before you play. MacKenzie does his.” Gore signed autographs after outings for clusters of wide-eyed local elementary-schoolers—and then, at road playoff games, for kids in opposing team colors.

It would be tempting to say that he sees himself in them, but when he was their age, MacKenzie couldn’t have been less interested in baseball. T-ball had bored him in preschool, and at age eight he insisted he wanted to play soccer. All your friends are playing baseball this year, his parents cajoled. You’re going to be lonely. If you hate it, you can quit.

Fine, MacKenzie agreed. I’ll play if I can quit. That was the last time they heard that word. Selena and her husband, Evan, knew their boy had found a home on the mound, at 11. He threw a strike—and stopped to clap for himself.

Since then the applause has come from others. Even in the community Sport magazine dubbed Baseball Town USA in the 1980s amid a string of state championships and first-round draft picks, no one had seen anything like the commotion surrounding Gore. He worked in obscurity early in high school because he had eschewed the showcase circuit, but after he no-hit the top seed in the playoffs as a freshman, the seats behind home plate began to fill with college coaches. He met with UNC, Clemson and Virginia, but signed with East Carolina the summer after his sophomore year.

The circus got bigger as scouts began paying attention before teams with later picks realized they were wasting their time. The Gores’ home phone rang nonstop. In an attempt to keep dinnertime sacred for MacKenzie and his sisters, Meredith and Lexie, the family relocated the traditional home visits to Harwood’s office during MacKenzie’s lunch period.

To outsiders Gore’s unruffled demeanor was surprising: He was a rock star, the unquestioned leader of a team on which he was not only the best player but also the only senior, and a young man whose future rested on his ability to perform at his peak while a hundred adults studied him for flaws. Yet his main concern was that if he missed his midnight curfew, he would lose car privileges. “Part of what makes him great,” says Hammond, “is handling the mental part.”

East Carolina coach Cliff Godwin, in a phrase borrowed from Bill Belichick, tells his players to “ignore the noise.” No one heeded that more than Gore. (After yet another 97?mph heater, the coach would text Gore: “MacKenzie, you need to back off that a little bit if you’re going to come to East Carolina!”) Godwin checked in regularly about Gore’s outings and the scouting attention and was unsurprised when, after a mock draft placed the lefty in the top 10, Gore shrugged. “They’re not the ones picking,” he said of the analysts.

When the Wolfpack lost in the Class 1A finals his junior year, Gore blamed himself for the team not having the right mix of calm and intensity and vowed to remember that his teammates were studying him for cues. Early in his senior season, while Hammond’s heart raced as his ace warmed up in front of scouts, Gore just grinned. “This is fun,” he said.

That attitude has already helped him adapt to life in Phoenix, where he joined his rookie-level team. Aside from the new coaches and more advanced hitters, Gore will also have to adjust to the relative anonymity of minor league life. If he ever misses being a celebrity, he can check in with the citizens of Whiteville. “They’ll probably give him the key to the city soon,” says Godwin. “If he has the career we expect, they’ll probably name the town after him.”

Gore’s goal is simpler. Next time he takes the mound at Petco Park, he wants to pitch well enough to make that last inning a distant memory.

<p>MacKenzie Gore thought he could be great, but he did not know for sure. There was considerable hype surrounding the lefthander in tiny Whiteville, N.C., but Gore hadn’t spent much time facing the country’s top competition. He had delayed the start of serious travel ball by a year to stay in the legion league with his friends. He rarely got a look at a radar gun. To manage his workload, he didn’t pick up a baseball for months during the off-season and as a result, he’d thrown hundreds, if not thousands, of fewer pitches than most top players his age.</p><p>So the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic, held last summer at San Diego’s Petco Park, offered him a chance to find out how close he was to his goal of being the best amateur player in the country. In the fifth inning the Whiteville High rising senior took the mound, poised to mow down a collection of top hitting prospects. He went into his pretzel-like windup, right knee to his left armpit, right toes nearly in line with his hands . . . and then labored through a 39?pitch frame, surrendering two walks and a couple of runs.</p><p><em>Man</em>, he realized as he trudged to the dugout. <em>I’m not even the best player on the field today.</em></p><p>Gore had always been diligent, never missing a workout and practicing his delivery in his bedroom mirror each night. His coaches encouraged him to first learn finesse and control, promising he would add velocity as he matured. After the Petco outing Gore decided to accelerate the process. So—cue the <em>Rocky</em> montage—he added a daily weightlifting session, focusing on his lower body, and packed an extra 15 pounds onto his then 6&#39; 1&quot;, 170-pound frame. He refined his delivery. He grew an inch.</p><p>Today he is the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year, the <em>Baseball America</em> high school player of the year and the No. 3 pick in the 2017 MLB draft. He’s collected so many awards that he’s started sharing them with his teammates. Though he asked to be excluded from consideration for a third state championship MVP in four years, Gore earned the plaque, posed with it, then handed it to the freshman who’d delivered the title-winning hit.</p><p>His statistics this season approached perfection: Gore allowed just two earned runs (in 74 1?3 innings) for an ERA of 0.19, whiffed hitters at a rate of 14.89 per seven innings and had as many walks (five) as complete games. Says Whiteville High coach Brett Harwood, “He’d strike out 13 and we’d say, Aw, he didn’t have his best stuff today.”</p><p>Gore also played first base and the outfield well enough, scouts say, to have gone in the third or fourth round as a position player. He once hit a ball so hard that the opposing rightfielder, without taking a step, turned and waved goodbye as it sailed over the fence.</p><p>But Gore’s future is on the mound. His fastball sits between 92 and 95 mph; it has touched 97. He also mixes in a curve, slider, and changeup. Last month the Padres signed him for $6.7 million, the largest bonus in franchise history. San Diego will start recouping its money before Gore ever throws a pitch for the Padres: Whiteville’s two sporting goods stores immediately placed orders for Padres gear to display alongside their Braves merchandise.</p><p>* * *</p><p>Thirty years ago tobacco plants seemed to stretch from downtown Whiteville (pop. 5,601) to the horizon. But as the industry declined, the town did, too; farmers struggled to make do with corn, soybeans and sweet potatoes, while their children left for nearby Wilmington or Raleigh. Civic pride is especially meaningful in a place like this, where nearly everyone knows MacKenzie Gore from church or from seeing him stocking shelves at McNeill’s Pharmacy.</p><p>The town ground to a halt this spring whenever Gore took the mound. Harwood fielded so many questions about scheduling that he finally declared that Gore would just pitch every Tuesday. The local youth leagues cancelled their games the day of his last home start, and school let out at 11:30 a.m. on the opener of the state tournament—the baseball and softball teams both qualified—so fans could beat the traffic on the drive to Raleigh. An enterprising burglar could have made a fortune by checking the playoff schedule; Gore’s postseason starts drew nearly 20% of the town.</p><p>Pint-sized Whiteville pitchers with exaggerated leg kicks are on the rise. Even Gore’s mother, Selena, uses MacKenzie as a model, telling her fifth-grade students, “You have to do your homework before you play. MacKenzie does his.” Gore signed autographs after outings for clusters of wide-eyed local elementary-schoolers—and then, at road playoff games, for kids in opposing team colors.</p><p>It would be tempting to say that he sees himself in them, but when he was their age, MacKenzie couldn’t have been less interested in baseball. T-ball had bored him in preschool, and at age eight he insisted he wanted to play soccer. <em>All your friends are playing baseball this year</em>, his parents cajoled. <em>You’re going to be lonely. If you hate it, you can quit</em>.</p><p><em>Fine</em>, MacKenzie agreed. <em>I’ll play if I can quit</em>. That was the last time they heard that word. Selena and her husband, Evan, knew their boy had found a home on the mound, at 11. He threw a strike—and stopped to clap for himself.</p><p>Since then the applause has come from others. Even in the community <em>Sport</em> magazine dubbed Baseball Town USA in the 1980s amid a string of state championships and first-round draft picks, no one had seen anything like the commotion surrounding Gore. He worked in obscurity early in high school because he had eschewed the showcase circuit, but after he no-hit the top seed in the playoffs as a freshman, the seats behind home plate began to fill with college coaches. He met with UNC, Clemson and Virginia, but signed with East Carolina the summer after his sophomore year.</p><p>The circus got bigger as scouts began paying attention before teams with later picks realized they were wasting their time. The Gores’ home phone rang nonstop. In an attempt to keep dinnertime sacred for MacKenzie and his sisters, Meredith and Lexie, the family relocated the traditional home visits to Harwood’s office during MacKenzie’s lunch period.</p><p>To outsiders Gore’s unruffled demeanor was surprising: He was a rock star, the unquestioned leader of a team on which he was not only the best player but also the only senior, and a young man whose future rested on his ability to perform at his peak while a hundred adults studied him for flaws. Yet his main concern was that if he missed his midnight curfew, he would lose car privileges. “Part of what makes him great,” says Hammond, “is handling the mental part.”</p><p>East Carolina coach Cliff Godwin, in a phrase borrowed from Bill Belichick, tells his players to “ignore the noise.” No one heeded that more than Gore. (After yet another 97?mph heater, the coach would text Gore: “MacKenzie, you need to back off that a little bit if you’re going to come to East Carolina!”) Godwin checked in regularly about Gore’s outings and the scouting attention and was unsurprised when, after a mock draft placed the lefty in the top 10, Gore shrugged. “They’re not the ones picking,” he said of the analysts.</p><p>When the Wolfpack lost in the Class 1A finals his junior year, Gore blamed himself for the team not having the right mix of calm and intensity and vowed to remember that his teammates were studying him for cues. Early in his senior season, while Hammond’s heart raced as his ace warmed up in front of scouts, Gore just grinned. “This is fun,” he said.</p><p>That attitude has already helped him adapt to life in Phoenix, where he joined his rookie-level team. Aside from the new coaches and more advanced hitters, Gore will also have to adjust to the relative anonymity of minor league life. If he ever misses being a celebrity, he can check in with the citizens of Whiteville. “They’ll probably give him the key to the city soon,” says Godwin. “If he has the career we expect, they’ll probably name the town after him.”</p><p>Gore’s goal is simpler. Next time he takes the mound at Petco Park, he wants to pitch well enough to make that last inning a distant memory.</p>
Gatorade Athlete of the Year MacKenzie Gore enjoyed a baseball season of near perfection

MacKenzie Gore thought he could be great, but he did not know for sure. There was considerable hype surrounding the lefthander in tiny Whiteville, N.C., but Gore hadn’t spent much time facing the country’s top competition. He had delayed the start of serious travel ball by a year to stay in the legion league with his friends. He rarely got a look at a radar gun. To manage his workload, he didn’t pick up a baseball for months during the off-season and as a result, he’d thrown hundreds, if not thousands, of fewer pitches than most top players his age.

So the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic, held last summer at San Diego’s Petco Park, offered him a chance to find out how close he was to his goal of being the best amateur player in the country. In the fifth inning the Whiteville High rising senior took the mound, poised to mow down a collection of top hitting prospects. He went into his pretzel-like windup, right knee to his left armpit, right toes nearly in line with his hands . . . and then labored through a 39?pitch frame, surrendering two walks and a couple of runs.

Man, he realized as he trudged to the dugout. I’m not even the best player on the field today.

Gore had always been diligent, never missing a workout and practicing his delivery in his bedroom mirror each night. His coaches encouraged him to first learn finesse and control, promising he would add velocity as he matured. After the Petco outing Gore decided to accelerate the process. So—cue the Rocky montage—he added a daily weightlifting session, focusing on his lower body, and packed an extra 15 pounds onto his then 6' 1", 170-pound frame. He refined his delivery. He grew an inch.

Today he is the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year, the Baseball America high school player of the year and the No. 3 pick in the 2017 MLB draft. He’s collected so many awards that he’s started sharing them with his teammates. Though he asked to be excluded from consideration for a third state championship MVP in four years, Gore earned the plaque, posed with it, then handed it to the freshman who’d delivered the title-winning hit.

His statistics this season approached perfection: Gore allowed just two earned runs (in 74 1?3 innings) for an ERA of 0.19, whiffed hitters at a rate of 14.89 per seven innings and had as many walks (five) as complete games. Says Whiteville High coach Brett Harwood, “He’d strike out 13 and we’d say, Aw, he didn’t have his best stuff today.”

Gore also played first base and the outfield well enough, scouts say, to have gone in the third or fourth round as a position player. He once hit a ball so hard that the opposing rightfielder, without taking a step, turned and waved goodbye as it sailed over the fence.

But Gore’s future is on the mound. His fastball sits between 92 and 95 mph; it has touched 97. He also mixes in a curve, slider, and changeup. Last month the Padres signed him for $6.7 million, the largest bonus in franchise history. San Diego will start recouping its money before Gore ever throws a pitch for the Padres: Whiteville’s two sporting goods stores immediately placed orders for Padres gear to display alongside their Braves merchandise.

* * *

Thirty years ago tobacco plants seemed to stretch from downtown Whiteville (pop. 5,601) to the horizon. But as the industry declined, the town did, too; farmers struggled to make do with corn, soybeans and sweet potatoes, while their children left for nearby Wilmington or Raleigh. Civic pride is especially meaningful in a place like this, where nearly everyone knows MacKenzie Gore from church or from seeing him stocking shelves at McNeill’s Pharmacy.

The town ground to a halt this spring whenever Gore took the mound. Harwood fielded so many questions about scheduling that he finally declared that Gore would just pitch every Tuesday. The local youth leagues cancelled their games the day of his last home start, and school let out at 11:30 a.m. on the opener of the state tournament—the baseball and softball teams both qualified—so fans could beat the traffic on the drive to Raleigh. An enterprising burglar could have made a fortune by checking the playoff schedule; Gore’s postseason starts drew nearly 20% of the town.

Pint-sized Whiteville pitchers with exaggerated leg kicks are on the rise. Even Gore’s mother, Selena, uses MacKenzie as a model, telling her fifth-grade students, “You have to do your homework before you play. MacKenzie does his.” Gore signed autographs after outings for clusters of wide-eyed local elementary-schoolers—and then, at road playoff games, for kids in opposing team colors.

It would be tempting to say that he sees himself in them, but when he was their age, MacKenzie couldn’t have been less interested in baseball. T-ball had bored him in preschool, and at age eight he insisted he wanted to play soccer. All your friends are playing baseball this year, his parents cajoled. You’re going to be lonely. If you hate it, you can quit.

Fine, MacKenzie agreed. I’ll play if I can quit. That was the last time they heard that word. Selena and her husband, Evan, knew their boy had found a home on the mound, at 11. He threw a strike—and stopped to clap for himself.

Since then the applause has come from others. Even in the community Sport magazine dubbed Baseball Town USA in the 1980s amid a string of state championships and first-round draft picks, no one had seen anything like the commotion surrounding Gore. He worked in obscurity early in high school because he had eschewed the showcase circuit, but after he no-hit the top seed in the playoffs as a freshman, the seats behind home plate began to fill with college coaches. He met with UNC, Clemson and Virginia, but signed with East Carolina the summer after his sophomore year.

The circus got bigger as scouts began paying attention before teams with later picks realized they were wasting their time. The Gores’ home phone rang nonstop. In an attempt to keep dinnertime sacred for MacKenzie and his sisters, Meredith and Lexie, the family relocated the traditional home visits to Harwood’s office during MacKenzie’s lunch period.

To outsiders Gore’s unruffled demeanor was surprising: He was a rock star, the unquestioned leader of a team on which he was not only the best player but also the only senior, and a young man whose future rested on his ability to perform at his peak while a hundred adults studied him for flaws. Yet his main concern was that if he missed his midnight curfew, he would lose car privileges. “Part of what makes him great,” says Hammond, “is handling the mental part.”

East Carolina coach Cliff Godwin, in a phrase borrowed from Bill Belichick, tells his players to “ignore the noise.” No one heeded that more than Gore. (After yet another 97?mph heater, the coach would text Gore: “MacKenzie, you need to back off that a little bit if you’re going to come to East Carolina!”) Godwin checked in regularly about Gore’s outings and the scouting attention and was unsurprised when, after a mock draft placed the lefty in the top 10, Gore shrugged. “They’re not the ones picking,” he said of the analysts.

When the Wolfpack lost in the Class 1A finals his junior year, Gore blamed himself for the team not having the right mix of calm and intensity and vowed to remember that his teammates were studying him for cues. Early in his senior season, while Hammond’s heart raced as his ace warmed up in front of scouts, Gore just grinned. “This is fun,” he said.

That attitude has already helped him adapt to life in Phoenix, where he joined his rookie-level team. Aside from the new coaches and more advanced hitters, Gore will also have to adjust to the relative anonymity of minor league life. If he ever misses being a celebrity, he can check in with the citizens of Whiteville. “They’ll probably give him the key to the city soon,” says Godwin. “If he has the career we expect, they’ll probably name the town after him.”

Gore’s goal is simpler. Next time he takes the mound at Petco Park, he wants to pitch well enough to make that last inning a distant memory.

<p>Jon Gruden&#39;s 23-year-old son Deuce won a gold medal at the IPF World Classic Powerlifing Championships in Belarus, according to Neeta Sreekanth of ESPN.com.</p><p>Deuce Gruden serves as a strength and conditioning assistant for the Washington Redskins. He previously played football at Lafayette College, where he reportedly owned every weightlifting record at the school.</p><p>At the USA Powerlifting Raw Nationals, Gruden bench-pressed 402 pounds and dead-lifted 633 pounds.</p><p>“I took pride in trying to be as strong as I could,&quot; the elder Jon Gruden <a href="http://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp-gruden-powerlifting-20170615-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:told" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">told</a> the <em>L.A. Times</em>. &quot;I never got anywhere in the same zip code as this guy. His mother is a physical-fitness freak. Weightlifting to Deuce is like football to me.”</p>
Jon Gruden's son wins gold at IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships

Jon Gruden's 23-year-old son Deuce won a gold medal at the IPF World Classic Powerlifing Championships in Belarus, according to Neeta Sreekanth of ESPN.com.

Deuce Gruden serves as a strength and conditioning assistant for the Washington Redskins. He previously played football at Lafayette College, where he reportedly owned every weightlifting record at the school.

At the USA Powerlifting Raw Nationals, Gruden bench-pressed 402 pounds and dead-lifted 633 pounds.

“I took pride in trying to be as strong as I could," the elder Jon Gruden told the L.A. Times. "I never got anywhere in the same zip code as this guy. His mother is a physical-fitness freak. Weightlifting to Deuce is like football to me.”

FILE PHOTO - International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President Tamas Ajan of Hungary speaks during a news conference at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 15, 2008. REUTERS/Yves Herman (CHINA)
International Weightlifting Federation President Tamas Ajan of Hungary speaks during a news conference at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
FILE PHOTO - International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President Tamas Ajan of Hungary speaks during a news conference at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 15, 2008. REUTERS/Yves Herman (CHINA)

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