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USA's Joe Kovacs Explains Why His 2016 Silver Medal is ‘Really Scratched Up'
08/05/2021 11:14am

Joe Kovacs made a huge mistake after winning his first Olympic medal, a silver in mens shot put in 2016.After earning the medal, Kovacs was given a wooden case to store it for safekeeping. The wood, apparently, rubbed against the medal when the case opened and left the medal with scratches all over.My silver medal from Rio looks pretty terrible, Kovacs said. So, Im glad I have another one to show because that one got really scratched up in the box.The 32-year-old Kovacs claimed a second career silver in the shot put in Tokyo, and he knows where he wont put it when he arrives back home. Kovacs isnt going to let that medal out of sight, even on the flight back.Im going to keep it around my neck the whole way home to keep it protected.

His Dad's Love Brought Jordan Windle From a Cambodian Orphanage to the Olympics
08/05/2021 11:12am

People told Jerry Windle he would never be a dad.Now hes watching his son, Jordan, compete in the Olympics.There was such homophobia and bigotry around the concept of a gay person being a parent, Jerry Windle told TODAYs Hoda Kotb. Even folks who loved me said, you cant be a dad if youre going to be gay.He proved them wrong.One day, he recalls, I started thumbing through a magazine and there was a story in there of a man who adopted a child from Cambodia, and it didnt mention a mother.The story went on to talk about the close relationship between the father and his son, and something kind of clicked in my head The article listed the number of an adoption service and so I called the number and I said I just read an article, is it possible for a single person to adopt a child and they said Yes, it is.Months later, he held a very sick little boy in his arms at a Cambodian orphanage. Malnourished and fighting infection, Jordan was struggling to stay alive. It was love at first sight.He was 2 years old but he was 16 pounds. I didnt know if he would live or die, Jerry said. I promised him that I would do everything that I could, that he wouldnt ever have to suffer again. I would make every sacrifice I could as a parent to get him every opportunity.Jordan Windle isrepresenting the United Stateson the U.S. Olympic Diving Team after placing second at the Olympic trials. While his father wont be there to see him competedue to COVID restrictions on spectators, Jordan said hes super excited.I can usually hear my dad out of everyone in the audience, which is awesome. Not having him at the Olympics will be different, said Jordan. I wish he was there, but that doesnt really change what Im going there to do: To have fun, show off a little bit, and put on a show for everyone. Thats going to be my intention and Im hopefully going to make him proud.Jordans journey to the Olympics began at an early age. When he was just 7 years old, a man named Tim OBrien told Jerry that his son reminded him of the legendary diver Greg Louganis. OBriens father, Dr. Ron OBrien, had been Louganiss Olympic coach, and coached Team USA over the course of eight Olympic Games.He said that he just saw something in Jordan, and it was kind of physiological but also inexplicable, and so Jordan said he wanted to go into diving lessons and I said OK, if its something you want to do, lets do it, Jerry said. And so at 7 years old he started diving, and he won his first junior national championship two years later, which is almost unprecedented for somebody that just got into a sport.I know the hard work that hes put into it, its been earned, and Im just really excited and proud that with his coaching staff, hes been able to accomplish such an amazing feat, said Jerry.At 16, Jordan returned to Cambodia to compete in a diving exhibition that was meant to inspire young children in the country. Jerry said that the pair received a massive greeting when they landed at the airport.There was a sea of media We didnt expect it, we didnt know how much the people of Cambodia knew Jordan, and they knew him because of the internet Hes kind of a national hero in Cambodia, Jerry said. We got off the airplane and I started looking all over the place, thinking Angelina Jolie had just arrived or something. We really thought either the king of Cambodia or Angelina Jolie was here, someone big.And then they started yelling out his Cambodian name, Pisey, and we were like Holy smokes, Jordan, this is for you, Jerry recalled.Jordan said that the trip was awesome and he felt right at home while visiting.I went there to put on an exhibition for orphans and school kids that havent really had the opportunity to grow, and it was extraordinary, Jordan said. Being able to speak to them, through a translator, and share where I came from in my life and how I was able to actually become who I am today because of my dad was awesome.Jordan Windle competes in the mens 10m platform final during the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials at Indiana University Natatorium on June 12, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty ImagesHe said something to the crowd that was non-scripted but it just really hit me in my heart, Jerry said, noting that he was paraphrasing Jordans speech. He said You know I am just like you, Im a child of Cambodia, and he went on to say that the only difference between him and them was that he was given an opportunity. And then he looked at the government officials of Cambodia and he said I hope you give all these children the opportunity that my dad gave me.Now, six years later, Jordan will compete for the United States at the Olympics and in his heart, hell also be representing Cambodia. He recently got the Cambodian flag tattooed on his arm so people can see it when he dives.Its a really big honor for me, Jordan said. Theres a lot of people, a lot more eyes on me, but if anything it just makes me excited to be able to perform at my best and show that all this hard work can hopefully pay off. This has been a dream come true and its an amazing opportunity to be part of.While Jerry hasnt been able totravel to Tokyoandwont be in the standsfor Jordans Olympic dives, he knows his son will feel his support from home.I know that Jordan knows that Im with him, Jerry said. That I physically cant be there is incredibly disappointing, because I just love the show that he puts on Though I cant be there with him, were going to have a huge watch party out here in California, and I know that theres another one going on in Florida with family and friends out there. Its disappointing but at the same time this is Jordans journey and this is the pinnacle of it, and I want him to enjoy this experience as best he can Thats what Ive always wanted for him.Jordan said that while hes competing in Tokyo, hell be thinking of his father.I tell everyone, when they ask me why I dive, I dive purely for my dad and how much he loves watching me, Jordan said. Without him making all the sacrifices that he has, and his love and support the whole time weve been together, I really wouldnt be where I am today. I have him to thank for everything, all my accomplishments. Its been an amazing journey with him, and were still rolling.This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:My hero in gymnastics: 8-year-old gymnast from Hmong family brings Suni Lee to tearsSee Savannahs daughters priceless reaction to message from US gymnastsOlympic rules will keep Team USAs 1 fans home and heartbrokenThis story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Nelly Korda Looks To Maintain Olympic Golf Lead After Strong Showing in Round 2
08/05/2021 11:01am

As the Olympics enter the second half of the womens golf tournament, Team USAsNelly Kordaleadsby four strokes.The No. 1rankedgolfer in the worldhad nine birdies and an eagle on her way to shooting nine under par in the second round. Korda nowsits atop the leaderboardat 13through 36 holes.Behind her tied for second at 9 areDenmarks Emily Pedersen and Nanna Koerstz Madsen, as well as Indias Aditi Ashok.Americans Jessica Korda and Danielle Kang are tied for 11that 4-under par.While Nelly Korda wont tee off until 8:18 p.m. ET on Aug. 5, viewers canstreamall the action Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

‘This Is for You!' After Winning Gold, Nageotte Gives Cleveland a Shout Out
08/05/2021 10:33am

Katie Nageotte is a Cleveland kid through and through. She grew up in the nearby suburb of Olmstead Falls and graduated from Ashland University about an hour from home.So when Nageotte won the gold medal in womens pole vault at the Summer Games in Tokyo on Thursday, she immediately turned to home.Cleveland, this is for you she declared waving into a camera.View social media post: https://twitter.com/NBCOlympics/status/1423311569723826182And Cleveland answered right back.Congratulations to Cleveland native and Tribe fan Katie Nageotte on inning gold in the womens pole vault at the TokyoOlympics, The Cleveland Indians soon to be Guardians posted on Twitter. Lets have you out for a first pitch when you get home safe. What do you say, ktnago13View social media post: https://twitter.com/Indians/status/1423315359650701316SEE MORE: American Nageotte bests ROCs Sidorova for pole vault goldNageottes words were not lost on Cleveland Cavaliers fans, who pointed on Cavaliersnation.com she echoed the words of LeBron James, another local, who brought an NBA title to their hometown in 2016.Olmested Falls is less than 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland, which is known for its bucolic suburbs. She attended Olmsted Falls High School, where she excelled in track and field. She also competed on the diving, swimming and golf teams.But it was pole vault that allowed Nageotte to reach new heights. She set multiple pole vault records in high school and qualified for the NCAA championships as a freshman at the University of Dayton. She would eventually transfer to Ashland University, where she was a two-time Division II national champion.View social media post: https://twitter.com/daymag/status/1423018462369230853View social media post: https://twitter.com/clevelanddotcom/status/1423265327178190850The Cleveland area thew its support behind Nageotte during the Games. The local Drug Mart in Olmsted Falls, for instance, showed its support with a window banner and Twitter post.Our Olmsted Falls store showing all the love & support for Olmsted Falls local ktnago13 as she goes for Gold tomorrow in the Womens Olympic Pole Vault Final the poster read. Good Luck KatieView social media post: https://twitter.com/DrugMart/status/1422941362077507587And locals gathered for a watch party, where revelers chanted USA, USA and then erupted in celebration after her winning vault.

US Track Star Noah Lyles On Importance of Mental Health, Says He Has 2 Therapists
08/05/2021 10:32am

American sprinter Noah Lyles won a bronze medal in the mens 200-meter dash at the Tokyo Olympics, but its what he said after the race that has turned heads.Lyles talked about his mental health struggles, comments he would amplify when he sat down with TODAY on Thursday.US track star Noah Lyles on importance of mental health, says he has 2 therapistsIve always talked about mental health in my career, he told Craig Melvin. And, now, as I got more and more popular, I got more and more attention, people watching me. So I feel that I was able to reach an even bigger audience.Saying it then wasnt any different from when I was saying it a few years ago, but every time I say it, I say it with the intention that I know that theres somebody out there who is probably struggling with the same issues I was and I want them to know that there is ways to feel better. They dont have to keep feeling that way.Lyles, 24, says he is lucky because he has people who look out for him.Ive been very fortunate enough to have my mother, whos been in therapy most of her life and she got me in very early, so I now have two therapists, one for my personal life and one for my sports life, he said, while adding he has an amazing team.It takes a village. I have an amazing girlfriend and everybodys very supportive. We all keep tabs on each other, he added.While speaking to reporters after he won the bronze medal earlier this week, Lyles opened up about his mental health, while noting he stopped taking antidepressants that he had started taking last year.I always said the day I wasnt having fun with this sport, Im going to leave it, he told reporters, according to The Washington Post. And for a little bit, I wasnt having fun this year. I did want to leave. I had to make a decision. I was like, I got to get better. I cant let this control me.Mental health has been a central storyline during the Tokyo Olympics, with gymnast Simone Biles withdrawing from nearly every event, except for the balance beam, in which she won a bronze medal.Her exit from competition had many people, including Olympians, talking.Every individual is different, Caeleb Dressel, who won five gold medals in Tokyo, told TODAY. Thats why Im not going to speak on anyone elses behalf. Thats why Im OK with this call that Simone did. No one elses opinion matters, because theyre not the one thats in her situation.This is an opportunity for all of us to really learn more about mental health, to all help each other out, Michael Phelps told TODAY after Biles withdrew from the individual all-around competition.For me, I want people to be able to have somebody that can support them, whos non-judgmental and whos willing to hold space. Theres a lot that we can do to help one another and we have to start. We cant brush it under the rug anymore.This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: See US gymnast Suni Lee reunite with her family for 1st time after OlympicsUS gymnasts react to overwhelming fan support in touching homecoming on TODAY plazaUS shot put star Ryan Crouser shares story behind tribute to late grandfather

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