Olympic Daily News: 22 September 2020

Get your daily update of Olympic news: Trivia, trends, and talking points as Djokovic, Halep win in Rome, Oksana Chusovitina prepares for competition

By Scott Bregman

Today in 1994, the hit television show ‘Friends’ debuted. And since ‘friendship’ is one of the three Olympic values, you know we are big fans.

We even put together our own group of figure skating friends, including Alina Zagitova, Hanyu Yuruzu, Evgenia Medvedeva and more.

Who would be in your ‘Friends’ intro?

Djokovic, Halep win in Rome as French Open looms

Olympic tennis bronze medallist and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and second-ranked Simona Halep were victorious in the men’s and women’s singles finals, respectively, Monday at the Italian Open in Rome. The clay court event is a tune-up event for French Open which is set to begin Sunday.

For Djokovic, whose dramatic default exit at the U.S. Open made headlines, it is his 36th Masters 1000 crown. He beat Diego Schwartzman, 7-5, 6-3.

“It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday [and in] practically every match,” said Djokovic, according to ATPTour.com.

Halep, who is a 2012 Olympian, opened her match against Karolina Pliskova by winning six straight games to take the first set. The second set came to an abrupt halt at 2-1 Halep, as Pliskova retired due to injury.

"I know that's not the way how Karolina wanted to finish the tournament and the final," Halep said per ESPN. "Good luck in the French Open, hopefully we will meet again there in the final.”

Legendary gymnast Oksana Chusovitina will compete this weekend

Seven-time Olympic gymnast Oksana Chusovitina will compete at this weekend’s Stella Zakharova Cup in Kiev, according to Gymnovosti. The 45-year-old, who won Olympic gold in 1992 as part of the Unified Team, first flew to Germany where her son lives and onto the competition.

“I feel fine, I got to Germany without any issues,” she said. “On Thursday, I’m flying to Kiev to compete at Stella Zakharova Cup in order to get myself together and get energised.”

The Tokyo 2020 Games, for which Chusovitina qualified at last year’s World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, will be her eighth and – she says – final Games. Though the 1991 World Champion on the floor exercise has said she would move away from the sport more than once, she insists Tokyo will be her last competition.

“I planned on retiring after the Tokyo Games and I’m not changing my plans,” she told TASS in March. “Now, I’ll stay in gymnastics for one more season, I will train in order to compete at the Olympics.”

2016 swimming Olympian Dan Smith announces retirement

Australian swimmer Dan Smith, who took part at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, announced his retirement from the sport this week in a post on Instagram.

“I pretty much knew as COVID-19 hit that I was done. It was weird. Like the desire of me wanting to be a swimmer and achieve my goals was just gone,” Smith told SwimSwam.

Smith had overcome drug and alcohol addiction before making it to the Games four years ago, a period of time in his life brought about by a fierce drive to be the fastest man in the world, he says.

"I lost sight of the enjoyment of being in the water, my well being got lost and my identity got wrapped in the sport, which all lead me to a deep level of fulfillment & brokenness," Smith wrote on Instagram. "I tried everything to fill the void & emptiness in me, which lead me down a dark road."

Having gotten healthy, Smith leaves the sport knowing he gave it his all.

"I was able to get my enjoyment back and give it one last go. I gave my career everything I had, and I left nothing in the tank," wrote Smith.

Trivia Tuesday

We hope you enjoyed our Sydney 2000 Twitter trivia quiz yesterday. If you missed it, be sure to check it out here.

Here’s today’s question.

Who was won the most Olympic medals in alpine skiing?

  1. Kjetil André Aamodt

  2. Janica Kostelić

  3. Bode Miller

  4. Anja Pärson

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