In a surprise selection, track and field athlete Bryshon Nellum was named to lead the United States in Sunday’s Closing Ceremonies as flag bearer, the US Olympic Committee announced Friday night. Nellum was chosen by a vote of team members.
Nellum, a 400-meter runner, was told by doctors in 2008 that he would never run again at a world-class level after being shot in the legs. Through perseverance, dedication, and three operations, Nellum returned to training full time in 2012 and finished third in the 400 at the US Olympic trials in a personal-best 44.80 seconds to earn a London berth.
Nellum’s 4 x 400-meter relay team finished second to the Bahamas Friday, and he made the semifinals in the 400-meter dash.
“I’m humbled by this incredible privilege,” said Nellum. “Four years ago I wasn’t sure I’d ever run again, and now I’m leading Team USA into the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games. I’m so grateful for the incredible support of my friends and family and I’ll never forget these Games.”
“I’d like to congratulate Bryshon on this tremendous honor,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “His courage embodies the Olympic spirit and he’ll represent our team well on Sunday night.”
Sundhage in no rush
American women’s soccer coach Pia Sundhage didn’t have the gold medal on her neck for more than two hours before the questions about her future with the national team started to come.
Her home nation of Sweden is rumored to be after her services, but the coach said she isn’t ready to think about that, calling the US job ‘‘the best job in the world.’’
‘‘It’s all about timing,’’ she says. ‘‘Right now I have no clue what’s going on next year. But I promised myself to enjoy the moment.’’
Ginobili almost done?
Manu Ginobili is unsure if he will continue playing for Argentina after these Olympics. The San Antonio Spurs guard doesn’t even know if he will still be playing at all.
‘‘A lot of things can happen,” he said. “I'm 35. I know the chances are less every year, but I can’t say I am retiring because I don’t know.’’
The US beat Argentina, 109-83, in the semifinals, ending Ginobili’s chance to win a second gold medal. The Argentines can add a second straight bronze by beating Russia Sunday.
Lysacek is back
Olympic figure skating champion Evan Lysacek announced he is entered for Skate America in October, his first competition since winning the gold medal in Vancouver in 2010, signifying his return.
He will aim for a spot on the US team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Lysacek won gold in Vancouver, the first by a US man since Brian Boitano in 1988.
He said he’s eager to defend his Olympic title, something no man has done since Dick Button in 1952.
The IOC formally stripped American cyclist Tyler Hamilton, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, of his 2004 gold for doping. The medal will now go to Viatcheslav Ekimov, another former Armstrong teammate who already has two Olympic golds. American Bobby Julich will be moved up from bronze to silver, and Michael Rogers of Australia from fourth to bronze . . . Sweden appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to award Lisa Norden a gold medal in the women’s triathlon after she finished second in a photo finish with Nicola Spirig of Switzerland. A ruling is expected Saturday . . . World champion Vasyl Lomachenko and four of his medal-winning teammates on Ukraine’s dominant boxing team signed with a new professional boxing venture created by the governing body of the amateur sport, AIBA President Wu Ching-Kuo announced . . . Women’s boxing, led by US teenager Claressa Shields, Ireland’s Katie Taylor, and Britain’s Nicola Adams, has such a strong reception that Ching-Kuo is determined to at least double the field for the 2016 Games. IOC president Jacques Rogge said he’s thrilled the competition removed any doubt of the sport’s Olympic worthiness . . . When Usain Bolt won the 200 meters, there was an all-time record 80,000-plus tweets per minute on Twitter discussing it.