Two remarkable careers, one in tennis and one in cycling, are worth celebrating this week.
Bob and Mike Bryan have been the top doubles team in the world for nearly a decade. Rewind to 2003, when they first claimed the top spot in the year-end doubles rankings, and see how the other names in men’s tennis have changed: Andre Agassi won the Australian Open, Juan Carlos Ferrero won the French, and Andy Roddick won the U.S. Open and finished first in the season rankings.
After all that, the Bryans are somehow getting better. With their win at Wimbledon over the weekend, they’ve become only the second men’s doubles team to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once. And they won the Olympics along the way.
So the Bryans are a rather convincing winner of the Woly Award, given for the top U.S. performance in Olympic sports this week.
But there’s another career that also deserves our attention this week.
Mara Abbott was a fast-rising U.S. cyclist. She won a U.S. title in 2007, when she was fresh out of college. In 2009, she won the King of the Mountains title at the Giro d’Italia Femminile, the biggest stage race in women’s road racing. In 2010, she did even better, winning the overall Giro title.
Why didn’t you hear about Abbott in the 2012 Olympics? Because she had quit. More than that — she had literally starved herself out of the sport, miserable with what her life had become.
Velo magazine published a gripping story on her downfall and comeback a couple of weeks ago. It’s now available on their site. Why put it out on the Web now? Because she just won the Giro again.
And now that she has climbed back to the top, she could be around for a while.
Elsewhere in Olympic sports: Aries Merritt won a Diamond League 110-meter hurdles race in the fifth-best time in the world this year (13.09), U.S. volleyballers had a rough weekend, and shooter Corey Cogdell took World Cup bronze.