Lionel Richie says his performance at the 1984 Olympics was awesome ... but these days Sochi is no match for the Super Bowl
Richie was strutting out of LAX Friday night when he told us his '84 closing ceremony number was huge at the time ... but now the Super Bowl has more eyes than the world games.
His logic is pretty compelling. Check it out.
Olympic Hurdler Lashinda Demus
My Husband Strangled Me,
Threatened to Kill Me
10/3/2013 2:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Olympic hurdler Lashinda Demus -- who won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics -- says her husband tried to strangle her and threatened to kill her ... and she's now desperate for protection ... TMZ has learned.
Demus just got a temporary restraining order against her husband, Jamel Mayrant -- who was arrested and jailed a couple of weeks ago for domestic violence. She claims the attack left her with bruises and a lump on her head.
The restraining order also protects their twin 6-year-old boys and her parents -- because she claims he threatened all of them as well.
Demus also claims her husband is trashing her and damaging her career, saying in court docs, "I'm a professional athlete ... so I need no derogatory emails, pictures, texts, phone calls released about me on the web or to other people."
The restraining order requires Jamel to stay 100 yards away from Lashinda, the kids and her parents.
USA Wrestling Legend
Wrestling's Back in Olympics!
9/8/2013 11:53 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The International Olympic Committee just announced wrestling WON'T be axed from the 2020 Tokyo Games after all ... and one of the biggest stars in the sport couldn't be more thrilled.
TMZ spoke with Rulon Gardner -- former "Biggest Loser" contestant and gold medal winner at the 2000 Sydney Games -- who tells us the IOC's ruling made his day.
Rulon says he still can't believe the sport was ever on the chopping block to begin with ... but he's pumped "wrestling will showcase it's greatness to the world once again."
As for the other sports nixed from the 2020 Games, like squash, they're still out ... because no one cares about squash.
Seriously, who plays squash?
Bruce Jenner to Mike Phelps:
HANG UP THE SPEEDO
'Quit While You're Ahead'
8/14/2013 8:13 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
With rumors of a Michael Phelps comeback, there's one American who thinks MP should STAY OUT of the pool when the 2016 Olympics roll around -- Bruce Jenner.
Phelps announced he "retired" from swimming after dominating at the 2012 games ... but lately, there have been rumblings that he's considering re-shaving his body hair for a dramatic Olympic comeback.
But not everyone's fired up about the idea ... especially Jenner, who knows a little something about what it takes to compete at the Olympic level -- 'cause before he played second fiddle to the Kardashians, he won gold in the decathlon in 1976.
"He's done," Jenner told us in Calabasas yesterday ... "Quit while you're ahead."
For the record, Phelps is only 28 ... and still in incredible shape.
Think Bruce has a point?
I'd Kick Ass at Snowboarding, Too
8/12/2013 10:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Call her Kanye West ... 'cause Gabby Douglas is continuing to SMASH racial stereotypes like they were TMZ cameras.
The 17-year-old Olympic sweetheart -- the FIRST black woman to win gold in the individual all-around -- was at LAX this weekend when we asked ... is there ANOTHER sport she would dominate if she didn't become a world class gymnast.
Her answer -- snowboarding ... a sport that's almost as white as the mountains they shred.
Next up ... hockey? Lacrosse? Polo? Line dancing?
'Everyone Pees In the Pool'
8/7/2013 6:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Michael Phelps is a pool pee-er ... but don't worry, the world's greatest athlete insists there's NOTHING wrong with draining your bladder during a swim.
The Olympic legend was leaving Mastros in Beverly Hills last night when we asked if nature ever called during one of his races ... and the guy couldn't have been more honest.
But when we asked about rumors that he's coming out of retirement to swim at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Mr. Phelps was much less forthcoming.
There's some information you just can't afford to leak ...
Shreds Guitars Too!!
Rock Band Jams in DC
7/31/2013 7:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
It's official, Shaun White dominates everything he touches -- snowboards, skateboards, surfboards, and now electric guitars ... and we got video proof last night.
If you haven't heard ... Shaun plays lead guitar in a band called Bad Things -- and last night their summer tour stopped at DC9 in Washington, DC.
The Olympic gold medalist had a Gibson Les Paul sunburst ax slung over his shoulder during the gig ... and while he's not Slash or Stevie Ray Vaughan just yet ... dude ripped off a decent solo.
Next up for Shaun -- the World Cup of Pottery!
What? You know he could.
Olympic Champ Tyler Clary
Declines White House Invite
... I'd Rather Race Cars
9/12/2012 12:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary -- the guy who smashed Ryan Lochte's backstroke record -- turned down an invite to chill with President Obama at the White House ... all so he can race stock cars instead.
But sources tell TMZ ... the swimmer has dreams of being a pro race car driver after his swimming career ends ... he's opting to be in Fontana, CA instead to test drive cars for a few days and then hit up the MAVTV 500 IndyCar event on September 15.
We're told Clary is serious about his future racing career ... he's already been courted by several IndyCar and NASCAR teams and sponsors since returning from London.
225 mph or rub elbows with the most powerful guy on the planet ... tough call?
U.S. Olympic Runner
Runs 5-Minute Mile ...
While Chugging Beers
8/23/2012 12:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
U.S. Olympic track star Nick Symmonds just ran a mile in 5:19 ... which isn't very impressive ... until you realize he chugged 4 BEERS along the way.
Symmonds was gunning for the world record in something called the "Beer Mile" ... which requires athletes to chug an entire "full-sized" brewski at the beginning of the race ... and another full can of suds at every quarter-mile mark along the way.
28-year-old Symmonds -- who finished 5th in the 800m race at the Olympics in London -- was hoping to break the world record, 5:09, set by Canadian marathon legend Jim Finlayson.
So, Tuesday in Oregon ... armed with a case of Coors ... Nick chased after the record, with a crowd of friends cheering on along the way ... but despite his best effort, Symmonds came up 6 seconds short.
Still, Nick tells TMZ he won't give up his dream ... and plans to continue his training in hopes of winning the title some time in the near future.
My Dumb Catchphrase ... JEAH!!!
8/17/2012 5:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Ryan Lochte's annoying catchphrase "Jeah!" is a friggin' GOLD MINE -- at least that's what the swimmer believes ... because he just filed docs to lock up a trademark for the made-up word.
According to the trademark docs, Ryan wants to use the word on sunglasses, workout DVDs, gift cards, mugs, drinking glasses, trading cards, calendars, posters, swimsuits, swim caps, sports hats, and water bottles.
In fact, Lochte's already getting the party started on his website -- selling "Jeah"-themed tees, hats, and sunglasses.
According to a 2009 interview, Ryan got the phrase from rapper Young Jeezy, who uses a similar word "Chea!" in his songs. Ryan says he changed it a little to "Jeah!" ... and says it means something "good." (skip to 1:00)
The trademark app is still pending.
CELEBRATES Gold Medal
w/ Pizza and Beer!
8/15/2012 6:42 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Abby Wambach TRAINED HER ASS OFF to lead the U.S. soccer team to a gold medal ... and yesterday she celebrated the victory by letting herself go ... with PIZZA AND BEER!!!
Wambach was out with some pals at Paisano's Pizza in Hermosa Beach, CA ... doing a little well-deserved boozy day partying with her new best friend ... the gold medal.
FYI -- Wambach is a frickin' badass ... who got punched in the face by a cheap-shotting Colombian in one of the early rounds of the Olympics ... and GOT UP.
Chaos in NYC
8/14/2012 7:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The East Coast leg of Gabby Douglas' post-Olympic media blitz started right at JFK yesterday ... 'cause the second she stepped off the plane she was SWARMED by fans, autograph seekers and paparazzi.
Thanks to some help from the NYPD, the 16-year-old gold medal winner made it to her waiting SUV without incident.
Gabby's a valuable commodity these days -- according to Forbes, she's expected to rake in between $5 and $10 million in sponsorship deals over the next 4 years.
Gold Medal Game Tix Were
Gift from 'Melo and 'Bron
8/13/2012 3:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Nas wasn't planning on being in the stands when Team USA played for the gold medal in basketball ... he wasn't planning on partying with the guys after the game either ... until Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James talked him into it ... and gave him free courtside tickets.
It's good to have rich friends.
Here's the story -- Nas had been in London to headline a concert and was 6 hours from getting on his return flight back to the States ... when he got a call from his pal Carmelo Anthony.
Nas' rep told us ... the rapper has been friends with 'Melo and 'Bron for a while, and the two made it clear they REALLY wanted Nas to attend the game ... and offered to get him some pretty sick seats if he was down to change his flight.
Nas' rep tells us ... the rapper didn't have to think twice before taking the guys up on their offer ... changing his ticket immediately and extending his hotel room stay because "He didn't want to miss history."
Of course, Team USA CRUSHED Spain in the finals ... and the rapper joined the champions in the gold medal after-party.
Nas' rep tells us, "He's very thankful that Carmelo and LeBron looked out for him ... It was a moment that he will always remember."