Young athletes taking a selfie with IOC president Thomas Bach at the Youth Olympic Games opening ceremony // photo Getty Images

Young athletes taking a selfie with IOC president Thomas Bach at the Youth Olympic Games opening ceremony // photo Getty Images

IOC

Selfies and the Youth Olympic Games future

In American teen parlance, the word “tryhard” is a noun. It means when someone tries hard to appear a certain way but all that effort does is make that someone all the more contrived.

Here is how to use “tryhard”: when the president of the International Olympic Committee posed with a group of young athletes for a staged selfie shot in the opening ceremony of the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, over the weekend, the IOC was being such a tryhard.

Michael Phelps after finishing second in the men's 100 fly at the U.S. nationals // photo Getty Images

Michael Phelps after finishing second in the men's 100 fly at the U.S. nationals // photo Getty Images

Swimming

Michael Phelps as work in progress

Michael Phelps had it Friday morning, turning in a sensational prelim swim. He didn’t quite have it Friday night when it counted, losing by one-hundredth of a second in the 100 butterfly to Tom Shields at the U.S. national championships in Irvine, California.

The upshot: Phelps is back on the national team. For him, for the U.S. team, for swimming in general, that’s all good. Now, though, the real work begins. As Bob Bowman, his longtime coach, said Friday night, “I think he needs to go home and put in some more practices.”

Missy Franklin, left, and Katie Ledecky on the medals stand after the 200 freestyle // photo Getty Images

Missy Franklin, left, and Katie Ledecky on the medals stand after the 200 freestyle // photo Getty Images

Swimming

Ledecky makes beautiful music in 200 free

Katie Ledecky took down Missy Franklin in the women’s 200 freestyle Thursday evening at the U.S. nationals in Irvine, California, and though both laughed and made all sweet about it because that’s how they are, and Franklin even danced on deck when the poolside announcer talked about the Backstreet Boys, this — when, years from now, they look back — may well be one of the Katie Ledecky signature moments.

Ledecky touched in 1:55.16, a full 1.24 ahead of Franklin. It was the second-fastest time in the world this year and, for Ledecky, a personal best. Which ought to give everyone pause, because Ledecky just turned 17 in March and has so far concentrated on the 400 and above. She simply has not raced the 200 much. As she learns the race, she probably will get a lot, lot faster.

Michael Phelps after finishing seventh in the men's 100 free at the U.S. nationals // photo Getty Images

Michael Phelps after finishing seventh in the men's 100 free at the U.S. nationals // photo Getty Images

Swimming

For one night, no Phelps magic

Before Michael Phelps had won even the first of his 22 Olympic medals he was, in 2003, the United States men’s national champion in the 100-meters freestyle.

The circle turns. It’s back to the future. Pick your metaphor as the 2014 U.S. nationals got underway in earnest Wednesday in Irvine, California, with Phelps stepping to the blocks for the finals of the 100 free.

Kendal Williams on Florida State signing day, flanked by grandfathers James Williams and Langston Austin // photo courtesy Williams family

Kendal Williams on Florida State signing day, flanked by grandfathers James Williams and Langston Austin // photo courtesy Williams family

Track and field

A sprint champion to want to believe in

Wouldn’t American track and field be so much better, goes the mournful refrain, if only there were a sprint champion everyone could actually believe in? Who wasn’t, you know, doped to the gills?

Maybe Kendal Williams doesn’t go on to run 9.57. But now that he has won the men’s 100 at the world juniors in Eugene, Oregon, maybe it’s time, too, to celebrate the very sort of young athlete everyone says they really want — but then hardly gives more than a moment to when he does exactly what they say they’re begging for.