Swimming: U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Coughlin and her coach may (or may not) be in a tiff

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Neither U.S. swimmer Natalie Coughlin nor her long-time coach, Terri McKeever, seem to know if they’ve had a falling out since an Olympics experience in London that was a little awkward for the pair.

Coughlin won bronze in London in the 4x100m freestyle relay, her twelfth career medal tying her with Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson as the most decorated lady swimmers of all-time. But she won the medal after only participating in the prelims and then – surprisingly – being dropped from the squad that raced in the final, a decision made by McKeever, who coached the women’s team in London. Naturally, the snub has everyone wondering if there’s bad blood between the two.

“No, no, no, no,” Coughlin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’ve been with Teri for 12 years. Our relationship is good… Teri’s been the most important figure in my swimming career. Our relationship is good; it’s fine.”

McKeever, who guided the U.S. women to 14 total medals this summer, seemed less certain.

“I don’t know that, to be honest,” McKeever was quoted as saying. “I would hope it doesn’t hurt our relationship. … I am proud of our relationship and what we accomplished over the last 12 years, 12 amazing years that have changed my life and her life.”

McKeever said she made the tough call to drop Coughlin in part because she was uncomfortable with how fast Coughlin made the exchange in swimming her leg of the prelims. The exceptionally fast exchange clocked in at 0:00, meaning Coughlin came as close as possible to leaving the block before her teammate touched the wall, narrowly avoiding an error that would have disqualified the team. It also meant that Coughlin’s split time, the fastest of among her teammates in the qualifying round, was deceptive. All that made McKeever nervous and led to her controversial choice.

After her disappointing showing in London, which Coughlin chalked up to a bad season, the swimming legend says she’s unsure of what’s next. The 30-year-old says she has made no decisions yet about her future and is leaving the door firmly open to continue her illustrious career.

It’s a decision she says she plans to make with McKeever’s input – but that’s a conversation that would necessitate, you know, talking to each other.

MLB Players Association head says ‘continuing dialogue’ about 2020 Olympics

Jake Arrieta
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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The head of the Major League Baseball Players Association says it will be difficult for big leaguers to participate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Baseball returns to Olympics after a 12-year absence for the Tokyo Games, which are scheduled for July 24-Aug. 9 — in the middle of baseball’s season.

“There are challenges with the schedule, and there are challenges with major leaguers being involved,” Tony Clark said Thursday at the Baltimore Orioles’ spring training camp.

In 2008, players on major league 25-man rosters and disabled lists on June 26 were ineligible to play. The U.S. roster included 17 players from Triple-A, seven from Double-A and college pitcher Stephen Strasburg, now with the Washington Nationals.

“It doesn’t mean that we are not continuing to have dialogue. We have going back. We will going forward. Where we land, I don’t know,” Clark said. “One of the things we were able to discuss during this round of bargaining were some additional flexibility in the schedule moving forward. Maybe there are some opportunities for a broader discussion than there have been a year ago. We’ll have to wait and see. We haven’t had that kind of substantive sit down yet.”

Many players are preparing for the fourth edition of World Baseball Classic, an international tournament launched in 2006 that is co-owned by Major League Baseball and the union. Clark hopes to see a fifth edition in 2021.

“I see no reason at this point why it wouldn’t,” he said. “I’m hopeful it continues, understanding that the world we live in four years from now may be different from the one we’re in now.”

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Lance Armstrong’s $100 million trial set for November

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 20:  Lance Armstrong (C) heads out with cyclists on December 20, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The disgraced Tour de France rider is in New Zealand to film a commercial, and put out a call on social media for local riders to join him on a ride along the Auckland Waterfront.  (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong‘s $100 million legal fight with the federal government has been set for a November trial.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper on Thursday set a Nov. 6 trial start in Washington. Armstrong’s legal team had asked to postpone trial until 2018 because of a potential scheduling conflict.

The government wants Armstrong to pay back the $32 million the U.S. Postal Service paid his team for sponsorship, plus triple damages.

Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis initially filed the whistle-blower case in 2010, accusing him of violating the sponsorship contract by taking performance-enhancing drugs. The government joined the case in 2013 after Armstrong admitted cheating and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and 2000 Olympic bronze medal.

Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for cheating, could collect up to 25 percent of damages awarded.

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