Baseball officials still trying to lure MLB to Olympics

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After the World Baseball Softball Confederation was unceremoniously shot down by MLB commissioner Bud Selig, who said he won’t stop his season for the Games, the governing body is giving one last ditch effort to earn a spot in the Olympics before the IOC votes on its fate.

Members of the WBSC met with the MLB and MLBPA again recently to discuss the possibility of Major Leaguers being released by the league for just the semifinals and finals of the Olympic tournament. Or really anything at all.

“We would limit the overall number of games, down to six days of competition, so there would be a minimal number of days away from their teams.” Federation co-president Don Porter told USA Today Sports. “There’s been a real positive discussion with the players association and other representatives from Major League Baseball to work towards something.”

The WBSC is also considering limiting Olympic tournament games to seven innings, as opposed to nine, as well as growing the sport internationally by building training centers in Muslim countries.

“We’re keeping an open mind to put together something that’s not the same ol’, same ol’,” Porter said.

Baseball and softball were both voted out of the Olympics by the IOC back in 2005, and were last seen at the Beijing Games in 2008. The absence of MLB players was particularly damning to baseball during the decision, so inking a deal with the Majors and international leagues before the IOC’s next vote May 29 in St. Petersburg would go a long way in earning the sport its spot back.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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