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What to Watch: New York Diamond League Track Meet

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Dozens of Olympic gold medalists, record holders, and world champions are descending on New York’s Randall Island this weekend to square-off at the adidas Grand Prix Diamond League Meet. You can catch all the action Saturday afternoon live on NBC starting at 1pm EST. Here’s a list of marquee match-ups you won’t want to miss:

Men’s 100m: 2007 world champ Tyson Gay already holds the American record in this event, and earned the season’s fastest time with his 9.86 seconds bolt down in Jamaica. He’s the favorite, but fellow Olympian Ryan Bailey, who finished fifth in London 100m, will be right on Gay’s heels, as will Nesta Carter of Jamaica, the only other man in the field to break 10 seconds this season.

Women’s 200m: Veronica Campbell-Brown has won medals at the last four Olympics in this event, including back-to-back golds in Athens and Beijing. She’ll face two-time gold medalist DeeDee Trotter and American up-n’-comer Bianca Knight, who’s already clocked one of the season’s best times.

Men’s 800m: London gold medalist and world record holder David Rudisha of Kenya doesn’t usually come up against much opposition. He’ll prove why some consider him the true “World’s Fastest Man” against the likes of 2009 world champ Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa, and Boaz Kiplagat Lalang of Kenya, the only two men in the field within three seconds of Rudisha’s record.

Women’s Long Jump: London gold medalist and two-time world champ Brittney Reese already broke a personal best with 7.25 meters at Doha a couple weeks ago and should dominate the event. But she’s got her sights set on an Cold War era world record that has stood for nearly 25 years.

Men’s 5000m: Not a whole lot of Americans in this field, but London silver medalist Dejen Gebremeskel of Kenya headlines and impressive group that also includes 10000m world champ Ibrahim Jeilan and junior record holder Hagos Gebrhiwet, both of Ethiopia. Three of these men have run under 12:50 in the 5000m, which is seven seconds quicker than the fastest time ever run on American soil.

Women’s 1500m: Former world No. 1 Morgan Uceny of the U.S. believed she had a shot at gold in London before being tripped entering the final lap last summer. She’ll look for a little bit of redemption Saturday against an impressive field that includes Beijing gold medalist Nancy Langat of Kenya and Abeba Aregawi of Sweden, who already broke four minutes this year.

Claressa Shields congratulated by famous boxing actor (video)

Claressa Shields
Getty Images
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Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.

Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.

He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.

“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”

Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.

“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.

“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”

MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds

Russian Olympic medalists gifts include racehorse

Abdulrashid Sadulaev
AP
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MOSCOW (AP) — Luxury cars, apartments, even a racehorse — being an Olympic medalist in Russia can come with great material rewards but also controversy.

Under President Vladimir Putin, it’s become a tradition for Russia’s Olympic heroes to be showered with large cash sums and sometimes unwanted gifts.

On Friday, less than 24 hours after dozens of medalists were presented with BMW cars at the Kremlin by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, an advertisement appeared online offering one of them for sale, with photographs showing the car still covered in stickers celebrating Russia’s medal haul in Rio.

The advertisement offering the BMW X6 for 4.67 million rubles ($72,000) was anonymous and quickly withdrawn. It couldn’t be independently verified by The Associated Press, though Russian agency R-Sport claimed the seller was a Russian medalist who thought the car was too big and unwieldy.

Figure skater Maxim Trankov, who received a Mercedes-Benz SUV for his gold medal in 2014, said few Olympians could afford to own such cars.

“Has no one thought that these gift cars are not only liable for the tax on luxury items, but also aren’t cheap to run and earnings can’t cover it?” he wrote on Twitter. “I’d sell mine too if it came to it … Or does everyone think all sports pay as well as soccer, hockey or tennis?”

Gymnast Seda Tutkhalyan said she wouldn’t be able to drive her new BMW because at 17 years of age she was too young to have a license.

While online commenters mostly supported an athlete’s right to sell expensive Olympic gifts, many were critical of the government for a display of conspicuous consumption at the Kremlin at a time when Russia’s pension and healthcare systems are under financial strain.

It’s not fully clear how much the prizes have cost the Russian government.

State TV channel Rossiya 24 reported that the fleet of BMWs was provided by the Olympians’ Support Fund, which is backed by a group of Russia’s richest men, but that the accompanying cash prizes of tens of thousands of dollars per medalist came in part from the federal budget.

More awards are on offer from regional governments, many of which made public displays of generosity despite financial troubles of their own.

The Caucasus region of North Ossetia last month promised a free apartment for any medalists from the area, though it isn’t clear if this has happened yet.

In another grand gesture, the head of the restive Dagestan region gave Olympic wrestling champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev 6 million rubles ($93,000) in cash and a racehorse at a lavish welcoming ceremony featured on local TV.

Still, all may not be well for Sadulaev, who’s nicknamed the “Russian Tank” for his habit of crushing opponents on the wrestling mat. He’s already facing an allegation from a Moscow radio presenter of reckless driving in his eye-catching BMW.

MORE: Putin slams Russia’s Paralympic ban