Missy Franklin

Update: Missy Franklin scratches 50 back; swim worlds Wednesday preview

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Update: Missy Franklin scratched out of the 50-meter backstroke semifinals after the morning heats. Therefore she is down to seven events at the world championships.

The four-time Olympic champion Franklin returns to the pool for the final of the 200 freestyle, an event she failed to medal in at London. She should medal this time, but she’s up against stiff competition for gold in two-time defending world champion and top seed Federica Pellegrini and France’s Camille Muffat, who has the fastest time this year.

Franklin is two for two in golds at worlds thus far.

Ryan Lochte has it a little less stressful Wednesday, swimming just the 200 individual medley semifinals. The two-time defending world champion qualified fifth and should have no problem reaching Thursday’s final. Lochte has one silver and one fourth after two of a planned seven events so far.

The semifinals of the men’s 100 freestyle open the session. That includes Olympic champion Nathan Adrian and world champion James Magnussen, who were separated by .01 in London.

The U.S. won six medals in finals Tuesday, but the outlook is not as optimistic in Wednesday’s four finals. Tyler Clary and Tom Luchsinger both qualified into the 200 butterfly final, but it’s possible neither could medal. Olympic champ Chad le Clos is the favorite there.

There are no Americans in the final of the 50 breaststroke, an event not contested at the Olympics. The night’s finale, the 800 free, includes an American as the top seed — Connor Jaeger — but China’s Sun Yang is the defending world champion.

Here’s the order of events, followed by full fields, previews and medal picks:

Men’s 100 Freestyle Semifinals (Adrian)
Women’s 50 Backstroke Semifinals
Men’s 200 Butterfly Final
Women’s 200 Freestyle Final (Franklin)
Men’s 50 Breaststroke Final
Women’s 200 Butterfly Semifinals
Men’s 200 Individual Medley Semifinals (Lochte)
Men’s 800 Freestyle Final

NBC, Universal Sports broadcast schedule | Live results 

Men’s 100 Freestyle Semifinals

Field
1. James Magnussen (AUS) 47.71
2. Konrad Czerniak (POL) 48.50
3. Nikita Lobintsev (RUS) 48.51
4. Shinri Shioura (JPN) 48.52
5. Hanser Garcia Hernandez (CUB) 48.54
6. Cameron McEvoy (AUS) 48.59
7. Vladimir Morozov (RUS) 48.67
8. Pieter Timmers (BEL) 48.76
9. Jimmy Feigen (USA) 48.86
10. Sebastiaan Verschuren (NED) 48.88
10. Luca Dotto (ITA) 48.88
12. Nathan Adrian (USA) 48.93
13. Filippo Magnini (ITA) 49.02
14. Fabien Gilot (FRA) 49.07
15. Marcelo Chierighini (BRA) 49.08
16. Adam Brown (GBR) 49.39

Preview
Magnussen is Australia’s biggest swimming star. He is the defending world champion who lost to Adrian at the Olympics by .01. Only one man has been within four tenths of a second of Magnussen this year — Morozov. The Aussie is the clear favorite. Adrian might have to go better than his Olympic time of 47.52 to beat Magnussen again. Feigen rebounded well from his poor 4×100 free relay swim to advance. Watch out for Gilot, who had the fastest 4×100 free relay split by far Sunday.

Women’s 50 Backstroke Semifinals

Field
1. Fu Yuanhui (CHN) 27.55
2. Zhao Jing (CHN) 27.81
3. Aya Terakawa (JPN) 28.05
4. Mercedes Peris (ESP) 28.07
5. Etiene Medeiros (BRA) 28.16
6. Rachel Bootsma (USA) 28.28
7. Georgia Davies (GBR) 28.35
7. Lauren Quigley (GBR) 28.35
9. Aleksandra Urbanczyk (POL) 28.37
9. Duane Da Rocha Marce (ESP) 28.37
11. Simone Baumrtova (CZE) 28.38
12. Stephanie Au (HKG) 28.39
13. Missy Franklin (USA) 28.44 SCRATCHED
13. Sanja Jovanovic (CRO) 28.44
15. Emily Seebohm (AUS) 28.48
16. Sinead Russell (CAN) 28.60

Preview
Franklin was fifth in her morning heat then scratched to focus on the 200 free. The 2011 world champion in this event, Russian Anastasia Zueva, was not entered. Fu has two of the three fastest times in the world this year. Zhao is the 2009 world champion. Terakawa won world silver in 2011 and Franklin world bronze. Bootsma was in much better shape than Franklin with the third fastest time in the world this year.

Men’s 200 Butterfly Final

Field
1. Chad le Clos (RSA) 1:55.33
2. Wu Peng (CHN) 1:55.42
3. Pawel Korzeniowski (POL) 1:55.67
4. Tyler Clary (USA) 1:55.97
4. Chen Yin (CHN) 1:55.97
6. Nikolay Skvortsov (RUS) 1:56.02
7. Leonardo De Deus (BRA) 1:56.06
8. Tom Luchsinger (USA) 1:56.10

Preview
All of the finalists were within eight tenths of a second of each other in the semifinals, so this could be close. Le Clos, the Olympic champion, is the favorite. Korzeniowski, the 2005 world champion, has the fastest time in the world this year. Those are the only guys who won major international titles in this event since 2002 other than Michael Phelps. Clary is a proven medalist, but not in the butterfly. Luchsinger is in his first major international final.

Medal Picks
Gold: Le Clos
Silver: Korzeniowski
Bronze: Wu

Women’s 200 Freestyle Final

Field
1. Federica Pellegrini (ITA) 1:55.78
2. Missy Franklin (USA) 1:56.05
3. Melanie Costa (ESP) 1:56.19
4. Camille Muffat (FRA) 1:56.28
5. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 1:56.38
6. Kylie Palmer (AUS) 1:56.53
7. Charlotte Bonnet (FRA) 1:56.63
8. Shannon Vreeland (USA) 1:56.76

Preview
Cautiously, I’m going to say this is a three-woman race for the medals. Pellegrini is the two-time defending world champion and world-record holder. Franklin was held off the Olympic podium by .01 in this event. Muffat is the Olympic silver medalist, world bronze medalist and owns the fastest time of 2013. The crowd favorite Costa is the wild card. Franklin went 1:55.56 at nationals, so there’s more left in the tank.

Medal Picks
Gold: Franklin
Silver: Muffat
Bronze: Pellegrini

Men’s 50 Breaststroke Final

Field
1. Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 26.81
2. Damir Dugonjic (SLO) 26.83
3. Joao Gomes (BRA) 27.05
4. Christian Sprenger (AUS) 27.10
5. Johannes Skagius (SWE) 27.16
6. Glenn Snyders (NZL) 27.22
7. Mattia Pesce (ITA) 27.42
8. Giulio Zorzi (RSA) 27.44

Preview
Van der Burgh looks to better his silver from the 100 breast, which was won by Sprenger. The South African, who won world bronze in this non-Olympic event in 2011, had the fastest time in the prelims and the semifinals. The 2011 world gold and silver medalists aren’t in this final.

Medal Picks
Gold: Van der Burgh
Silver: Gomes
Bronze: Dugonjic

Women’s 200 Butterfly Semifinals

Field
1. Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) 2:07.21
2. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2:07.51
3. Natsumu Hoshi (JPN) 2:07.59
4. Liu Zige (CHN) 2:07.63
5. Jiao Liuyang (CHN) 2:07.79
6. Cammile Adams (USA) 2:07.83
7. Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) 2:07.87
8. Stefania Pirozzi (ITA) 2:08.50
9. Franziska Hentke (GER) 2:08.51
10. Audrey Lacroix (CAN) 2:09.13
11. Judit Ignacio Sorribes (ESP) 2:09.48
12. Jemma Lowe (GBR) 2:10.21
13. Maya DiRado (USA) 2:10.25
14. Katerine Savard (CAN) 2:10.72
15. Andreina Pinto (VEN) 2:10.74
16. Joanna Maranhao Melo (BRA) 2:11.14

Preview
The top five semifinal seeds figure to be the medalists come Thursday. The crowd will be behind Belmonte Garcia, the Olympic silver medalist in this event who won bronze in the 200 individual medley. No Spanish-born swimmer has ever won a world or Olympic title. Hosszu beat Belmonte Garcia for that 200 IM title. Hoshi is the Olympic bronze medalist. Liu and Jiao won the last two Olympic golds. Adams, fifth at the Olympics, should be able to make the final.

Men’s 200 Indvidual Medley Semifinals

Field
1. Laszlo Cseh (HUN) 1:57.70
2. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:57.73
3. Shun Wang (CHN) 1:57.83
4. Simon Sjodin (SWE) 1:58.02
5. Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:58.46
6. Thiago Pereira (BRA) 1:58.54
7. Henrique Rodrigues (BRA) 1:58.73
8. Daniel Tranter (AUS) 1:58.76
8. Markus Deibler (GER) 1:58.76
10. Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:58.78
11. Kenneth To (AUS) 1:59.21
12. Dalya Seto (JPN) 1:59.25
13. Diogo Carvalho (POR) 1:59.39
14. Roberto Pavoni (GBR) 1:59.41
15. Fellian Mao (CHN) 1:59.68
16. Joseph Schooling (SIN) 1:59.99

Preview
Since the 2004 Olympics, all but two of the Olympic and world medals in this event have been won by three men — Phelps, Cseh and Lochte. Lochte, the two-time defending world champion, owns the fastest time in the world this year (1:55.44). Hagino is second in 2013 at 1:55.74. Nobody else has gone under 1:57. Dwyer, the silver medalist in the 200 free, should make the final.

Men’s 800 Free Final

Field
1. Connor Jaeger (USA) 7:49.28
2. Sun Yang (CHN) 7:49.37
3. Ryan Cochrane (CAN) 7:49.58
4. Michael McBroom (USA) 7:50.62
5. Ous Mellouli (TUN) 7:50.77
6. Pal Joensen (FAR) 7:50.81
7. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) 7:52.33
8. Jordy Harrison (AUS) 7:52.55

Preview
It’s a surprise that Sun didn’t lead all qualifiers into the final, because he is the clear favorite. Jaeger may have top seed time, Cochrane may have the fastest time in the world this year (7:43.61), but Sun went 7:38 to win the world title two years ago. He’s already won the 400 free title in Barcelona and still has the 1,500 to go. Cochrane and Jaeger are expected to medal as well. McBroom is the fourth fastest in the world this year. Mellouli is the only man to win world and Olympic titles in the pool and the open water.

Medal Picks
Gold: Sun
Silver: Jaeger
Bronze: Cochrane

Usain Bolt learns Russian (video)

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