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)

Russian who beat Simone Biles at 2015 Worlds injured before Olympics

Maria Paseka
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Russian Maria Paseka, who beat Simone Biles on vault at the 2015 World Championships, is not certain to compete in the Olympics due to a back injury, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Biles is considered a clear favorite for four gold medals — not done by a female gymnast since Romanian Ecaterina Szabo in 1984 — and could win five golds — never done by an American woman or a female gymnast.

Biles captured gold medals at the last two World Championships in the team event, all-around, balance beam and floor exercise.

Vault is her fifth and most questionable event. Biles took silver, silver and bronze on vault at the last three world championships.

Paseka is the only returning vault medalist from the 2012 Olympics (she took bronze) in addition to being the reigning world champion.

Regardless of Paseka, Biles’ primary competition in the vault final may be the 2008 Olympic champion, North Korea’s Hong Un-Jong, who could not compete in London due to North Korea’s ban for age falsification.

Like Biles, Hong earned vault medals at the last three world championships, including gold in 2014.

Biles’ vaults at worlds were less difficult than Paseka and Hong, causing her to lose eight tenths in start value. Biles has since upgraded her weaker vault, increasing her start value.

MORE: Rio Olympic schedule highlights, daily events to watch

Vladimir Putin: Olympic medals to have ‘different or no taste’ without Russia

Vladimir Putin
AP
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Russian president Vladimir Putin said Olympic medals won in events lacking Russian contenders will be devalued, speaking to athletes who will be going to Rio at the Kremlin on Wednesday.

Russia is set to send just one track and field athlete, plus fewer athletes in many sports, to Rio amid its doping scandal.

It could significantly alter the Rio Olympic medal standings, as Russia finished third in overall medals at the 2012 London Games with 79 — behind the U.S.’ 103 and China’s 88.

“It is obvious that the absence of Russian athletes, the leaders in many sports events, significantly reduces the intensity of the competition, and hence makes the upcoming events less spectacular” Putin told the Russian team Wednesday, according to Russian news agency TASS. “I think that your colleagues from other world’s leading sports powers also understand that the quality of their medals will be different, because it’s one thing to defeat an equal, strong opponent, and quite another – to compete with obviously weaker opponents. Such victory has a very different taste or maybe bad taste.”

Also at the event, two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva broke down while addressing the Olympic team (video here). Isinbayeva was barred from the Rio Games due to Russia’s track and field ban, though she has never failed a drug test.

MORE: Five Russian track and field stars set to miss Rio