Sochi Olympic Torch

Details of Sochi Olympic torch’s trip to outer space

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Now that the Olympic flame has reached the North Pole, details are emerging for another unprecedented mission of the torch relay.

A torch, sans flame, will launch into outer space on Nov. 6 (Nov. 7 local time) and go to the International Space Station for a spacewalk.

Space.com has the details as well as a pretty cool photo illustration.

Six hours after lifting off from Baikonur, the torch will be carried on board the space station by the Soyuz TMA-11M crew: Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, NASA astronaut Richard Mastracchio and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. It will be only the third Olympic torch in history to fly in space and the second to enter the orbiting complex.

Two days later, it will go where no Olympic torch has gone before.

That’s when the torch will go on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Live video and photographs are expected to document the event.

The torch will return to Earth on Nov. 11 as the longest relay in Olympic Winter Games history continues through Russia up to the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7.

Olympic flame burns Sochi 2014 employee during torch relay (video)

U.S., Great Britain to hold track and field dual meet

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The U.S. and Great Britain go head-to-head in a track and field meet on July 21 at the London Olympic Stadium.

“The Meet” will include nine running, jumping, hurdles and relay events and last two hours. Specific events and athletes will be announced early next year.

The U.S. topped the overall medal standings at every Olympics and world outdoor championships since 2004.

Great Britain is one of three countries to earn at least five medals at every Olympics and worlds since 2007, joining the U.S. and Kenya.

British athletes made six podiums at the just-completed worlds at the London Olympic Stadium, including in all four relays. The other two medals came from Mo Farah, who is moving to road racing and marathons after this season.

“The Meet” is similar to swimming’s “Duel in the Pool,” a biennial head-to-head competition between the U.S. and rival Australia from 2003 through 2007 and between the U.S. and Europe between 2009 and 2015.

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Maria Sharapova gets U.S. Open wild card

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NEW YORK (AP) — Maria Sharapova was granted a wild-card invitation for the U.S. Open’s main draw on Tuesday and will take part in a Grand Slam event for the first time in more than 1 ½ years.

Sharapova is among eight women given entry into the 128-player field by the U.S. Tennis Association — and by far the most noteworthy.

The former No. 1-ranked player and owner of five major titles, including the 2006 U.S. Open, has not entered a major tournament since the Australian Open in January 2016, when she tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium.

That led to a 15-month doping ban, which expired in April. She returned to the tour, but her ranking — currently 148th — was too low to allow entry into major tournaments, and the French Open denied her a wild card. Sharapova planned to try to qualify for Wimbledon, but the 30-year-old Russian wound up skipping the grass-court portion of the season because of an injured left thigh.

Sharapova has been participating in tournaments via wild-card invitations, beginning in April on red clay at Stuttgart, Germany. She’s only played nine matches this season.

Sharapova was 19 when she won her U.S. Open trophy. Two years before, at 17, Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. She has since completed a career Grand Slam and become one of the most recognizable — and marketable — athletes in the world.

The U.S. Open starts in Flushing Meadows on Aug. 28.

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