Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin expected for Santa Clara Grand Prix

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Michael Phelps is expected to enter the third meet of his comeback in Santa Clara, Calif., next week.

Phelps and Missy Franklin are the headliners for the Santa Clara Grand Prix in a press release from USA Swimming for the June 19-22 meet.

Phelps, 28 and the most decorated Olympian ever with 22 medals, swam competitively for the first time since the London Olympics at meets in Mesa, Ariz., and Charlotte, N.C., in April and May.

He finished second to longtime rival Ryan Lochte in a 100m butterfly in Mesa and won the event in Charlotte, where Lochte didn’t swim due to a knee injury. He also swam the 200m freestyle in preliminaries in Charlotte.

It is not known if Lochte will swim in Santa Clara.

Franklin, 19, is coming off a strong freshman season at California, where she won the 200-yard freestyle NCAA title.

Olympic champions Nathan Adrian, Tyler ClaryNatalie CoughlinAnthony ErvinMatt Grevers and Allison Schmitt are also expected to compete in Santa Clara, the final Grand Prix event before the U.S. Championships in Irvine, Calif., from Aug. 6-10.

Phelps is also expected to swim in a meet in Athens, Ga., during the July 11-13 weekend.

The U.S. Championships serve as a selection meet for the biggest international competitions the next two years, the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, later in August, and the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Retired Olympic champion swimmer Amy Van Dyken Rouen hospitalized

Syria-born Olympian takes advocacy role at U.N. refugee agency

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GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency has chosen as a goodwill ambassador a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer.

Yusra Mardini was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday, joining other notables like actress Cate Blanchett and author Khaled Hosseini in the unpaid advocacy role.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Mardini “represents the hopes, the fears and the incredible potential of the more than 10 million young refugees around the globe.”

Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped overboard and swam for hours alongside their overloaded boat to reach Greece from Turkey in 2015.

She swam on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year and has discussed refugees’ challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

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Rafael Nadal recreates famous 1992 Olympic cauldron lighting

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Rafael Nadal, owner of two Olympic gold medals, recently parroted arguably the most famous moment in Spanish Olympic history.

Nadal and Marc Lopez, the 2016 Olympic doubles champions, took up bows and arrows and joined archer Antonio Rebollo on Monday at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Stadium. It brought back memories of Rebollo’s unforgettable cauldron lighting from the only Olympics held in Spain.

Nadal is in Barcelona for an ATP Tour event as he prepares to vie for a 10th French Open title next month.

Rebollo, now 61 years old, was one of 200 hundred archers considered to light the cauldron in 1992. He learned that he was chosen for the role over four other finalists two hours ahead of time, according to an NBC Olympics profile in 1996.

The cauldron would be 195 feet away. Fearing Rebollo would miss the target, organizers instructed him to fire his arrow beyond the stadium walls. As the arrow soared, a technician lit the natural gas flame with a remote control.

The illusion worked. The true story wasn’t revealed for another 20 years.

“There were no fears,” Rebollo, a Barcelona native who contracted polio at age 8, told NBC two decades ago. “I was practically a robot. I focused on my positioning and reaching the target. That was all. … My feelings were taken from the people who described to me how they saw it. What they felt, their emotions, their cries. This is what made me realize what the moment actually meant.”

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