Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps solid in first swims at Santa Clara Grand Prix

Leave a comment

Michael Phelps was the fastest swimmer in the top seeded 100m butterfly heats and third fastest in the 100m freestyle at the Santa Clara Grand Prix on Friday, the first events of his third comeback meet.

Phelps clocked 52.57 seconds in the 100m fly, faster than the 52.84 and 53.26 in 100m fly prelims from his first two comeback meets in April and May. The finals session begins at 8 p.m. ET.

In the 100m free, he swam 49.99 seconds, beating Olympic champions Yannick Agnel (200m free) and Matt Grevers (100m backstroke) in his heat. It was his first 100m free in competition since swimming the second leg on the U.S. 4x100m free relay at the London Olympics.

Olympic 100m free champion Nathan Adrian was the fastest qualifier at 49.95 in a later heat, followed by Conor Dwyer at 49.96.

Missy Franklin was the top qualifier out of the top seeded heats in the women’s 100m free in 55.12 seconds. Franklin, who became the first woman to win six golds at a single World Championships last year, is coming off her freshman year at California.

She later swam an event she rarely contests, the 100m fly, and took 20th overall in the top seeded heats in 1:01.69, according to Swimming World.

World champion, world record holder unretires after Sochi trip

Blake Griffin will miss Olympics, report says

Blake Griffin
Getty Images
1 Comment

For the second straight Olympics, Blake Griffin will not be able to join Team USA due to injury, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Clippers power forward will be out several months due to his left quad injury, according to the newspaper.

Griffin was originally chosen for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team but withdrew due to a torn meniscus, opening a spot for Anthony Davis.

Davis is also expected to miss the Rio Games due to injury.

Other power forwards on the U.S. finalist list released in January are LaMarcus Aldridge, Kenneth Faried, Draymond Green and Kevin Love.

Love is the only name from that list of healthy players with Olympic experience. Faried is the only player from that list who suited up at the 2014 World Cup, starting all nine games.

At London 2012, the U.S. started NBA small forwards LeBron James and Kevin Durant at the forward spots in all eight games, with another small forward, Carmelo Anthony, bringing similar versatility off the bench.

MORE: Why Candace Parker was left off Olympic team

Rio Olympic cauldron likely to be located near Plaza Maua

Candelaria Church
Getty Images
Leave a comment

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Mayor Eduardo Paes says he wants the Olympic cauldron to burn in Rio de Janeiro’s revitalized port area.

The cauldron will be lit at Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on Aug. 5, and will spend the night there before traveling to a permanent home.

Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Rio organizing committee, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the cauldron will be placed in the port area, but not in the heart of the renovated port area known as Plaza Maua.

“It will be close to Plaza Maua, but not exactly in Plaza Maua,” Andrada said. He said it was likely to be located near the Candelaria Church, which is near the plaza.

“Don’t get me into a fight with the mayor,” Andrada added.

Paes said he hoped the new plaza would be a center for outdoor entertainment during the Games, including performance stages, musical attractions, and large-screen televisions.

“It seems that the Maracana Stadium has limitations,” Paes said, adding that moving out of the Maracana “is good because it democratizes the access to the cauldron.”

The new plaza and downtown Rio are far from the heart of the Games in suburban Barra da Tijuca. It is also an area not usually visited by tourists.

The Olympic flame arrives from Greece and Switzerland on Tuesday in the capital Brasilia, to be carried off the plane by IOC member Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Rio organizing committee.

The flame then goes to the Planalto presidential palace where it is expected to be greeted by President Dilma Rousseff.

Andrada said IOC President Thomas Bach and other top IOC officials would not be at the ceremony.

Rousseff is facing impeachment charges and could be suspended from office as early as May 11, turning over authority to Vice President Michel Temer.

Temer, himself, could also face impeachment proceedings and has a scandal-tainted career.

PHOTOS: Olympic flame visits Acropolis, 1896 Olympic Stadium