Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps beats Ryan Lochte again in Athens

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Michael Phelps notched his second win in as many days over Ryan Lochte in the fourth meet of his comeback after a 20-month retirement.

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, won a 100m backstroke race in 53.88 seconds in Athens, Ga., on Saturday. Lochte, an 11-time Olympic medalist, touched second in 54.4.

Phelps’ victory in an event neither usually swims at major meets came one day after he beat Lochte by a comfortable 1.41 seconds in a 100m butterfly race.

Butterfly has always been Phelps’ signature stroke, while Lochte has more backstroke experience. Lochte is the reigning World champion in the 200m back. But Lochte is coming back from an aggravation of a major November knee injury, competing for the first time since April.

Phelps’ time ranks No. 14 in the world this year and third among Americans, according to SwimVortex.com.

Phelps is expected to swim the 100m freestyle on the final day of the meet Sunday.

Swimmers are preparing for the U.S. Championships in Irvine Calif., Aug. 6-10, and the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, from Aug. 21-24.

In other events, 2013 World 400m individual medley silver medalist Chase Kalisz won the 200m butterfly, a former Phelps staple, in 1:58.09, making him the third-fastest American this year. Olympic 200m backstroke champion Tyler Clary was second in 1:58.96.

Olympian Cammile Adams won the women’s 200m fly in 2:08.45, improving to 13th in the world this year.

Brazil’s second-best sprinter, Bruno Fratus, won the 50m freestyle in 22.09, .26 faster than U.S. Olympic silver medalist Cullen Jones. Two-time Bahamian Olympian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace took the women’s 50m free in 24.67, .69 slower than the fastest woman this year.

Melanie Margalis upset World bronze medalist Micah Lawrence in the 200m breaststroke, clocking 2:27.06, still more than two seconds slower than Lawrence’s U.S.-best time this year.

Nic Fink won the men’s 200m breast in 2:11.76 and Kathleen Baker, 17, the 100m back in 1:00.65, both the fastest times by an American in 2014.

Cierra Runge won the women’s 400m free in 4:07.67, improving on her time as the second-fastest American behind Katie Ledecky this year.

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IOC president: ‘No intention’ by any countries to pull out of Rio Olympics

Thomas Bach
AP
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LILLEHAMMER, Norway (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach said Friday that no countries intend to pull out of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro over concerns about the Zika virus.

Bach, speaking ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, said he has “full confidence” in the actions being undertaken by the Brazilian authorities and global health organizations to combat the outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus.

“There is no intention by [any] national Olympic committee to pull out from the Rio Olympic Games,” Bach said. “This does not exclude that we are taking this situation very seriously.”

Brazil has been the epicenter of the Zika outbreak, which has spread across Latin America and been labeled a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.

Health authorities are investigating whether there is link between Zika infections in pregnant women and microcephaly, a rare condition in which children are born with abnormally small heads. The outbreak has raised concerns ahead of the Olympics, which are still six months away in August.

“We have full confidence in all the many actions being undertaken by the Brazilian and international authorities and health organizations,” Bach said. “We’re also very confident that the athletes and the spectators will enjoy safe conditions in Rio de Janeiro.”

Some athletes, most notably U.S. soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, have expressed fears about going to the Olympics. Solo said earlier this week that if the games were being held today, she would not go.

Bach said the IOC was working with national Olympic committees and the World Health Organization to monitor the situation. He reiterated that, because the games are taking place during the Brazilian winter, the colder conditions should mitigate the threat from mosquitoes.

“The World Health Organization has not issued a travel ban,” Bach said. “All the experts agree that the temperatures in the Brazilian winter time when the games are taking place in August … will lead to a very different situation.”

Bach’s comments echoed those of the IOC’s medical director, Dr. Richard Budgett, who told The Associated Press on Thursday that “everything that can be done is being done” to contain Zika ahead of the games, stressing that health authorities have not issued any travel restrictions for Brazil.

Bach is in Lillehammer for the second Youth Winter Olympics, where more than 1,000 athletes from 70 countries between the ages of 15 and 18 will compete in 70 medal events over 10 days.

MORE: Youth Winter Olympics broadcast schedule

Max Parrot, Julia Marino win Big Air at Fenway Park snowboarding

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Canadian Olympic snowboarder Max Parrot and American Julia Marino swept the first Big Air at Fenway Park events on Thursday night.

Parrot, who finished fifth in the Sochi Olympic slopestyle competition, had the highest-scoring run of all competitors in gusty conditions at the home of the Boston Red Sox.

He tallied a 96.25 in his second of three runs. The combined score of his first two runs — 183.5 — held up so that his last run was a victory lap.

Parrot gained attention in Sochi for being one of two Canadian snowboarders to call out Shaun White for pulling out before the slopestyle competition.

White didn’t compete Thursday. Olympic slopestyle champions Sage Kotsenburg (training crash) and Jamie Anderson (eliminated in qualifying) did compete, but not in the finals.

Big air, which debuts at the Olympics at Pyeongchang 2018, is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic snowboard disciplines. The key difference is that big air runs include one jump, while slopestyle is a course of several jumps and rails.

Earlier, American Julia Marino was the surprise women’s winner at Fenway, tallying a two-run total of 169.25. Marino, 18, was a forerunner who got into the field when U.S. Olympian Ty Walker withdrew.

Riders competed Thursday with wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour, NBC Sports’ Tina Dixon said. Their bibs flapped uncontrollably at the top of the 140-foot-high jump, nearly four times the height of the adjacent Green Monster.

“The wind definitely created a nervous factor for me, and I’m sure all the other riders, too,” Marino, a Connecticut native, said on NBCSN. “It was crazy windy up there. But the fact is the jump itself wasn’t as winded down below. … I’ve been to Boston so many times, and I’ve walked past this ballpark a ton. To be snowboarding here, it’s insane.”

Big Air at Fenway concludes Friday with ski big air, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra at 9 p.m. ET.

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