Usain Bolt

Guide to the Commonwealth Games

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It is the world’s only event that brings together Usain Bolt and lawn bowlers.

The Commonwealth Games are the biggest summer multi-sport competition outside of the Olympics, held every four years. This summer’s edition is in Glasgow, Scotland. The Opening Ceremony is Wednesday and the Closing Ceremony on Aug. 3.

In between, more than 4,000 athletes are expected to compete across most — but not all — Summer Olympic sports and a few non-Olympic sports, such as lawn bowls (which may be the hottest ticket in Glasgow).

The event does not have much exposure in the U.S. — not even TV coverage — since the U.S. is not part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Instead, the notable countries competing in Glasgow are Australia, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa and the nations that make up Great Britain at the Olympics, led by England.

The BBC has a more detailed day-by-day outlook, but here are sport-by-sport capsules highlighting athletes who might be familiar to the U.S. audience:

Track and Field (July 27-Aug. 2)

Usain Bolt is expected to race for the first time this year in the 4x100m relay, but not any individual races, after a foot injury forced him to pull out of earlier meets. Heats are Aug. 1, and the final is Aug. 2.

He could be joined on the relay by World Championships teammates Nickel Ashmeade and Kemar Bailey-Cole, but missing are the injured Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell, who is just coming back from a doping suspension.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the Olympic and World 100m champion, is, like Bolt, only expected to contest the 4x100m relay. She could be joined by two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown on the Jamaican quartet.

Individual event stars include Kenyan Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha, the subject of a documentary being aired by the BBC on Tuesday night.

The eyes of Britain will be on Mo Farah, who is slated to attempt another 5000m-10,000m double after winning gold in both events at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships.

Then there’s the most dominant athlete in track and field — New Zealand’s Valerie Adams, who has won more than 50 straight shot put competitions.

Swimming (Thursday through Tuesday; heats 5:30 a.m. ET; finals 2 p.m. ET)

Americans get the chance to size up the top competition for the Pan Pacific Championships (Aug. 21-24, Gold Coast, Australia). Australia, South Africa and Canada are among the nations that compete in both the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs.

The Aussies sent their biggest stars to Glasgow, led by World champions James Magnussen (100m freestyle), Christian Sprenger (100m breaststroke) and Cate Campbell (100m freestyle) and the decorated Alicia Coutts.

South Africa boasts its Olympic champions, Cameron van der Burgh (100m breast) and Chad le Clos (100m butterfly). Canada’s roster includes Olympic and World Championships 1500m silver medalist Ryan Cochrane.

Gymnastics (July 28-Aug. 1)

The world’s dominant gymnastics nations — China, Japan, the U.S., Russia, Romania — aren’t at the Commonwealth Games. So, the focus goes to British gymnasts, who are divided among England and Scotland.

England features four of the five men from Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic bronze medal-winning team — Louis SmithMax WhitlockKristian Thomas and Sam Oldham. The fifth man from the Olympics, Daniel Purvis, competes for Scotland along with 2009 World all-around silver medalist Daniel Keatings.

There is one Olympic team champion in Glasgow, Australian Naoya Tsukahara, 37 and the son of the great Mitsuo Tsukahara, who won gold with Japan at Athens 2004.

Diving (July 30-Aug. 2; finals 6:30 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET)

The world’s best divers just finished the biggest meet of the year, the World Cup in Shanghai, but a few reconvene at Commonwealths.

The star is undoubtedly Tom Daley, the 2012 Olympic platform bronze medalist from England. Daley took fourth at the World Cup in Shanghai.

Cycling

England’s Bradley Wiggins takes part in the Commonwealth Games after not being named to Team Sky’s squad for the Tour de France, which he won in 2012 (along with the Olympic time trial). Wiggins will ride on the track — not the road — in Glasgow, and he will only do one event, the team pursuit on Thursday.

90-plus-year-old men set 3 world relay records at USATF Masters

Lindsey Vonn among Olympic medalists in documentary about gender in sports

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Olympic medalists Lindsey VonnHilary Knight and Ann Meyers-Drysdale will feature in TOMBOY, an hourlong, multi-platform documentary project aiming to elevate the conversation about gender in sports.

TOMBOY, which will premiere in March, is told through the voices of many of the world’s most prominent female athletes, broadcasters and sports executives.

It will air across all NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBCSN and select NBC-owned TV stations (check local listings). Clips can be found here. More information can be found here.

In an interview clip, Vonn discusses a challenge unique to her sport — fear.

“In my sport, you can’t be afraid,” said the 2010 Olympic downhill champion, who continues to come back from high-speed crashes and major injuries. “Ski racing is an incredibly dangerous sport. It definitely would not be safe if you were afraid of going 90 miles per hour.”

Knight, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, said that at age 5 one of her grandmothers told her that girls don’t play hockey.

“Since age 5, I’ve been working toward an Olympic dream,” said Knight, the MVP of the last two world championships. “Fifteen years later, I ended up at my first Olympic Games.”

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VIDEO: Vonn crashes out of World Cup super-G

Michael Phelps cites ‘frustration’ in testimony for congressional anti-doping hearing

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14:  Michael Phelps of the United States speaks during a press conference at the Main Press Centre on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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In written testimony, Michael Phelps said he was frustrated with the uncertainty of whether he was competing against clean athletes in Rio ahead of a congressional hearing looking at ways to improve the international anti-doping system.

“Rio was also unique because of increased doping concerns,” Phelps wrote in a 1,300-word letter, published ahead of his appearance at a congressional hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C. “In the year leading up to the Games, there was uncertainty and suspicion; I, along with a number of other athletes, signed a petition requesting that all athletes be tested in the months prior to the Games. Unfortunately, the uncertainty remained, even through the Games, and I watched how this affected my teammates and fellow competitors. We all felt the frustration, which undermines so much of the belief and confidence we work so hard to build up to prepare for the Olympics.”

Phelps is one of five witnesses called to testify at Tuesday’s 10:15 a.m. ET hearing, which will be webcast at http://energycommerce.house.gov/.

Phelps is expected to be joined by:

Adam Nelson, 2004 U.S. Olympic shot put champion
Travis Tygart, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO
Dr. Richard Budgett, IOC Medical and Scientific Director
Rob Koehler, World Anti-Doping Agency Deputy Director General

“Throughout my career, I have suspected that some athletes were cheating, and in some cases those suspicions were confirmed,” Phelps wrote. “Given all the testing I, and so many others, have been through I have a hard time understanding this. In addition to all the tests during competitions, I had to notify USADA as to where I would be every day, so they would be able to conduct random tests outside of competition. This whole process takes a toll, but it’s absolutely worth it to keep sport clean and fair. I can’t adequately describe how frustrating it is to see another athlete break through performance barriers in unrealistic timeframes, knowing what I had to go through to do it. I watched how this affected my teammates too. Even the suspicion of doping is disillusioning for clean athletes.”

Phelps reiterated that he hopes another athlete breaks his record of 28 Olympic medals.

“But for that to happen, he must believe he or she will get a fair opportunity to compete,” Phelps wrote. “If we allow our confidence in fair play to erode, we will undermine the power of sport, and the goals and dreams of future generations. The time to act is now. We must do what is necessary to ensure the system is fair and reliable, so we can all believe in it.”

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