Missy Franklin

Missy Franklin (back) in doubt for Pan Pacific Championships

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Missy Franklin could miss the biggest swim meet of the year with a back injury.

The four-time Olympic champion suffered back spasms at practice Tuesday, two days before the Pan Pacific Championships open in Gold Coast, Australia. Her status for her first events Thursday will be determined before preliminary heats that morning (Gold Coast is 14 hours ahead of Eastern time).

Franklin at first allayed fears Tuesday on Twitter.

But video from Sportsnet in Canada showed Franklin being gingerly helped away from the pool.

Pan Pacs men’s preview | women’s preview

Franklin, who became the first woman to win six gold medals at a single World Championships last year, was not present for practice or a press conference Wednesday. She was to be re-evaluated throughout Wednesday, USA Swimming said.

Later Wednesday, USA Swimming said Franklin tested her back swimming in a local pool with “minimal discomfort” and said back spasms were not previously a factor for her.

“It was very therapeutic and felt great being back in the water,” Franklin said in a press release. “I am feeling drastically better every hour that goes by and hoping and praying that I will be ready to race [Thursday]. We will consistently coordinate with team doctors and staff to make the best decisions for myself and my team.”

Franklin, a 19-year-old rising sophomore at California, was entered in the 200m freestyle and the 100m backstroke on the opening day of competition Thursday.

Michael Phelps takes on vocal leader role in Australia

Coaches to receive medals at World Track and Field Championships

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Coaches will receive medals at the World Track and Field Championships for the first time this summer.

London will host the 16th edition of the event in 100 days.

Coaches’ medals will be based on similar themes to athlete medals but will look different.

“The medals, gifted to successful athletes once they return from their ceremony, will be for them to hand to their coach or significant advisor in recognition of the unique and valued working relationship between athlete and coach,” the IAAF said in a press release.

Coaches do not receive Olympic medals.

The U.S. Olympic Committee established the Order of Ikkos medals starting with the 2008 Beijing Games, allowing medal-winning athletes to acknowledge one coach.

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MORE: What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

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Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.

First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).

USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.

The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.

Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.

Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.

The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.

Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.

That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.

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