Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky lead Golden Goggles nominees

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Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky are up for Male and Female Athlete and Race of the Year awards at the Golden Goggles. The nominees were announced by USA Swimming on Friday.

Phelps received five nominations and Ledecky four. Missy Franklin received three nominations. Ryan Lochte was not among the nominees for Male Athlete of the Year for the first time since 2006.

Online voting is available here through Nov. 14. A percentage of the fan vote will count toward the final results, awarded at the Nov. 24 Golden Goggle Awards in New York.

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The nominees:

Breakout Performer of the Year

Maya DiRado — Won her first individual medals at a major international meet, gold in the 200m individual medley and silver in the 400m individual medley at the Pan Pacific Championships.
Katie McLaughlin — Made her first U.S. team for a major international meet and won bronze in the 200m butterfly at the Pan Pacific Championships.
Ryan Murphy — Made his first U.S. team for a major international meet and won bronze in the 100m backstroke.
Cierra Runge — Made her first U.S. team for a major international meet and won silver in the 400m freestyle.
Kendyl Stewart — Made her first U.S. team for a major international meet and won silver in the 4x100m medley relay and bronze in the 100m butterfly.

Perseverance Award

Haley Anderson and Andrew Gemmell — Won Pan Pacific Championships open-water 10km titles after events were moved from Australia to Hawaii.
Kevin Cordes — Helped U.S. to 4x100m medley relay gold at Pan Pacific Championships after being disqualified in the 100m breaststroke.
Missy Franklin — Won four Pan Pacific Championships medals after suffering a back injury before the meet.
Michael Phelps — Won five Pan Pacific Championships medals after a 20-month competitive retirement.
Tom Shields — Swept U.S. titles in 100m and 200m butterfly to make his first U.S. team for a major international meet at age 23.

Coach of the Year

Bob Bowman — Star pupil: Michael Phelps
Dave Durden — Star pupil: Nathan Adrian
Bruce Gemmell — Star pupil: Katie Ledecky
David Marsh — Star pupil: Ryan Lochte

Relay Performance of the Year (all at Pan Pacific Championships)

Women’s 4x200m Free Relay — U.S. wins by 1.37 over Australia with Katie Ledecky‘s comeback anchor leg.
Men’s 4x200m Free Relay — U.S. wins by .13 over Japan with Matt McLean‘s comeback anchor leg.
Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay — U.S. wins by 2.14 over Japan in Pan Pacific Championships record time.

Female Race of the Year (all Pan Pacific Championships finals)

Cammile Adams’ 200m fly — Gold by .07 over Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi. Adams’ first medal at a major international meet.
Maya DiRado’s 200m IM — Gold in Pan Pacific Championships record time by .33 over Australia’s Alicia Coutts. DiRado’s first individual major international meet gold medal.
Jessica Hardy’s 100m breast — Gold by .04 over Japan’s Kanako Watanabe.
Katie Ledecky’s 400m free – Gold in world record time by 6.18 seconds over Cierra Runge.
Katie Ledecky’s 1500m free – Gold in world record time by 27.33 seconds over New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle.

Male Race of the Year (all Pan Pacific Championships finals)

Tyler Clary’s 200m back — Gold by .23 over Japan’s Ryosuke Irie.
Nic Fink’s 200m breast — Silver, .37 behind Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki. Fink’s first major international meet medal.
Connor Jaeger’s 1500m free — Gold by .18 over Canada’s Ryan Cochrane, the biggest win of Jaeger’s career and first U.S. gold in the event at a major international meet in 30 years.
Michael Phelps’ 100m fly — Gold in .38 over Ryan Lochte in Phelps’ first major international meet since London 2012.

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Female Athlete of the Year

Elizabeth Beisel — One gold, one bronze at Pan Pacific Championships.
Maya DiRado — One gold, one silver at Pan Pacific Championships.
Missy Franklin — One gold, two silvers, one bronze at Pan Pacific Championships.
Katie Ledecky — Five golds at Pan Pacific Championships.

Male Athlete of the Year

Tyler Clary — One gold, one silver, one bronze at Pan Pacific Championships.
Connor Jaeger — One gold, two bronzes at Pan Pacific Championships.
Michael Phelps — Three golds, two silvers at Pan Pacific Championships.

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Adam Jones, five-time MLB All-Star, becomes Olympic eligible

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Should the U.S. qualify for baseball’s Olympic return, a five-time MLB All-Star could be eligible for its roster in Tokyo. And he has interest.

Outfielder Adam Jones signed with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s domestic league, which, unlike MLB, will take an Olympic break next summer to allow players to take part in the first Olympic baseball tournament in 12 years.

Jones, 34, made no mention of Olympic eligibility in a social media post announcing the signing. His Instagram avatar is a photo of him in a Team USA jersey from the World Baseball Classic.

Jones’ agent later said that Jones does have interest in playing for the U.S. in Tokyo, should an American team qualify in the spring.

“To play over in Japan has always been a desire of Adam’s, and the timing worked out that the Olympics happens to be played in Tokyo the first year of his contract,” Jones’ agent wrote in an email. “It wasn’t one of the factors on his decision BUT more of a [sic] addition to the overall package to decide to go.”

Jones called being part of the U.S.’ 2017 WBC title, “probably the best experience of my life so far, especially with sports,” according to The Associated Press. He was one of five players to be on the U.S. team at each of the last two World Baseball Classics.

The U.S. still faces a difficult task to qualify for the Tokyo Games. It lost to Mexico last month in its first of up to three chances at qualifying tournaments, using a roster of mostly double-A and triple-A caliber players.

Major Leaguers are not expected to be made available for qualifying or for the Tokyo Games.

The next two qualifying tournaments will be in late March (an Americas qualifier in Arizona) and early April (a final, global qualifying event in Chinese Taipei). It remains to be seen how MLB clubs will go about releasing minor leaguers for a tournament that will take place during spring training.

Jones could become the third player with prior MLB All-Star experience to compete at the Olympics from any nation, joining Australian catcher Dave Nilsson and Canadian pitcher Jason Dickson.

Jones made five All-Star teams during an 11-year stint with the Baltimore Orioles from 2008-18 before playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

Many players competed at the Olympics before making an MLB All-Star team, including Stephen Strasburg and Jason Giambi.

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Russia boxers to boycott Olympics if sanctions not lifted

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Russian boxers will only take part in the Tokyo Olympics if doping sanctions forcing them to compete as neutral athletes are overturned, the general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Umar Kremlev said he has spoken with the Olympic boxing team and they “unanimously” rejected the conditions laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency as punishment for manipulating doping data.

The WADA sanctions, announced on Monday, ban the use of the Russian team name, flag or anthem at a range of major sports competitions over the next four years, including next year’s Olympics.

“They said we won’t go without our flag and anthem,” Kremlev said. “We aren’t going for medals, but for that feeling that I brought the highest honor home for my country.”

Separately, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament said Russia could create an alternative to the Olympics.

“This ruling show the clear crisis in international sports institutions. I believe that Russia could host its own games at home,” Valentina Matvienko said in comments reported by the Interfax news agency.

There is a precedent. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union refused to compete in the Olympics and hosted its own Spartakiads — named after the ancient rebel slave Spartacus — with a strong socialist slant. However, the Soviet Union began competing at the Olympics in 1952 and Russians generally take great pride in the country’s Olympic achievements since then.

If the sanctions aren’t overturned, Kremlev said Russian boxers would prefer to turn pro rather than compete at the Olympics.

“A world champion (in professional boxing) is better known than an Olympic champion,” Kremlev said, adding the Russian anthem would be played before pro title fights.

Kremlev said boxers are being asked to shoulder the blame for offenses committed in other sports. He said they would still stay at home even if Russia’s athletes in other sports decided to take part.

“If other sports are guilty and people have breached the WADA code, why are we punished?” he said. “We are for honest sport and against doping. We want our sport to be clean … If someone breaks the rules, we push them out.”

Russia is a major power in amateur and Olympic boxing. It hosted both men’s and women’s world championships this year, finishing at the top of the medals table at the women’s event and second in the men’s championships. The International Olympic Committee has taken direct charge of boxing at the Tokyo Olympics after criticizing chronic financial problems and infighting at the International Boxing Association.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov talked up Russia’s chances of overturning the WADA sanctions.

“I think that there is every basis to appeal the decision, because our experts have presented their position, and they have the same database as WADA does,” Kolobkov said in comments reported by state news agency TASS. “There is an answer to every question and the whole process is ahead of us.”

The official decision on whether to dispute the sanctions will be made on Dec. 19 by the Russian anti-doping agency’s supervisory board, but senior figures, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, have signaled their preference for taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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