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U.S. wrestlers still plan to travel for Iran meet

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The executive director of USA Wrestling said Monday that the American team still plans to compete next month in Iran, one of seven Muslim-majority countries whose citizens were temporarily banned from the U.S. by an executive order from President Donald Trump.

USA Wrestling’s Rich Bender told The Associated Press that the Americans have “every intention” of traveling to Kermanshah for the men’s freestyle World Cup on Feb. 16-17. Bender said the U.S. federation been given assurances from the Iranians that special attention is being given to their applications.

The scheduled trip to Iran will be the first major test for U.S. athletes travelling to one of the seven nations affected by Trump’s 90-day ban, issued last week.

“We’re going to respect the laws and orders of those in leadership positions in government and figure out how to embrace those and work with them to secure proper documentation for athletes to come here and us to go there,” Bender said.

Iran’s senior vice president Ishaq Jahangiri, through the official IRNA news agency, said Monday that Trump’s executive order was “illegal, inhumane and against human rights.”

The U.S. and Iran — two of the world’s top wrestling countries — have long found common ground on the mat. The U.S. wrestling team was the first American sports team to compete in Iran in nearly 20 years back in 1998, and the Iranian team has competed in the U.S. 16 times since the 1990s.

“Wrestling has shown a long, rich history of transcending politics and participating despite governmental disagreements,” Bender said. “That’s the beauty of sport and the Olympic movement. It’s about competition, not politics.”

USA Wrestling plans to send 13 wrestlers, two coaches, a referee, a medical staff member, a videographer and other official delegates to Kermanshah, which is in western Iran some 310 miles southwest of Tehran.

The annual World Cups in each discipline are among the most prestigious tournaments in the world. Iran will also host the Greco-Roman World Cup in Tehran in March.

MORE: Mo Farah ‘relieved’ he can travel home

Joseph Schooling eyes Michael Phelps’ world record at world champs

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Shortly after Joseph Schooling upset Michael Phelps in the Rio Olympic 100m butterfly, the Singapore swimmer made his next goal quite clear.

Take Phelps’ 100m butterfly world record.

Schooling repeated that claim after returning to the University of Texas for his junior season in November and again following March’s NCAA Championships, where he was beaten by Caeleb Dressel in the 100-yard butterfly.

The goal is apparently an imminent one.

Schooling said he believes he can break Phelps’ record at the world championships in Budapest in July, according to Channel News Asia. It would require lowering his personal best by more than a half-second.

“I’m looking forward to that race, and deep down I think if I do what I know I can do, if I execute everything well perfectly, I’d have a really good shot,” Schooling said Thursday, according to the report.

Schooling, 21, hasn’t raced a 100m butterfly since the Olympics, where he clocked 50.39 seconds. That broke Phelps’ Olympic record of 50.58 set at the 2008 Olympics. It’s the fifth-fastest time ever.

All of the top four times, including Phelps’ world record of 49.82, were set in 2009 at the peak of the high-tech swimsuit era.

“My dad told me 50.39 is a world record in a textile suit, but I want the world record on paper,” Schooling reportedly said less than a week after his Olympic title in August. “My next goal is breaking 49.8.”

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MORE: Phelps joins gold medalists in swim race, but no comeback

Aly Raisman calls out airport worker for ‘muscles’ comment

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Three-time Olympic champion Aly Raisman called out a male airport security worker who she says questioned whether she had enough muscles to be a gymnast.

Raisman posted on Twitter on Wednesday that after a female Transportation Security Administration worker said she recognized Raisman by her biceps, a male employee said, “I don’t see any muscles.” Raisman called the encounter “rude & uncomfortable.”

Raisman, who turned 23 Thursday, says she works “very hard to be healthy & fit.” She says that if a man can’t compliment a girl’s muscles, he’s sexist.

Raisman didn’t say where or when the airport exchange took place.

Raisman previously authored a powerful social media post about body image, shouting out “to all the boys from 5th-9th grade who made fun of me for being ‘too strong’” in November.

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MORE: U.S. gymnasts give emotional testimony about sexual abuse