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Olympic 100m rematch highlights Shanghai Diamond League

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Elaine Thompson and Tori Bowie match up Saturday for the first time since they shared the podium three times in Rio, live on Universal HD and NBC Sports Gold.

Thompson and Bowie headline the women’s 100m at the second Diamond League meet of the season in Shanghai. Meet coverage runs from 7-9 a.m. ET.

Thompson, who swept the 100m and 200m in Rio, ought to be the favorite. The Jamaican clocked 10.75 seconds in her first 100m since Rio on April 15. It was slightly wind-aided (2.2 meters/second), but only two women have broken 11 seconds with legal wind this year, and neither of them are in the Shanghai field.

Bowie, who took 100m silver and 200m bronze in Rio, ran an even windier 10.80 (3.3 meters/second tailwind), also on April 15. Bowie followed that up with a 22.09-second 200m on April 28, with a slight headwind, the fastest time in that event in the world this year.

However, Thompson clocked 22.19 with greater headwind (2.3 meters/second) in a Diamond League 200m last week.

With two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce out due to pregnancy, the 24-year-old Thompson and 26-year-old Bowie could be the head-to-head force of the 100m for some time. Shanghai will mark the second time they’ve been in the same 100m race.

Shanghai start lists are available here. Here’s the schedule (all times Eastern):

5:45 a.m. — Women’s shot put
6:35 — Men’s high jump
6:45 — Men’s pole vault
6:50 — Men’s discus
6:50 — Women’s discus
7:03 — Men’s 400m hurdles
7:10 — Women’s 1500m
7:24 — Men’s 100m
7:27 — Men’s long jump
7:34 — Women’s 400m
7:42 — Men’s 800m
7:51 — Women’s 3000m steeplechase
8:11 — Women’s 100m
8:20 — Men’s 200m
8:27 — Women’s 5000m
8:53 — Men’s 110m hurdles

Here are five events to watch:

Men’s High Jump — 6:35 a.m. ET

Olympic champion Derek Drouin of Canada faces his toughest field since Rio. It includes Olympic silver medalist Mutaz Barshim of Qatar, world silver medalist Zhang Guowei of China and the top American, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard.

Drouin may be somewhat vulnerable to his first outdoor loss since last July given he has been training for the decathlon with an eye on multi-eventing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Men’s Pole Vault — 6;45 a.m. ET

All three Olympic medalists, plus the 2015 World gold and silver medalists, make up the best field-event group of the Shanghai meet.

Brazilian Thiago Braz and France’s Renaud Lavillenie both compete outdoors for the first time this year after Braz surprisingly prevailed in their Rio duel. They’re joined by Rio bronze medalist Sam Kendricks of the U.S., plus the top two from the 2015 Worlds — Canadian Shawn Barber and German Raphael Holzdeppe.

All of these men will be chasing the best outdoor clearance in the world this year, 5.90 meters by 17-year-old Swede Armand Duplantis, a Louisiana high schooler who is not in Shanghai.

Men’s 800m — 7:42 a.m. ET

Two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha races for the first time since September. He’ll be looking for a better outing in Shanghai than a year ago, when he faded to fifth after being caught off-guard by the starter’s gun.

Rudisha faces no other Olympic medalists in the Shanghai field, but it does include 2015 World silver medalist Adam Kszczot of Poland. Plus, both Kenyans who made the 2015 World and 2016 Olympic finals with Rudisha.

U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy, who is not in the Shanghai field, has the fastest time in the world this year of 1:43.60.

Women’s 100m — 8:11 a.m. ET

This field includes five of the eight Olympic finalists, headlined by the gold and silver medalists Thompson and Bowie. The winner between them becomes the early favorite for the world championships in August.

Potential Shanghai spoilers include Olympic long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta and two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Men’s 110m hurdles — 8:53 a.m. ET

A total of 20 men in history have broken 13 seconds in the 110m hurdles. Six of them are in Shanghai. It is slated to be the first time six men with sub-13 times already to their name race a 110m hurdles. Shanghai had a field of six sub-13 men last year, but two of them false started out.

It features the last two Olympic champions — Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt — the last two world champions — Russian Sergey Shubenkov and American David Oliver — and Olympic medalists Hansle Parchment (Jamaica) and Orlando Ortega (Spain).

Shanghai has different meanings for different men. McLeod is already two tenths faster than any other man in the world this year. He’s looking to cement his world championships favorite status.

Ortega, after taking silver to McLeod in Rio, beat the Jamaican at their last Diamond League meeting last summer. He could be the most worthy challenger.

Shubenkov hasn’t competed internationally since 2015 due to Russia’s track and field ban. Merritt, Oliver and Parchment are all looking for bounce-back seasons after missing the Rio Olympics.

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Kerri Walsh Jennings’ next partner is a familiar one

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Kerri Walsh Jennings is slated to play with with 2008 Olympian Nicole Branagh this summer, after she and Olympic bronze medal teammate April Ross split last month.

Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion with Misty May-Treanor before that bronze in Rio, and Branagh, who made the Beijing Games quarterfinals with Elaine Youngs, are entered in an FIVB World Tour event in Croatia the last week of June.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are both 38 years old and briefly paired in 2010 when May-Treanor was uncertain about making a run for the London Olympics. When May-Treanor told Walsh Jennings she was all-in for London, Walsh Jennings split from Branagh.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are hoping to play together through the World Tour Finals in late August, according to Volleyball Magazine.

That includes the world championships in Vienna, Austria, in late July and early August.

It’s not known if they will have the combined ranking points to earn an outright worlds spot. They could also receive a wild card for worlds. Entries will be announced next month.

Walsh Jennings, a mother of three, has said she hopes to play in the 2020 Olympics at age 41, when she will be older than any previous Olympic beach or indoor volleyball player, according to Olympic historians.

Branagh returned to competition this year after a one-year break to have her second child. She has played few international events since 2012 and last won internationally in 2010 (with Walsh Jennings).

Ross, an Olympic silver and bronze medalist and 2009 World champion, is now partnered with Lauren Fendrick, who played with Brooke Sweat in Rio. Ross, 34, said she will figure out her long-term partner plans for Tokyo 2020 after this season.

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Catching up with Ross Powers

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Ross Powers, now 38 years old and 15 years removed from his Olympic snowboarding title, is still out with halfpipe riders on the snow five days per week.

The difference now is that Powers is coaching. He runs the snowboarding program at Stratton Mountain School in Vermont, where he graduated from in 1997.

Powers spoke with OlympicTalk before last season, reflecting on 20 years of snowboarding in the Olympics, Shaun White and how he likes coaching.

OlympicTalk: The PyeongChang Winter Games will mark 20 years since snowboarding’s debut in Nagano. What was it like competing in the first Olympic halfpipe?

Powers (who won bronze in Nagano at age 19): It seemed kind of like a regular World Cup. We were up in the mountains. At the time, it was a really good halfpipe, but we ended up competing in some bad weather, some rain. I didn’t realize until I left Japan and got home how big the Olympics were. But looking back, it was a special time. And I really learned from the ’98 Olympics, like if I get this chance again, I’m going to go there, I’m going to do it all. I’m going to go to Opening Ceremonies, Closing Ceremonies, watch as many events as I can and just make the most out of the Games.

OlympicTalk: The Nagano halfpipe was about half the size of today’s superpipes (394 feet long with 11 1/2-foot walls vs. 590 feet with 22-foot walls in Sochi). Could today’s snowboarders compete with you guys back in 1998?

Powers: It was so different. At the time, I want to say it was the biggest pipe we rode, but compared to today’s standards, it’s small. The weather was tricky. I think a lot of those guys [today] could ride it, but it’s so much different than today’s halfpipe for sure.

OlympicTalk: In 2002, when you led a U.S. men’s halfpipe medal sweep, the rider who just missed the Olympic team was a 15-year-old Shaun White. What do you remember about him?

Powers: You kind of knew he was going to be the next guy. Where he took our sport and certain tricks. One thing that really impressed me about him is he’ll train really hard for an event, show up, even if the conditions are bad, he’s planned this trick he wants to do, and he’ll try it no matter what. Most of the time he’ll give it a go and land it. That actually hurt him in Russia [White attempted but couldn’t perfect the YOLO Flip 1440 in Sochi] because he probably could have stepped down a notch, gotten a medal and maybe even won the event.

OlympicTalk: Did Shaun ever beat you before you retired?

Powers: I had my run from 1998, ’99, ’00, ’01, all those times that I was doing really well. I tried to make the 2006 Olympics in Italy. I was the alternate, so I just missed that. He was definitely beating me up through those times.

OlympicTalk: Did you travel to the Torino Olympics as an alternate?

Powers: I did, yeah. I traveled over there and actually watched my buddy [Seth] Wescott win the gold in boarder cross. That night, he was like, you should try boarder cross. That kind of got me into doing that my next few years after that.

[Editor’s Note: Powers almost made the 2010 Olympic team in snowboard cross, even finishing third in a December 2009 World Cup.]

OlympicTalk: Which is tougher, coaching or competing?

Powers: I would say it is tougher coaching than competing. You just have so many responsibilities and so much work. The nice thing about coaching, though, compared to competing, is you can kind of push yourself and have fun [riding] on certain days but then also sit back and really work with the athletes on all other days. So when you’re feeling it, you can push yourself. So it’s not like an athlete, where you have to push yourself.

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