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Stockholm Diamond League preview, broadcast schedule

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Andre De Grasse and Asbel Kiprop headline a Diamond League meet in Stockholm, live on Sunday starting at 9:15 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold and 10 a.m. on NBCSN.

De Grasse, the only man other than Usain Bolt to earn three sprint medals in Rio, will look to break 10 seconds in the 100m for the first time since the Olympics.

Meanwhile, the 2008 Olympic champion Kiprop runs his first international 1500m race of the year. Kiprop went into the Rio Games as the favorite but finished sixth. Instead, Matthew Centrowitz ended a 108-year U.S. gold-medal drought in the event.

Athletes are preparing for the world championships in London in August. Bershawn Jackson, the 2008 Olympic 400m hurdles bronze medalist, is the only notable American in Stockholm as the U.S. Championships are next week.

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

9:20 a.m. — Men’s/women’s discus
9:38 — Women’s pole vault
10:03 — Men’s 400m hurdles
10:07 — Women’s high jump
10:33 — Men’s 400m
10:50 — Men’s long jump
10:52 — Men’s 3000m steeplechase
11:08 — Women’s 200m
11:18 — Men’s 110m hurdles
11:28 — Men’s 1500m
11:40 — Men’s 100m
11:53 — Women’s 800m

Here are three events to watch:

Men’s/Women’s Discus — 9:20 a.m.

The major players from Thursday’s meet in Oslo are back, including every 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion — German brothers Robert and Christoph Harting and Croatian Sandra Perkovic.

Despite his Rio gold, Christoph has never won a Diamond League meet. Robert last prevailed in 2014. They were fifth and sixth in Oslo behind Swede Daniel Stahl, who didn’t make it out of qualifying at the Olympics.

The women’s discus is a little more stable. Perkovic is on a 16-meet winning streak but has been tested at her first two Diamond League meets this year, winning by less than two feet each time. In 2016, she regularly prevailed by more than 10 feet.

Men’s 1500m — 11:28 a.m.

This is a battle between two Kenyans.

Kiprop, the three-time reigning world champion, faces 21-year-old Timothy Cheruiyot. In his last two 1500m finals, Kiprop lost to the young Cheruiyot at the Diamond League final in Brussels last season and the Kenyan Championships six days ago.

Kiprop’s safety net of a bye into the London worlds may account for that last defeat, but Cheruiyot is the real deal. He was the fourth fastest 1500m runner in the world last year, behind the three Kenyans who beat him at the Olympic Trials.

Men’s 100m — 11:40 a.m. 

De Grasse just missed his first sub-10 since Rio when he won in Oslo on Thursday in 10.01 seconds. The Canadian gets another shot in Stockholm ahead of next month’s Canadian Championships.

Nobody in Saturday’s field has broken 10 seconds this season, though it does include fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place sprint finishers from Rio in Adam GemiliChurandy Martina and Ben Youssef Meite.

Still, De Grasse is the clear favorite eyeing his third straight Diamond League race victory. He’ll look to improve upon his world No. 14 ranking this year and consolidate his threat to Bolt at worlds in two months.

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Alysia Montano races pregnant again at USATF Outdoor Championships

Alysia Montano
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U.S. Olympic 800m runner Alysia Montaño raced four months pregnant in 110-degree heat at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday.

Montaño, who raced eight months pregnant at the 2014 USATF Outdoors also in Sacramento, finished last in her 800m first-round heat in 2:21.40. She was 10 seconds faster than her time three years ago.

In a Wonder Woman top, she gritted her teeth on the final straightaway and raised her arms crossing the finish line.

“[In 2014] women let me know that my journey and my story had inspired them in so many different ways,” Montaño told media in Sacramento, standing next to 2-year-old daughter Linnea. “I think there’s something about coming out to any venue, not really expecting to win, but just going along with the journey and seeing what comes out of it. And that’s the most beautiful part for me, being a track and field athlete, the platform that I have, I feel so responsible to be a representative for people who don’t have the same platform, don’t have the same voice that I do.

“I represent so many different people. I represent women. I represent black women. I represent pregnant women. … I think it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m a voice and advocate for them.”

Athletes are looking for top-three finishes to qualify for the world championships in London in August. Finals are later this weekend.

In the men’s 800m, two-time Olympian and 2013 World silver medalist Nick Symmonds was eliminated, 32nd-fastest of 33 runners in the first round.

Symmonds, in his final season, said he has one more race left — the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 10.

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Lilly King to be less vocal on Yuliya Efimova topic this summer

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Expect to see Lilly King and Yuliya Efimova resume their breaststroke rivalry at the world championships next month.

It will look very different than in Rio, when King became a vocal opponent of doping and directed some of her words at the formerly suspended Russian Efimova.

“This summer, I’m not going to talk about everything that happened last summer,” King said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “I spoke my piece. I’ve said everything I need to say.”

Her focus needs to stay in the pool, where she must finish first or second at the USA Swimming National Championships next week to make it to worlds (broadcast schedule here).

King said in May her goal is to break world records at worlds in Budapest in July.

She may need to in order to defeat Efimova like in Rio.

Efimova has the fastest 100m breast time in the world this year, a 1:04.82 set on Sunday. The national record put her No. 3 on the all-time list (and .09 faster than King’s winning time in Rio).

King is in third place this year at 1:06.20, though she spent all winter focusing on NCAA competition in 25-yard pools.

In Rio, King said Efimova shouldn’t have been allowed to compete given her doping history.

Efimova served a 16-month ban for testing positive for the banned steroid DHEA in 2013. She again tested positive in February 2016 for meldonium, though she said she stopped taking it before it became a banned substance Jan. 1, 2016, and was absolved along with other athletes.

King memorably finger-wagged at an image of Efimova on a TV in the ready room before her 100m breast semifinal and relegated the Russian to silver the following the night.

“You’ve been caught for drug cheating, I’m just not a fan,” King memorably said in Rio, adding last November, “[Doping] was on all of our minds. We had team meetings talking about what it was going to be like. We were going to be racing dopers, and we all knew it.”

King struggled with her newfound fame after she returned home last summer, sobbing in a winter meeting with her University of Indiana coach, Ray Looze, according to the Indianapolis Star:

It was so hard to do normal activities in her hometown – go to the grocery store or eat at a restaurant – that she considered wearing a wig to disguise herself. Her likeness was on a bingo card at a fall festival, so people purposely looked for her. When in Evansville now, she said, she looks at the ground so no one will recognize her. After an initial wave of attention on IU’s campus, she can walk around without interruption.

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