Five for Friday: What we missed from Moscow

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When Russia hosted the 1980 Moscow Olympics, they were part of a Soviet Union waging a war in Afghanistan that later inspired “Rambo III” (and arguably sewed the seeds for other international conflicts). The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. didn’t get along too well back then, so America took its ball home and refused to play (oh, and 64 other countries also boycotted the Games). So, in case you weren’t alive or couldn’t watch because geopolitics got in the way, here are five possibly notable things that happened at the 1980 Summer Olympics:

1. In one of the most legendary moments in British Olympic history, middle distance runner Sebastian Coe narrowly lost to fellow countryman Steve Ovett in a dramatic 800m, an event in which Coe held the world record. Six days later in the 1,500m, Ovett’s signature event, Coe held off Ovett in the final lap to win gold in the 1,500m while Ovett finished settled for bronze. Coe went on to head the British commission that oversaw the 2012 London Games.

2. Russian fencer Vladimir Smirnov won gold in the men’s individual foil competition. Smirnov died two years later when, at the World Championships in Rome, his opponent’s foil snapped and the jagged blade punctured Smirnov’s mask and drove through his eye and into his brain. His death prompted tighter safety regulations of the sport, including of helmets – until then, players often gained a competitive edge by secretly removing some of the heavy protective steel bars in the facemask so they could move more quickly.

3. Much of the competition was diluted due to the 80-country field, the fewest participating countries since 1956. As a result, Russia’s Aleksandr Dityatin became the first Olympian to win eight medals in a single Games when he finished on the podium in every men’s gymnastics competition. He probably loves those medals no less, despite whatever people may say about that year’s competitive field.

4. East German kayaker Birgit Fischer won gold in the women’s K-1 500m competition. That achievement gained more significance when she went to win gold medals in the 1988, ’92, ’96, 2000 and ’04 Olympics as well. She missed out on the 1984 Los Angeles Games when the U.S.S.R. retaliated with their own boycott.

5. In probably another of many examples of what happens when many of the world’s best athletes can’t compete in the Olympics, Spain and Bulgaria earned their first-ever medals in men’s track, while Britain’s Allan Wells won a photo finish in the 100m to bring home his country’s first Olympic title in the event since 1924. His 10.25 seconds wouldn’t have even put him on podium four years earlier in Montreal.

Anna van der Breggen is first cyclist to sweep road world titles in 25 years

Anna van der Breggen
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Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen added the road race crown to her time trial victory at the world road cycling championships, becoming the second rider in history to win both events at the same edition.

“This is, for me, pretty good so far,” she said.

Van der Breggen, the Rio Olympic road race champion, won after a solo attack with more than 25 miles left of an 89-mile course in Imola, Italy, on Saturday.

She prevailed after more than four hours of racing by 80 seconds over countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, the 2019 champion. Van Vleuten raced nine days after breaking her left wrist in a Giro Rosa crash.

Italian Elisa Longo Borghini took bronze in the same time as van Vleuten after losing a photo-finish sprint. Lauren Stephens was the top American in 11th.

Full results are here.

The race lacked American standout Chloé Dygert, who crashed out of the time trial while leading on Thursday and required leg surgery.

Van der Breggen joined Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo as the only male or female cyclists to sweep the time trial and road race at a single worlds. Longo did so in 1995 at age 36.

Van der Breggen, 30, said in May that she will retire after the 2021 Olympic season.

It will be the end of one of the great cycling careers. She is now a three-time world champion and nine-time world medalist to go along with her road race gold and time trial bronze in her Olympic debut in Rio.

Worlds conclude Sunday with the men’s road race. A TV and stream schedule is here.

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MORE: A more equal future for women’s cycling? Lizzie Deignan has high hopes

2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

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Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final