FIBA investing in 3-on-3 hoops

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Volleyball has beach, cycling has BMX, swimming has open water, and badminton exists, so why not 3-on-3 hoops at the Olympics?

FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, is strongly considering a push to make 3-on-3 at the Olympics a reality as soon as the Rio Games in 2016, and the success of the world championships in Spain last week is encouraging the masses.

Serbia won both the men’s senior and under-18 tournament, with the U.S. taking bronze and silver respectively and the French ending up with whatever was left. In August, Team USA took gold at the inaugural women’s world tournament in Athens.

“What FIBA wants is to create a new generation of players,” said Jim Tooley, CEO of USA Basketball. “And take the game into new places. You saw here teams from Guam, from Nepal.”

The athletes play 10 minute or 21 point games (whichever comes first) on outdoor half-courts, with a 12 second shot clock, a ones-and-twos scoring system, and loud, pumping music that helps drive the break-neck speed of the game.

“I think it’s exciting to watch too because it’s really high-paced… it’s a great environment,” Canadian under-18 coach Shawn Swords told the Toronto Observer. “I think it’s something that would definitely draw a lot of people to watch, and it would be a fun game to play and I’m sure the players would love it.”

We’re not sure if the world is ready to give up on the 5-on-5 game that’s been around since 1936, so it might be tough to find space for both disciplines in the schedule, but if the Olympics is going to continue aiming at a younger audience with sports like beach volleyball and BMX, then 3-on-3 has to be next on the list.

Now if we could only figure out a way to add HORSE and a three-point shootout we’d be set.

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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