The IOC is in the process of picking a new sport Wednesday, or possibly just retaining wrestling, for the 2020 Olympics. And while we knew it wouldn’t be American Football, many of us hope that one day the gridiron sport will gain enough worldwide appeal to be included in the Games.
Well that dream took a bit of a hit Wednesday, when the IOC denied the IFAF application and refused to offer the sport its official recognition. And while it’s true that the NFL doesn’t need the IOC’s stamp of approval to continue raking in money, it would help to grow the sport globally.
“The expectation is that you would end up having more competitions,” NFL Vice President of International, Chris Parsons, told FoxSports.com. “You would see more and more leagues and that would generate incremental interest… It wouldn’t open the floodgates per se, but the argument would be a lot stronger as far as federations applying for local funding.”
The IFAF, which was founded in 1998 and currently represents athletes in 64 nations on six continents, will meet again with the IOC over the next 45 days to see if they can “strengthen its application for future consideration” before reapplying in October. Then they can hopefully start the process of helping American Football become a sport that’s loved as much overseas as it is in the States.
“American football’s burgeoning international athlete participation and appeal continues to propel the game on an exciting upward path,” Parsons added. “IFAF and the world’s American football family have great reason to remain inspired and energized by our ongoing dialogue with IOC leadership.”
If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.
Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.
Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.
If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.
Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.
The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.
The field 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.
Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.
Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.
The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.