Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps continues experimenting in comeback

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Michael Phelps‘ third comeback meet is about “experimenting,” his longtime coach, Bob Bowman, said Thursday.

Phelps expounded, one day before his first of a potential eight swims at the Santa Clara Grand Prix, sure to be his busiest meet since unretiring.

“Hopefully I can come out of this meet with positive swims to help me move forward to take one step closer to Nationals [from Aug. 6-10 in Irvine, Calif],” Phelps said. “Also work on the technical things. That’s something I’d like to see more of, having a controlled stroke, having a stroke that I know how to do. Getting in and out of the walls like I know how to. It’s really the small things that I’d like to work on getting back.”

Phelps is entered in four events this weekend — the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly Friday, the 200m free Saturday and the 200m individual medley Sunday. He swam two events each in his first two comeback meets in April and May, winning his first race since the London Olympics last month.

Phelps originally dipped his toes back in the water last year to shed 25 pounds. He’s eating a cleaner diet now, he said, and recently completed an altitude camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he said he got the competitive juices flowing the last day in a 100m free race against French training partner Yannick Agnel.

“There are some times that are very challenging,” he said. “I found those times in Colorado, when we were training there the last couple weeks.”

Phelps is expected to race one more meet before Nationals, which serve as a selection meet for the biggest meets the next two years — the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia later in August and the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Phelps has said he will never swim a 400m IM again and also doesn’t have designs on the 200m fly. The only other individual events he has entered at the Olympics are on his Santa Clara schedule (100m fly, 200m free and 200m IM). He’s long raced the 100m free distance as part of the 4x100m free relay at international meets, too.

Still, he’s not disclosing his goals. That’s typical Phelps.

“The ones who can help me get there know what the goals are,” said Phelps, who then said Bowman is pretty much the only other person who knows the goals.

What’s the biggest challenge for the most decorated Olympian of all time? Waking early for workouts can be brutal, he said, yet he’s smiling in training more than ever before.

“As much as I try to stay away from the sport for as long as I can,” Phelps joked, “something keeps drawing me back into the water.”

Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin lead Santa Clara GP storylines

Chicago Marathon canceled; one major marathon left in 2020

Chicago Marathon
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The Chicago Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 11, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the fourth World Marathon Major called off this year.

Organizers cited the challenge of staging the 45,000-runner event “out of concern for the safety of event participants, volunteers, event staff and spectators.”

Previously, major marathons were canceled in Berlin (originally scheduled for Sept. 27), Boston (April 20, then Sept. 14) and New York City (Nov. 1). The London Marathon, originally scheduled for April 26 and postponed to Oct. 4, remains scheduled.

The other World Marathon Major, Tokyo, took place on its scheduled date of March 1 but with elite runners only.

Last year, Kenyan Brigid Kosgei won Chicago by taking 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record. Kosgei clocked 2:14:04.

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results

Figure skating Grand Prix events in China remain scheduled

Grand Prix Final
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Figure skating Grand Prix events in China in November and December remain scheduled, the International Skating Union announced Monday, four days after reports about international sporting events in China being canceled through the end of 2020.

A notice about sports events, issued Thursday by the General Administration of Sport of China, made an exception for Beijing Winter Olympic test events and other preparations for the first Winter Games in China in February 2022.

The Grand Prix Final, the second-most prestigious annual figure skating competition, is still scheduled for December in Beijing because it is an Olympic test event.

Furthermore, the Cup of China, one of six events across the globe that determines Grand Prix Final qualifiers, remains scheduled for November in Chongqing because it is related to the Final.

“Like for all other five ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events in the different countries, this is of course subject to finding the necessary logistical, medical and safety solutions to hold the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events as planned,” according to the ISU.

The ISU previously announced it set a deadline to decide on possible event cancellations: 12 weeks before an event starts. For the first Grand Prix Series competition, Skate America in Las Vegas, the decision deadline is Aug. 1.

The ISU council will meet virtually on Aug. 3 to decide on further action for upcoming competitions.

MORE: Tai Babilonia, a Winter Olympic original, credits skating trailblazer

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