Lacrosse is charging hard for a 2024 Olympic return

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If lacrosse supporters have their way, their sport will follow in the footsteps of golf — and things in the year 2024 might look a bit like they did back in the first decade of the 20th century.

The FIL Lacrosse Championship begins Thursday, July 10 in Denver, where a record 38 nations will compete. Organizers of the U.S. squad say the high participation rate is a sign that lacrosse is gaining traction in its fight to return to the Olympics.

Lacrosse, like golf, was one of the earliest sports of the modern Olympics. Also like golf, Olympic medals have not been awarded in lacrosse in over 100 years; lacrosse was a medal sport at the 1904 and 1908 Olympics and a demonstration event at the 1948 London Olympics. Golf was a medal event at the 1904 St. Louis Games. But the two sports part ways there, because while lacrosse is still fighting to make its return to the Olympic stage, golf is set to be played in Rio in 2016.

As detailed by Lacrosse Magazine, Team USA took a break from prepping for its opening FIL Championship match against Canada when players and coaches toured the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs Monday night, and it was there they got a taste of what it would be like to be an Olympic team.

FIL director of development Tom Hayes told Lax Magazine that the sport is targeting 2024 for a return to the Olympics, and that several milestones have been met in recent years that have left him hopeful the goal is more than just a pipedream. In the last three years lacrosse has been accepted by SportAccord and the International World Games Association (IWGA), two major international sporting federations, and it was also awarded a berth in the 2017 IWGA World Games, which could serve as a platform to raise its international profile even higher.

“It’s like you’re in a dream. We’ve hit our target dates right on the money, every one of them,” Hayes said. “Now we’re wondering, there has to be some road bump somewhere, but who knows? If you’re a hot sport and they see the growth, not only in the number of countries but number of participants, who knows?”

First grass planted on Rio Olympic golf course

Gracie Gold qualifies for nationals, Polina Edmunds shut out

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2014 Olympian Gracie Gold qualified for the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships by virtue of a third-place finish at the Eastern Sectional Singles Final on Saturday in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

“Bronze: so hot this fall,” Gold posted on Instagram. She last competed at U.S. nationals in 2017, when she finished sixth. She won the national title in 2014 and 2016.

Gold sat second after the short program with 63.55 points, and ultimately finished third overall with 109.90 points in the free skate for 173.45 points. The top four at the event qualify for the national championships in Greensboro, North Carolina in January.

Her free skate included a fall on the opening triple Lutz and an under-rotation on the triple Lutz, double toe loop combination. She also put a hand down on the landing of a double Axel. The rest of the program, though, was clean.

Her performance, set to “She Used to be Mine” by Sara Bareilles, can be found at the 2:05 mark of the on-demand stream of the event for NBC Gold Pass subscribers.

Meanwhile, her Sochi teammate Polina Edmunds was shut out of nationals based on a fifth-place finish at the Pacific Coast Sectional Singles Final (top four qualify). Her performance can be found for NBC Gold Pass subscribers at the 1:50 mark of the on-demand stream for the event. Edmunds last competed at Nationals in 2016, when she earned the silver medal behind Gold.

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Bronze: so hot this fall 🥉

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Brittany Bowe extends unbeaten streak to open speed skating World Cup

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Brittany Bowe extended one of the most dominant runs for any U.S. Winter Olympian, earning her first straight World Cup 1000m win to open the season on Sunday.

Bowe, fourth and eighth in the event at her two Olympics, clocked 1:15.35 in Minsk, Belarus, to beat PyeongChang gold medalist Jorien ter Mors by six tenths. Ter Mors missed all of last season after knee surgery.

Bowe won every World Cup 1000m dating to last December, plus her second world title in the event last February, lowering track records at each stop.

She ended last season by breaking the world record by .48 of a second on the fast ice of the 2002 Olympic oval in Kearns, Utah. That time — 1:11.61 — would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1997.

Bowe, a former Florida Atlantic point guard who missed all of 2016-17 with a concussion, is up to 23 career World Cup wins. That’s fifth on the U.S. all-time list behind Bonnie Blair (69), Shani Davis (58), Dan Jansen (46) and Heather Bergsma (34), according to schaatsstatistieken.nl.

The World Cup moves to Poland next week.

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