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What U.S.’ FIBA World Cup title means for Olympics

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The U.S. became the first nation to qualify for the 2016 Olympic men’s basketball tournament by winning the FIBA World Cup title Sunday, but there are greater ramifications for Rio.

Twelve nations will make up the 2016 Olympic men’s basketball tournament. The U.S. is in. So is Brazil as the host nation, for all intents and purposes (it’s not official yet, as the qualifying procedures lay out).

The U.S.’ win over Serbia on Sunday was really a win for all of North and South America. Here’s why:

The next seven spots in the Olympic men’s basketball tournament will be determined in 2015 with continental qualifying tournaments — the winners of Africa, Asia and Oceania and the two finalists from Europe and the Americas (North and South America are combined into one tournament in basketball qualifying).

The caveat, for the Americas in particular, is that the qualifiers from the 2015 continental tournaments will be the best-placed, not-already-qualified nations.

So that means the two best nations from the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship will make the Olympics, excluding the U.S. and Brazil (again, assuming Brazil is in as the Olympic host nation).

This is the first time under the current qualifying system that the Olympic host nation and the FIBA champions are two countries from the Americas. It will be the first time since Atlanta 1996 that at least four nations from the Americas make the Olympic men’s basketball tournament.

Argentina, which won Olympic gold in 2004 and bronze in 2008, would appear to be a massive favorite to grab one of the two Olympic spots and join the U.S. and Brazil in Rio.

After that, it gets interesting.

Canada, under the tutelage of general manager Steve Nash, could earn its first trip to the Olympics since 2000 (when Nash played).

Canada was sixth at each of the last two FIBA Americas, failing to qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, but it has a wealth of young talent, including the last two No. 1 picks in the NBA Draft — Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins — as well as 2014 first-round picks Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis and NBA big men Tristan ThompsonKelly OlynykRobert Sacre and Andrew Nicholson.

Other teams in the running include Puerto Rico, the only Americas team other than Argentina, Brazil and the U.S. to qualify for any of the last three Olympics. Puerto Rico beat the U.S. at the 2004 Athens Games. Puerto Ricans include current or former NBA players J.J. BareaCarlos Arroyo and Renaldo Balkman. Puerto Rico failed to reach the round of 16 at the FIBA World Cup.

The Dominican Republic and Mexico were eliminated in the round of 16 at the FIBA World Cup.

The Dominican Republic has never qualified for the Olympics, but it came oh-so close for 2012, finishing third at the 2011 FIBA Americas and fourth at the last-chance 2012 qualifying tournament. One spot higher in either would have earned a trip to London. The Dominican Republic team could include NBA All-Star Al Horford and former University of Louisville players Francisco Garcia and Edgar Sosa.

Mexico hosts the 2015 FIBA Americas, looking to make the Olympics for the first time in 40 years.

Of course, only two of Argentina, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Mexico can qualify for the Olympics through FIBA Americas. But they could all end up making the Olympics, because the third-through-fifth-place nations from the 2011 FIBA Americas earned spots in the aforementioned last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament the following year.

In 2012, the top three teams from the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament, which included countries from around the world, advanced to the London Olympics.

It’s likely that the nations favored to be top three in the last-chance tournament will be from Europe. The 2015 FIBA Europe Championship will be extremely competitive for its two Olympic spots, with Spain, France, Lithuania, Serbia leading the way.

Photos: Things Mutaz Barshim could jump over

*Correction: The original described Puerto Rico as “a nation,” which it is not.

Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, Olympian, world champion snowboarder, drowns in spearfishing accident

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Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, an Olympian and world champion snowboarder, drowned while spearfishing on Australia’s Gold Coast on Wednesday.

A police spokesperson said a 32-year-old man, later identified as Pullin, was unresponsive when taken from the water and died despite receiving CPR from lifeguards and emergency treatment from paramedics.

The accident happened at Palm Beach around 10:40 a.m. local time. Pullin had been diving on an artificial reef when he was found by a snorkeler.

“Another diver was out there and located him on the sea floor and raised the attention of nearby surfers who sought lifeguards to bring him in,” police said. “He didn’t have an oxygen mask. We understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef.”

Pullin competed in Olympic snowboard cross in 2010, 2014 and 2018 with a best finish of sixth. He won back-to-back world titles in 2011 and 2013. He carried Australia’s flag at the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2014.

“We are all in shock today as one of the most beloved members of our close snow sport community, Chumpy, has sadly lost his life in what appears to be a tragic accident,” Snow Australia CEO Michael Kennedy said in a statement. “He was a mentor to so many of our younger snowboarders, giving up his time to coach and provide advice to our future Olympians. His loss will be felt right across our community.

“We know it won’t just be here in Australia that Chumpy’s legacy will be remembered, but throughout the international snowboarding community. It wasn’t just his ability to deliver results that will be missed, but his leadership and the path that he laid for so many.”

His parents owned a ski and snowboard shop in the Australian Alps, where Pullin began riding at age 8. Older friends gave him the nickname “Chumpy,” and it stuck.

Pullin, who spent time as a frontman for the surf-reggae band love Charli, often brought a guitar with him while traveling for competitions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo leans toward Olympic decision, schedule unchanged

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Shaunae Miller-Uibo said she likely will not defend her Olympic 400m title in Tokyo in favor of racing the 200m because the turnaround between the two events is too tight, according to a report.

“I would have to choose one event, and we’re leaning more toward the 200m seeing that we already have the 400m title,” Miller-Uibo said, according to the Nassau Guardian in her native Bahamas. Miller-Uibo’s agent later confirmed the sentiment.

Last summer, Miller-Uibo said she requested that World Athletics modify the Olympic track and field schedule to better accommodate a 200m-400m double. A World Athletics spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that it reviewed the request, could not change the schedule and that decision was final.

Olympic schedules have been changed in the past for 200m-400m double attempts, including for Michael Johnson and Allyson Felix. But the debut of the mixed-gender 4x400m relay to the Olympic program in Tokyo “added to the complexities of developing the timetable,” World Athletics said in a statement it said it first released last September.

The revised Olympic schedule for 2021 has not been announced, but a change in the lineup of track and field events would be a surprise, especially given World Athletics’ statement on Miller-Uibo’s request.

“While it may look simple to move one race to a time which would allow increased rest time between the 200m and 400m, there is a knock on effect with other events which are then impacted,” according to World Athletics. “Following the review of various scenarios, we concluded that the current timetable provides the best opportunity for a 200m/400m doubling opportunity without adversely affecting other events. The current timetable does allow the possibility to compete in both the 200m and 400m although we do acknowledge this requires racing twice in the same day on one occasion. Having taken that into consideration, we have tried to allow the maximum time in between the events which results in almost 12 hours on that particular day.”

The original 2020 Olympic schedule had the 400m first round and the 200m final on the same day (former in the morning, latter at night), with the 400m semifinals the following day.

“It’s still a little bit tricky,” Miller-Uibo said last August. “We’re just asking them to clear it up a little bit more for us, where we can focus on three [rounds in the 200m] and then focus on the other three [rounds in the 400m]. I think it’s always been so simple for the 100m/200m runners. The 200m/400m being a more complex double, I think we’re asking for a day, if they can at least do that for us.”

Miller-Uibo went undefeated at 200m and 400m for two years before taking silver at the 2019 World Championships in the 400m behind Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser. Naser was provisionally suspended last month for missing three drug tests in a 12-month span. Naser said the missed tests all came before worlds. It hasn’t been announced whether she could be stripped of the world title.

Miller-Uibo chose to race the 400m over the 200m at worlds, where the schedule made a double more difficult than the Olympic schedule. She remains the fastest woman in the world in this Olympic cycle in the 200m.

The world’s three fastest 400m runners in this Olympic cycle could be out of the 400m in Tokyo. Naser could be suspended through the Games. Miller-Uibo is second-fastest since Rio. The third-fastest, Niger’s Aminatou Seyni, said she can’t race the 400m due to the new testosterone cap for women’s events between the 400m and mile, according to multiple reports.

Next fastest: Jamaican Shericka Jackson and Americans Shakima Wimbley, Wadeline Jonathas and Phyllis Francis.

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