Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps may be reinstated for World Championships, report says

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Michael Phelps and USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus had “informal, preliminary conversations about a possible reinstatement” for the World Championships this summer, according to ESPN.com.

“It’s complicated, but there are ways in which it could happen,” Wielgus said, according to the report, adding that a reinstatement proposal would be reviewed by national team director Frank Busch and the USA Swimming executive committee. “There’s a pathway for things to be reconsidered — or considered.”

In October, Phelps was suspended for six months and, in agreement with USA Swimming, was withdrawn from the U.S. team for the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, from Aug. 2-9.

The ban came six days after Phelps was arrested on DUI charges in his native Baltimore, his second drunken driving offense. The 22-time Olympic medalist pleaded guilty in court Dec. 19 and received 18 months of probation, but no jail time with a one-year suspended sentence.

Phelps said he will return to competition at a Pro Swim Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., from April 15-18.

Olympic teammates Tyler Clary and Natalie Coughlin both supported a possible Phelps reinstatement for Worlds in comments to ESPN.com.

Last August, Phelps qualified for the World Championships in the 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley and would have likely been used in at least two relays in Kazan.

Phelps was the only U.S. men’s swimmer last year to have a world-leading time in an Olympic event. He came out of a 20-month competitive retirement following the London Olympics to post the world’s fastest time for 2014 in the 100m butterfly.

The World Championships mark the biggest meet between now and the Rio 2016 Olympics and since Phelps’ competitive comeback last April. Phelps, who has worn a “Rio 2016” cap in practice, hasn’t committed to making a run for the 2016 Olympics, which would be his fifth Games.

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Gracie Gold qualifies for nationals, Polina Edmunds shut out

NBC Sports Gold
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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 🥉

A post shared by Gracie Gold (@graciegold95) on

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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