Cameron McEvoy now ‘the hunted’ in Australian swimming

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James Magnussen has been the fastest 100m freestyle swimmer each of the last four years, but an aspiring physicist now appears to be the man with the best chance of ending a 12-year drought at the Rio Olympics.

Cameron McEvoy defeated Magnussen in the 100m free final at the Australian Championships on Tuesday. It’s the second straight year McEvoy beat Magnussen at Nationals.

Magnussen won the 100m free at the 2011 and 2013 World Championships, but now McEvoy may be the one tasked with winning Australia’s first individual Olympic swimming gold medal by a man since Athens 2004.

“I’ve been what everyone would call an underdog in the past, so it’s a new feeling to be the hunted,” McEvoy told reporters after the final in Sydney (highlights here).

McEvoy, a 20-year-old physics buff, topped Magnussen 48.06 to 48.18 in the final Tuesday. It was not as great of a margin as at the 2014 Australian Championships, where McEvoy prevailed 47.65 to 47.92.

And McEvoy also touched first at the biggest international meet of 2014, the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia. There, McEvoy swam 47.82, with Olympic champion Nathan Adrian way back in 48.30 and Magnussen in third at 48.36.

McEvoy did not make the Australian team for the London Olympic 100m free, won by Adrian by .01 over Magnussen.

Magnussen, 23, changed coaches last year and is arguably the most scrutinized Australian swimmer since Ian Thorpe.

“That’s pretty disappointing. I shouldn’t be swimming 48s,” Magnussen said of his swim Tuesday, according to the Courier-Mail. “[Losing and the time] both equally pissed me off. Losing is probably worse.”

In 2012, Magnussen clocked 47.10 in the 100m free, the best time since the fast suit era. His top time in 2013 slowed to 47.53 and in 2014 was 47.59.

Meanwhile, McEvoy improved the last three years from 49.19 (2011) to 48.58 (2012) to 47.88 (2013) and 47.65 (2014). Only Magnussen was quicker last year.

Both McEvoy and Magnussen must take notice of Kyle Chalmers, who finished fourth Tuesday in, reportedly, the fastest time ever by a 16-year-old.

Chalmers, who had size 15 feet by age 13, clocked 48.69, likely putting him in the Australian 4x100m free relay lineup at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, in August.

Australia failed to make the podium in the relay at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships but topped the U.S. for gold at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.

In 2014, the U.S. had two men swim sub-48.7 for the entire year (Adrian and Michael Phelps). Australia put four men sub-48.7 in Tuesday’s final alone.

“I reckon the rest of the world will probably sit up and take notice of that,” Magnussen said.

Grant Hackett qualifies for World Championships after 6-year retirement

Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

Boxing gloves
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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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