Michael Phelps beaten in 100m butterfly at Charlotte

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Michael Phelps finished third in the 100m butterfly at a Pro Swim Series meet in Charlotte on Friday, coming in behind two U.S. rivals in the event.

Tom Shields, who defeated Phelps at the U.S. Championships last year, prevailed in 52.12. Longtime Phelps challenger Ryan Lochte was second in 52.52, followed by the most decorated Olympian of all time in 52.59.

Phelps, the fastest 100m fly swimmer in the world last year in 51.17, had won the 100m fly at his previous meet this year in Mesa, Ariz., in April. He swam 52.38 in Mesa.

The fastest U.S. man in the 100m fly this year is Jack Conger, who posted 51.64 in January. Conger was seventh in 53.38 on Friday.

Earlier, Phelps clocked 1:49.12 in a 200m free consolation final. He missed the top eight-man final after ranking 14th in the morning preliminary heats.

Conor Dwyer won the 200m free in 1:47.04, ranking No. 12 in the world this year and No. 1 among Americans. Lochte was fourth in 1:48.35, while Phelps’ time would have placed fifth in the top final.

Phelps’ best 200m free time last year was 1:48.20. His American record from the Beijing Olympics is 1:42.96.

“My turns are still pretty terrible,” Phelps told media in Charlotte. “But it’s a lot better than what it was last year.”

FINA women’s Swimmer of the Year Katinka Hosszu of Hungary won the women’s 200m freestyle in 1:55.89, ahead of Olympic champion Allison Schmitt‘s 1:57.24.

Hosszu’s time made her the fourth-fastest woman this year, 1.21 seconds behind Dutch leader Femke Heemskerk. Schmitt is the No. 2 American this year behind Katie Ledecky, who is not swimming in Charlotte. World champion Missy Franklin hasn’t competed in a 200m free this year and is also not swimming in Charlotte.

Hosszu also took the 400m individual medley in 4:35.19, bettering her third-ranked time for the year in an event where she’s the reigning World champion.

World silver medalist Chase Kalisz prevailed in the men’s 400m IM in 4:14.56, the fastest time by an American this year but 6.02 seconds slower than Japanese world leader Kosuke Hagino, who is not in Charlotte.

Katie Meili clocked the fastest 100m breaststroke by a U.S. woman since 2013 by winning in 1:06.50, ranking her No. 4 in the world this year. World bronze medalist Jessica Hardy was second in 1:06.97.

Earlier Friday, 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin swam a 100m backstroke time trial in 1:00.06, her fastest time in the event since she was third at the 2012 Olympic trials in 1:00.08.

She’s the fastest American in the event this year, though Franklin and other top collegians haven’t yet transitioned from NCAA yards swimming to meters meets to post any times.

Coughlin, who won the 100m back at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, has entered the event this year for the first time since the Olympic trials and could take another crack at it at the 2016 Olympic trials. Coughlin, like Schmitt, did not qualify for the 2015 World Championships team.

The meet continues through Sunday. Phelps is scheduled for the 200m butterfly and 100m backstroke on Saturday. Phelps had sworn off the 200m fly in his comeback last year but will swim it for the first time since the London Olympics.

“It’s interesting watching the world in this event,” Phelps told media in Charlotte. “If you look at what [Tom] Malchow won in 2000 [at the Sydney Olympics], still what everybody’s going nowadays. It’s still not that fast an event.”

Malchow won gold in 2000 in 1:55.35. Two men worldwide have broken 1:55 since the London Olympics, Japan’s Daiya Seto and South Africa’s Chad le Clos, who beat Phelps in the 2012 Olympic final.

“For me to ever want to really compete at that race, I would make sure that I was in the best shape possible,” Phelps said. “I know what I have to do to be able to get there. I don’t know if I’m ready to do that.”

Gymnastics team event sizes at Olympics cut to four

Hayato Sakamoto, Japanese baseball MVP, tests positive for coronavirus

Hayato Sakamoto
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Hayato Sakamoto, an MVP of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, is one of two players from the Yomiuri Giants to test positive for the coronavirus, according to several Japanese media reports.

Sakamoto, a 31-year-old shortstop, and catcher Takumi Oshiro tested positive ahead of the NPB’s planned June 19 start to the season that had been delayed to the coronavirus.

The tests showed traces of the coronavirus, according to Kyodo News.

The Giants canceled Wednesday’s practice game with the Seibu Lions to limit the spread of the virus.

Sakamoto is the reigning Central League MVP. He has been called the Derek Jeter of Japan for playing the same position as the Yankee great and being the veteran captain of Japan’s equivalent club, the Giants, which own a record 22 Japan Series titles.

Sakamoto, who played in the last two World Baseball Classics, has been considered a lock for Japan’s baseball team at the Tokyo Games in 2021 as the most well known active player who hasn’t left for Major League Baseball. MLB is not expected to allow its top players to participate in the Olympics, which would keep the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Masahiro Tanaka off the Olympic roster.

The sport returns to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008, though it is not on the 2024 Olympic program nor guaranteed a place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Japan reached the semifinals of all five Olympic baseball tournaments when the sport was previously on the medal program but never took gold.

In a 2018 survey, Sakamoto was ranked as Japan’s eighth-most popular athlete across all sports, foreign or domestic, active or retired.

Sky Brown, 11-year-old Olympic skateboard hopeful, suffers serious injuries in fall

Sky Brown Skateboard Fall
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Sky Brown, an 11-year-old British Olympic skateboarding hopeful, recently suffered her worst fall, requiring surgery, she said in a video posted from a hospital bed.

Brown suffered skull fractures and broke her left wrist and hand and was at first unresponsive upon arrival to a hospital, according to the BBC, which quoted her father.

Video of the fall from a skateboarding ramp was posted on her social media. She appeared to be wearing a helmet in the video.

“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them because I want people to see the fun in what I do,” Brown said. “But this was my worst fall, and I just want everyone to know that, it’s OK, don’t worry. I’m OK. It’s OK to fall sometimes. I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. I want everyone to know that whatever we do, we’ve just go to do it with love and happiness.”

Brown is the 2019 World bronze medalist in the new Olympic sport’s park discipline.

Later Tuesday, Brown reposted an Instagram post from what appeared to be her father’s account. The caption of that post said Brown fell 15 feet to flat concrete.

“I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital,” the caption read. “We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive.

“4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks.”

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Last week the worst thing I could ever ever imagined happened to @skybrown . She fell about 15ft off the side of a vert ramp to flat concrete. I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital. We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive. We prayed and begged God to give Sky another chance. Word came back while she was still unconscious, multiple fractures to her skull, a broken left arm, which she broke into pieces because she used it to break her fall, broken right fingers and lacerations to her heart and lungs. 4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks. More importantly her Doctors and the trauma team say it’s a miracle how well she is dealing with the pain and recovering incredibly fast. They said it’s shocking and believe it’s because of her grit, positivity and attitude. Skys brother @oceanbrown has been so brave. He saw his sister fall to the ground lying in a pool of blood and was screaming in tears that night outside of the hospital. He has still not allowed into the hospital to see her. They miss each-other dearly, but no siblings are allowed to enter the hospital because of coronavirus. They’ve been spending hours a day on FaceTime with each other making funny faces to one another in fits of giggles and laughter. Sky promises Ocean daily that she will make a fast recovery so they can be together again. Sky is constantly joking and smiling and it’s hurts my heart to even imagine for a second a world without Sky; extremely thankful that I don’t have to. Thank you to the heroes that are the doctors, nurses and hospital staff that have tirelessly worked on her and helped her get to this point.

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