Gabby Douglas looks to continue to disprove doubters at P&G Championships

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INDIANAPOLIS — Gabby Douglas‘ mom tells her not to read online comments, but the Olympic all-around champion is clearly motivated by what she’s seen on Facebook and Twitter about her return to the sport.

“People were like, oh, I don’t know if she’s coming back,” Douglas, who took 2013 and 2014 off from competition, said Wednesday. “Some people weren’t taking me seriously. … I’m like, OK, well, guess I’ll just have to show you.”

Douglas did just that in March and July at her first two meets since the London Olympics.

She finished fourth in the all-around at the Jesolo Trophy in Italy on March 28 but was competitive with U.S. gymnasts other than two-time reigning World all-around champion Simone Biles. Douglas then finished runner-up to Biles at the Secret Classic in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on July 25.

“My comeback wasn’t fake, guys,” she said after the Secret Classic.

She enters this weekend’s P&G Championships at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse as arguably the biggest threat to Biles’ national title three-peat attempt. Though Biles is an overwhelming favorite after a 1.9-point victory at the Secret Classic.

Douglas is an unmistakable presence in Indianapolis, partly because a film crew is following her for a TV series about her family that debuts early next year.

“It looks like [it] will be a successful comeback story,” U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi said of not only Douglas but also Aly Raisman, who also took 2013 and 2014 off and was third at Jesolo and fifth at the Secret Classic.

Karolyi has been critical of past comeback attempts, so her praise of Douglas and Raisman should be taken just as seriously as their comebacks.

No woman has made back-to-back U.S. Olympic teams since 2000. Plenty have tried and failed, including five from the 2008 Olympic team.

That’s another way Douglas can disprove the critics.

“When they’ve seen other gymnasts try to come back, it wasn’t that successful,” Douglas said. “So that when we [Raisman and I] want to come back, they’re just like no, no, no, I don’t think so.”

Recent history of U.S. gymnastics comebacks

Douglas, who turns 20 on New Year’s Eve, will also try to keep the five-woman U.S. Olympic team in Rio from being an all-teen group as it was in 2012.

Yes, she’s heard people say that gymnasts can’t be competitive at her age.

“Why does everyone think that?” Douglas said. “Where did it all start, that you’re 19, oh, you’re so old? Uh-uh. That’s still young.”

Douglas’ performances on Thursday and Saturday (broadcast schedule here) are just a portion of what will determine if she makes the six-woman team for October’s World Championships.

The final selection will come after a fall national team training camp under Karolyi’s scrutinizing eyes. Douglas has to be considered a favorite to make it with Raisman not far behind, based on the March and July meets.

They know what Karolyi is looking for.

“She’s looking for girls who can be warriors,” said Douglas, who described her mindset at the Secret Classic as being “like a tiger.”

“I’m not going to put my half effort into something,” Douglas said. “That doesn’t make any sense to me, if I would’ve come back and just do it for the fame.”

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NBA participation in Tokyo Olympics could be limited, Adam Silver says

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the Tokyo Olympics’ effect on the league’s schedule planning for 2021 is unclear, but that it’s possible that Olympic participation may be limited.

“There are a lot of great U.S. players, and we may be up against a scenario where the top 15 NBA players aren’t competing in the Olympics, but other great American players are competing,” Silver told Bob Costas on CNN on Tuesday. “Obviously, there are many NBA players who participate in the Olympics from other countries. That’s something we’re going to have to work through. I just say, lastly, these are highly unique and unusual circumstances. I think, just as it is for the Olympic movement, it is for us as well. We’re just going to have to sort of find a way to meld and mesh those two competing considerations.”

Silver said his best guess is that the next NBA season starts in January with a goal of a standard 82-game schedule and playoffs. A schedule has not been released.

In normal NBA seasons that start in late October, the regular season runs to mid-April and the NBA Finals into mid-June.

The Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremony is July 23. If an NBA season is pushed back two or three months to a January start, and the schedule is not condensed, the Olympics would start while the NBA playoffs are happening.

The current NBA season is in the conference finals phase in an Orlando-area bubble after a four-month stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a factor in our planning,” Silver said of the Olympics. “It would be tough for us to make a decision in January based on the Olympics happening on schedule when that’s so unclear.”

The NBA has participated in every Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games. Monday was the 29th anniversary of the announcement of the first 10 members of the original Dream Team on an NBC selection show (hosted by Costas).

Before the NBA era, U.S. Olympic men’s basketball teams consisted of college players.

MORE: When Michael Jordan lost in wheelchair basketball to Paralympian

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2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

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Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final