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IOC President Thomas Bach ‘will not speculate’ on Russia Olympic ban

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach says he believes Russia will take steps to ensure it complies with global anti-doping rules in time to allow its track and field athletes to compete at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In an interview with New Zealand television on Wednesday, Bach refused to be drawn on whether the IOC would support calls for Russia’s athletics team to be excluded from the games as recommended by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission which found evidence of state-sponsored cheating in Russia.

Bach said the issue — which he described as a “malfunctioning of a country” — was now in the hands of the International Association of Athletics Federation.

“The international federation will draw its conclusion and will take the necessary measures,” Bach said. “We’re convinced the new [IAAF] president, Sebastian Coe, will do whatever is necessary and we think also that Russia will cooperate to make progress and to make sure that Russian athletics is compliant with WADA, and this is what it needs to be in order to participate in the Olympic Games.”

WADA’s independent commission called for Russia’s athletics federation to be suspended, citing evidence of corruption and collusion of Russian officials in covering up positive doping tests. The commission said Russian athletes should only be allowed to compete again once the country is fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.

Pressed on whether Russian athletes should be banned from the games in Rio, Bach said: “I will not speculate on this. Now we have this inquiry about athletics.”

Bach also refused to be drawn on whether the offenses found in Russia were only a part of much wider corruption in world athletics.

“Again, this is speculation,” he said. “We should not take clean athletes into suspicion.”

Bach said WADA, which represents the Olympic movement and world governments, is leading the anti-doping campaign and deciding which countries are compliant or not.

“We should have confidence in the work of WADA as we are now having confidence in this report of the WADA commission,” he said.

“We have obviously a malfunctioning in a country, maybe, and in an international federation coming together but we should not forget that WADA and the IOC and many international federations have established a very tight net of anti-doping measures,” Bach added.

The IOC also urged the IAAF to start disciplinary action against Russian athletes, coaches and officials accused of doping in the WADA report.

“We have made it clear that we will, once we get the relevant information from IAAF, withdraw and reallocate medals with regard to Russian athletes which may have been doped,” Bach said. “We have also made it clear that if officials or coaches have been involved that they will be banned from future games.

“So the IOC will do everything it can there to support the responsible international federations in their efforts to clean up athletics.”

Bach was interviewed by New Zealand’s TV3 in Lausanne after the New Zealand Olympic Committee was awarded the IOC’s women in sport world trophy.

MORE: Yelena Isinbayeva’s coach speaks amid Russia doping scandal

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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MORE: How Jay-Z, Beyonce helped Naomi Osaka come out of her shell

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