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93-year-old to compete in U.S. Olympic table tennis trials

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Bill Guilfoil is not about to become the oldest Olympian of all time, but the 93-year-old will be competing in his second straight U.S. Olympic table tennis trials next month.

“Table tennis is a lifetime sport,” Guilfoil said in a phone interview. “I feel good. Here I am at my age, and I don’t have any back problems or shoulder problems.”

Guilfoil, a Kansan who lost in the first round of qualifying at the February 2012 Olympic trials, is eligible to compete with the best players in the nation because the trials are open to everyone that pays the entry fee and is a good-standing member of USA Table Tennis.

The trials are Feb. 4-7 in Greensboro, N.C., but nobody makes the Olympic team at the event.

The top four men’s and women’s singles players advance to a North American Olympic qualifier in Toronto in April.

“I’m not expecting a miracle or anything,” said Guilfoil, who has family in North Carolina. “It’s like a little vacation.”

Guilfoil, who has been playing table tennis since age 13, owns a lifetime USA Table Tennis membership. He said he’s also played tennis, including nearly 60 years ago against Alex Olmedo, who went on to win Wimbledon in 1959.

Guilfoil wasn’t sure if he would be able to participate in the Olympic trials in late December but was confirmed as an entry during a phone call with USA Table Tennis on Friday, the organization said.

He said he spoke with Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer George Brett before the 2012 trials, telling Brett, “I don’t want to be a celebrity.”

MORE: First athlete makes 2016 Olympic table tennis team

Erin Hamlin to run New York City Marathon

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Erin Hamlin, the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist and Team USA flag bearer at the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony, will run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.

Hamlin, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist who retired after her fourth Olympics in PyeongChang at age 31, is running to fundraise for the Women’s Sports Foundation. So is Marlen Esparza, who in 2012 became the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing medalist (flyweight bronze).

Hamlin has no marathon experience, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

“Being challenged in sport is something I am very familiar with,” Hamlin said in a mass email Wednesday, according to TeamUSA.org. “Long distance running is something I most certainly am not!! It will be difficult, mentally and physically daunting, but a way to test my abilities in a sport so far out of my comfort zone.”

Many Olympians in non-running sports have raced the New York City Marathon.

Bill Demong, the 2010 U.S. Olympic Closing Ceremony flag bearer and only U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion, ran the 2014 NYC Marathon in 2:33:05, crushing eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno‘s 3:25:14 from 2011.

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MORE: Top luge moments from PyeongChang Olympics

Softball set to return to Olympics as first event on Tokyo 2020 schedule

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Softball, returning to the Olympics after a 12-year absence, is scheduled to kick off the 2020 Tokyo Games, two days before the Opening Ceremony.

The preliminary master schedule for the Tokyo Olympics was published Wednesday, with the first softball game scheduled for 10 a.m. local time on the Wednesday before the Opening Ceremony.

The first game is scheduled to be held in Fukushima, the site of 2011 nuclear plant meltdowns caused by an earthquake and tsunami 155 miles north of Tokyo. The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organizers have been eager to use the Games as a symbol of recovery from the 2011 disaster

Traditionally, soccer has been the first sport to have action at a Summer Olympics, one or two days before the Opening Ceremony. While soccer is again scheduled to have matches that same Wednesday, they start later than 10 a.m.

The Tokyo 2020 schedule is subject to change and certainly not a final version — swimming, diving and synchronized swimming schedules are still to be determined, but those sports do not typically start before the Opening Ceremony.

Softball was added in 1991 to the Olympic program to debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The U.S. won the first three gold medals before softball and baseball were narrowly voted off the Olympic program in 2005/06 (a 52-52 IOC vote for softball, with a majority needed to stay in the Olympics), with the 2008 Beijing Games being the last edition. Japan won the last Olympic softball gold medal 10 years ago.

Then on Aug. 3, 2016, baseball and softball were among five sports added for the 2020 Tokyo Games only, at the request of Tokyo Olympic organizers. Baseball and softball are not guaranteed to remain on the Olympic program in Paris in 2024.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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