USA Basketball names 30 finalists for U.S. Olympic men’s team

LeBron James, Kevin Durant
Getty Images
2 Comments

USA Basketball announced 30 finalists for its 12-man Olympic basketball roster on Monday.

The list is led by LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, seeking to become the first men to make four U.S. Olympic basketball teams. They were gold medalists in 2012 and 2008 and bronze medalists in 2004.

James, though, is no guarantee to suit up in Rio, even if USA Basketball wants him to.

“I haven’t thought about it,” James said Monday. “The last thing I thought about Team USA was Kobe [Bryant] taking his name out of the pool. That’s the last thing I kind of really thought about, so I’m not any inch closer to playing or not any inch closer to not playing. I haven’t really thought about it much.”

Finalists include nine of the 12 players on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, missing Bryant, Tyson Chandler and Deron Williams.

Bryant, 37, announced Saturday that he would not seek a place on the Olympic team.

Other missing players include point guards Derrick Rose and Damian Lillard and 2004 and 2008 Olympian Dwyane Wade, who were not on a 34-man August camp roster. Bryant, Chandler and Williams were also not on that camp roster.

Potential first-time Olympians include NBA MVP Stephen CurryBlake Griffin (originally named to the 2012 team but later withdrew due to injury) and Paul George, whom Colangelo reportedly said had “a spot for him” waiting in 2016 six days after George broke his right leg in a U.S. camp scrimmage on Aug. 1, 2014.

USA Basketball did not say in the press release when the final 12-man Olympic team will be named. In 2012, it named its Olympic roster three weeks before the Games.

“Obviously selecting the official roster of 12 players for the Olympics in 2016 will be a very, very difficult process,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a press release. “As has been the case with past USA Basketball teams, the goal once again is to select the very best team possible to represent the United States.”

The finalists:

LaMarcus Aldridge
Carmelo Anthony — 2004, 2008, 2012 Olympian
Harrison Barnes
Bradley Beal
Jimmy Butler
Mike Conley
DeMarcus Cousins
Stephen Curry
Anthony Davis — 2012 Olympian
DeMar DeRozan
Andre Drummond
Kevin Durant — 2012 Olympian
Kenneth Faried
Rudy Gay
Paul George
Draymond Green
Blake Griffin — On original 2012 Olympic roster, then injured
James Harden — 2012 Olympian
Gordon Hayward
Dwight Howard — 2008 Olympian
Andre Iguodala — 2012 Olympian
Kyrie Irving
LeBron James — 2004, 2008, 2012 Olympian
DeAndre Jordan
Kawhi Leonard
Kevin Love — 2012 Olympian
Chris Paul — 2008, 2012 Olympian
Klay Thompson
John Wall
Russell Westbrook — 2012 Olympian

MORE BASKETBALL: Carmelo Anthony Olympic medal auctioned

Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
Getty
0 Comments

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Kenenisa Bekele still eyes Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record, but a duel must wait

Kenenisa Bekele
Getty
0 Comments

LONDON — Kenenisa Bekele made headlines last week by declaring “of course I am the best” long distance runner ever. But the Ethiopian was fifth-best at Sunday’s London Marathon, finishing 74 seconds behind Kenya’s Amos Kipruto.

Bekele, 40, clocked 2:05:53, the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. He was with the lead pack until being dropped in the 21st mile.

But Bekele estimated he could have run 90 to 120 seconds faster had he not missed parts of six weeks of training with hip and joint injuries.

“I expect better even if the preparation is short,” he said. “I know my talent and I know my capacity, but really I couldn’t achieve what I expect.”

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history behind Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who broke his own world record by clocking 2:01:09 at the Berlin Marathon last week.

“I am happy when I see Eliud Kipchoge run that time,” Bekele said. “It motivates all athletes who really expect to do the same thing.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Bekele’s best time was within two seconds of Kipchoge’s previous world record (2:01:39). He described breaking Kipchoge’s new mark as the “main goal” for the rest of his career.

“Yes, I hope, one day it will happen, of course,” Bekele said. “With good preparation, I don’t know when, but we will see one more time.”

Nobody has won more London Marathons than Kipchoge, a four-time champion who set the course record (2:02:37) in 2019. But the two-time Olympic marathon champion did not run this year in London, as elite marathoners typically choose to enter one race each spring and fall.

Bekele does not know which race he will enter in the spring. But it will not be against Kipchoge.

“I need to show something first,” Bekele said. “I need to run a fast time. I have to check myself. This is not enough.”

Kipchoge will try to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles at the Paris Games. Bekele, who will be 42 in 2024, has not committed to trying to qualify for the Ethiopian team.

“There’s a long time to go before Paris,” Bekele said. “At this moment I am not decided. I have to show something.”

So who is the greatest long distance runner ever?

Bekele can make a strong case on the track:

Bekele
Four Olympic medals (three gold)
Six World Championship medals (five gold)
Former 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder

Kipchoge
Two Olympic medals
Two World Championship medals (one gold)

But Kipchoge can make a strong case on the pavement:

Bekele
Second-fastest marathoner in history
Two World Marathon Major victories

Kipchoge
Four of the five best marathon times in history
Two-time Olympic marathon champion
12 World Marathon Major victories

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!