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Fenway Park big air broadcast schedule, plus video of jump

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What will it be like to jump off a ramp inside Fenway Park that’s four times the size of the Green Monster?

“The coolest thing will be standing on top and just seeing Fenway filled with people and people cheering and then basically sliding into home plate,” U.S. Olympic ski slopestyle silver medalist Devin Logan said. “That’s a dream come true, right?”

U.S. skiers and snowboarders will compete in Big Air Fenway, a one-of-a-kind event at the hallowed home of the Boston Red Sox, on NBC Sports Live Extra on Thursday night (snowboard, 8:30 ET) and Friday night (ski, 8:30 ET). NBC will air coverage Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

PHOTOS: Fenway Park builds big air jump

“I hear numbers like 20,000 [fans], and I’m like, wow, I’ve never skied in front of that many people,” U.S. Olympic ski slopestyle bronze medalist Nick Goepper said.

Olympic ski and snowboard viewers may not be familiar with big air events, since it will debut at the Winter Games at Pyeongchang 2018. It most resembles slopestyle.

“Slopestyle is six to eight features to deal with on the whole way down, you don’t really get to showcase your best most challenging tricks,” U.S. Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion Jamie Anderson said. “With big air, it’s kind of like the one-hit wonder. You get to really go for it and try your hardest tricks. It really takes that level of progression up a lot.”

Ski big air, however, is not yet part of the Olympics.

“It’s really cool that we have the opportunity to do this and to showcase the skiing aspect of big air competition to the world and to [the International Ski Federation] and to all the fans to gain some validity to hopefully be included into the next, next Olympics,” Goepper said.

VIDEO: Chloe Kim scores perfect 100 at U.S. Grand Prix

Alone in Fenway Park. ⚾️⛷

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Game on! #bigairfenway ready to rock. @ussnowboarding @usfreeskiing #boston

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Beach volleyball player’s dog becomes social media sensation

Mathias Berntsen
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Norwegian beach volleyball player Mathias Berntsen‘s dog, Kiara, captivated social media this weekend.

A video of Kiara peppering with Berntsen and a pair across the net on a grass field spread from Berntsen’s Instagram across platforms. Kiara now has 12,000 Instagram followers, more than twice the total of Berntsen.

Berntsen, 24, is one half of Norway’s second-best beach volleyball team.

He and partner Hendrik Mol are ranked 45th in the world and well outside the Tokyo Olympic picture (24 teams go to the Games), but could get in the mix depending on how qualification is amended once sports resume.

Berntsen and his cousin Mol are part of a group called the Beach Volley Vikings. Mol’s younger brother, Anders, and family friend Christian Sorum are the world’s top-ranked team (profiled here).

MORE: Beach volleyball players fly to Australia, learn event is canceled

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FIFA rules on Olympic men’s soccer tournament age eligibility

Gabriel Jesus
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For the first time since 1988, some 24-year-olds will be eligible for the Olympic men’s soccer tournament without using an over-age exception.

FIFA announced Friday that it will use the same age eligibility criteria for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 that it intended to use in 2020 — that players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997 are eligible, plus three over-age exceptions. FIFA chose not to move the birthdate deadline back a year after the Olympics were postponed by one year.

Olympic men’s soccer tournaments have been U-23 events — save those exceptions — since the 1992 Barcelona Games. In 1984 and 1988, restrictions kept European and South American players with World Cup experience ineligible. Before that, professionals weren’t allowed at all.

Fourteen of the 16 men’s soccer teams already qualified for the Games using players from under-23 national teams. The last two spots are to be filled by CONCACAF nations, potentially the U.S. qualifying a men’s team for the first time since 2008.

The U.S.’ biggest star, Christian Pulisic, and French superstar Kylian Mbappe were both born in 1998 and thus would have been under the age limit even if FIFA moved the deadline to Jan. 1, 1998.

Perhaps the most high-profile player affected by FIFA’s decision is Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus. The Manchester City star was born April 3, 1997, and thus would have become an over-age exception if FIFA pushed the birthdate rule back a year.

Instead, Brazil could name him to the Olympic team and still keep all of its over-age exceptions.

However, players need permission from their professional club teams to play in the Olympics, often limiting the availability of stars.

MORE: Noah Lyles details training near woods, dog walkers

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