Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky close Mesa meet with wins

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MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Katie Ledecky won the 800m freestyle by nearly 15 seconds at the Arena Pro Swim meet Saturday night, her third victory in three days just over two months before the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

Ledecky swam well ahead of the rest of the field and touched in 8 minutes, 13.20 seconds on the last night of the meet at Skyline Aquatic Center. Conditions were much calmer than Friday when wind gusts up to 30 mph kicked up the water and gave swimmers an extra element to fight against.

Ledecky finished 14.65 seconds ahead of Lotte Friis of Denmark, who touched in 8:27.85. Cierra Runge finished third in 8:32.21.

Ledecky added the 800m free to her earlier victories in the 200m and 400m freestyles. She later finished sixth in the 100 free; her specialty is the longer distances.

Michael Phelps led all the way in the 200m individual medley, touching in 1:57.90 – third-fastest in the world this year. He led a 1-2-3 sweep by North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmers. Chase Kalisz was second in 1:59.05 and David Nolan third.

”The freestyle wasn’t that great,” Phelps said. ”I’m never really too satisfied. I always like to have something to work on. I have the speed and that’s something I was lacking. The rest will come.”

Phelps won the 200 butterfly on Friday as he trains with an eye on swimming in his fifth Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro. Next up is six weeks of high-altitude training in Colorado while he awaits the birth of his first child in May.

”I’ve got so much in my head right now,” Phelps said. ”I had 15 different thoughts in my head last night, like where do I even go from here?”

Ryan Lochte scratched the 200m IM final to focus on a double of the 200m backstroke and 100m free. He won the backstroke in 2:01.04 and was last in the 100m free.

”It was rough,” he said. ”Feeling that pain like I did this morning (when he swam three races), I hadn’t done that in so long it was new to me. It tells me I’m physically tired. I’ve been training really hard.”

Nathan Adrian won the 100m free to go with his earlier title in the 50m free. His time of 48 seconds was fourth-fastest in the world this year.

The women’s 100m free went to Simone Manuel in 53.80.

Maya DiRado won the women’s 200m IM in 2:11.09, with world record holder Katinka Hosszu of Hungary finishing fifth.

DiRado returned about 15 minutes later to win the 200m back, again beating Hosszu, who was fifth. DiRado won in 2:08.61. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, aiming for another Olympics at age 32, finished second in 2:10.04. World record holder Missy Franklin scratched the final, tweeting that she wasn’t feeling well and was resting on her coach’s orders.

Jordan Wilimovsky, already on the Olympic team in open-water swimming, won the 1500m free.

MORE: Katie Ledecky ‘breaks’ Olympic male gold medalist in practice

Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

Boxing gloves
Getty
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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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