Missy Franklin, Jordan Spieth, Neymar drafted by Harlem Globetrotters

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Since 2007, the Harlem Globetrotters have held their own draft in advance of the NBA Draft. They “look at all different kinds of athletes that could have the qualities of a Harlem Globetrotter.”

And so in 2016, an Olympic year, the Globetrotters selected three likely Olympians for their “roster” – swimmer Missy Franklin, golfer Jordan Spieth and Brazilian soccer star Neymar. They also used an honorary pick on sideline reporter Craig Sager, who is battling acute myeloid leukemia but will work his fifth straight Olympics this summer in Rio for NBC. He is the Globetrotters’ first-ever honorary draft pick.

Franklin won four gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and is expected to bring home another medal haul this summer. The Globetrotters liked her height and hand size, saying she “can palm a regulation-size basketball.”

As for Spieth, the squad loved his family’s “strong basketball background” and the fact that his mansion in Dallas includes an indoor basketball court. Spieth is currently the top-ranked American golfer in the IGF’s Olympic rankings.

And Neymar, who helped Brazil to a silver medal at the 2012 Games, was praised for being a “big fan of basketball.” His dribbling skills were noted in a recent Instagram video.

The Globetrotters’ entire 2016 draft class is listed here.

“We also look beyond the court, for those athletes and entertainers that have the qualities of not only being great on the court or the field, but also being a good person off of it. Those are the most important traits that make a true Globetrotter,” said Sweet Lou Dunbar, the Globetrotters’ director of player personnel and coach, in a release.

Previous Globetrotters drafts have also included Olympians. Their 2015 class included U.S. women’s soccer star Alex Morgan, 2012 featured Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, Argentinian soccer legend Lionel Messi highlighted 2011, and Bahamian high jumper Donald Thomas was drafted in 2008.

MORE: Missy Franklin reads emotional letter to parents (video)

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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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.”

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