Michael Phelps’ influence out of pool impacts Olympic Trials results

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Michael Phelps wasn’t competing on opening night of the U.S. Olympic swimming trials. Still, the 18-time gold medalist’s influence impacted the results in the 400-meter individual medley, an event he once dominated.

With a proud Phelps looking on, his training partner Chase Kalisz (KAY-lish) won the final Sunday night, becoming the first swimmer to make the team for the Rio Games. Kalisz overtook defending Olympic champion Ryan Lochte for the lead on the breaststroke leg and went on to win in 4 minutes, 9.54 seconds.

Kalisz has admired Phelps since they both swam at North Baltimore Aquatic Club under coach Bob Bowman. Back then, Kalisz was a pesky kid and Phelps was already an Olympic champion. Kalisz and his teammates would twirl the spinners on the wheels of Phelps’ tricked-out Escalade in the parking lot at a local meet when the superstar swimmer wasn’t around.

“He would come out and catch us all and set off his car alarm, and we would freak out and run,” Kalisz recalled.

He and his co-conspirators wheedled multiple autographs out of Phelps which they traded for T-shirts from other swim teams.

“He’s a brother to me,” said Phelps, who at 30 is eight years older than Kalisz.

The relationship has flourished in the Arizona desert, where Phelps moved to continue training with Bowman, who became head coach at Arizona State last year. Kalisz took a year off of school at Georgia to join them in pursuit of his first Olympics.

Phelps is attempting to swim at his fifth and last Olympics. He was a two-time gold medalist in the 400 IM before finishing fourth in the London Games four years ago. He’s dropped the grueling event from his program, so seeing Kalisz win the race and keep it in the NABC family moved him to tears in the stands.

“I know Chase is very determined,” Phelps said. “I’ve watched him, I train with him every day, and the kid works his butt off.”

Phelps’ future retirement plans include becoming a volunteer assistant under Bowman at ASU. He’s testing his coaching skills on Kalisz, and sometimes it gets a little rough.

“When Michael gets on you, it’s pretty severe,” Bowman said. “It’s kind of nonstop for a while. When I do, it’s like a nuclear bomb got dropped on your head for about 2 1/2 minutes, but after that it’s over. Michael kind of keeps it going.”

Kalisz considers himself lucky to have Phelps, whom he describes as “the greatest swimmer of all time,” and Bowman giving tips.

“I’m very hard on him,” Phelps said. “There was a time when he actually asked Bob if I could back off a little bit. I just see potential and I want him to be the best he can be. He made some incredible improvements this year.”

It paid off during the first race at trials in front of a raucous, sold-out crowd at CenturyLink Center.

Kalisz was third through the opening 150 meters before moving up to second behind Lochte, who later said he pulled his groin in the morning preliminaries. Just as he did in prelims, Kalisz overtook Lochte on the breaststroke leg and stayed in front to the finish.

“I don’t have a fly and backstroke like him, so I got to play to my strengths,” Kalisz said. “I knew what I needed to do was build the first 50 breaststroke, like I talked to Michael and Bob about, and just hammer it as hard as I can coming home on the 150.”

Phelps found his way to Kalisz after the race and conveyed his pride.

“That was just a very emotional moment,” Kalisz said. “Michael has been like an older brother to me that I never had. He’s been the one guy that I’ve looked up to my entire life. I’ve never had a role model as big as him.”

Phelps watched the race from the media section, where he provided commentary for NBC. He touted unknown Jay Litherland as someone to watch over the last 100 meters, and it turns out the winningest Olympian in history was right.

Litherland finished second in 4:11.02 and claimed the other berth for Rio.

“He trained with us a little bit in Colorado when we were up there at altitude,” Phelps said. “The kid can swim. He closes races really well.”

MORE: For Phelps at Trials, nothing is a lock

2023 French Open men’s singles draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They meet in Friday’s semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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IOC board recommends withdrawing International Boxing Association’s recognition

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Boxing

The IOC finally ran out of patience with the International Boxing Federation on Wednesday and set a date to terminate its Olympic status this month.

While boxing will still be on the program at the 2024 Paris Games, the International Olympic Committee said its executive board has asked the full membership to withdraw its recognition of the IBA at a special meeting on June 22.

IOC members rarely vote against recommendations from their 15-member board and the IBA’s ouster is likely a formality.

The IOC had already suspended the IBA’s recognition in 2019 over long-standing financial, sports integrity and governance issues. The Olympic body oversaw the boxing competitions itself at the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021 and will do so again for Paris.

An IOC statement said the boxing body “has failed to fulfil the conditions set by the IOC … for lifting the suspension of the IBA’s recognition.”

The IBA criticized what it called a “truly abhorrent and purely political” decision by the IOC and warned of “retaliatory measures.”

“Now, we are left with no chance but to demand a fair assessment from a competent court,” the boxing body’s Russian president Umar Kremlev said in a statement.

The IOC-IBA standoff has also put boxing’s place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games at risk, though that should now be resolved.

The IOC previously stressed it has no problem with the sport or its athletes — just the IBA and its current president Kremlev, plus financial dependence on Russian state energy firm Gazprom.

In a 24-page report on IBA issues published Wednesday, the IOC concluded “the accumulation of all of these points, and the constant lack of drastic evolution throughout the many years, creates a situation of no-return.”

Olympic boxing’s reputation has been in question for decades. Tensions heightened after boxing officials worldwide ousted long-time IOC member C.K. Wu as their president in 2017 when the organization was known by its French acronym AIBA.

“From a disreputable organization named AIBA governed by someone from the IOC’s upper echelon, we committed to and executed a change in the toxic and corrupt culture that was allowed to fester under the IOC for far too long,” Kremlev said Wednesday in a statement.

National federations then defied IOC warnings in 2018 by electing as their president Gafur Rakhimov, a businessman from Uzbekistan with alleged ties to organized crime and heroin trafficking.

Kremlev’s election to replace Rakhimov in 2020 followed another round of IOC warnings that went unheeded.

Amid the IBA turmoil, a rival organization called World Boxing has attracted initial support from officials in the United States, Switzerland and Britain.

The IBA can still continue to organize its own events and held the men’s world championships last month in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

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