Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin
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Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin under pressure; Tuesday finals preview

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OMAHA — Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin, the two best U.S. swimmers this time four years ago, face major tests in finals at the Olympic Trials on Tuesday night

The injured Lochte qualified fifth fastest into the 200m freestyle final, an event where he was the top American at the 2012 Olympics (fourth).

“I’ve never raced in this much pain,” Lochte said Monday night.

Franklin qualified seventh fastest into the 100m backstroke final, which she won at the London Games.

It’s possible neither races those events in Rio, since only the top two Tuesday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC and NBC Sports app) will clinch an individual Olympic berth.

“Having been here before, I’m putting a lot of that pressure on myself,” Franklin said Tuesday morning ahead of her first of what she hopes is four finals this week. “Remember, hey, this is the best in the country right now. You’re racing against the greatest swimmers in all of the United States. Take it as an honor.”

An event-by-event look at Tuesday night’s semifinals and finals session:

Women’s 200m Freestyle Semifinals
Olympic champion Allison Schmitt, 2013 World champion Missy Franklin and 2015 World champion Katie Ledecky headline arguably the deepest event for both genders. Ledecky (1:55.60) and Leah Smith (1:56.47), who went one-two in the 400m free final Monday, were one-two in the 200m free prelims Tuesday morning. Schmitt was fourth and Franklin seventh. The top eight between two semis make Wednesday night’s final.

Men’s 200m Freestyle Final
This is Ryan Lochte‘s best remaining chance to make the Olympic team, given as many as the top six finishers could make the 4x200m free relay pool. Lochte is better in the 200m individual medley later in the meet, but only two spots are available there (with Michael Phelps in that field, too). He will be hoping that not having to swim Tuesday morning will help ease the groin injury suffered Sunday in the 400m individual medley, where he ended up finishing third. Lochte was fifth overall in the 200m free semis, but only .62 behind top seed Conor Dwyer. The second, third and fourth seeds are all at least 10 years younger than Lochte.

Women’s 100m Backstroke Final
Franklin must come back about 23 minutes after the 200m free semis for this race. She called her 100m back semifinal Monday night “sluggish.” In the last year, Franklin has also expressed frustration with some of her times as she returned from back spasms that slowed her at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and the transition out of NCAA swimming in 2015. Her semifinal time — 1:00.45 — was 1.29 seconds slower than top seed Olivia Smoliga and 1.09 seconds slower than No. 2 Kathleen Baker. Also, 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion Natalie Coughlin snuck into this final as the eighth seed.

Men’s 100m Backstroke Final
This looks like three men racing for two Olympic spots — Olympic champion Matt Grevers, fellow veteran David Plummer and Ryan Murphy, a rising University of California senior. The world record could go down, too, since Plummer was .18 off of Aaron Peirsol‘s mark from 2009 in the semifinals.

SWIM TRIALS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Women’s 100m Breaststroke Final
Two first-time Olympians will likely be crowned here. Rising Indiana sophomore Lilly King came into this meet as the fastest in the U.S. this year and was also tops in the preliminary heats and semifinals. Molly Hannis and Katie Meili are the No. 2 and 3 seeds also eyeing their first Olympics, while former world-record holder Jessica Hardy was fourth best in the semifinals.

Men’s 200m Butterfly Semifinals
Unlike Lochte and Franklin, Michael Phelps should feel no pressure tonight. He needs to be in the top eight between two semifinals to advance to Wednesday night’s final. In 2015, Phelps clocked the fastest time in the world in this event since 2009. On Tuesday morning, he was the fastest man in the prelims.

Women’s 200m Individual Medley Semifinals
Maya DiRado, who won the 400m IM on Sunday to make her first Olympic team, qualified fastest into the semifinals. Caitlin Leverenz, who earned bronze at the London Olympics in this event, was .23 behind. Like with Phelps, they should easily make top eight to reach Wednesday’s final.

MORE: Lochte must draw on painful past to make Olympic team

Adam Jones, five-time MLB All-Star, becomes Olympic eligible

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Should the U.S. qualify for baseball’s Olympic return, a five-time MLB All-Star could be eligible for its roster in Tokyo. And he has interest.

Outfielder Adam Jones signed with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s domestic league, which, unlike MLB, will take an Olympic break next summer to allow players to take part in the first Olympic baseball tournament in 12 years.

Jones, 34, made no mention of Olympic eligibility in a social media post announcing the signing. His Instagram avatar is a photo of him in a Team USA jersey from the World Baseball Classic.

Jones’ agent later said that Jones does have interest in playing for the U.S. in Tokyo, should an American team qualify in the spring.

“To play over in Japan has always been a desire of Adam’s, and the timing worked out that the Olympics happens to be played in Tokyo the first year of his contract,” Jones’ agent wrote in an email. “It wasn’t one of the factors on his decision BUT more of a [sic] addition to the overall package to decide to go.”

Jones called being part of the U.S.’ 2017 WBC title, “probably the best experience of my life so far, especially with sports,” according to The Associated Press. He was one of five players to be on the U.S. team at each of the last two World Baseball Classics.

The U.S. still faces a difficult task to qualify for the Tokyo Games. It lost to Mexico last month in its first of up to three chances at qualifying tournaments, using a roster of mostly double-A and triple-A caliber players.

Major Leaguers are not expected to be made available for qualifying or for the Tokyo Games.

The next two qualifying tournaments will be in late March (an Americas qualifier in Arizona) and early April (a final, global qualifying event in Chinese Taipei). It remains to be seen how MLB clubs will go about releasing minor leaguers for a tournament that will take place during spring training.

Jones could become the third player with prior MLB All-Star experience to compete at the Olympics from any nation, joining Australian catcher Dave Nilsson and Canadian pitcher Jason Dickson.

Jones made five All-Star teams during an 11-year stint with the Baltimore Orioles from 2008-18 before playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

Many players competed at the Olympics before making an MLB All-Star team, including Stephen Strasburg and Jason Giambi.

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Russia boxers to boycott Olympics if sanctions not lifted

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Russian boxers will only take part in the Tokyo Olympics if doping sanctions forcing them to compete as neutral athletes are overturned, the general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Umar Kremlev said he has spoken with the Olympic boxing team and they “unanimously” rejected the conditions laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency as punishment for manipulating doping data.

The WADA sanctions, announced on Monday, ban the use of the Russian team name, flag or anthem at a range of major sports competitions over the next four years, including next year’s Olympics.

“They said we won’t go without our flag and anthem,” Kremlev said. “We aren’t going for medals, but for that feeling that I brought the highest honor home for my country.”

Separately, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament said Russia could create an alternative to the Olympics.

“This ruling show the clear crisis in international sports institutions. I believe that Russia could host its own games at home,” Valentina Matvienko said in comments reported by the Interfax news agency.

There is a precedent. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union refused to compete in the Olympics and hosted its own Spartakiads — named after the ancient rebel slave Spartacus — with a strong socialist slant. However, the Soviet Union began competing at the Olympics in 1952 and Russians generally take great pride in the country’s Olympic achievements since then.

If the sanctions aren’t overturned, Kremlev said Russian boxers would prefer to turn pro rather than compete at the Olympics.

“A world champion (in professional boxing) is better known than an Olympic champion,” Kremlev said, adding the Russian anthem would be played before pro title fights.

Kremlev said boxers are being asked to shoulder the blame for offenses committed in other sports. He said they would still stay at home even if Russia’s athletes in other sports decided to take part.

“If other sports are guilty and people have breached the WADA code, why are we punished?” he said. “We are for honest sport and against doping. We want our sport to be clean … If someone breaks the rules, we push them out.”

Russia is a major power in amateur and Olympic boxing. It hosted both men’s and women’s world championships this year, finishing at the top of the medals table at the women’s event and second in the men’s championships. The International Olympic Committee has taken direct charge of boxing at the Tokyo Olympics after criticizing chronic financial problems and infighting at the International Boxing Association.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov talked up Russia’s chances of overturning the WADA sanctions.

“I think that there is every basis to appeal the decision, because our experts have presented their position, and they have the same database as WADA does,” Kolobkov said in comments reported by state news agency TASS. “There is an answer to every question and the whole process is ahead of us.”

The official decision on whether to dispute the sanctions will be made on Dec. 19 by the Russian anti-doping agency’s supervisory board, but senior figures, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, have signaled their preference for taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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