Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte duel; Olympic Trials Friday finals preview

Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte
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Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte face off for perhaps the final time, while Katie Ledecky takes aim at her toughest event at the Olympic Swimming Trials on Friday (8 p.m. ET, NBC and NBC Sports app).

Phelps and Lochte will go head-to-head in the 200m individual medley final, each looking to make his fourth straight Olympic team in the event. Phelps is the three-time reigning Olympic champion. Lochte is the four-time reigning world champion.

Lochte was faster in the semifinals (1:56.71 to Phelps’ 1:57.61), but Phelps has looked stronger this week.

Lochte, slowed by a groin injury, was third in the 400m individual medley and fourth in the 200m freestyle. So far, his only place on the Olympic team is in the 4x200m free relay.

Phelps won the 200m butterfly to make his record fifth Olympic team for a U.S. male swimmer.

Later Friday, Phelps swims the 100m butterfly semifinals. Lochte also qualified for semis but scratched out of it, according to Swimming World.

One other marquee final Friday is the women’s 100m freestyle. If Katie Ledecky finishes in the top two, she will be in line to become the second U.S. swimmer to contest four freestyle events at one Olympics. Her task will be tall, given Ledecky was seventh fastest in the semifinals.

SWIM TRIALS: Video | Results | Broadcast Schedule

An event-by-event preview of Friday’s semifinals and finals:

Men’s 50m Freestyle Semifinals
Caeleb Dressel
, who on Thursday qualified to become the youngest U.S. man to swim the Olympic 100m free since 1976, was the fastest of 16 qualifiers from Friday morning. He was followed by 2000 co-Olympic champion Anthony Ervin, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Cullen Jones and 2015 World silver medalist Nathan Adrian. While Dressel, Ervin and Adrian are already on the Olympic team, this marks Jones’ last chance.

Women’s 200m Breaststroke Final
The fastest qualifiers into the final were Lilly King, who won the 100m breast already, and Micah Lawrence, who took the reins as the top U.S. female breaststroker following the retirement of Rebecca Soni. Lawrence earned silver and bronze medals in this event at the last two world championships after finishing sixth at the London Olympics.

Men’s 200m Backstroke Final
This is Olympic champion Tyler Clary‘s last chance to make the Olympic team after failed attempts in the 400m individual medley, 200m freestyle and 200m butterfly. He’s the No. 3 seed in this final after a 1:55.92 semifinal swim, ranking behind Ryan Murphy (1:55.04) and Jacob Pebley (1:55.18), who are former University of California teammates. Murphy won the 100m backstroke already.

Women’s 200m Backstroke Semifinals
This is Missy Franklin‘s final event of Trials, and it his her signature race. The Olympic champ and world-record holder was fastest in the morning preliminaries (2:09.69), ahead of Maya DiRado (2:09.76) and Elizabeth Beisel (2:10.01). Franklin missed the Olympic team in the 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle, but says she’s stronger in the 200 distances. She proved it by finishing second to Ledecky in the 200m freestyle.

Men’s 200m Individual Medley Final
Lochte and Phelps shouldn’t be challenged here. Lochte had the fastest semifinal time by nine tenths of a second, with Phelps next up while gliding into the wall the final several strokes. The No. 3 man in this final, David Nolan, was another .55 behind Phelps despite the 22-time Olympic medalist shutting it down considerably last night.

Women’s 100m Freestyle Final
If Ledecky finishes top two out of lane one, it will rank high on her list of accomplishments. Not quite world-record level, but darn impressive. Only six tenths of a second separate the eight swimmers here from their semifinal times. The spectrum ranges from 2012 Olympic champions in other events — Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt — to rising stars Kelsi Worrell and Simone Manuel to 30-year-old Amanda Weir, whose American record from 2009 still stands.

Men’s 100m Butterfly Semifinals
Phelps qualified sixth into the 16-swimmer semifinals. Make no mistake, Phelps is the favorite after winning the 200m butterfly. Lochte was ninth fastest in prelims. His reported scratch was a little bit of a risky move, given Lochte has not made the Olympic team in an individual event yet. It’s 200m IM or bust.

MORE: Olympic Swimming Trials broadcast schedule

U.S. men’s gymnastics team named for world championships

Asher Hong
Allison and John Cheng/USA Gymnastics
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Asher Hong, Colt Walker and world pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik were named to the last three spots on the U.S. men’s gymnastics team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Brody Malone and Donnell Whittenburg earned the first spots on the team by placing first and second in the all-around at August’s U.S. Championships.

Hong, Walker and Nedoroscik were chosen by a committee after two days of selection camp competition in Colorado Springs this week. Malone and Whittenburg did not compete at the camp.

Hong, 18, will become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009. He nearly earned a spot on the team at the U.S. Championships, but erred on his 12th and final routine of that meet to drop from second to third in the all-around. At this week’s camp, Hong had the lowest all-around total of the four men competing on all six apparatuses, but selectors still chose him over Tokyo Olympians Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus.

Walker, a Stanford junior, will make his world championships debut. He would have placed second at nationals in August if a bonus system for attempting difficult skills wasn’t in place. With that bonus system not in place at the selection camp, he had the highest all-around total. The bonus system is not used at international meets such as world championships.

Nedoroscik rebounded from missing the Tokyo Olympic team to become the first American to win a world title on pommel horse last fall. Though he is the lone active U.S. male gymnast with a global gold medal, he was in danger of missing this five-man team because of struggles on the horse at the U.S. Championships. Nedoroscik, who does not compete on the other five apparatuses, put up his best horse routine of the season on the last day of the selection camp Wednesday.

Moldauer, who tweeted that he was sick all last week, was named the traveling alternate for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. It would be the first time that Moldauer, who was fourth in the all-around at last fall’s worlds, does not compete at worlds since 2015.

Though the U.S. has not made the team podium at an Olympics or worlds since 2014, it is boosted this year by the absence of Olympic champion Russia, whose athletes are banned indefinitely due to the war in Ukraine. In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

The U.S. women’s world team of five will be announced after a selection camp in two weeks. Tokyo Olympians Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles are in contention.

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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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