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Kerri Walsh Jennings documentary shows trying journey to 5th Olympics

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The path to a fifth Olympics – at which she aspires to claim a fourth consecutive beach volleyball gold medal – has been the roughest of all for Kerri Walsh Jennings. And she has the documentary to prove it.

“Kerri Walsh Jennings: Gold Within” is set to air July 31 at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on NBC, five days before the Rio Games Opening Ceremony. It’s a 45-minute film that followed Walsh Jennings around at home, on the beach and in doctors’ offices as she endured a serious shoulder surgery that threatened to keep her from Rio. The film was directed by three-time Emmy winner Gabe Spitzer and produced by DICK’S Sporting Goods Films and Tribeca Digital Studios.

“I hope what they capture most is that there are so many people who help me to chase my dreams,” Walsh Jennings told the Associated Press. “No one behind you gets the appreciation they deserve.”

Check out the trailer here.

The documentary covers life at home with three children, as well as the struggles of a new partnership. Walsh Jennings’ longtime teammate, Misty May-Treanor, retired after their third gold medal in London (Walsh Jennings also competed in the 2000 Games in indoor volleyball). So Walsh Jennings teamed up with April Ross.

The new duo’s Olympic qualifying process was more difficult than most. Walsh Jennings and Ross excelled in 2014, but Walsh Jennings twice separated her shoulder in 2015, the first year of Olympic qualifying. She underwent a fifth shoulder surgery in September.

Her orthopedic surgeon, Dr. William Schobert, said six months was the standard recovery time.

“I know,” Walsh Jennings told him in the film. “But we are not standard people.”

Her goal was to begin training again in four months. Her first competition back came in March, a FIVB World Tour event in Rio, which she and Ross won. They’ve advanced to at least the semifinals in each of their seven international tournaments since, winning three more times.

Walsh Jennings and Ross enter Rio as strong medal contenders, and likely will battle the two Brazilian teams with their home crowd for gold.

And the Americans’ season won’t end with the Olympics. They’ve already committed to the World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, Aug. 23 to 28. The women’s medal matches in Rio will be played Aug. 17.

MORE: Walsh Jennings, Ross Rio underdogs after another loss to Brazil

Chicago Marathon canceled; one major marathon left in 2020

Chicago Marathon
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The Chicago Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 11, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the fourth World Marathon Major called off this year.

Organizers cited the challenge of staging the 45,000-runner event “out of concern for the safety of event participants, volunteers, event staff and spectators.”

Previously, major marathons were canceled in Berlin (originally scheduled for Sept. 27), Boston (April 20, then Sept. 14) and New York City (Nov. 1). The London Marathon, originally scheduled for April 26 and postponed to Oct. 4, remains scheduled.

The other World Marathon Major, Tokyo, took place on its scheduled date of March 1 but with elite runners only.

Last year, Kenyan Brigid Kosgei won Chicago by taking 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record. Kosgei clocked 2:14:04.

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results

Figure skating Grand Prix events in China remain scheduled

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Figure skating Grand Prix events in China in November and December remain scheduled, the International Skating Union announced Monday, four days after reports about international sporting events in China being canceled through the end of 2020.

A notice about sports events, issued Thursday by the General Administration of Sport of China, made an exception for Beijing Winter Olympic test events and other preparations for the first Winter Games in China in February 2022.

The Grand Prix Final, the second-most prestigious annual figure skating competition, is still scheduled for December in Beijing because it is an Olympic test event.

Furthermore, the Cup of China, one of six events across the globe that determines Grand Prix Final qualifiers, remains scheduled for November in Chongqing because it is related to the Final.

“Like for all other five ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events in the different countries, this is of course subject to finding the necessary logistical, medical and safety solutions to hold the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events as planned,” according to the ISU.

The ISU previously announced it set a deadline to decide on possible event cancellations: 12 weeks before an event starts. For the first Grand Prix Series competition, Skate America in Las Vegas, the decision deadline is Aug. 1.

The ISU council will meet virtually on Aug. 3 to decide on further action for upcoming competitions.

MORE: Tai Babilonia, a Winter Olympic original, credits skating trailblazer

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