Brian Baker
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U.S. Olympic tennis team official; 546th-ranked singles player goes to Rio

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The U.S. Olympic tennis team of 12 players was made official Friday, and it includes the 546th-ranked men’s singles player.

The team is headlined by Venus and Serena Williams, going to their fifth and fourth Olympics, respectively. They have combined to win two Olympic singles titles and three Olympic doubles titles.

The Williams sisters and the other women’s players — Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens in singles and Bethanie Mattek-Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe in doubles — were confirmed by the USTA on June 30.

Made official on Friday was the men’s singles team of Jack SockSteve JohnsonDenis Kudla and Brian Baker. Previously confirmed were brothers Bob and Mike Bryan in doubles, the reigning Olympic champs.

Baker is the most intriguing. He is ranked No. 546 in the world, and 41st among Americans, but can use a protected ranking for Olympic consideration, as he missed all of 2014 and 2015 due to injury.

Baker first used the protected ranking this year to get into the Australian Open at No. 56, which would rank him among the top four American men (not including John Isner and Sam Querrey, who previously withdrew from Olympic consideration).

Sock, ranked No. 26, celebrated his first Olympic qualification by picking out a Team USA-themed T-shirt with an eagle across the chest on a visit to Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., this week. Sock, Isner and the Bryan brothers are facing Croatia in the Davis Cup quarterfinals just outside Portland.

“As a kid you grow up watching a lot of the Olympics — not only tennis, but a lot of the sports,” said Sock, who rallied from two sets down to beat 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic on Friday afternoon. “Kind of a bucket list for every athlete I feel like to be able to represent your country on the biggest stage possible.”

Mixed doubles entries will be decided later, perhaps not until the Games in August.

The U.S. Olympic team is now at 524 qualified athletes. It is expected to reach at least 555 athletes by the time the team is officially named by the U.S. Olympic Committee, which is expected next week.

It’s expected that seven golfers will be named to the team in the next week, plus 12 men’s and 12 women’s rugby players. Also, kayaker Tim Hornsby could be added to the Olympic field. Replacement athletes, especially in fencing, would be added to the U.S. Olympic team if and when they compete in Rio.

MORE: Tennis stars, unlike golfers, not deterred by Zika virus in Rio

Women’s Singles
Serena Williams (also doubles)
Venus Williams (also doubles)
Madison Keys
Sloane Stephens

Men’s Singles
Jack Sock (also doubles)
Steve Johnson (also doubles)
Denis Kudla
Brian Baker

Women’s Doubles
Bethanie Mattek-Sands/CoCo Vandeweghe

Men’s Doubles
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan

Full video: 2016 Olympic Team

Twelve Americans will be #Serving4Gold at this year's Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Meet the 2016 U.S. Olympic tennis team.

Posted by United States Tennis Association – USTA (Official) on Friday, July 15, 2016

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

Grand Prix Final
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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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