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Two world records broken as Kazakhstan’s Rahimov takes weightlifting gold

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Kazakhstan’s Nijat Rahimov and China’s Lyu Xiaojun were by far the two best weightlifters in the 77 kg final Wednesday evening, with the gold medal ultimately being decided by a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker: which athlete weighed less, as both managed to lift a combined weight of 379 kilograms in the snatch and clean and jerk lifts.

Rahimov took the gold medal as a result, but it should be noted that both he and Lyu established new Olympic and World records in the duel.

Rahimov’s lift of 214 kilograms, which is approximately 472 pounds, on his second attempt in the clean and jerk established new Olympic and World records. As for Lyu, his lift of 177 kilograms (approximately 390 pounds) on his third attempt in the snatch set new Olympic and world records. The difference between gold and silver for Lyu was essentially two kilograms, as he entered the competition weighing 175 kg with Rahimov weight in at 174 kg.

Kazakhstan had never won a gold medal in this event, with their only other medal of any kind in the weight class being a silver in 2004. Rahimov, who served a two-year doping ban from 2013-2015, nearly wasn’t allowed to compete as the International Weightlifting Federation attempted to ban the entire Kazakhstan team over repeated positive doping tests. But that process wasnt’ carried out in time for the start of the Olympics, thus allowing Rahimov the opportunity to compete.

Taking bronze was Mohamed Mahmoud of Egypt, giving that nation two weightlifting medalists on the day with 18-year old Sara Ahmed being the other. Armenia’s Andranik Karapetyan was in contention for a medal, but he missed out due to a severe arm injury (warning: graphic video) suffered on his second 195 kg attempt in the clean and jerk.

UCI looks for new host for 2020 World Road Cycling Championships

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The International Cycling Union (UCI) is looking for a new host for the 2020 World Road Cycling Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Switzerland can no longer host the week-long event in late September after a national decision to extend a ban on events with more than 1,000 people through next month.

Amid reports the competition has been canceled, the UCI clarified Wednesday that it still hopes to hold it in some form, perhaps without some of the junior or senior races.

It now seeks an “alternative project,” preferably still in Europe and on the same dates (Sept. 20-27).

Worlds were due to start in Switzerland on the same day that the rescheduled Tour de France ends, though the senior elite men’s races are typically not on the first three days.

The Tour de France is still scheduled to start Aug. 29.

Last year, American Chloe Dygert starred at road worlds, winning the time trial in dominant fashion. Other world champions in Olympic events: Annemiek van Vleuten (road race), Rohan Dennis (time trial) and Mads Pedersen (road race).

MORE: Chloe Dygert had the most dominant ride in history. It still drives her nuts.

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Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15 in 2000

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In the biggest race of his young life, a 15-year-old Michael Phelps turned for the last 50 meters in fourth place of the U.S. Olympic Trials 200m butterfly final on Aug. 12, 2000.

His mom, Debbie, couldn’t watch. She turned away from the Indianapolis Natatorium pool and stared at the scoreboard. Both Debbie and Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, mentally prepared their consolation speeches for the rising Towson High School sophomore outside Baltimore.

Then Phelps, fueled by nightly Adam’s Mark chicken sandwich-and-cheesecake room service and amped by pre-race DMX on his CD player, turned it on. He zoomed into second place, becoming the youngest U.S. male swimmer to qualify for an Olympics since 1932.

Phelps had “come out of nowhere in the last six months” to become an Olympic hopeful, NBC Sports swimming commentator Dan Hicks said on the broadcast. True, Phelps chopped five and a half seconds off his personal best that March.

“He doesn’t know what it means to go to the Olympics and how it’s going to change his life,” Tom Malchow, the 1996 Olympic silver medalist who held off Phelps in that trials final, said that night, according to The Associated Press. “He’s going to find out soon.”

Phelps, who did his trademark arm flaps before the trials final, made Bowman look like a prophet. Four years earlier, the coach sat Debbie down for a conversation she would not soon forget.

“Told me what he projected for Michael,” Debbie said, according to the Baltimore Sun‘s front-page story on a local 15-year-old qualifying for the Sydney Games. “He said that in 2004, he would definitely be a factor in the Olympics. He also said that he could be there in 2000, to watch out for him. At the time, he was only 11.”

The trials were bittersweet for the Phelps family. Whitney, one of Phelps’ older sisters, withdrew before the meet with herniated discs in her back that kept her from making an Olympics after competing in the 1994 World Championships at age 14.

After Phelps qualified for the Olympics, one of the first people to embrace him was Whitney on the pool deck.

The next week, Phelps, still with bottom-teeth braces, did his first live TV sitdown on CNN, swiveling in his chair the whole time, according to his autobiography, “Beneath the Surface.”

The next month, Phelps finished fifth in his Olympic debut, clocking a then-personal-best time that would have earned gold or silver at every previous Olympics.

Following the Olympic race, gold medalist Malchow patted Phelps on the back, according to “No Limits,” another Phelps autobiography. What did Malchow say?

“The best is ahead of you.”

MORE: Meet Arnie the Terminator, Katie Ledecky’s top rival

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