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Brazil’s Thiago Braz takes gold in pole vault, USA’s Kendrick bronze

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Four years after winning his first Olympic gold medal in the pole vault, France’s Renaud Lavillenie was closing in on a second consecutive gold medal after clearing 5.98 meters (19-7 ½) on his fourth attempt of the night without a miss.

But on his second attempt to clear 6.03 meters (19 feet, 9 ¼ inches) Brazil’s Thiago Braz da Silva did just that, and after Lavillenie missed at 6.08 meters Brazil had its second gold medalist of the Rio Olympics. Thiago Braz’s gold medal-winning attempt established a new Olympic record, surpassing the mark set by Lavillenie in London.

WATCH: Brazil’s da Silva shatters Olympic record, wins men’s pole vault

Taking the bronze was American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, who earned his first Olympic medal just under five months after he took silver in the pole vault and the World Indoor Championships in mid-march. After successfully clearing 5.85 meters (19-2 ¼) Kendricks, who attended Ole Miss, failed to clear 5.93 meters on each of his three attempts at that height.

Thiago Braz, who joins judoka Rafaela Silva as Brazil’s gold medalists thus far in Rio, has not finished better than 14th in either of his appearances at the World Championships (senior level: 14th in 2013, 19th in 2015). And at the World Indoors in March, he finished 16th.

His winning the gold medal, beating the defending Olympic champion and world record holder to do so, will likely stand as one of the biggest upsets of these Games.

Tahiti chosen for Olympic surfing competition at 2024 Paris Games

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Paris 2024 Olympic organizers want the surfing competition to be held in Tahiti, an island in French Polynesia that is nearly 10,000 miles from Paris.

It would break the record for the farthest Olympic medal competition to be held outside the host. In 1956, equestrian events were moved out of Melbourne due to quarantine laws and held five months earlier in Stockholm, some 9,700 miles away.

The Paris 2024 executive board approved the site Thursday — specifically, the village of Teahupo’o — and will propose it to the IOC. It beat out other applicants Biarritz, Lacanau, Les Landes and La Torche, all part of mainland France.

Surfing will debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games but is not on the permanent Olympic program. Surfing was among sports added to the Paris 2024 program in June and could be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

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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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