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Walsh Jennings, Ross fall in beach volleyball semis

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After winning three straight Olympic gold medals, Kerri Walsh Jennings won’t have the opportunity to extend that streak to four.

Brazil’s tandem of Agatha and Barbara ended the streak, beating the tandem of Walsh Jennings and April Ross in straight sets, 22-20, 21-18 at Copacobana Beach. Prior to Tuesday night Walsh Jennings had a 26-0 record in Olympic beach volleyball matches, but contrary to the expectations that come with said experience it was she who struggled against the Brazilians. Passes were off, and kills that were converted on such a consistent basis were either off the mark or blocked by Agatha and Barbara.

WongAgatha and Barbara “took it to the Americans”

But even with the struggles of the Americans, Agatha and Barbara deserve credit for what happened. Their defensive ability combined with the skill of mixing things up offensively, going with power at some points and placement at others, made it tough for Walsh Jennings and Ross to establish any kind of momentum.

Next up for Agatha and Barbara will be Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, who eliminated Brazil’s Larissa and Talita in Tuesday’s other semifinal. Walsh Jennings and Ross can still win a medal, as they’ll face Larissa and Talita for the bronze medal Wednesday night.

The loss itself isn’t an upset, with Agatha and Barbara being the two-seed in the tournament and an accomplished duo in their own right. But with Walsh Jennings being undefeated in Olympic play going into the match and she and Ross playing good volleyball throughout their time in Rio, this was a result few expected.

In the men’s bracket, Brazil’s Alison and Bruno Schmidt will look to win gold when they take on Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo Thursday night. Nicolai and Lupo advanced to the gold medal match with a three-set win over Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Konstantin Semenov of Russia, 15-21, 21-16, 15-13.

Chicago Marathon canceled; one major marathon left in 2020

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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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