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Wrestling: Snyder romps to gold medal match; Molinaro will go for bronze

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American wrestlers Kyle Snyder and Frank Molinaro had varying degrees of success Sunday in the Olympics.

Snyder had a magnificent morning, and will wrestle for gold this evening in the 97kg class when he meets Azerbaijan’s Khetag Gazyumov.

Molinaro lost his second match in the 65kg class but his loss came to a finalist, so he’ll battle for bronze.

Both Americans won their first matches, as Snyder built a first period lead in his first match before dominating the second to win 10-3 over Cuba’s Javier Cortina Lacerra, a man he outweighed by 11 pounds.

His second opponent was a better match on paper, but Snyder rolled to a 7-0 win against Romania’s Albert Saritov.

That gave him a semifinal against Georgia grappler Elizbar Odikadze who had made a buzzsaw run through the field. Odikadze won 6-1 and 8-1 in his first two matches, and quickly had a 4-0 lead on Snyder.

That wouldn’t last. Snyder boosted nine-straight points, all in the second half, to stun the Georgian and move onto the final with a 9-4 win.

Molinaro started with a razor-thin decision over Poland’s Magomedmurad Gadzhiev. The 2-2 score line tipped in Molinaro’s favor thanks to a 3-1 edge in tech points.

Unfortunately, Molinaro gave up seven pounds and 10 points to Azerbaijan’s Toghrul Asgarov in a second match shutout.

Asgarov went onto the final, so Molinaro will enter the repechage with a chance for bronze. He’ll get to battle Ukraine’s Andrii Kviatkovskyi and then Frank Chamizo of Italy. Two wins would give him Olympic bronze.

 

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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