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Final Five throw acrobatic first pitches, like McKayla Maroney, Dominique Moceanu

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Olympic gymnasts have been throwing ceremonial first pitches for years, but only recently have flips and cartwheels become part of the routine.

On Saturday, Final Five members Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian performed those acrobatics en route to their tosses to home plate at MLB games.

In July, Simone Biles did the same at a Houston Astros contest.

Heck, even Magnificent Seven team member Dominique Moceanu did so at a minor-league game in August.

The first time a U.S. Olympic gymnast flipped for a first pitch, and it went viral, was in 2014, when McKayla Maroney did so at a Chicago White Sox game.

The other four 2012 Olympic team members — Gabby DouglasAly RaismanJordyn Wieber and Kyla Ross — have thrown first pitches of the more traditional variety. As have Nastia LiukinShawn JohnsonCarly Patterson and Mary Lou Retton (Retton once threw one underhand).

Of everyone, Kocian appeared to enjoy herself the most.

Her love for the Rangers may have sparked in June 1997, when her father had to leave a game at The Ballpark in Arlington during the first weekend of interleague play in MLB history for Kocian’s birth.

On Saturday, Kocian said she preferred meeting Rangers All-Star Adrián Beltré — and receiving an autographed bat — to Beyoncé at the MTV Video Music Awards six days earlier.

“It was very fun meeting Beyoncé, she was very nice, and I’m happy that we got to present her a VMA,” Kocian said Saturday. “But I’m a very big Rangers fan, so Beltré giving me the bat was just the cherry on top.”

MORE: Biles plans to take one year off

Olympian Dominique Moceanu flipping through the first pitch ⚾️🏅 #magnificent7

Posted by Lake Erie Crushers on Friday, August 12, 2016

Olympians @matt_ghaffari & @Dmoceanu threw out the first pitch. Wait until you see what happens! SportsCenterhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhYc2ncQ_0c

Posted by Lake Erie Crushers on Friday, August 12, 2016

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everyone told me not to do this

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2022 Pan Pacific Championships canceled as swimming calendar shifts

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The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, a quadrennial major international meet, will not be held in 2022 “out of respect for the recent changes to the international sporting calendar,” according to a press release.

The Pan Pacs’ charter nations — the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan — agreed to the move. The 2026 event will be held in Canada, which was supposed to be the 2022 host.

The decision came after the 2021 World Championships were moved to May 2022, following the Tokyo Olympics moving from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The quadrennial multi-sport Commonwealth Games — which includes Australia and Canada, but not the U.S. or Japan — are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7, 2022.

“Organizing a third major championships in that window presented several challenges,” according to the Pan Pacs release.

Pan Pacs mark the third-biggest major international meet for U.S. swimmers, held in non-Olympic, non-world championships years.

MORE: Caeleb Dressel co-hosts a podcast. It’s not about swimming.

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Boston Marathon canceled for first time after 123 years; virtual event planned

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The Boston Marathon, held every year since 1897, has been canceled as an in-person event for the first time. It will be held as a virtual race instead due to the coronavirus.

“While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon,” Boston Athletic Association (BAA) CEO Tom Grilk said in a press release.

The world’s oldest annual marathon had been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14, it was announced March 13.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he first considered canceling the postponed marathon during a coronavirus surge in April.

“We were maxed out in our hospital emergency rooms,” Walsh said Thursday. “I realized that the downside of the curve, which we were on, the backside of the curve, is going to be going for some time. The concern of a second surge made me have some real reservations about can we have the marathon or not.”

Walsh said experts said a potential second surge would be between August and October. He held out hope to hold the race until talking with the BAA last week.

All participants originally registered for Boston will be offered a full refund of their entry fee and have the opportunity to participate in the virtual alternative, which can be run between Sept. 7-14.

More details, including entry information, will be announced in the coming weeks.

It’s the biggest alteration to the Boston Marathon, which was inspired by the marathon’s debut at the first modern Olympics in 1896. Previously, the biggest change came in 1918, the last year of World War I. The marathon was still held on Patriots’ Day in April but as a 10-man military relay race.

The original 2020 Boston elite fields included two-time U.S. Olympian Des Linden, the 2018 Boston winner who was fourth at the Feb. 29 Olympic Trials, where the top three earned Olympic spots.

London is the world’s other major spring marathon. It was rescheduled from April 27 to Oct. 4. Its original fields for April were headlined by the two fastest men in history — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. It’s unknown if they will remain in the field, should London happen.

The fall major marathon schedule

Boston — Sept. 7-14 (virtual event)
Berlin — TBD (will not be held as planned on Sept. 27)
London — Oct. 4
Chicago — Oct. 11
New York City — Nov. 1

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results