Mike Bryan, Bob Bryan
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Bob, Mike Bryan had mixed doubles partners lined up before withdrawing from Rio

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NEW YORK — Mike Bryan said he would have played with Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Bob Bryan with either Venus Williams or CoCo Vandeweghe in mixed doubles if the Bryan brothers had not withdrawn from the Rio Olympics.

The Bryans, who teamed to win doubles gold at London 2012, pulled out six days before the Rio Opening Ceremony, saying they would have loved to compete but making their family’s health “our top priority” in a social media statement.

Before coming to the decision, they reached out to other players for advice, including Brazilian doubles specialists Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.

Bob Bryan said last week that Zika virus concerns were “a very small part of” their decision not to play in Rio. There have been no known Zika cases stemming from the Olympics, according to the World Health Organization.

“I didn’t expect there to be people just getting eaten alive by mosquitoes,” Bob Bryan said at the U.S. Open, where the brothers were scheduled to play in the quarterfinals Tuesday. “I’ve had great reports from players that went there. I’ve had so-so reports. Sometimes it’s based on how you perform that leaves that lasting impression. If you have a good performance, you’re like, oh this is awesome. If you lose in the first round, you’re like, all right, it sucked down there.”

Before the Bryans pulled out, it wasn’t publicly known what the U.S. Olympic mixed doubles teams would be. National federations don’t have to submit proposed teams until during the Games.

Mixed doubles returned to the Olympic program in 2012 for the first time since 1924. In 2012, both Bryans played mixed. Bob Bryan earned bronze with Lisa Raymond, while Mike Bryan lost in the first round with Liezel Huber.

Raymond retired between London and Rio, while Huber did not qualify for this year’s U.S. Olympic team. That swung the door open wider for the Williams sisters to make their Olympic mixed doubles debuts in Rio.

The Bryan brothers and the Williams sisters are two of three duos to complete the career doubles Golden Slam together, along with Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.

Had the Bryan brothers and Williams sisters played together in Rio, and faced each other like the eventual U.S. mixed teams did (for gold), it would have been the greatest collection of U.S. tennis success playing in one match in history.

The Bryans’ pre-Rio mixed doubles picks were familiar. Mike Bryan and Mattek-Sands won the 2015 French Open. Bob Bryan and Venus Williams reached the 2006 Wimbledon final. Bob Bryan also lost in the 2012 French Open first round with Serena Williams.

U.S. doubles teams were strong in Rio even through the Bryans withdrew and the Williams sisters lost in the first round.

Steve Johnson and Jack Sock took bronze, while Mattek-Sands and Sock beat Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram in the mixed gold-medal match. The U.S. earned zero singles medals.

The Bryans have not ruled out or committed to a run for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which would be their fourth Games. They would each be 42 years old.

“We’re not that sprightly anymore,” Mike Bryan said on SI Now last week. “But doubles, you can keep going. It’s not that physical on the body.”

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Figure skating Grand Prix Series will be held as ‘domestic’ competitions

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Figure skating’s Grand Prix Series will go ahead as scheduled this fall, with modifications due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Skating Union decided Monday.

Each of the series’ six tops around the globe will be “a domestic run event,” limited to skaters of the event’s host country, who regularly train in the host country and from a respective geographical area. The number of disciplines and skaters at each event are to be worked out.

The Grand Prix Series, held annually since 1995, is a six-event fall season, qualifying the top six skaters and teams per discipline to December’s Grand Prix Final. The annual stops are in the U.S., Canada, China, France, Russia and Japan, leading up to the Final, which is held at a different site each year.

The Final is the second-biggest annual competition after the world championships, which are typically in late March. The Final is still scheduled for Beijing, though whether or when it can be held will be discussed.

The series begins in late October with Skate America, which debuted in 1979 and has been held every year since 1988 as the biggest annual international competition in the U.S. Skate America’s site is Las Vegas, just as it was in 2019.

Skaters typically compete twice on the Grand Prix Series (three times if they qualify for the Final). ISU vice president Alexander Lakernik said skaters will be limited to one start in the six-event series before the Final, according to TASS. The ISU has not confirmed or denied that report.

The January 2021 U.S. Championships are scheduled for San Jose, Calif. The March 2021 World Championships are set for Stockholm.

In July, the ISU canceled the Junior Grand Prix Series for skaters mostly ages 13 to 18, including two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu. Other early season senior international competitions scheduled for September were also canceled or postponed.

MORE: World’s top skater leaves famed coach

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Ex-Michigan State gymnastics coach sentenced in case tied to Larry Nassar

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A former Michigan State University head gymnastics coach was sentenced Tuesday to 90 days in jail for lying to police during an investigation into ex-Olympic and university doctor Larry Nassar.

Kathie Klages, 65, was found guilty by a jury in February of a felony and a misdemeanor for denying she knew of Nassar’s abuse prior to 2016 when survivors started to come forward publicly. She also was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

Klages testified at trial, and in a tearful statement Tuesday, that she did not remember being told about abuse. She said she had been seeing a therapist to try to remember the conversations and apologized to victims if they occurred.

“Even when I don’t express it to others, I struggle with what I’ve been accused of and what my role in this tragedy may have been,” she said in court.

Two women testified in November 2018 that in 1997 they told Klages that Nassar had sexually abused them and spoke Tuesday in court ahead of the sentencing. One of the women, Larissa Boyce, testified that Klages held up a piece of paper in front of the then-16-year-old and said if she filed a report there could be serious consequences for Boyce.

“I am standing here representing my 16-year-old self who was silenced and humiliated 23 years ago and unfortunately, all of the hundreds of girls that were abused after me,” Boyce said.

If the case had not involved Nassar, her lawyer has said, Klages would never have been found guilty. Nearly 200 letters were submitted to the judge on Klages’ behalf, her lawyer, Mary Chartier, said in a court filing ahead of the hearing. She noted that Klages sent her granddaughter, daughter and son to Nassar for health care.

“Mrs. Klages was one of thousands of people, including the police and the parents who were present in the room during treatments, who were fooled by a master manipulator with a singular design,” Chartier said.

It’s “shameful” to say that Klages could have prevented the scandal, Chartier said.

“Numerous people were told about the procedure — nurses, athletic trainers at other schools, psychologists, doctors and a high school counselor — and they did nothing,” Chartier said, quoting investigation reports. “Most notably, police and prosecutors were aware of the procedures, and they did nothing. To ignore this and claim that Mrs. Klages could have stopped the devastation wrought by Mr. Nassar is just plain false.”

Nassar was sentenced in 2018 to 40 to 175 years in prison for decades of sexual abuse to hundreds of athletes.

Klages is the second person other than Nassar to be convicted of charges related to his serial molestation of young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. The misdemeanor carried up to a 2-year prison sentence, while the felony carried up to a 4-year prison sentence.

Nassar’s boss at Michigan State, ex-College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean William Strampel, was sentenced to jail for crimes including neglecting a duty to enforce protocols on Nassar after a patient complained about sexual contact in 2014.

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MORE: British gymnastics stars speak up about abuse amid investigation