Michael Phelps, Nicole Phelps
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LeBron James, ‘just recognizing greatness,’ points to Michael Phelps after dunk

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Michael Phelps sat courtside for a Cavs-Suns game in Phoenix on Sunday, and his presence was not lost on LeBron James.

James reportedly pointed at Phelps after a dunk early in the fourth quarter of a 120-116 Cavs win. Video is here.

“I was just talking to people who were sitting around us, and they were like, ‘Did he just point at you, or is he pointing at me?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t really know,'” Phelps said, according to ESPN.

“Just recognizing greatness, that’s all that’s about,” James said, according to ESPN.

Phelps and wife Nicole reportedly met James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving for an Olympic reunion outside the locker room after the game.

Phelps and James shared U.S. Olympic teams in 2004, 2008 and 2012, and James made it out to the Olympic swimming venue multiple times. Phelps now lives in the Phoenix area.

“You built that relationship as Olympians so, it’s always fun to catch up with the boys and watch what they do,” Phelps said Sunday, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Those guys are always at swim meets, so it’s enjoyable for me to come watch the boys.”

Phelps and James were rivals for year-end awards in 2016. James beat out Phelps for the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year, after leading Cleveland to its first NBA title, despite skipping the Olympics for the first time.

James mentioned Phelps early in his speech at a Sports Illustrated awards show Dec. 12 in New York, where Phelps attended to receive a lifetime achievement award.

“Mike Phelps, we talk about you at the crib so much, man,” James said that night. “You are literally a fish. Literally. Like, I have no idea how you do what you do. You would definitely win the game that me and my boys play – let’s see who can stay under the water the longest and not come up. You’re not invited to that game, by the way.”

PHOTOS: Boomer Phelps’ first Christmas

Dan Hicks, Rowdy Gaines call backyard pool swim race

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Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines covered swimming together at the last six Olympics, including every one of Michael Phelps‘ finals, but they’ve never called a “race” quite like this.

“We heard you were looking for something to commentate during the down time….might this short short short course 100 IM help?” tweeted Cathleen Pruden, posting a video of younger sister Mary Pruden, a sophomore swimmer at Columbia University, taking individual medley strokes in what appeared to be an inflatable backyard pool.

“Hang on,” Gaines replied. “This race of the century deserves the right call. @DanHicksNBC and I are working some magic!”

Later, Hicks posted a revised video dubbed with commentary from he and Gaines.

They became the latest commentators to go beyond the booth to post calls on social media while sports are halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NBC Sports hockey voice Doc Emrick (who has also called Olympic hockey and water polo) did play-by-play of a windshield wiper installation.

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Which athletes are qualified for the U.S. Olympic team?

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Soon after Tokyo Olympic qualifying events began getting postponed, the International Olympic Committee announced that all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes.

The IOC repeated that position over the last week, after the Tokyo Games were postponed (now to open July 23, 2021). What does that mean for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee?

Well, 76 athletes qualified for the U.S. Olympic team before the Olympic postponement was announced. That full list is here.

Those 76 athletes can be separated into two categories.

  • Athletes who earned Olympic spots BY NAME via International Federation (i.e. International Surfing Association or International Aquatics Federation) selection procedures.
  • Athletes named to the U.S. Olympic team by their national governing body (i.e. USA Swimming or USA Track and Field) and confirmed by the USOPC using NGB selection procedures after the NGB earned a quota spot.

When the IOC says “all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes,” it means just that. USA Softball still has 15 athlete quota spots from qualifying a full team via international results. Surfer Kolohe Andino still has his Olympic spot from qualifying BY NAME via the International Surfing Association selection procedures route.

USA Softball named its 15-player Olympic roster last fall. Those 15 athletes did not earn Olympic quota spots for themselves. Unlike Andino (and 13 other American qualifiers across all sports), the 15 softball players had to be nominated by USA Softball and confirmed by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Unless and until the USOPC confirms that any of those other 62 athletes remain qualified, for now the list of U.S. Olympic qualifiers is these 14 who qualified BY NAME:

Karate (1)
Sakura Kokumai

Modern Pentathlon (2)
Samantha Achterberg
Amro Elgeziry

Swimming (3)
Haley Anderson
Ashley Twichell
Jordan Wilimovsky

Sport Climbing (4)
Kyra Condie
Brooke Raboutou
Nathaniel Coleman
Colin Duffy

Surfing (4)
Caroline Marks
Carissa Moore
Kolohe Andino
John John Florence

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MORE: Qualified athletes go into limbo with Tokyo postponement