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Cate Campbell latest Australian star to pass on world championships

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Cate Campbell, the 100m freestyle world-record holder, will not race at the world championships in July, according to the Australian.

Campbell would join fellow veterans James Magnussen and the Belinda Hocking in bowing out from the world meet in Budapest. Magnussen, a two-time world 100m free champ, is taking a one-year break. Hocking, who swam backstroke at three Olympics, retired.

Madeline Groves, the Rio Olympic 200m butterfly silver medalist, is also not going to compete at worlds, according to the report.

Campbell, 24, has been a mainstay since earning two 2008 Olympic bronze medals at age 16. She broke the 100m free world record two months before the Rio Olympics, entering the Games with a shot at three gold medals.

She came home with one gold in the 4x100m free relay and missed the podium in both the 50m and 100m frees, later revealing that she swam with a hernia.

Campbell will race throughout this year, just not at worlds, because she needs a bit of a break to continue on to a possible fourth Olympics in 2020, according to the newspaper.

“I’m just making sure I get my body right and my mind right because I do want to continue through to 2018, and at the moment, 2020,’’ she said, according to the Australian. “I’ve battled injuries pretty much my whole career, and my injuries aren’t just an issue in the swimming pool. I wake up a couple of times every night because I’m sore from my neck and it carries over into day to day life.”

With Campbell out, the top 100m free sprinters looking ahead to worlds are co-Olympic champions Simone Manuel of the U.S. and Penny Oleksiak of Canada, plus Campbell’s sister, the 2015 World champion Bronte Campbell, and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, the only woman to earn 100m free medals at both the 2015 Worlds (silver) and 2016 Olympics (bronze).

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Erin Hamlin to run New York City Marathon

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Erin Hamlin, the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist and Team USA flag bearer at the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony, will run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.

Hamlin, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist who retired after her fourth Olympics in PyeongChang at age 31, is running to fundraise for the Women’s Sports Foundation. So is Marlen Esparza, who in 2012 became the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing medalist (flyweight bronze).

Hamlin has no marathon experience, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

“Being challenged in sport is something I am very familiar with,” Hamlin said in a mass email Wednesday, according to TeamUSA.org. “Long distance running is something I most certainly am not!! It will be difficult, mentally and physically daunting, but a way to test my abilities in a sport so far out of my comfort zone.”

Many Olympians in non-running sports have raced the New York City Marathon.

Bill Demong, the 2010 U.S. Olympic Closing Ceremony flag bearer and only U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion, ran the 2014 NYC Marathon in 2:33:05, crushing eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno‘s 3:25:14 from 2011.

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Softball set to return to Olympics as first event on Tokyo 2020 schedule

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Softball, returning to the Olympics after a 12-year absence, is scheduled to kick off the 2020 Tokyo Games, two days before the Opening Ceremony.

The preliminary master schedule for the Tokyo Olympics was published Wednesday, with the first softball game scheduled for 10 a.m. local time on the Wednesday before the Opening Ceremony.

The first game is scheduled to be held in Fukushima, the site of 2011 nuclear plant meltdowns caused by an earthquake and tsunami 155 miles north of Tokyo. The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organizers have been eager to use the Games as a symbol of recovery from the 2011 disaster

Traditionally, soccer has been the first sport to have action at a Summer Olympics, one or two days before the Opening Ceremony. While soccer is again scheduled to have matches that same Wednesday, they start later than 10 a.m.

The Tokyo 2020 schedule is subject to change and certainly not a final version — swimming, diving and synchronized swimming schedules are still to be determined, but those sports do not typically start before the Opening Ceremony.

Softball was added in 1991 to the Olympic program to debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The U.S. won the first three gold medals before softball and baseball were narrowly voted off the Olympic program in 2005/06 (a 52-52 IOC vote for softball, with a majority needed to stay in the Olympics), with the 2008 Beijing Games being the last edition. Japan won the last Olympic softball gold medal 10 years ago.

Then on Aug. 3, 2016, baseball and softball were among five sports added for the 2020 Tokyo Games only, at the request of Tokyo Olympic organizers. Baseball and softball are not guaranteed to remain on the Olympic program in Paris in 2024.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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