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FINA proposes mixed-gender relays, many new swim events for Tokyo Olympics

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Swimmers could have the opportunity to win many more medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and beyond, making Michael Phelps‘ record 28 Olympic medals a little less untouchable.

FINA, the sport’s international governing body, proposed to add 10 more swimming medal events for the next Olympics, which would bring its program to 44 total. The International Olympic Committee has final say in the Olympic program.

The proposed added events:

• Women’s 1500m freestyle
• Men’s 800m freestyle
• Two mixed relays (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley)
• Men’s and women’s 50m backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly

FINA’s proposal is to have all of its world championships events on the Olympic program.

It would instantly create at least one more medal opportunity for Katie Ledecky, who dominated the 1500m freestyle at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships. Her world record in that event is 13.4 seconds faster than the second-fastest woman in history.

Sprinters would stand to benefit the most. The U.S.’ top 100m freestylers — Nathan Adrian or Caeleb Dressel for the men and Simone Manuel for the women, currently — could add three more medal races to their Olympic schedules. Both mixed relays plus the 50m butterfly, which is commonly contested by the top sprint freestylers.

Mixed relays made their world championships debut in 2015. FINA has said for years that they could one day be part of the Olympic program.

It may be closer reality now, with mixed-gender events recently added to the Olympics in biathlon, luge and tennis.

More Olympic events in aquatic sports proposed by FINA:

DIVING
Proposal: to increase the number of divers from one-hundred thirty-six (136) to one-hundred sixty (160) and to have twelve (12) Synchro Teams qualified for the finals.

SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING
Proposal: to increase the number of participating nations from eight (8) to twelve (12) in the Team Event and to add the Mixed Duet Event with twelve (12) duets, that is 24 athletes.

OPEN-WATER SWIMMING
Proposal: to increase the number of swimmers from twenty-five (25) Men and twenty-five (25) Women to thirty-five (35) Men and thirty-five (35) Women.

WATER POLO
Proposal: to increase from eight (8) to twelve (12) Women’s teams but by adding four (4) additional athletes only.

Existing – total two-hundred sixty (260) players – 12 Men’s Teams x 13 players and 8 Women’s Teams x 13 players)

New proposal – total two-hundred sixty-four (264) players for twenty-four (24) Teams (12 Women’s Teams x 11 Players and 12 Men’s Teams x 11 players).

HIGH DIVING
Proposal: to include High Diving as an extreme sport, where Men dive from a 27m platform and Women from a 20m platform, with a total number of thirty (30) divers (15 Men and 15 Women).

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1960 Winter Olympic host considers name change over derogatory term

Squaw Valley
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TAHOE CITY, Calif. — California’s popular Squaw Valley Ski Resort is considering changing its name to remove the word “squaw” — a derogatory term for Native American women — amid a national reckoning over racial injustice and inequality.

The word “squaw,” derived from the Algonquin language, may have once simply meant “woman,” but over generations, the word morphed into a misogynist and racist term to disparage indigenous women, said Vanessa Esquivido, a professor of American Indian Studies at California State University, Chico.

“That word is an epithet and a slur. It’s been a slur for a very long time,” she said.

When settlers arrived in the 1850s in the area where the Sierra Nevada mountain resort is now located, they first saw only Native American women working in a meadow. The land near Lake Tahoe was believed to have been given the name Squaw Valley by those early settlers.

But now the term is considered derogatory and even the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word as an offensive term for a Native American woman.

The possible renaming of Squaw Valley Ski Resort is one of many efforts across the nation to address colonialism and indigenous oppression, including the removal of statues of Christopher Columbus, a symbol to many of European colonization and the death of native people.

On Monday, the National Football League’s Washington Redskins announced the team is dropping the “Redskins” name and Indian head logo.

Regional California tribes have asked for the name of Squaw Valley Ski Resort — which received international name recognition when it hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics — to be changed numerous times over the years, with little success.

But the idea is gaining momentum.

Squaw Valley President & CEO Ron Cohen said the resort is currently taking inventory of all the places where the name appears on and off the property, how much it would cost to change and what to prioritize if the change moves ahead.

Removing “squaw” from the resort name would be a lengthy and expensive process, Cohen said, as the name appears on hundreds of signs and is imprinted on everything from uniforms to vehicles.

Cohen, who took over as head of the resort two years ago, said the operators are also meeting with shareholders, including business and homeowners within the resort, as well as the local Washoe tribal leadership to get their input.

Cohen said he could not give a timeline on when a decision could be made.

Washoe Tribe Chairman Serrell Smokey said the name Squaw Valley is a constant reminder of efforts to disparage native people.

He’s in favor of the name change and suggested “Olympic Valley” as a replacement.

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‘In Deep with Ryan Lochte’ highlights Peacock launch sports offerings

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“In Deep with Ryan Lochte,” a documentary on the swimmer’s Rio Olympic scandal and return from suspensions, premieres on Peacock on Wednesday, when NBC Universal’s new streaming service launches.

From NBC Universal PR: “[Lochte] was at the center of a scandal that has since overshadowed a decorated swimming career that includes 12 Olympic medals. Now a 35-year-old husband and father of two young children, Lochte is hoping for one more chance to make Team USA and prove he’s not the same man he was four years ago.”

Lochte’s life since his Rio gas-station incident: a 10-month suspension, engagement and marriage to Kayla Reid, the birth of son Caiden and daughter Liv, the dedication of his swims at the 2020 Olympics to Nicholas Dworet, a swimmer killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, a 14-month ban after he posted a social media image of an illegal IV transfusion of a legal substance, a six-week alcohol addiction rehab stint and a 2019 U.S. title in the 200m individual medley (the meet lacked top Olympic hopefuls).

In the film, Lochte revisits what happened in Rio, when he embellished the actual story: that he, and three other U.S. swimmers, were confronted by a security guard after Lochte ripped down a sign outside of a bathroom after late-night drinking. The swimmers’ competition was over.

“I messed up before that night even started,” Lochte said in the film. “I shouldn’t have even thought about going out and getting drunk. I should have represented my country the way we were taught. It just kind of spiraled down from there.

“It was all my fault, and I have to live with that for the rest of my life.”

The security guard, who pointed a gun at Lochte but not against his forehead, and a Rio police chief were interviewed on camera for the film.

Lochte said he plans to tell his children everything that happened.

“I don’t want to lie to them ever,” he said.

After the Olympics, Lochte said he saw a headline that said he was “the worst person in the world.” Most of all, he regretted that younger swimmers who previously looked up to him said he was no longer their role model.

“This is the most pressure I’ve had in my entire life,” Lochte said. “Yes, I made a mistake in Rio, and I need to earn the respect from my fellow swimmers, from Team USA, from everyone in the world. I gotta earn the respect. If I don’t make the Olympic team, they won’t see the change that I’ve made.”

Lochte, trying to become the oldest U.S. Olympic male swimmer in history, ranks fifth among Americans since the start of 2019 in the 200m IM. The top two at next summer’s Olympic Trials make the Tokyo Games.

“It’s pretty obvious now, I’m 100 percent family,” Lochte, who shed 30 added pounds from his time away from swimming, said at last August’s U.S. Championships. “That party-boy image that I used to have, I know it kind of messed me up, and it stuck with me, but that’s not me. I could care less about that lifestyle. My celebrations are picking up my son and my daughter and playing with them.”

Peacock’s launch also includes another sports offering, “Lost Speedways,” a series on the great racing cathedrals of the past created and hosted by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NBC Sports’ full Premier League match and studio coverage on Wednesday will be presented free on Peacock. That includes four matches, led by Liverpool at Arsenal at 3:15 p.m. ET. More information is here.

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