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Wayde van Niekerk gets his wish as world championships schedule changed

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The 200m first rounds at August’s world track and field championships have been moved one day earlier to accommodate requests from Olympic 400m champions Wayde van Niekerk and Shaunae Miller‘s federations.

Both Van Niekerk and Miller have said they hope to race both the 200m and 400m at worlds in London. Van Niekerk specifically requested the schedule be changed to allow more time between the races but said it wasn’t a requirement for him to attempt the double.

The original schedule had the men’s and women’s 200m first rounds and 400m finals during the same afternoon, separated by about 2 1/2 hours each.

Now, the 200m first rounds will take place on the day between the 400m semifinals and final.

It’s unknown if American Allyson Felix has eyes on contesting both the 200m and 400m at worlds. Felix had those aspirations one year ago — the Olympic schedule was similarly modified at her request — but she missed the U.S. team in the 200m by .01 at the Olympic Trials, slowed by an ankle injury.

Even with the absence of Usain Bolt, the 400m world-record holder Van Niekerk could be an underdog in the 200m at worlds. His personal best — 19.94 seconds — would have ranked No. 9 in the world last year.

Miller’s best in the 200m — 22.05 — ranked No. 5 in the world in 2016 behind Olympic medalists Elaine ThompsonDafne Schippers and Tori Bowie and Felix.

The full worlds schedule is here.

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MORE: Wayde van Niekerk discusses Usain Bolt’s records

Swimming short-course records in peril as FINA recognizes ISL times

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In the debut season of the International Swimming League, six U.S. short-course records have fallen. USA Swimming has recognized the new circuit’s times from the outset.

International body FINA, which at first threatened to ban swimmers who participated in the ISL and then said it would not recognize records from the team-based league, which debuted in October and will hold its first final meet Dec. 20-21 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, is now recognizing those times, and the effects on its statistics have been drastic.

MORE: Ledecky sets U.S. record in ISL debut

This morning, a downloaded list of the top times in the world this year included no ISL times. By the afternoon, times from the ISL’s meet over the weekend in College Park, Md., accounted for most of the times on the lists, including the top 10 in the women’s 50m freestyle and women’s 100m freestyle.

So far, the ISL hasn’t figured into the top five on many all-time FINA lists. But the best short-course times are typically posted near the end of the year, and the ISL has two meets remaining.

The U.S. record book has already changed. In October, Katie Ledecky set the 400m freestyle record (3:54.06) and Melanie Margalis set the 200m medley mark (2:04.18).

In College Park this weekend, Margalis also set the U.S. 400m medley record (4:24.46) and Ian Finnerty set two records the 50m breaststroke (25.99), with runner-up Michael Andrew also beating the previous record, and the 100m breaststroke (56.29). Also, Caeleb Dressel set the 50m butterfly record (22.21).

Only half of the swimmers in the ISL will advance to the final, and qualification isn’t necessarily in their hands. After the College Park meet, the Cali Condors and LA Current clinched spots in Las Vegas. That’s bad news for Andrew (New York Breakers), Finnerty (DC Trident) and Ledecky (DC Trident).

Dressel, Margalis and Lilly King — all representing the Condors — will have another shot at records in Vegas. 

FINA, as usual, is running its World Cup circuit during the fall and early winter, and some swimmers — including overall World Cup champions Vladimir Morozov and Cate Campbell — are pulling double duty between the World Cup and ISL.

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IOC announces deal with Airbnb to add housing for future Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee has moved to help with the scramble to house the influx of athletes, staff and spectators with each Olympics, making a deal with online housing broker Airbnb to add accommodations for the Games through 2028.

“The agreement includes accommodation provisions that will reduce costs for Olympic Games organizers and stakeholders, minimize the need for construction of new accommodation infrastructure for the Olympic Games period, and generate direct revenue for local hosts and communities,” the IOC announced.

Airbnb’s partnership also includes accommodation for disability athletes for the Paralympic Games, and the company will join large global companies such as Coca-Cola, Visa and Panasonic as worldwide Olympic partners.

Athletes also will have a chance to make money by hosting travelers.

“As an Olympian host, you can create and lead an experience inspired by your expertise and interests,” reads an explanation on the Olympic athlete support portal Athlete365.

Outside the Olympics and Olympic athlete experiences, the IOC and Airbnb are pledging to work together on long-term support to refugees.

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