Olympic medalists headline U.S. roster for diving worlds

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Three Olympic medalists headline the U.S. roster for the world diving championships, but David Boudia is absent for the first time since 2003.

Trials concluded Sunday in Indianapolis, where Olympic synchro platform silver medalist Steele Johnson made his first worlds team on the 3m springboard.

Johnson teamed in Rio with the 2012 Olympic platform champion Boudia, who is not competing this international season and may retire.

At world trials, Johnson was edged on the 3m springboard by Olympic synchro springboard silver medalist Michael Hixon, but both made the team as the U.S. can enter two divers per individual event at worlds.

Sam Dorman, who teamed with Hixon for that Rio silver, was fourth in the 3m springboard semifinals at trials and 90.9 points out of second place. With standings cumulative, he had a low chance of getting on the worlds team in the event and scratched out of finals.

MORE: U.S. Diving Trials Results

Still, Dorman previously made the worlds team in synchro springboard with Hixon. Each diver can build off his Olympic silver with a first world championships medal in Budapest in July.

Johnson qualified for three events at worlds — 1m and 3m springboard, plus the synchro platform with new partner Brandon Loschiavo. The 20-year-old Johnson previously competed at the 2015 Worlds, but not in any individual events. He finished 13th in the individual platform in Rio, one spot shy of making the finals.

Johnson took a break from the pounding of platform training after Rio but said his focus for worlds remains on the synchro platform rather than his individual springboard events.

With Dorman, Hixon and Johnson, the U.S. team at worlds boasts three Olympic men’s medalists. There are no Olympic medalists on the women’s side, but Rio Olympians Jessica Parratto (platform, synchro platform) and Kassidy Cook (synchro springboard) are back.

Perhaps the most promising member of the team is Tarrin Gilliland, a 14-year-old who will compete in both the women’s and mixed synchro platform events. Gilliland was third in the individual platform Sunday, missing the two-woman worlds team in that event by .05 of a point.

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MORE: Chinese diving legend emotionally retires

U.S. roster for World Diving Championships

Men’s 3m Springboard
Michael Hixon (Olympian)
Steele Johnson (Olympian)

Women’s 3m Springboard
Brooke Schultz
Krysta Palmer

Men’s Platform
David Dinsmore
Jordan Windle

Women’s Platform
Jessica Parratto (Olympian)
Delaney Schnell

Men’s 1m Springboard

Michael Hixon (Olympian)
Steele Johnson (Olympian)

Women’s 1m Springboard
Maria Coburn
Alison Gibson

Men’s Synchro Springboard
Sam Dorman (Olympian)
Michael Hixon (Olympian)

Women’s Synchro Springboard
Maria Coburn
Kassidy Cook (Olympian)

Men’s Synchro Platform
Steele Johnson (Olympian)
Brandon Loschiavo

Women’s Synchro Platform
Tarrin Gilliland
Jessica Parratto (Olympian)

Mixed Synchro Springboard
Briadam Herrera
Lauren Reedy

Mixed Synchro Platform
Andrew Capobianco
Tarrin Gilliland

U.S. women’s basketball team, statistically greatest ever, rolls to FIBA World Cup title

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The revamped U.S. women’s basketball team may have been the greatest of all time.

The Americans completed, statistically, their most dominant global championship ever by routing China 83-61 in the FIBA World Cup final on Saturday in Sydney — giving them 60 consecutive wins between the Olympics and worlds dating to 2006.

It marked the largest margin of victory in a World Cup final since the event converted from a fully round-robin format in 1983.

For the tournament, the U.S. drubbed its opponents by an average of 40.75 points per game, beating its previous record between the Olympics and worlds of 37.625 points from the 2008 Beijing Games. It was just off the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s Dream Team’s legendary margin 43.8 points per game. This U.S. team scored 98.75 points per game, its largest at worlds since 1994.

“We came here on a mission, a business trip,” tournament MVP A’ja Wilson said in a post-game press conference before turning to coach Cheryl Reeve. “We played pretty good, I think, coach.”

Since the U.S. won a seventh consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo, Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles retired. Tina Charles ceded her national team spot to younger players. Brittney Griner was detained in Russia (and still is). Diana Taurasi suffered a WNBA season-ending quad injury that ruled her out of World Cup participation (who knows if the 40-year-old Taurasi will play for the U.S. again).

Not only that, but Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach, implementing a new uptempo system.

“There was probably great concern, and maybe around the world they kind of looked at it and said, ‘Hey, now is the time to get the USA,'” Reeve said Saturday.

The U.S. response was encapsulated by power forward Alyssa Thomas, the oldest player on the roster at age 30 who made the U.S. team for the first time in her career, started every game and was called the team’s glue and MVP going into the final.

Wilson and Tokyo Olympic MVP Breanna Stewart were the leaders. Guard Kelsey Plum, a Tokyo Olympic 3×3 player, blossomed this past WNBA season and was third in the league’s MVP voting. She averaged the most minutes on the team, scored 15.8 points per game and had 17 in the final.

“The depth of talent that we have was on display,” Reeve said. “What I am most pleased about was the trust and buy-in.”

For the first time since 1994, no player on the U.S. roster was over the age of 30, creating a scary thought for the 2024 Paris Olympics: the Americans could get even better.

“When you say best-ever, I’m always really cautious with that, because, obviously, there are great teams,” Reeve said when asked specifically about the team’s defense. “This group was really hard to play against.”

Earlier Saturday, 41-year-old Australian legend Lauren Jackson turned back the clock with a 30-point performance off the bench in her final game as an Opal, a 95-65 victory over Canada for the bronze. Jackson, who came out of a six-year retirement and played her first major tournament since the 2012 Olympics, had her best scoring performance since the 2008 Olympics.

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IOC looks for ways Russian athletes ‘who do not support war’ could compete as neutrals

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GENEVA (AP) — Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag, IOC president Thomas Bach said in an interview published Friday.

“It’s about having athletes with a Russian passport who do not support the war back in competition,” Bach told Italian daily Corriere della Sera, adding, “We have to think about the future.”

Most sports followed IOC advice in February and banned Russian teams and athletes from their events within days of the country’s military invasion of Ukraine.

With Russians starting to miss events that feed into qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics, an exile extending into next year could effectively become a wider ban from those Games.

In an interview in Rome, Bach hinted at IOC thinking after recent rounds of calls with Olympic stakeholders asked for views on Russia’s pathway back from pariah status.

“To be clear, it is not about necessarily having Russia back,” he said. “On the other hand — and here comes our dilemma — this war has not been started by the Russian athletes.”

Bach did not suggest how athletes could express opposition to the war when dissent and criticism of the Russian military risks jail sentences of several years.

Some Russian athletes publicly supported the war in March and are serving bans imposed by their sport’s governing body.

Olympic gold medalist swimmer Yevgeny Rylov appeared at a pro-war rally attended by Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Gymnast Ivan Kuliak displayed a pro-military “Z” symbol on his uniform at an international event.

Russian former international athletes are being called up for military service in the current mobilization, according to media reports. They include former heavyweight boxing champion Nikolai Valuev and soccer player Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

Russians have continued to compete during the war as individuals in tennis and cycling, without national symbols such as flags and anthems, even when teams have been banned.

Bach told Corriere della Sera it was the IOC’s mission to be politically neutral and “to have the Olympic Games, and to have sport in general, as something that still unifies people and humanity.”

“For all these reasons, we are in a real dilemma at this moment with regard to the Russian invasion in Ukraine,” he suggested. “We also have to see, and to study, to monitor, how and when we can come back to accomplish our mission to have everybody back again, under which format whatsoever.”

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