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Kerri Walsh Jennings, Nicole Branagh end beach volleyball partnership

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Kerri Walsh Jennings and Nicole Branagh ended the longest-standing partnership at the top level of U.S. women’s beach volleyball after a little more than one year.

“Nicole and I have decided to end our beach volleyball partnership,” Walsh Jennings said, via her agent. “We had a really wonderful year plus together, and yet our finishes and our trajectory were unsatisfactory. We are both excited to figure out next steps with regard to our next partnerships. I know we both have big plans and dreams for ourselves in the sport and so the journeying will continue!”

Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion, has not announced a new partner with the lengthy Olympic qualifying window starting in September.

The pair withdrew from next week’s FIVB World Tour event in Vienna, Austria. Branagh is still entered in this week’s AVP event in Hermosa Beach, Calif. Walsh no longer plays AVP after a contract dispute.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh, a pair of 39-year-olds with a combined five children, were bidding to together become the oldest Olympic beach volleyball players in history in Tokyo.

They partnered last year after Walsh Jennings and April Ross split less than a year after their bronze in Rio as Ross signed her AVP contract. Branagh was not Walsh Jennings’ first choice. The three-time gold medalist with the now-retired Misty May-Treanor appealed to the younger Sara Hughes, who declined.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh never found consistency in competition, in part because Walsh Jennings’ 2017 season ended prematurely with her sixth right shoulder surgery (followed by an ankle surgery).

In 10 FIVB tournaments together, their best finish was fourth, and they had just one other quarterfinal appearance.

Every other top-level U.S. beach volleyball player changed partners since Walsh Jennings and Branagh teamed up. Ross is now with Alix Klineman. The U.S. can qualify no more than two pairs for the Tokyo Games in two years.

MORE: 20 U.S. athletes to watch, 2 years out from Tokyo 2020

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Rafael Nadal not entered in U.S. Open; men’s, women’s singles fields named

Rafael Nadal
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Rafael Nadal is not entered in the U.S. Open, as of now joining the recovering Roger Federer in missing the first Grand Slam tennis tournament since the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Open starts as scheduled Aug. 31 without fans.

Nadal won his fourth U.S. Open in 2019, defeating Russian Daniil Medvedev in a five-set final. That moved Nadal within one Grand Slam singles title of Federer’s record 20.

Federer previously announced he is out for the rest of 2020 following a right knee procedure.

U.S. Open Entry Lists: Men | Women

The U.S. Open fields are led by top-ranked Novak Djokovic and 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams.

Other notable players not on main-draw entry lists published Tuesday: women’s No. 1 Ash Barty and 2016 U.S. Open winner Stan Wawrinka. Other than Barty, the top 28 women in the world rankings are entered, including defending champion Bianca Andreescu.

Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are the top-ranked men in the field. Djokovic and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic are the only male Grand Slam singles champions in the field.

VIDEO: Coco Gauff delivers speech for racial justice

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Why did Shaun White cut his hair? Carrot Top

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Shaun White said a revelatory chat with Carrot Top led to the Olympic snowboarding champion chopping off his flowing red locks more than seven years ago, according to a report.

“I went to an event in Vegas where I run into Carrot Top,” White wrote, according to a Bleacher Report AMA last Wednesday. “We were talking about our hair and he basically looked at me like you could see into his soul and he basically said he was stuck like this. And at that point it was like seeing the ghost of Christmas future. And at that point I was like omg I can change.”

White documented a meeting with Carrot Top on social media in September 2013, but that was 10 months after the haircut. They must have met in 2012, too.

White, formerly known as the Flying Tomato, posted video of the haircut in December 2012, saying he didn’t tell anybody beforehand. He had grown tired of the nickname.

He donated the hair to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for needy children.

White is known for charitable efforts for children, including with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. White was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, requiring two major surgeries before his first birthday.

White, a 33-year-old who recently changed his hair color to blond, announced in February that he ended a bid to make the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team for the Tokyo Games.

He is expected to compete for a spot in the 2022 Winter Olympics, where he could be the oldest U.S. Olympic halfpipe rider in history.

MORE: White, Shiffrin among dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s

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