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Watch Penn Relays, Drake Relays on NBC Sports

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Olympic shot put champion Ryan Crouser and 100m hurdles world-record holder Kendra Harrison headline the Drake Relays, which along with the Penn Relays air live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Friday
Penn Relays: 5:30-6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK

Saturday
Penn Relays: 12:30-3 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
Drake Relays: 3-5 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK

The U.S. roster for the 125th Penn Relays includes Olympian Mike Rodgers and national 800m silver medalist Raevyn Rogers. They compete Saturday in USA vs. the World races, which include 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays.

At Drake, world champion Kori Carter duels with Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Spencer in the 400m hurdles (3:22 p.m. ET). Harrison then takes on Rio Olympic silver medalist Nia Ali in the 100m hurdles (3:42). The men’s 110m hurdles (3:54) features Olympic champ Omar McLeod from Jamaica and Devon Allen, the former University of Oregon wide receiver who finished fifth in Rio.

Crouser stars in the field events along with Olympic pole vault medalists Sam Kendricks and Sandi Morris.

Americans are tuning up for the USATF Outdoor Championships in Des Moines in July, a qualifier for the world championships in Doha in five months.

U.S. Women’s Penn Relays Pool
Kendall Baisden
Deonca Bookman
Aaliyah Brown
Brittany Brown
Destinee Brown
Dezerea Bryant
Destiny Carter
Kendra Chambers
Gabrielle Farquharson
Felecia Majors
Robin Reynolds
Raevyn Rogers
Asha Ruth
Brionna Thomas
Kaylin Whitney

U.S. Men’s Penn Relays Pool
Cameron Burrell
Marcus Chambers
Michael Cherry
Kenzo Cotton
Chris Giesting
Najee Glass
Cordero Gray
Je’Von Hutchinson
My’lik Kerley
DeShawn Marshall
Remontay McClain
Sean McLean
Manteo Mitchell
Champ Page
Bryce Robinson
Mike Rodgers
Brycen Spratling
Jamiel Trimble
Marqueze Washington
Dontavious Wright
Isiah Young

Penn Relays Schedule (p.m. ET)
Men’s 4x100m — 12:37
Women’s 4x100m — 12:47
Men’s 4x400m — 1:32
Women’s 4x400m — 1:41
Women’s Sprint Medley — 2:26
Men’s Sprint Medley — 2:35

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Sam Mikulak to retire from gymnastics after Tokyo Olympics

Sam Mikulak
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Sam Mikulak, the U.S.’ top male gymnast, said he will retire after the Tokyo Olympics, citing a wrist injury and emotional health revelations during a forced break from the sport due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It does sound like some pretty crazy news, but there’s a lot of factors that go into it,” Mikulak said in a YouTube video published Sunday night. “I’ve had a lot of time to think about it during quarantine.”

The 27-year-old is a two-time Olympian, six-time U.S. all-around champion and the only active U.S. male gymnast with Olympic experience.

Mikulak said he noticed significant wrist inflammation last year that was temporarily healed by a November cortisone shot. But during quarantine, the wrist worsened even though he wasn’t doing gymnastics. He took a month off from working out, but the wrist didn’t heal.

He thought for a time that he might not return to gymnastics at all. A doctor told him he would need cortisone shots for the rest of his career.

“At that point, it was really made for me that this has to be my final year of gymnastics because I don’t want to ruin myself beyond this sport,” Mikulak said.

Mikulak also noted realizations from the forced time out of the gym. He learned that he’s much less stressed while not doing gymnastics, a sport he began at age 2. Mikulak’s parents were gymnasts at Cal.

“For so long, I’ve been sacrificing, and I’m sick of it,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to being able to be free from gymnastics and being able to do all these things that I’ve been putting off in my life for so long.”

Mikulak realized a career goal in 2018 when he earned his first individual world championships medal, a bronze on high bar. He wants to cap his career with a first Olympic medal in Tokyo, then, perhaps, become a coach or open his own gym.

Mikulak recently got engaged to Mia Atkins, and they got another puppy, Barney.

“Everything I’ve done in gymnastics is enough for me right now,” said Mikulak, who plans to document the next year on YouTube. “I was actually somewhat happy that I was able to come to that type of decision because for so long I felt like gymnastics really wasn’t going to be fulfilling until I’ve gotten my Olympic medal. And during quarantine, I had this whole revelation where, you know what, I am happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life, and I’m not doing gymnastics, so even if I don’t accomplish these goals, I am still going to be so damn happy.”

MORE: Simone Biles’ closest rival chases comeback

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April Ross, Alix Klineman complete perfect, abbreviated AVP season

April Ross, Alix Klineman
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April Ross and Alix Klineman consolidated their position as the U.S.’ top beach volleyball team, completing a sweep of the three-tournament AVP Champions Cup on Sunday.

Ross, a two-time Olympic medalist, and Klineman won the finale, the Porsche Cup. They won all 12 matches over the last three weekends, including the last 14 sets in a row, capped with a 21-18, 21-17 win over Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil in Sunday’s final.

“It feels like we’re midseason in a normal year,” Ross said on Amazon Prime. “I can’t believe it’s over.”

The AVP Champions Cup marked the first three top-level beach volleyball tournaments since March, and a replacement for a typical AVP season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The setting: on the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center parking lot without fans and with many health and safety measures.

AVP is not part of Olympic qualifying. It’s unknown when those top-level international tournaments will resume, but Ross and Klineman, ranked No. 2 in the world, are just about assured of one of the two U.S. Olympic spots.

According to BVBinfo.com, they’re 10-0 combined against the other top U.S. teams — Claes and Sponcil and triple Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat, who are likely battling for the last U.S. Olympic spot.

Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who do not play on the AVP tour, have a lead for the last spot more than halfway through qualifying, which runs into June.

Earlier in the men’s final, Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb kept 2008 Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena from sweeping the Champions Cup. Bourne and Crabb prevailed 21-17, 15-21, 15-12 for their first AVP title since teaming in 2018.

Bourne, who went nearly two years between tournaments from 2016-18 due to an autoimmune disease, and Crabb redeemed after straight-set losses to Dalhausser and Lucena the previous two weekends. Crabb guaranteed a title on Instagram days before the tournament.

“Those guys are the best in the world, and they make you look bad at times, but we’re relentless,” Bourne said on Amazon Prime. “You’re going to have to play the best volleyball in the world to beat us every time.”

Bourne and Crabb, Dalhausser and Lucena and Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb (Trevor’s younger brother) are battling for two available U.S. Olympic spots in Tokyo.

MORE: Team Slaes looks to end Kerri Walsh Jennings’ Olympic career

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