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Noah Lyles meets Justin Gatlin, fate in Monaco; TV, stream schedule

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Noah Lyles‘ immediate future in the 100m could ride on what happens in Monaco on Friday.

Lyles and world champion Justin Gatlin headline a Diamond League meet, two weeks before each is to appear at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Monaco streaming starts at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold, with TV coverage at 2 p.m. on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

Lyles, 21 and the world’s top 200m sprinter, will reportedly decide after the meet whether to enter both the 100m and the 200m or simply the latter at nationals, the qualifying meet for the world championships in Doha in late September/early October.

Lyles, who just missed the 2016 Olympic team out of high school and could not compete at 2017 Worlds due to injury, has long said he will focus on strictly the 200m at nationals and worlds.

“Until I see something in the 100m that is very definitive of, I can walk away with a [world championships 100m] medal and still be able to get away with a gold in the 200m, it’s going to be the 200m in Doha right now,” Lyles said last month.

The 100m final at worlds is Sept. 28. The 200m starts with heats Sept. 29.

Lyles ranks second in the world this year in the 100m behind world championships favorite Christian Coleman (who is not in Monaco). He is fastest in the world this year in the 200m by a comfortable two tenths of a second. And the world’s second-fastest 200m sprinter, Michael Norman, is expected to sit out the event in favor of the 400m.

Still, Lyles speaks like a man who has never competed at a global championship.

“The Gold isn’t mine till I physically hold it my hands,” Lyles tweeted after clocking that 19.50 on Friday, making him the fourth-fastest man in history behind Usain BoltYohan Blake and Michael Johnson. It was in response to NBC Sports analyst Ato Boldon suggesting Lyles should double in the 100m and 200m as he is already expected to take the 200m crown.

Here are the Monaco entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

Thursday
1 p.m. — Women’s Triple Jump

Friday
1:30 p.m. — Men’s Javelin
1:35 — Men’s Pole Vault
2 — Women’s High Jump
2:03 — Women’s 400m Hurdles
2:15 — Women’s 800m
2:25 — Men’s 400m
2:35 — Men’s 1500m
2:40 — Men’s Triple Jump
2:50 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
3 — Men’s 800m
3:10 — Women’s 200m
3:20 — Women’s Mile
3:35 — Men’s 100m
3:45 — Men’s 3000m Steeplechase

Here are five events to watch:

Women’s 400m Hurdles — 2:03 p.m. ET
Sydney McLaughlin, the 19-year-old hurdles wunderkind, puts her two-year win streak on the line against the last two world champions (countrywoman Kori Carter and Czech Zuzana Hejnová) and Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Spencer. McLaughlin won her Diamond League 400m hurdles debut in Oslo on June 13 despite hitting the first hurdle. Here she can take aim at the fastest time in the world this year, a 53.61 set by Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad, who is not in the Monaco field.

Men’s 1500m — 2:25 p.m. ET
Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot has strengthened his grip on this event in recent weeks. The world silver medalist won the Pre Classic mile and then clocked the world’s fastest 1500m in nearly a year in Lausanne last Friday. Challengers include 18-year-old Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who clocked the second-fastest time in the world this year in taking runner-up to Cheruiyot in Lausanne. Monaco has produced the fastest 1500m time in the world in six of the last seven years.

Men’s Triple Jump — 2:40 p.m. ET
Will Claye, silver medalist at the last two Olympics, spiced up the triple jump by leaping 18.14 meters on Jun 29 to join the 18 club and become No. 3 all-time in the event behind 2000 Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards and 2012 and 2016 gold medalist Christian Taylor. Taylor is in the Monaco field. As is the No. 3 active triple jumper, Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo.

Women’s 200m — 3:10 p.m. ET
Olympic 200m champion Elaine Thompson takes on Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo for the first time since April 2018. Thompson is fastest in the world this year at 22.00, while Miller-Uibo has clocked 21.88 back in 2017. This is the Bahamian Miller-Uibo’s first 200m of this season. She’s already the 2019 world leader in the 400m. But the 200m and 400m overlap at worlds, which forces Miller-Uibo to pick one event in Doha.

Men’s 100m — 3:35 p.m. ET
Lyles and Gatlin face off for just the second time. The first was in the 200m at the 2016 Olympic trials, where Gatlin won and Lyles finished fourth, just missing making the Olympic team at 18 years old. Two of the other top U.S. men, Mike Rodgers and Craven Gillespie, are in this field. As is Nigerian Divine Oduduru, the NCAA champion from Texas Tech.

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FIFA rules on Olympic men’s soccer tournament age eligibility

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For the first time since 1988, some 24-year-olds will be eligible for the Olympic men’s soccer tournament without using an over-age exception.

FIFA announced Friday that it will use the same age eligibility criteria for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 that it intended to use in 2020 — that players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997 are eligible, plus three over-age exceptions. FIFA chose not to move the birthdate deadline back a year after the Olympics were postponed by one year.

Olympic men’s soccer tournaments have been U-23 events — save those exceptions — since the 1992 Barcelona Games. In 1984 and 1988, restrictions kept European and South American players with World Cup experience ineligible. Before that, professionals weren’t allowed at all.

Fourteen of the 16 men’s soccer teams already qualified for the Games using players from under-23 national teams. The last two spots are to be filled by CONCACAF nations, potentially the U.S. qualifying a men’s team for the first time since 2008.

The U.S.’ biggest star, Christian Pulisic, and French superstar Kylian Mbappe were both born in 1998 and thus would have been under the age limit even if FIFA moved the deadline to Jan. 1, 1998.

Perhaps the most high-profile player affected by FIFA’s decision is Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus. The Manchester City star was born April 3, 1997, and thus would have become an over-age exception if FIFA pushed the birthdate rule back a year.

Instead, Brazil could name him to the Olympic team and still keep all of its over-age exceptions.

However, players need permission from their professional club teams to play in the Olympics, often limiting the availability of stars.

MORE: Noah Lyles details training near woods, dog walkers

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Jenny Thompson’s new team is on the front line fighting coronavirus

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Two weeks ago, Jenny Thompson, the 12-time Olympic swimming medalist turned anesthesiologist, told close friends about the worrisome situation at her hospital in Charleston, S.C.

Thompson and her perioperative team of 40 or 50 were stressed that they would not have the most effective personal protective equipment (PPE) for when the coronavirus pandemic peaks there, projected to be later this month.

The messages caused fellow former Stanford swimmers and Olympic teammates Gabrielle Rose and Lea Maurer to act.

“She almost never asks for any sort of help or support,” Maurer said. “She’s Herculean in her ability to take on life and all its challenges.”

Rose and Maurer started a GoFundMe titled “Go Jenny Go” on March 22 for help to purchase PPE for the hospital. At the time, critical care doctors were “scrambling to piece together purchases on their own in anticipation of their high risk patients,” Maurer wrote.

Thompson said the PPE situation is better now. The GoFundMe was suspended Wednesday. Future support is directed to help those in New York City. Thompson specifically noted a GoFundMe for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.

More than $9,000 was raised in less than two weeks. Also, the hospital started receiving more PPE on its own. Thompson’s team now feels prepared for what’s to come.

“People were responding and donating from all chapters of my life,” Thompson said by phone Thursday. “People I didn’t even know. Family from USA Swimming and international swimming. It’s really touched me to know that so many people care and are able to donate, help share the message.”

Thompson woke at 4 a.m. several days this week with thoughts of her peers in New York City. Healthcare workers there have cited a lack of PPE in putting their own lives at risk while they fight to save others. Some have contracted the virus.

“We’ve been fortunate [in South Carolina]. I feel lucky,” Thompson said. “We’ll definitely be in a place where we’re taking care of a lot of Covid patients, but we’re not there yet.

“I’ve heard people say, people in healthcare knew what they were signing up for. I never signed up to get sick and potentially die from this job. I always assumed that I would have the protection or the supplies needed to help me do my job, and that’s been a real struggle nationwide.”

Thompson went to medical school in New York at Columbia University starting in 2001.

“I’d been there maybe a couple weeks at Columbia, when 9/11 happened,” she said. “I remember feeling very helpless as a first-year medical student. I wanted to help so badly, but there really wasn’t much I could do. All my classmates felt the same way. I’ve always had that as part of the making of me as a doctor, having to go through crisis, but I never imagined a pandemic. I guess some people prepare for this sort of thing their whole life, but I didn’t.”

The term “front lines” has been applied to healthcare workers around the globe. Thompson said it’s apt at her hospital.

“We definitely have Covid here, but we have not had a major outbreak like some other cities,” she said. “We consider every patient who we give general anesthesia and intubate to be a potential risk. As anesthesia providers and people who intubate the airway, we are on the front line. We are at a much higher risk of getting sick without the right PPE.”

Thompson’s team feels more ready for the peak with every passing day. They’re simulating, donning and doffing and scheduling to work longer shifts starting next week. The preparation extends home, where she has a husband and three children.

“I have, like, four different pairs of shoes,” Thompson said. “I spray my socks with fabric disinfectant. I take them off in the car, and then I put on flip-flops. Then when I get home, I shower and put my clothes in the wash immediately. It’s a strange place to be, but just consider everything I touch to be contaminated in an effort to protect myself.”

Both Rose and Maurer still see in Thompson that swimmer who awed them in college. As Thompson trained to become the most decorated female U.S. Olympian in history, she studied at Stanford and then Columbia to become a doctor.

“I knew I wanted to take care of critically ill patients,” she said.

As a swimmer, Thompson was known as the ultimate teammate. Eight Olympic gold medals in relays, often an anchor. Always there. Dependable.

“She knows that she’s going to make a difference,” Maurer said. “She knows that she’s going to achieve that goal. She knows that she’s going to help to make people better. And so she does it.”

Thompson believes the next few weeks will be unlike anything she’s ever faced.

“Everybody was sort of freaking out in the beginning and feeling very stressed, and I think that at some level has not gone away,” she said. “That’s going to stay with us, but we have a we-can-do-this-together fighting mentality that we are leaning on each other for. It’s really no different than being a part of any kind of team.”