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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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Kelly Slater has an Olympic decision to make

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Surfing icon Kelly Slater is in great position to qualify for his sport’s Olympic debut in 2020, but he’s undecided about making a required event appearance this summer to stay eligible.

The top two U.S. male surfers in this season’s World Surf League final standings are in line to qualify for the Olympics.

Slater, a 47-year-old, 11-time world champion, is ranked third among Americans through six of 11 events, but the No. 2, two-time world champion John John Florence, is likely out for the rest of the season after an ACL tear.

If Slater keeps up his current pace of results, he will pass Florence’s point total by the end of the season in December.

“It appears as though I have to make a decision [on the Olympics] sooner than that,” Slater said after being eliminated from South Africa’s J-Bay Open in ninth place on Wednesday. “I’ve really got to figure out all the factors around that and make a decision in the next few weeks.”

Slater’s concern is the ISA World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan, in September, an event that top Olympic hopefuls on the WSL tour are required to attend, barring illness or injury.

“I think I have to surf that event, and if I don’t, it may disqualify me,” he said (the International Surfing Association, the sport’s governing body, later confirmed it would disqualify him). “But I’m not sure if I want to go to Japan and compete right now.”

The ISA Games take place in the week between the next two WSL events, the latter hosted by Slater’s Surf Ranch wave pool in California.

“I’m not exactly sure how I feel about the Olympics right now, anyways,” said Slater, who last year said he was “50-50” on the Olympics when noting his differing thoughts on the qualification process and venue. “The point is, I’m not really focusing on it at this point. I’m trying to get myself back in the flow of the tour.”

Slater missed 13 tour stops between the 2017 and 2018 seasons after breaking a foot and having multiple surgeries.

He finished fifth, third, ninth, ninth and ninth in his five most recent events to get into Olympic qualifying position. He expected more after placing third in the two contests he entered healthy last season. Slater said he competed at J-Bay after straining his back “really bad” on Sunday, keeping him from surfing the three days before the contest.

“Ninth place, to me, used to be a pretty awful result. I’m used to at least a quarterfinal on for most of my career,” he said. “I’m not horrified by my results, but I’m also not surprised. Maybe other people are because everyone focuses on my age and that kind of thing. It’s not like I’m going to all of a sudden forget how to do this thing, you know?”

Slater, at 48, would be the oldest U.S. Summer Olympic rookie competitor in a sport other than equestrian, sailing or shooting (or art competitions!) in the last 100 years, supplanting Martina Navratilova, via the OlyMADMen.

“Right now in my head the focus is more on this tour than it is on the Olympics, but we’ll see,” he said. “I was starting this year with a lot of pressure on myself to try and make the Olympic team and think, maybe I’ll retire there next year and that will be the end for me. It put so much pressure on the start of the year for me that I didn’t feel like I could freely compete. It was putting too many things in my head. I needed to let that take a backseat and not worry about it. I’m just not really thinking about it a lot.”

MORE: Top U.S. surfer has links to Egg McMuffin, Guinness World Record holder

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China on brink of sweeping every gold medal at diving worlds

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Shi Tingmao joined Guo Jingjing as the only women to win three straight world titles in an individual diving event, giving China 11 gold medals in 11 events with two finals left in Gwangju, South Korea.

Shi, who swept the individual and synchronized springboard titles in Rio, claimed the 3m world title on Friday by 18.25 points with 391 total. Countrywoman Wang Han took silver, 5.8 points ahead of Australian Maddison Keeney.

Americans Sarah Bacon and Brooke Schultz missed the 12-woman final, placing 14th and 29th.

China, which has dominated the sport for two decades, is looking to sweep the golds at an Olympics or worlds for the second time after winning all 10 events in 2011. This year’s feat could be more impressive, should China win the last two events Saturday — a mixed-gender springboard and the men’s platform.

That’s because three mixed-gender events were added to the world program (but not the Olympic program) since 2011. And this year, China has not only won every gold but also taken every silver in the three individual Olympic program events thus far.

China is in strong position to go one-two in the men’s platform. Yang Jian and Yang Hao were nearly 70 points clear of the field in Friday’s semifinals.

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