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Sarah Bacon is first U.S. female diver to earn world medal in 14 years

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Sarah Bacon became the first U.S. female diver to earn an individual Olympic or world championships medal since 2005, taking silver on Saturday at worlds in the 1m springboard, which is not an Olympic event.

Chen Yiwen won Saturday with 285.45 points as China swept the first two events at worlds (including the mixed synchro platform), which includes 13 total events and runs through next weekend.

Bacon, the 22-year-old NCAA champion from Minnesota, tallied 262 points on the first day of finals in Gwangju, South Korea, to become the first U.S. woman on an Olympic or world podium since Laura Wilkinson won the 2005 world title on the platform.

The last U.S. woman to make a springboard podium was Mary Ellen Clark, who took bronze at the 1996 Olympics. The last to do it at worlds was Wendy Lucero, in the 1m in 1991.

Bacon endured two shoulder surgeries, a concussion, stress fractures in her back and mental struggles to get here. Bacon said she wanted to quit before enrolling at Minnesota, where former U.S. national team coach Wenbo Chen is at the helm.

“I wanted nothing to do with it. I came here not even wanting to dive,” she said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But my parents said, ‘You should go dive with [Chen]. See if that sparks your interest again.’ And he completely changed the way I view it.”

Bacon, a rising senior, is at her first senior worlds. She also qualified as the second U.S. woman in the 3m springboard behind Brooke Schultz. That is an Olympic event and will take place later next week.

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MORE: Diving Worlds TV Schedule

Dan Hicks, Rowdy Gaines call backyard pool swim race

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Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines covered swimming together at the last six Olympics, including every one of Michael Phelps‘ finals, but they’ve never called a “race” quite like this.

“We heard you were looking for something to commentate during the down time….might this short short short course 100 IM help?” tweeted Cathleen Pruden, posting a video of younger sister Mary Pruden, a sophomore swimmer at Columbia University, taking individual medley strokes in what appeared to be an inflatable backyard pool.

“Hang on,” Gaines replied. “This race of the century deserves the right call. @DanHicksNBC and I are working some magic!”

Later, Hicks posted a revised video dubbed with commentary from he and Gaines.

They became the latest commentators to go beyond the booth to post calls on social media while sports are halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NBC Sports hockey voice Doc Emrick (who has also called Olympic hockey and water polo) did play-by-play of a windshield wiper installation.

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MORE: Ledecky, Manuel welcome Olympic decision after training in backyard pool

Which athletes are qualified for the U.S. Olympic team?

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Soon after Tokyo Olympic qualifying events began getting postponed, the International Olympic Committee announced that all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes.

The IOC repeated that position over the last week, after the Tokyo Games were postponed (now to open July 23, 2021). What does that mean for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee?

Well, 76 athletes qualified for the U.S. Olympic team before the Olympic postponement was announced. That full list is here.

Those 76 athletes can be separated into two categories.

  • Athletes who earned Olympic spots BY NAME via International Federation (i.e. International Surfing Association or International Aquatics Federation) selection procedures.
  • Athletes named to the U.S. Olympic team by their national governing body (i.e. USA Swimming or USA Track and Field) and confirmed by the USOPC using NGB selection procedures after the NGB earned a quota spot.

When the IOC says “all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes,” it means just that. USA Softball still has 15 athlete quota spots from qualifying a full team via international results. Surfer Kolohe Andino still has his Olympic spot from qualifying BY NAME via the International Surfing Association selection procedures route.

USA Softball named its 15-player Olympic roster last fall. Those 15 athletes did not earn Olympic quota spots for themselves. Unlike Andino (and 13 other American qualifiers across all sports), the 15 softball players had to be nominated by USA Softball and confirmed by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Unless and until the USOPC confirms that any of those other 62 athletes remain qualified, for now the list of U.S. Olympic qualifiers is these 14 who qualified BY NAME:

Karate (1)
Sakura Kokumai

Modern Pentathlon (2)
Samantha Achterberg
Amro Elgeziry

Swimming (3)
Haley Anderson
Ashley Twichell
Jordan Wilimovsky

Sport Climbing (4)
Kyra Condie
Brooke Raboutou
Nathaniel Coleman
Colin Duffy

Surfing (4)
Caroline Marks
Carissa Moore
Kolohe Andino
John John Florence

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MORE: Qualified athletes go into limbo with Tokyo postponement