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Sun Yang out of world-record event at world championships as court decision looms

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Controversial swimming star Sun Yang is not entered in the 1500m freestyle at the world championships, despite being the world-record holder in the longest event on the pool program.

He is entered in the 200m, 400m and 800m frees at worlds that start Sunday in South Korea.

Sun, a 27-year old with 12 combined Olympic and world titles between the 200m and 1500m frees, has been largely absent from the 1500m since lowering the world record at the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics by a combined 3.54 seconds. Nobody has been that close to his record since.

Sun withdrew minutes before the 2015 Worlds 1500m final, citing heart issues while declining to comment when asked about a reported warm-up altercation with a Brazilian swimmer.

In Rio, he failed to make it out of the preliminary heats, swimming 30.95 seconds slower than his world record. Sun was entered in the 1500m free at 2017 Worlds but didn’t show for the prelims.

Sun was also suspended three months in 2014 for a banned stimulant, though the punishment wasn’t announced by Chinese officials until after he served the time. Then Sun was given a warning by FINA’s independent panel, but no ban, for reportedly having his drug-test blood sample destroyed with a hammer in September.

The World Anti-Doping Agency appealed for a harsher sentence to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The hearing will happen after worlds in September, according to Agence France-Presse.

MORE: Swimmers are first athletes to make 2020 U.S. Olympic team

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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