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Chase Kalisz misses 400m individual medley final at swim worlds

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Chase Kalisz, the world’s best all-around swimmer in 2017 and 2018, gave up that title at the world championships this week.

Kalisz, after taking 200m individual medley bronze on Thursday, ended his worlds by failing to qualify for the 400m IM final on Sunday. He finished 10th among the preliminary heats.

Kalisz entered worlds ranked No. 7 in the world this year in both IMs. But in 2017 and 2018, he was fastest in those events, sweeping the world titles in 2017 and Pan Pacific titles in 2018.

Kalisz was fueled this Olympic cycle by taking silver in the 400m IM at the Rio Olympics, ending the U.S.’ run of five straight golds in the event among Tom DolanMichael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

Now he goes into the Tokyo Olympic year having to deal with Japanese star Daiya Seto, who won the 200m IM on Thursday and qualified first into Sunday’s 400m IM final. The Rio Olympic 400m IM champion, Japanese Kosuke Hagino, struggled since Rio and took this summer off.

Unless Jay Litherland upsets Seto in the 400m IM final on Sunday, Caeleb Dressel will be the only U.S. man who goes into the Olympic year as a reigning world champion in an individual Olympic event, albeit in three events.

In the last quad, Lochte was the only U.S. man to go into the Olympic year as a reigning individual world champion in the 200m IM. Then the Americans starred in Rio with titles from Anthony Ervin and two each from Ryan Murphy and Phelps.

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Beach volleyball player’s dog becomes social media sensation

Mathias Berntsen
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Norwegian beach volleyball player Mathias Berntsen‘s dog, Kiara, captivated social media this weekend.

A video of Kiara peppering with Berntsen and a pair across the net on a grass field spread from Berntsen’s Instagram across platforms. Kiara now has 12,000 Instagram followers, more than twice the total of Berntsen.

Berntsen, 24, is one half of Norway’s second-best beach volleyball team.

He and partner Hendrik Mol are ranked 45th in the world and well outside the Tokyo Olympic picture (24 teams go to the Games), but could get in the mix depending on how qualification is amended once sports resume.

Berntsen and his cousin Mol are part of a group called the Beach Volley Vikings. Mol’s younger brother, Anders, and family friend Christian Sorum are the world’s top-ranked team (profiled here).

MORE: Beach volleyball players fly to Australia, learn event is canceled

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FIFA rules on Olympic men’s soccer tournament age eligibility

Gabriel Jesus
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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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