U.S. women's volleyball team

U.S. women’s volleyball team qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

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The U.S. women’s volleyball team, on the brink of being forced to a last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament fewer than 24 hours ago, breezed into the Tokyo 2020 field by completing its sweep through an intercontinental qualifying tournament Sunday.

The Americans, ranked third in the world, beat No. 11 Argentina 25-22, 25-17, 25-13 to close out the event in Bossier City, La., where the top nation from a group of four qualified for the Olympics.

The U.S., the only top-10 team in this field, was in real danger of not winning the group on Saturday. It trailed 16th-ranked Bulgaria two sets to one before rallying to win the last two sets.

Now the U.S. will compete in its 10th straight Olympics since the 1980 Moscow Games boycott. A new potential star emerged against Bulgaria — opposite Jordan Thompson, a rising University of Cincinnati senior who came off the bench and started the last four sets, totaling 18 kills.

The U.S. women, coached by Olympic indoor and beach champ Karch Kiraly, are seeking the program’s first Olympic title. They took bronze in Rio, entering those Games as the reigning world champions.

The U.S. took fifth at worlds last year and now sits behind Serbia and China in the world rankings.

VIDEO: Brazil volleyball star faints during courtside interview

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David Rudisha escapes car crash ‘well and unhurt’

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David Rudisha, a two-time Olympic champion and world record holder at 800m, is “well and unhurt” after a car accident in his native Kenya, according to his Facebook account.

Kenyan media reported that one of Rudisha’s tires burst on Saturday night, leading his car to collide with a bus, and he was treated for minor injuries at a hospital.

Rudisha, 30, last raced July 4, 2017, missing extended time with a quad muscle strain and back problems. His manager said last week that Rudisha will miss next month’s world championships.

Rudisha owns the three fastest times in history, including the world record 1:40.91 set in an epic 2012 Olympic final.

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Tokyo Paralympic medals unveiled with historic Braille design, indentations

Tokyo Paralympic Medals
Tokyo 2020
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The Tokyo Paralympic medals, which like the Olympic medals are created in part with metals from recycled cell phones and other small electronics, were unveiled on Sunday, one year out from the Opening Ceremony.

In a first for the Paralympics, each medal has one to three indentation(s) on its side to distinguish its color by touch — one for gold, two silver and three for bronze. Braille letters also spell out “Tokyo 2020” on each medal’s face.

For Rio, different amounts of tiny steel balls were put inside the medals based on their color, so that when shaken they would make distinct sounds. Visually impaired athletes could shake the medals next to their ears to determine the color.

More on the design from Tokyo 2020:

The design is centered around the motif of a traditional Japanese fan, depicting the Paralympic Games as the source of a fresh new wind refreshing the world as well as a shared experience connecting diverse hearts and minds. The kaname, or pivot point, holds all parts of the fan together; here it represents Para athletes bringing people together regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Motifs on the leaves of the fan depict the vitality of people’s hearts and symbolize Japan’s captivating and life-giving natural environment in the form of rocks, flowers, wood, leaves, and water. These are applied with a variety of techniques, producing a textured surface that makes the medals compelling to touch.

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Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Tokyo Paralympic Medals