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Roger Federer says he will pursue elusive Olympic gold in Tokyo

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Roger Federer will turn 40 in 2021, but before then, he wants to play once more in the Olympics, he confirmed Monday.

As with all athletes, especially those in their late 30s, he added the qualifier “if healthy.”

“I’ve been thinking about it for weeks now,” Federer said.

Federer said he needed time to consider the schedule and how to juggle his family life, the U.S. Open, the grass-court season and the clay-court season.

An Olympic singles gold is one of the few medals to elude the Swiss star in his career, though he has a silver medal from 2012 and a doubles gold from 2008. He reached the semifinals as an unseeded 19-year-old in his first appearance in 2000 but lost in the second round in 2004 and the quarterfinals in 2008. He advanced to the final for the first time in 2012, losing to Britain’s Andy Murray.

He missed the 2016 Olympics with a knee problem that kept him sidelined for much of the year.

The Olympics also hold sentimental value for him — he met his future wife, Mirka Federer, in Sydney in his first Olympic appearance. He also has twice carried the Swiss flag in Olympic opening ceremonies before declining the honor in 2012. 

Barring injury, qualification shouldn’t be an issue. The top 56 players in the ATP singles rankings will qualify as long as they are in the top four within their own country.

Federer will need an exemption to the rule that players must have played a set number of Davis Cup ties in the Olympic cycle, but the qualification criteria include an exemption for players who have demonstrated a commitment to the Davis Cup in the past. He’s sure to meet that requirement, given his 27 prior appearances, his Davis Cup commitment award and his 2014 title with Stan Wawrinka.

The 2020 Olympic competition will take place on hard courts specifically DecoTurf, the surface used at the U.S. Open. Of his 102 career titles, 70 have been on hard courts, including five consecutive U.S. Open wins from 2004 to 2008.

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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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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