Commonwealth Games shooting
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Commonwealth Games compromise may put shooting events in India

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The Commonwealth Games may be headed toward a compromise with shooting-sport advocates and the Indian Olympic Association in which shooting events would be held several months and more than 4,000 miles away from the rest of the events.

Organizers in Birmingham, England, which will host the Games from July 27 to Aug. 7, omitted shooting sports from the program, claiming a lack of space. Beach volleyball, para table tennis and women’s cricket have been added.

READ: Women’s cricket added as boycott threat looms

India, which has traditionally done well in Commonwealth Games shooting events, balked at the omission and threatened a boycott. The solution now on the table is to hold the events in India with all events counting toward the Commonwealth Games medal table. India may also host archery, another event that didn’t make the cut for the Games.

“After a year of negotiations between the ISSF and the leadership of the Commonwealth Games Federation, a solution that will finally resolve the issues surrounding the Commonwealth Games 2022 has been found,” the International Shooting Sport Federation announced.

Commonwealth Games organizers released a more cautious but still optimistic statement.

“The proposal will be reviewed and considered in January and February by the CGF and discussed with Birmingham 2022 Delivery Partners,” the Commonwealth Games Federation said. “(W)e would like to thank the CGI (Commonwealth Games India), the NRAI (National Rifle Association of India), the Government of India and the entire sporting community of India for their leadership and significant efforts taken to submit an innovative proposal with the ambition of strengthening Commonwealth Sport.”

India would pay roughly 20 million pounds ($26.24 million) to host the events, The Guardian reported.

The Commonwealth Games program is similar to the Olympic program but omits several traditional events such as water polo, canoe/kayak, equestrian, fencing, soccer, modern pentathlon and rowing. Newer sports such as surfing, sailing and sport climbing also aren’t on the program, while unique Commonwealth sports such as lawn bowls and netball are included.

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Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

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Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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