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Alistair Brownlee makes Olympic triathlon three-peat bid official

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In Olympic history, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt are the only men to three-peat in the same individual event in swimming, cycling or running. Come July 27 in Tokyo, Brit Alistair Brownlee aims to become the first athlete to win the triathlon — swimming, cycling and running — three straight times.

Brownlee, 31, at last decided whether to pursue another Olympics. It’s a yes this summer.

“A year ago I wouldn’t be doing this, because I knew I couldn’t cope with another bad injury,” Brownlee said, according to the BBC, conjuring setbacks in this Olympic cycle including hip surgery and a calf issue. “But in the past year I haven’t been injured. I’ve really enjoyed training and I’ve really enjoyed competing, and preparing to compete.

“And so the decision crept up on me a bit: I want to go to another Olympics, and I want to see what I might be able to do.”

Brownlee, who moved up to the Ironman last year, said in 2018 that he was “50-50” on a Tokyo Olympic run. But after finishing 21st at the Ironman Kona World Championships on Oct. 12, he moved the meter to “definitely swinging towards” moving back down to the Olympic distance.

Brownlee said he would ultimately decide after one more Ironman in Australia on Dec. 1, which he won by 10 minutes in 7 hours, 45 minutes, 20 seconds.

“The 12-year-old me dreamed of going to one Olympics,” Brownlee said, according to the BBC. “So to pass up the chance of just seeing where it leads me this year would be a bit mad.”

Other Olympic triathletes transitioned to the Ironman and never went back, such as 2008 Olympic champion Jan Frodeno of Germany and two-time U.S. Olympian Sarah True.

One other triathlete won an Olympic title after completing the Kona Ironman — Austrian Kate Allen, who was seventh in Kona in 2002, then took gold at the 2004 Athens Games.

Brownlee has completed one Olympic-distance triathlon on the top-level ITU World Series since June 2017, finishing 44th at an event in Great Britain last June.

Last season, Frenchman Vincent Luis ended Spain’s six-year streak of world championships, relegating Mario Mola and Javier Gomez to second and third in the season-long standings.

“The perfect scenario is that I’m in a position where I’m stood on the start line, and I think I can win the race,” Brownlee said, according to the BBC. “But if I’m instead thinking I can scrape a third here, or I’m thinking, I could help another British athlete win a medal here — I would be happy with that.”

MORE: 2019 Kona Ironman World Championships Results

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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