Getty Images

Sam Querrey, top U.S. male tennis player in Olympic qualifying, to skip Tokyo Games

Leave a comment

Sam Querrey, the top American man in Olympic singles tennis qualifying, will skip the Olympics for a second straight time.

“Nope, I’m not going,” he said after upsetting No. 25 Borna Coric 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday. “In fact, I’m playing World Team Tennis the whole season. Even without that, I wasn’t planning on going to the Olympics. I went in 2008. I didn’t go in London and Rio. Felt like it was fun in 2008. I’m not saying it’s not that important. It’s just not a priority for me. In my opinion, I would be fine if tennis wasn’t even in the Olympics. A lot of my friends don’t even know that tennis is in the Olympics. It’s overshadowed by those other sports. I would rather win any Masters series [tournament] over an Olympic gold. So it’s just not on my radar.”

Querrey’s absence moves everybody up in U.S. Olympic singles qualifying. The new top four more than halfway through qualifying: Taylor Fritz and John Isner tied for first, followed by Reilly Opelka, then Steve Johnson and Tommy Paul tied for fourth.

Johnson is the only man in that group who played in Rio. Isner played in London and skipped Rio.

No more than four singles players per nation qualify for the Olympics via the ATP rankings after the French Open in June.

Querrey did not qualify for the 2012 London Games in singles, but he passed up an automatic spot on the Rio Olympic team (as did many tennis players from around the world, some citing the Zika virus or the lack of world-ranking points). He chose to play a lower-level ATP event in Mexico instead.

He joins other notable male players in passing on Tokyo. Austrian Dominic Thiem, a two-time French Open finalist, is prioritizing an ATP event in Kitzbühel that week. The U.S. doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan were not planning to play the Olympics in their final season before retirement, their manager said in November.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: A century later, Naomi Osaka, Kei Nishikori can bring Japan Olympic tennis to forefront

Dan Hicks, Rowdy Gaines call backyard pool swim race

Leave a comment

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Ledecky, Manuel welcome Olympic decision after training in backyard pool

Which athletes are qualified for the U.S. Olympic team?

Team USA Olympics
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Qualified athletes go into limbo with Tokyo postponement