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

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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.

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Finn Christian Jagge, 1992 Olympic slalom champion, dies at 54

Finn Christian Jagge
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Finn Christian Jagge, the surprise 1992 Olympic slalom champion, has died at age 54, according to Norway’s Olympic Committee.

Jagge’s wife, Trine-Lise Jagge, posted on Facebook that he died of an acute illness.

Jagge, then 25, won the slalom at the Albertville Games in Savoie, France, stunning defending champion Alberto Tomba of Italy. Jagge had the fastest first run by 1.07 seconds and relegated Tomba to silver by .28 of a second after the second run. Tomba was going for his fourth straight Olympic gold medal.

Jagge’s father won a Norwegian record 42 national tennis championships. His mother competed in Alpine skiing at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics, according to Olympedia.org.

Jagge won his first Norwegian national title at age 18. After knee and back injuries, he won seven World Cup slaloms in the 1990s, retiring in 2000.

Vår største kjærlighet, vår største helt og klippe. Verdens beste Pappa og verdens beste MesterHubby, døde i dag, etter akutt sykdom❤️Det er ubeskrivelig vondt og vi er helt knust.

Posted by Trine-Lise Jagge on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, Olympian, world champion snowboarder, drowns in spearfishing accident

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Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, an Olympian and world champion snowboarder, drowned while spearfishing on Australia’s Gold Coast on Wednesday.

A police spokesperson said a 32-year-old man, later identified as Pullin, was unresponsive when taken from the water and died despite receiving CPR from lifeguards and emergency treatment from paramedics.

The accident happened at Palm Beach around 10:40 a.m. local time. Pullin had been diving on an artificial reef when he was found by a snorkeler.

“Another diver was out there and located him on the sea floor and raised the attention of nearby surfers who sought lifeguards to bring him in,” police said. “He didn’t have an oxygen mask. We understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef.”

Pullin competed in Olympic snowboard cross in 2010, 2014 and 2018 with a best finish of sixth. He won back-to-back world titles in 2011 and 2013. He carried Australia’s flag at the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2014.

“We are all in shock today as one of the most beloved members of our close snow sport community, Chumpy, has sadly lost his life in what appears to be a tragic accident,” Snow Australia CEO Michael Kennedy said in a statement. “He was a mentor to so many of our younger snowboarders, giving up his time to coach and provide advice to our future Olympians. His loss will be felt right across our community.

“We know it won’t just be here in Australia that Chumpy’s legacy will be remembered, but throughout the international snowboarding community. It wasn’t just his ability to deliver results that will be missed, but his leadership and the path that he laid for so many.”

His parents owned a ski and snowboard shop in the Australian Alps, where Pullin began riding at age 8. Older friends gave him the nickname “Chumpy,” and it stuck.

Pullin, who spent time as a frontman for the surf-reggae band love Charli, often brought a guitar with him while traveling for competitions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.