Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte
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NBCSN’s Olympic Games Week: What to watch on Friday

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Four titans of U.S. swimming — Missy FranklinKatie LedeckyMichael Phelps and Ryan Lochte — highlight NBCSN’s Olympic Games Week programming on Friday night.

Coverage starts at 8 p.m. ET with four hours of 2012 London Olympic swimming events. At those Games, Franklin, Ledecky, Phelps and Lochte combined for 17 medals, including six individual titles.

LIVE STREAM: NBCSN Olympic Games Week — Friday, 8 p.m.-3 a.m. ET

The 17-year-old Franklin swept the backstrokes, including breaking the 200m back world record. The rising Colorado high school senior delivered on the hype placed on her as the most talked-about U.S. female swimmer going into the Games.

Ledecky, the youngest U.S. Olympian across all sports at 15, did not have gold-medal expectations. But she shocked home favorite and defending Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington to win the 800m freestyle, the first of many gold medals in her career. Ledecky hasn’t lost an 800m free since.

The Phelps-Lochte rivalry was a key storyline throughout that Olympic cycle. Lochte had supplanted Phelps as the world’s top all-around swimmer a year earlier.

On the first night of competition, Lochte won the 400m individual medley, while a gassed Phelps was fourth. But by the end of the Olympics, Phelps had the better medal tally, including a win over Lochte in the 200m IM.

Phelps retired after those Games, only to return to the pool a year later with unfinished business after being defeated by South African Chad le Clos in his trademark 200m fly in London.

Later Thursday, catch the 2012 Olympic women’s soccer semifinal epic between the U.S. and Canada. In injury time of extra time, Alex Morgan headed in the latest goal scored in U.S. soccer and Olympic soccer history. It ended a 4-3 thriller that included three U.S. comebacks from a goal down and a hat trick from Canadian Christine Sinclair, who went on to become the greatest scorer in international history.

Then in the 2012 Olympic women’s beach volleyball final, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings dispatched countrywomen April Ross and Jen Kessy for a third straight gold medal. It marked the end of May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings’ partnership, as the former retired.

At the net post-match, Walsh Jennings whispered to Ross, let’s go win gold in Rio. They soon became partners, culminating in a bronze medal in 2016.

MORE: Full Olympic Games Week TV, live stream schedule

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NBCSN Olympic Games Week — Friday, April 17

Time (ET) Program Events Live Stream
8 p.m. Return to London Women’s Swimming STREAM LINK
10 p.m. Return to London Men’s Swimming STREAM LINK
12 a.m. Return to London Women’s Soccer: USA-Canada STREAM LINK
2 a.m. Return to London Women’s Beach Volleyball Final STREAM LINK

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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Conseslus Kipruto tests positive for coronavirus, canceling world-record bid

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Conseslus Kipruto, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion, tested positive for the coronavirus without symptoms, which will keep him from a world-record chase on Friday, according to his social media.

The Kenyan was to race in the first in-person Diamond League meet of the year in Monaco on Friday.

“Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities,” was posted. “Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League.

“I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well.”

Kipruto, 25, is the 14th-fastest steepler in history with a personal best of 8:00.12. The world record is 7:53.63, set by Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2004.

Last year, Kipruto won the world title by .01, extending a streak of a Kenyan or Kenyan-born man winning every Olympic or world title in the event since the 1988 Seoul Games. He was sidelined by a stress fracture in his left foot until opening his season extremely late on Aug. 24.

MORE: Trayvon Bromell’s road back through destruction, death

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Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities. Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League on August 14th. I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well. Wish to thank Monaco for all the work they have done and I wish them and my colleagues a wonderful competition. Athletics is back and I will be back as well. Anyone willing to organise a steeple once I can be cleared? @diamondleaguemonaco #nike #quarantine #WR #Kenya

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