Moms who could star at Tokyo Olympics


Moms across sports are becoming more and more commonplace. A look at 15 moms who could be medal winners and news makers at the Toyko Olympics in 2021 ahead of “On Her Turf: Inspiring Greatness” on NBCSN on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET …

Nia Ali
Track and Field

Ali, who earned Rio Olympic 100m hurdles silver a year after having son Titus, won her first world title in 2019, a year after having daughter Yuri. At worlds, she lowered her personal best in the semifinals (12.44) and final (12.34) for the upset victory.

Oksana Chusovitina

Chusovitina’s son, Alisher, will be older than many of Chusovitina’s competitors at the Tokyo Games. He is 20. She is 44, set to break her own record with an eighth Olympic gymnastics appearance. Chusovitina, already the oldest female gymnast in Olympic history from her Rio participation, will next year become the oldest Olympic gymnast in 112 years. She has competed for the Soviet Union, Unified Team, Germany and (currently) Uzbekistan.

Chloe Esposito
Modern Pentathlon

The Australian gold medalist from Rio was due to miss Tokyo, as she’s expecting her first child in August. Now that the Games are postponed until 2021, she has a chance to return to defend her title. Esposito took a year off after Rio and returned to win the 2018 World Cup Final, taking the world No. 1 ranking that year. She missed 2019 competition after a hamstring operation.

Allyson Felix
Track and Field

Felix, the most decorated female U.S. Olympic track and field athlete with nine medals, looks to cap her Olympic career in Tokyo. She came back from life-threatening Nov. 28, 2018 childbirth — daughter Camryn — to make her ninth world championships team last year and break a record for career world titles that she shared with Usain Bolt.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
Track and Field

Fraser-Pryce, who is essentially Usain Bolt without the world records in the 100m, last year became the the oldest woman to win an Olympic or world title in the event at age 32. The Jamaican Pocket Rocket did so two years after having her first child, Zyon, going 20 months between meets. She had a statement 2019, running in the 10.7s a total of four times, becoming the fastest mom in history.

Sally Kipyego
Track and Field

Kipyego made her first U.S. Olympic team by placing third at the marathon trials on Feb. 29. She has Olympic experience, taking 10,000m silver for native Kenya in 2012. She gave birth to daughter Emma in summer 2017 and became eligible to represent the U.S. last August. Kipyego considered quitting while needing more than one year to return to form after childbirth. “A lot of women have children, they come back and they run and they’re fantastic,” she said. “That was not my story.”

Faith Kipyegon
Track and Field

The Rio Olympic 1500m champion from Kenya had daughter Alyn in 2018, taking nearly 22 months off competition. She returned last year, breaking her national record to take silver at the world championships. She also changed coaches to Patrick Sang, best known for guiding marathon world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

Alex Morgan

The star forward was among the biggest beneficiaries of the Olympic postponement. Morgan is due with her first child later this spring. She had intended on trying to make the 18-player Olympic roster for this summer, a monumental goal given the U.S. scoring depth. Now she gets a full year to regain fitness and impress new coach Vlatko AndonovskiJoy FawcettChristie RamponeCarla Overbeck and Kate Markgraf previously made U.S. Olympic soccer teams as moms.

MORE: Felix, Morgan, Williams featured on NBCSN’s “On Her Turf: Inspiring Greatness” on Sunday

Aliya Mustafina

Mustafina is a two-time reigning Olympic uneven bars champion and the most decorated active gymnast aside from Simone Biles. She had daughter Alina in 2017 and competed at the following year’s worlds but missed Europeans and worlds in 2019, putting her Olympic prospects in question.

Cat Osterman

Osterman, a stepmom to daughter Bracken, was named to the original 2020 U.S. Olympic softball roster on Oct. 6, 2019, and USA Softball confirmed Thursday it will keep that team for 2021. The pitcher came out of a 2015 retirement in a bid to return for softball’s first Olympic appearance since 2008. Osterman started the last Olympic softball game in Beijing in 2008, when the U.S. was stunned by Japan in the gold-medal game.

Svetlana Romashina
Artistic Swimming

One of the most dominant athletes of the last 15 years. Romashina is a five-time Olympic champion and record 21-time world champion in artistic swimming (formerly called synchronized swimming). She took a break after Rio, had daughter Alexandra in 2017 and won three more golds at 2019 Worlds. Romashina is the second-youngest Olympic artistic swimming champion and, if she prevails in Tokyo, is in line to become its oldest, according to Olympedia and the OlyMADMen.

Kerri Walsh Jennings
Beach Volleyball

Walsh Jennings has as many children as Olympic titles (three — Joey, Sundance and Scout) but would like to end her Olympic career with a sixth Olympic appearance and a fourth gold in Tokyo. She’s now partnered with Brooke Sweat. They were ranked second among U.S. teams in Olympic qualifying when sports were halted, with a maximum of two spots per nation per gender. Walsh Jennings, 41, was already bidding to break the Olympic beach volleyball age record before the pandemic postponed the Olympics by one year.

Isabell Werth

Germany’s Dressage Queen is the most decorated Olympic equestrian with 10 medals and six golds, her first coming at the 1992 Barcelona Games. Werth, now 50, had son Frederik in 2009. She owns the top two spots in the world rankings with two different horses.

Serena Williams

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion came back from the life-threatening 2017 birth of daughter Olympia to all but wrap up her fifth Olympic berth when sports were halted. Now, she and other tennis stars must wait to see how Olympic qualifying will be amended. She owns four Olympic medals (all gold), one shy of the modern-era tennis record held by older sister Venus.

Mariel Zagunis

The most decorated U.S. fencer in history qualified for her fifth Olympics in March, and her first as a mom. She had daughter Sunday Noelle in October 2017. Zagunis, who owns four combined individual Olympic and world sabre titles, is, at 35, in line to become the oldest U.S. Olympic fencer since 1996.

MORE: Felix sees Tokyo Olympics as ‘time of healing’

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Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz exit French Open, leaving no U.S. men

Frances Tiafoe French Open

Frances Tiafoe kept coming oh so close to extending his French Open match against Alexander Zverev: 12 times Saturday night, the American was two points from forcing things to a fifth set.

Yet the 12th-seeded Tiafoe never got closer than that.

Instead, the 22nd-seeded Zverev finished out his 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory after more than 3 1/2 hours in Court Philippe Chatrier to reach the fourth round. With Tiafoe’s exit, none of the 16 men from the United States who were in the bracket at the start of the tournament are still in the field.

“I mean, for the majority of the match, I felt like I was in control,” said Tiafoe, a 25-year-old from Maryland who fell to 1-7 against Zverev.

“It’s just tough,” he said about a half-hour after his loss ended, rubbing his face with his hand. “I should be playing the fifth right now.”

Two other American men lost earlier Saturday: No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz and unseeded Marcos Giron.

No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina beat Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, and Nicolas Jarry of Chile eliminated Giron 6-2, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3.

There are three U.S women remaining: No. 6 Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens and Bernarda Pera.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

It is the second year in a row that zero men from the United States will participate in the fourth round at Roland Garros. If nothing else, it stands as a symbolic step back for the group after what seemed to be a couple of breakthrough showings at the past two majors.

For Tiafoe, getting to the fourth round is never the goal.

“I want to win the trophy,” he said.

Remember: No American man has won any Grand Slam title since Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open. The French Open has been the least successful major in that stretch with no U.S. men reaching the quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003.

But Tiafoe beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the U.S. Open along the way to getting to the semifinals there last September, the first time in 16 years the host nation had a representative in the men’s final four at Flushing Meadows.

Then, at the Australian Open this January, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton became the first trio of Americans in the men’s quarterfinals in Melbourne since 2000. Paul made it a step beyond that, to the semifinals.

After that came this benchmark: 10 Americans were ranked in the ATP’s Top 50, something that last happened in June 1995.

On Saturday, after putting aside a whiffed over-the-shoulder volley — he leaned atop the net for a moment in disbelief — Tiafoe served for the fourth set at 5-3, but couldn’t seal the deal.

In that game, and the next, and later on, too, including at 5-all in the tiebreaker, he would come within two points of owning that set.

Each time, Zverev claimed the very next point. When Tiafoe sent a forehand wide to end it, Zverev let out two big yells. Then the two, who have been pals for about 15 years, met for a warm embrace at the net, and Zverev placed his hand atop Tiafoe’s head.

“He’s one of my best friends on tour,” said Zverev, a German who twice has reached the semifinals on the red clay of Paris, “but on the court, I’m trying to win.”

At the 2022 French Open, Zverev tore ligaments in his right ankle while playing Nadal in the semifinals and had to stop.

“It’s been definitely the hardest year of my life, that’s for sure,” Zverev said. “I love tennis more than anything in the world.”

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is her top remaining challenger in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round. No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who has three wins over Swiatek this year, withdrew before her third-round match due to illness.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw