Dawn Staley: USA Basketball has ‘penciled schedule’ leading up to Olympics

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The U.S. women’s basketball program’s quest for a record-tying seventh straight Olympic title, postponed by one year, is reforming.

New coach Dawn Staley said U.S. national team director Carol Callan sent her an email last week with “a penciled schedule” ahead of the Tokyo Games that open July 23, 2021.

“There’s nothing that we can do at this point because nothing’s really set in stone, but we do want to hold some training camps leading up to the Olympic Games,” Staley told Mike Tirico on “Lunch Talk Live” on NBCSN on Monday. “When they’ll be, we don’t know. But we know that, hopefully, we’ll get back to some normalcy where we can get those things in concrete.”

Staley, a point guard on the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic champion teams, succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach for this cycle. In between seasons coaching the University of South Carolina, she guided the Americans to an unprecedented third straight world championship title in 2018, stuffing rival Australia 73-56 in the final.

Last week, Staley published a letter on The Players’ Tribune, motivated to write after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

“I’ve never seen anyone die. I’ve never seen anyone take their last breath in that manner,” she said on “Lunch Talk Live.” “So that was moving.”

In the letter, titled “Black People Are Tired,” Staley told a story she doesn’t believed she previously shared elsewhere — that her mom, at age 13, left South Carolina for Philadelphia because Staley’s grandmother “was afraid she might get lynched” after being run out of a meat store.

“Most people don’t know one of the reasons why I took the job at South Carolina was because of my parents,” said Staley, who in 2008 left her hometown of Philadelphia and her head coaching job at Temple for South Carolina. “When my mother got older, I thought it would be a great idea to bring her back to South Carolina.”

MORE: Dawn Staley played with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi. Now, she coaches them

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Correction: An earlier version of this post reported that Staley was on the 1996 and 2000 Olympic champion teams. She was also on the 2004 Olympic champion team.

Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”