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.

World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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