Karsten Warholm
AP

‘Impossible Games’ signal return of track and field; TV, stream schedule

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Track and field is back. Like never before.

The Impossible Games air live on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. The meet is a repurposed version of a Diamond League stop in Oslo.

Thursday’s competition will have no fans, limited events and fewer athletes, including some solo races. It’s the closest thing to a top-flight international track and field meet since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The headliners: the two top-ranked pole vaulters in history — Swede Mondo Duplantis and Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie, world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm of Norway and the world’s best cross-country skier, Norwegian Therese Johaug, who is racing a 10,000m alone.

The regular Diamond League calendar is scheduled to resume in August.

Here are the Oslo entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

1:35 p.m. — Men’s Pole Vault
2:05 — Men’s 1000m
2:08 — Men’s Discus
2:15 — Women’s 200m Hurdles
2:25 — Women’s 600m
2:35 — Women’s 300m Hurdles
2:43 — Men’s 300m Hurdles
2:50 — Men’s 2000m
2:58 — Men’s 25K
3:25 — Men’s 100m
3:30 — Women’s 10,000m
3:50 — Men’s Shot Put
4:15 — Women’s 3000m

Here are three events to watch:

Men’s Pole Vault — 1:35 p.m.
Duplantis and Lavillenie duel for the second time during the pandemic. The first, one month ago, was dubbed “The Ultimate Garden Clash.” Duplantis pole vaulted from his family’s backyard in Louisiana, Lavillenie from his home in France and world champion Sam Kendricks from his native Mississippi in a virtual event. Duplantis and Lavillenie tied for the win by clearing five meters 36 times in a half-hour. In February, Duplantis, 20, broke Lavillenie’s six-year-old world record by clearing 6.17 and 6.18 meters on consecutive Saturdays. For the Impossible Games, Duplantis flew from Louisiana to Stockholm last weekend, then planned to take a six-hour drive to Oslo. Lavillenie will again be jumping from home in France, but Duplantis will have company at the Oslo stadium in the form of 19-year-old Norwegian Pal Haugen Lillefosse.

Men’s 300m Hurdles — 2:43 p.m.
Warholm, the two-time reigning world 400m hurdles champion, races alone here. He is targeting the fastest time in history in the 300m hurdles, a rarely contested event. The record of 34.48 seconds was set by Brit Chris Rawlinson in 2002.

Men’s 2000m — 2:50 p.m.
This is a group event, similar to speed skating’s team pursuit. In the Oslo stadium will be Team Ingebrigtsen, featuring brothers FilipHenrik and Jakob and two more Norwegians. In Kenya will be Team Cheruiyot, featuring the last two world 1500m champions — Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manangoi, plus three more Kenyans. The winner will be the team with the best overall time for the top three runners.

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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