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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Rafael Nadal to miss U.S. Open; men’s, women’s singles fields named

Rafael Nadal
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Rafael Nadal is not entered in the U.S. Open, joining the recovering Roger Federer in missing the first Grand Slam tennis tournament since the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the first time a Grand Slam tournament main draw will be missing both legends since the 1999 U.S. Open.

“The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it,” was posted on Nadal’s social media. “This is a decision I never wanted to take, but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”

The U.S. Open starts as scheduled Aug. 31 without fans. The rescheduled French Open, which Nadal has won a record 12 times, is scheduled to start two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Nadal did not mention in Tuesday’s statement whether he planned to play Roland Garros.

Nadal won his fourth U.S. Open in 2019, defeating Russian Daniil Medvedev in a five-set final. That moved Nadal within one Grand Slam singles title of Federer’s record 20.

Federer previously announced he is out for the rest of 2020 following a right knee procedure.

U.S. Open Entry Lists: Men | Women

The U.S. Open fields are led by top-ranked Novak Djokovic and 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams.

Other notable players not on main-draw entry lists published Tuesday: women’s No. 1 Ash Barty and 2016 U.S. Open winner Stan Wawrinka. Other than Barty, the top 28 women in the world rankings are entered, including defending champion Bianca Andreescu.

Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are the top-ranked men in the field. Djokovic and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, plus first alternate (and wild-card candidate) Andy Murray, are the only male Grand Slam singles champions in the field.

VIDEO: Coco Gauff delivers speech for racial justice

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Why did Shaun White cut his hair? Carrot Top

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Shaun White said a revelatory chat with Carrot Top led to the Olympic snowboarding champion chopping off his flowing red locks more than seven years ago, according to a report.

“I went to an event in Vegas where I run into Carrot Top,” White wrote, according to a Bleacher Report AMA last Wednesday. “We were talking about our hair and he basically looked at me like you could see into his soul and he basically said he was stuck like this. And at that point it was like seeing the ghost of Christmas future. And at that point I was like omg I can change.”

White documented a meeting with Carrot Top on social media in September 2013, but that was 10 months after the haircut. They must have met in 2012, too.

White, formerly known as the Flying Tomato, posted video of the haircut in December 2012, saying he didn’t tell anybody beforehand. He had grown tired of the nickname.

He donated the hair to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for needy children.

White is known for charitable efforts for children, including with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. White was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, requiring two major surgeries before his first birthday.

White, a 33-year-old who recently changed his hair color to blond, announced in February that he ended a bid to make the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team for the Tokyo Games.

He is expected to compete for a spot in the 2022 Winter Olympics, where he could be the oldest U.S. Olympic halfpipe rider in history.

MORE: White, Shiffrin among dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s

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