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Dustin Johnson, world No. 5 golfer, reconsiders Olympic stance

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Dustin Johnson, who had ruled out playing in the Olymipcs in 2020, will reconsider playing the Olympics in 2021, should the PGA Tour schedule be more accommodating to flying to Tokyo in between top-flight summer tournaments.

Johnson opened the door in comments Wednesday, three months after taking himself out of contention for a 2020 Olympic spot due to scheduling. Much changed in the time in between, namely the coronavirus pandemic postponing the Tokyo Games to summer 2021.

“Obviously, I’ve always been a fan of the Olympics. Never really thought golf would be in it,” Johnson said. “It’s something that, yeah, I’ll definitely have to consider.”

The 2021 PGA Tour schedule has not been released.

Back in March, Johnson ruled out the 2020 Olympics, citing focus on the FedEx Cup Playoffs that would have started two weeks after the Olympic tournament in August.

“Dustin gave the Olympics a great deal of thought, and we discussed the pros and cons of him participating at length,” Johnson’s manager said in a March email, according to Golfweek. “At the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal preference and priority. As much as he would be honored to be an Olympian, the FedEx Cup Playoffs are also very important to him. Having had a few close calls in the Playoffs, he really wants to win them before his time is done and feels that he wouldn’t be giving himself the best opportunity to do so if he added a lengthy international trip just prior to their beginning (and shortly after returning from two weeks in Europe).”

Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open winner and world No. 1 in 2017 and 2018, is the third-highest ranked American at the moment behind Brooks Koepka (who also spoke about the Olympics in January, saying it’s not as important as majors) and Justin Thomas.

The top four Americans in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) after the U.S. Open in June 2021 are in line to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. In Olympic qualifying standings, Johnson ranks 15th among Americans, according to rankings guru @VC606 on Twitter.

Johnson’s win at the February 2019 WGC-Mexico Championship and runners-up at the April 2019 Masters and May 2019 PGA Championship (his last top-five finish anywhere) count for more in the current OWGR than in Olympic qualifying.

Johnson did qualify for the Rio Olympics but withdrew a month before the Games, citing Zika virus concerns as other golfers did.

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Susie O’Neill, Australian great, answers Katie Ledecky by balancing beer while swimming

Susie O'Neill
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Katie Ledecky‘s feat of balancing a glass of chocolate milk while swimming reverberated Down Under, where one of Australia’s Olympic legends attempted to mimic it with a cup of beer.

Susie O’Neill, an eight-time Olympic medalist from 1992-2000 known as Madame Butterfly, accepted a challenge put forth by her fellow radio show hosts. In video shared across Australian media, she took 13 strokes before the beer came off her head, just before reaching a wall.

“It’s actually not as hard as I expected,” O’Neill said in an Instagram Live. “Well, it was pretty hard.”

O’Neill, 47, said backstrokers sometimes train with a water bottle on their foreheads to stay straight. But O’Neill, a freestyler and butterflier, never balanced anything on her head while training.

MORE: O’Neill in tears watching Sydney Olympic defeat for first time

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Figure skating Grand Prix Series will be held as ‘domestic’ competitions

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Figure skating’s Grand Prix Series will go ahead as scheduled this fall, with modifications due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Skating Union decided Monday.

Each of the series’ six tops around the globe will be “a domestic run event,” limited to skaters of the event’s host country, who regularly train in the host country and from a respective geographical area. The number of disciplines and skaters at each event are to be worked out.

The Grand Prix Series, held annually since 1995, is a six-event fall season, qualifying the top six skaters and teams per discipline to December’s Grand Prix Final. The annual stops are in the U.S., Canada, China, France, Russia and Japan, leading up to the Final, which is held at a different site each year.

The Final is the second-biggest annual competition after the world championships, which are typically in late March. The Final is still scheduled for Beijing, though whether or when it can be held will be discussed.

The series begins in late October with Skate America, which debuted in 1979 and has been held every year since 1988 as the biggest annual international competition in the U.S. Skate America’s site is Las Vegas, just as it was in 2019.

Skaters typically compete twice on the Grand Prix Series (three times if they qualify for the Final). ISU vice president Alexander Lakernik said skaters will be limited to one start in the six-event series before the Final, according to TASS. The ISU has not confirmed or denied that report.

The January 2021 U.S. Championships are scheduled for San Jose, Calif. The March 2021 World Championships are set for Stockholm.

In July, the ISU canceled the Junior Grand Prix Series for skaters mostly ages 13 to 18, including two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu. Other early season senior international competitions scheduled for September were also canceled or postponed.

MORE: World’s top skater leaves famed coach

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