Paralympic programming set for primetime over the next 3 weeks

Tatyana McFadden
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A total of 58 hours of Paralympic programming air on NBCSN and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA over the next three weeks.

It starts Wednesday and Thursday with eight hours of Rio Paralympic events on NBCSN, starting at 7 ET each night.

Coverage includes U.S. gold-medal victories in men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball finals and women’s sitting volleyball. Also, the U.S.’ double-overtime defeat in the wheelchair rugby final, 59-58 to Australia. And highlights from swimming and track and field, where the U.S. earned 81 combined medals and 31 golds.

NBC Sports’ Ahmed Fareed will also host Instagram Live chats on the NBC Olympics account with Rio Paralympians in advance of each night’s broadcast.

Wednesday, 6:30-7 p.m.: Jessica Long (Swimming), Megan Blunk (Basketball), Trevon Jennifer (Basketball)
Thursday, 6:30-7 p.m.: Tatyana McFadden (Track and Field), Katie Holloway (Volleyball), Chuck Aoki (Rugby)

Starting June 29, Olympic Channel airs seven straight nights of 2019 World Para Swimming Championships coverage.

The U.S. took 35 total medals and 14 golds, led by Leanne Smith, who won three individual titles, all in American record times.

Olympic Channel airs seven straight nights of 2019 World Para Track and Field Championships starting July 6. The U.S. earned 34 medals, including 12 golds.

American stars included sprinter Deja Young, who earned 200m and universal 4x100m relay golds, plus 100m silver behind countrywoman Brittni Mason, who broke Young’s world record. Other notable champions included Roderick Townsend (high jump, plus long jump silver) and Daniel Romanchuk (800m, less than a week after winning the New York City Marathon wheelchair division).

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MORE: Paralympic swim hopeful builds backyard pool

RIO PARALYMPICS

DAY EVENT TIME (ET) NETWORK
Wednesday Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Final 7 p.m. NBCSN
Best of Swimming 8:30 p.m. NBCSN
Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Final 9:30 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday Women’s Sitting Volleyball Final 7 p.m. NBCSN
Best of Track & Field 8 p.m. NBCSN
Wheelchair Rugby Final 9 p.m. NBCSN

2019 WORLD PARA SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

DATE EVENTS TIME (ET) NETWORK
Mon., June 29 Day 1 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Tues., June 30 Day 2 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Wed., July 1 Day 3 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Thurs., July 2 Day 4 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Fri., July 3 Day 5 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Sat., July 4 Day 6 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Sun., July 5 Day 7 8 p.m. Olympic Channel

2019 WORLD PARA TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

DATE EVENTS TIME (ET) NETWORK
Mon., July 6 Day 1 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Tues., July 7 Day 2 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Wed., July 8 Day 3 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Day 4 11 p.m. Olympic Channel
Thurs., July 9 Day 5 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Fri., July 10 Day 6 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Sat., July 11 Day 7 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Day 8 11 p.m. Olympic Channel
Sun., July 12 Day 9 8 p.m. Olympic Channel

 

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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