John Isner will not play Tokyo Olympics

John Isner
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John Isner, the highest-ranked U.S. male singles tennis player, will not play the Tokyo Olympics, preferring to stay at or near home with his family in late July.

Isner, who said in January 2020 that he was leaning toward skipping the Olympics for a second consecutive time, confirmed on Wednesday that he 1) would not have gone to the Games in 2020 and 2) already decided he will not do so this summer.

“I know the Olympics, it’s a fantastic honor. There’s no doubt about that,” Isner said in January 2020. “Right now, at this stage in my career, it’s not a huge priority for me. So that’s probably the main reason I won’t be going. I certainly love playing in the summer in America, and I’m going to focus on that.”

Isner, who turns 36 on April 26, is likely giving up his last chance to play Olympic singles. In his only Olympic participation, he reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Games, plus lost an opening-round doubles match there with Andy Roddick.

The Tokyo Games take place the same week as a lower-level ATP Tour event in Atlanta that Isner, a former University of Georgia star, has won five times.

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“I’m going to stay closer to home and be with my family and focus on the events that will be back stateside,” Isner said Wednesday before he plays the Miami Open.

The top four U.S. male singles players in the ATP Rankings after the French Open in June are in line to qualify for the Olympics, assuming they are ranked high enough overall to make the 64-man field.

Isner is currently the highest-ranked American male singles player at No. 28, but his absence likely opens up a spot for another player. He’s followed by No. 32 Taylor Fritz, who is expected to go to Tokyo, No. 41 Reilly Opelka, No. 53 Tommy Paul and No. 58 Frances Tiafoe.

Another veteran American, No. 63 Sam Querrey, said in January 2020 that he planned to skip the Olympics. If the Olympic field was taken from today’s ATP Rankings, Querrey would not qualify.

A player on the rise is 20-year-old Sebastian Korda, who was ranked No. 224 at this time last year. He is now No. 87.

Older sisters Nelly, 22, and Jessica, 28, are Nos. 3 and 18 in world golf rankings. At least one of them appears destined for the Tokyo Olympics next year, given a nation can send four golfers per gender to the Games if ranked in the top 15 after June’s Women’s PGA Championship.

If he can join either sister in Tokyo, they would become the first U.S. brother and sister to compete in the same Olympics in different sports, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon of the OlyMADMen and Olympedia.org.

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2022 Ironman Kona World Championships results

Ironman Kona World Championships
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2022 Ironman Kona World Championship top-10 results and notables (full, searchable pro and age group results are here) …

Pro Women
1. Chelsea Sodaro (USA) — 8:33:46
2. Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) — 8:41:37
3. Anne Haug (GER) — 8:42:22
4. Laura Philipp (GER) — 8:50:31
5. Lisa Norden (SWE) — 8:54:43
6. Fenella Langridge (GBR) — 8:56:26
7. Sarah Crowley (AUS) — 9:01:58
8. Daniela Ryf (SUI) — 9:02:26
9. Skye Moench (USA) — 9:04:31
10. Laura Siddall (GBR) — 9:07:49
16. Heather Jackson (USA) — 9:22:17
DNF. Sarah True (USA)

Pro Men
Race is on Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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Chelsea Sodaro wins Ironman Kona World Championship, ends American drought

Chelsea Sodaro
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Chelsea Sodaro was the surprise winner of the Ironman Kona World Championships women’s race, ending the longest American victory drought in the event’s 44-year history.

Sodaro, a 33-year-old mom to an 18-month-old, prevailed in an unofficial 8 hours, 33 minutes, 46 seconds on Hawaii’s Big Island.

“My mind is a little bit blown right now,” she said in a finish area interview 25 minutes later, standing next to her daughter, Skylar. “This is the culmination of things being right in my life and having perspective. … This is freakin’ incredible, but the greatest gift at the end of the finish line is my little 18-month-old.”

Sodaro was in fifth place after the 2.6-mile swim and 112-mile bike, then recorded one of the fastest 26.2-mile marathon runs in event history (2:51:45) to win by 7 minutes, 50 seconds over Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay.

Swiss Daniela Ryf, who was eyeing her sixth Ironman world title, led after the bike but faded quickly on the run.

MORE: Ironman Kona Race Results

Sodaro, whose lone previous full Ironman was a second-place finish at June’s European Championships (reportedly in the second-fastest Ironman distance debut in history), became the first American to win in Kona since Tim DeBoom in 2002 and the first American to win the women’s race since Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser in 1996.

She is the first woman or man to win in their Kona debut since Brit Chrissie Wellington took the first of her four titles in 2007.

Sodaro (née Reilly) was an All-America runner at Cal, then placed 19th in the 10,000m at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

She turned to triathlon in 2017, made podiums on the World Cup circuit (just below the top-level World Series for Olympic hopefuls) and moved up to long-distance racing in 2018.

At the half Ironman distance, she was fourth at the 2019 World Championships, her last major championship start before the pandemic, pregnancy, childbirth and a move up to the full Ironman this year.

“I’m pretty stoked that I think I maybe get to take the rest of the year off and be a mom for a month or so,” Sodaro said.

The pro men’s race is Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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