FINA Diving World Cup in Tokyo rescheduled

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The FINA Diving World Cup, an April Olympic qualifier in Tokyo that was canceled last week, has been rescheduled for May 1-6 in the Japanese capital.

“FINA takes the opportunity to express its gratitude to the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, Japanese Government and the IOC for their commitment to confirming the arrangements for the events and once more reiterates its confidence on a very successful staging of the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo,” according to a press release. “The Government of Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and local governments across Japan continue to work together to jointly address the COVID-19 situation and ensure the safety and security of all competitors.”

Last week, FINA’s interim executive director sent a letter to national federations saying that the World Cup, originally scheduled for April 18-23, was canceled. The letter cited an inadequate Covid health and protection plan, associated additional costs, visa procedures not being ready and a three-day quarantine impacting travel arrangements.

FINA later issued a statement, saying a decision on reallocating the World Cup, and other Olympic qualifiers in artistic swimming and open-water swimming, was under review. After that, FINA’s website listed the World Cup as canceled. It is now listed as “TBC.”

FINA also announced Friday that an open-water swimming Olympic qualifier in Fukuoka from May 29-30 has been moved to Portugal from June 19-20. The Portuguese site hosted Olympic open-water qualifiers in 2012 and 2016.

A decision on an artistic swimming qualifier originally scheduled for May 1-4 in Tokyo will be made in the coming days.

The U.S. qualified three open-water swimmers for the Olympics in 2019 and cannot qualify any more. The U.S., which hasn’t yet qualified any artistic swimmers for Tokyo, is expected to compete in the artistic swimming qualifier

In diving, China is the lone nation to so far qualify the full complement of divers for the Tokyo Games. The U.S. is among the nations expected to compete at the World Cup, looking to earn Olympic spots in synchronized events and women’s springboard after filling up spots in other events in 2019.

USA Diving canceled its World Cup team trials due to the pandemic, electing to send the team that was selected in December 2019 for the World Cup that was originally scheduled for April 2020.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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