Christian Taylor returns after Olympic dream dashed; Diamond League TV, stream info

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On Saturday, triple jumper Christian Taylor competes in his first full-fledged Diamond League track and field meet in three years. So much has changed in that span.

Since his last meet on the sport’s elite circuit: Taylor won his fourth world title in 2019. The coronavirus pandemic mostly wiped out the 2020 season. Taylor ruptured his Achilles two months before the Tokyo Olympics, keeping him from going for a third consecutive Olympic title. He married Austrian hurdler Beate Schrott

Taylor, now 31, went nearly 11 months between competitions, returning at first for lower-level meets starting in April. In three triple jump events this season, he finished sixth, eighth and sixth with a best of 16.11 meters, ranking outside the top 80 in the world for 2022.

Taylor’s personal best, from 2015, is 18.21 meters, ranking second in history behind Brit Jonathan Edwards‘ world record of 18.29.

Taylor, who has a bye into July’s world championships as a reigning world champion, continues his build back up at the Paris Diamond League on Saturday. CNBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock air live coverage from 3-5 p.m. ET.

The meet may be an early measuring stick for Taylor given the field includes all three Olympic medalists, plus the world’s top two men this year.

Taylor deemed this “the season of gratitude” and said the goal is to get through it healthy, according to Olympics.com.

“It’s a process, and I’m gonna eat a lot of humble pie this summer,” he said before his first triple jump competition this spring, according to TeamUSA.org.

Here are the Paris entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

1:30 p.m. — Women’s High Jump
2:09 — Men’s Pole Vault
2:11 — Men’s 110m Hurdles Heat 1
2:15 — Women’s Discus
2:20 — Men’s 110m Hurdles Heat 2
3:04 — Women’s 400m
3:15 — Men’s 200m
3:18 — Men’s Triple Jump
3:25 — Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
3:42 — Women’s Javelin
3:44 — Men’s 110m Hurdles Final
3:54 — Men’s 800m
4:05 — Men’s 400m
4:18 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
4:29 — Men’s 5000m
4:53 — Women’s 100m

Here are five events to watch (statistics via Tilastopaja.org and World Athletics):

Women’s Discus — 2:15 p.m. ET
The world’s top three this year face off for the third time this Diamond League season. On Thursday in Oslo, American Valarie Allman, the Tokyo Olympic champion, had her unbeaten start to the year snapped by 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia. There’s a good reason for that: Allman was wearing sneakers rather than throwing shoes. She still has the world’s eight best throws this year. She broke her American record in April with the world’s best throw in 30 years.

Men’s Triple Jump — 3:18 p.m. ET
Taylor didn’t finish worse than second in any triple jump of consequence over a nearly seven-year span before the Achilles injury. It would take a monumental effort to return to that level in Paris. The field includes all three Olympic medalists, led by Portugal’s Pedro Pichardo, and Cubans Jordan Diaz Fortun and Andy Diaz, the top two men this year. Taylor must improve by 1.1 meters over his best jump this season to match the top American in 2022, Chris Carter, who is not in the Paris field.

Men’s 200m — 3:15 p.m. ET
Americans take up 11 of the 12 spots in the 2022 world rankings, with the outlier being Liberia’s Joseph Fahnbulleh, who was Minnesota-born and raised. None of them are in Paris, but Olympic gold medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada is. De Grasse, who also took 100m bronze in Tokyo, has yet to break 10 seconds in the 100m in 2022 or 20 seconds in the 200m. But De Grasse is known for significant time drops come major championships, where he has won a medal in all seven individual events he entered between the Olympics and worlds dating to his 2015 debut. Perhaps he starts ramping it up with one month until worlds.

Men’s 400m — 4:05 p.m. ET
At the Pre Classic, American Michael Norman ran the world’s fastest 400m — 43.60 seconds — since the 2019 Worlds. This is Olympic gold medalist Steven Gardiner‘s chance to respond. Gardiner, the Bahamian who won the 2019 Worlds in 43.48, races his first 2022 Diamond League after opening his 400m campaign with a 44.22 back in April. Brit Matthew Hudson-Smith is the other sprinter to watch in Paris after clocking a national record 44.35 at Pre.

Women’s 100m — 4:53 p.m. ET
The focus of women’s sprints this season has so far been on Elaine Thompson-Herah and Sha’Carri Richardson. Meanwhile, 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at age 35 ran her first (and so far only) 100m this season on May 7, and that 10.67 remains fastest in the world this year (by a significant .13 gap). Fraser-Pryce can consolidate favorite status for worlds in Paris, where the top challengers are veterans Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago and Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast.

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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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