Tina Charles on USA Basketball national team: ‘I served my time,’ available in emergency

Tina Charles
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Tina Charles, a member of the last three U.S. Olympic women’s basketball teams that won gold medals, ceded her spot on the national team, at least for now, to the next generation of players.

Charles, who led the WNBA in scoring in 2021, was among the veteran stars who weren’t on the 28-player training camp roster that will vie for spots on the team for next month’s FIBA World Cup.

Most of the absences were expected: Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles are retiring. Diana Taurasi suffered a WNBA season-ending quad injury earlier this summer and, at age 40, is no guarantee to play internationally again. Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17 with U.S. officials hoping to bring her home in a prisoner swap.

Charles, a 33-year-old center for the Seattle Storm, was arguably the most accomplished missing name that came as a surprise.

“I served my time,” Charles told Alex Azzi of On Her Turf on Wednesday. “I served my country since 2009. I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity. I always told them if they ever need me, please reach out, but I think with this future young crop that’s coming up, not knowing where I’m at in the next couple of years, I just felt it’s time to give the position there. But again, they have my phone number. They have my email. If it’s ever an emergency, I’m willing and ready to serve my country. But right now, the option is mine. I think it’s good for this future crop.”

Charles played on every Olympic and World Cup team dating to 2010, when she was the WNBA No. 1 overall draft pick out of Connecticut. She has never lost a game in a USA uniform at a global championship (unlike Bird and Taurasi).

She started six of eight games in her Olympic debut in 2012 and all eight games in 2016. Last year, she came off the bench in all six Olympic games.

The younger crop of bigs that Charles mentioned shined in Tokyo. For the first time in decades, the top three U.S. scorers were all bigs: A’ja Wilson (26 years old), Griner (31) and Breanna Stewart (27). The lone collegian on the World Cup camp roster, South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, is also a frontcourt player.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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