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Caster Semenya leads Olympians in Time 100; streak hits 16 years

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An Olympian has made the Time 100 Most Influential list every year since its annual inception in 2004. South African runner Caster Semenya, soccer players Alex Morgan and Mo Salah and LeBron James kept the streak going in 2019.

It’s the fourth appearance for James (2005, 2013, 2017), extending his record for an athlete, and the first for Semenya, Morgan and Salah. Semenya made it in the “icons” category, while the other three are “titans.”

Two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Edwin Moses penned an essay about the two-time Olympic 800m champion Semenya, who is fighting a legal battle with the IAAF over a potential rule change limiting women’s testosterone levels in her events. If the rule goes into effect, Semenya’s dominance (three years undefeated at 800m) is expected to vanish.

“Caster Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to “male” and “female” classifications,” Moses wrote. “Ultimately, this incredibly difficult issue is a political one for sport to resolve. But however it is addressed, Semenya will have already made a singular historical contribution to our understanding of biological sex.”

Here are Olympians and Paralympians on past Time 100 lists, counting only athletes who competed in the Games before being listed:

2018 — Kevin Durant, Roger Federer, Chloe Kim, Adam Rippon
2017 — Simone Biles, LeBron James, Neymar
2016 — Usain BoltCaitlyn JennerKatie LedeckySania MirzaRonda Rousey
2015 — Abby Wambach
2014 — Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams
2013 — LeBron James, Li Na, Lindsey Vonn
2012 — Novak DjokovicLionel MessiOscar Pistorius
2011 — Lionel Messi
2010 — Yuna KimSerena Williams
2009 — Rafael Nadal
2008 — Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius
2007 — Roger FedererChien Ming-Wang
2006 — Joey CheekSteve Nash
2005 — LeBron James
2004 — Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe, Yao Ming
2000 (20th Century) — Muhammad Ali

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Sweden gets monumental win over No. 1 USA in PKs at Olympics

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The United States women’s national soccer team were stunned in a monumental upset by former coach Pia Sundhage and Sweden, losing in penalty kicks after a 1-1 score line in regulation and extra time.

Hedvig Lindahl stopped Alex Morgan’s opening penalty kick, but Hope Solo saved one to make it level. Christen Press sent the United States’ fifth offering over the goal, and Lisa Dahlqvist sent Solo the wrong way, and the Yanks were eliminated.

Alex Morgan’s 77th minute goal pushed the USWNT to extra time with Sweden after Stina Blackstenius, and nothing could divide the teams before penalty kicks.

The United States was on the front foot from the get-go, with Swedish goalkeeper Lindahl called into action for a big save off an early corner.

An electric play by Alex Morgan near the Sweden end line almost forced the Swedes into an own goal in the 28th minute, but Lindahl again stepped in to allay the threat.

The Americans piled on pressure as the first half neared stoppage time, and both Morgan and Julie Johnston barely missed heading home on a late free kick. 0-0 at the break.

The U.S. had a couple dangerous free kicks to start the second half. A well-drawn play was foiled when Carli Lloyd flubbed her shot wide of the near post, and her second chance flew just over the bar.

The whole thing turned on its ear with a half-hour to play, as Blackstenius raced through the U.S. defense and grounded a perfect finish into the side netting.

Just when hope literally seemed lost, Morgan pulled a goal from nothing. The American striker darted onto a deflected pass and pushed the ball past Lindahl to level things at 1.

Crystal Dunn made a breathtaking run across the 18 to lay off for Lloyd in the 84th minute, but the U.S. star had her shot deflect wide. The Yanks then made a mockery of several chances in the box before Tobin Heath saw a rocket shot saved by Lindahl.

Heath nearly gave the game away from a holding position midway through the first period of extra time, but Mallory Pugh’s hard charge back coupled with a bizarre Swedish offside run thwarted the threat. Morgan worked a chance moments later at the other end, but Lindahl cut down her already-sharp angle.

Lloyd looked to have won it on a terrific cross from Dunn, but was ruled to have pulled down a defender en route to the goal (rightly called). Then Sweden thought it went ahead from an offside position (wrongly called). There’s grey area, but it could’ve been 2-1 for either team or 2-2 (And yes, we understand butterfly effect logic).

WATCH LIVE: Morgan, Team USA faces stiff test in France

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World No. 3 France takes its shot at the top-seeded United States women in a massive Group G game at the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.

The tilt will push a winner to the final after the Yanks beat New Zealand 2-0 on Wednesday and France hammered Colombia 4-0.

WATCH LIVE: United States vs. France — 4 p.m. EDT

Alex Morgan’s stoppage time winner lifted the USWNT past France the last time they matched up, a March meeting in the SheBelieves Cup.

France last beat the U.S. in a Feb. 2015 friendly in Lorient, though the Yanks avenged the defeat in the Algarve Cup final one month later.