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Kim Rhode misses qualification for Tokyo Olympics, ending streak at six Games

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Kim Rhode‘s streak of Olympic appearances ends at six. The 40-year-old U.S. shooter failed to qualify for the Tokyo Games at the conclusion of the Olympic Trials on Sunday.

Rhode finished fourth in the women’s trials, where only the top two qualified for Tokyo.

The U.S. Olympic team in skeet shooting: first-time Olympic qualifiers Amber English and Austen Smith and, in the men’s event, two-time Olympic champion Vincent Hancock and Phillip Jungman, who qualified for his first Olympics.

Rhode, who earned an Olympic medal in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016, was bidding to become the second U.S. athlete to compete at seven Olympics after equestrian J. Michael Plumb. She also hoped to become the first Olympian to earn a medal at seven straight Games, breaking her tie with luger Armin Zoeggeler.

But Rhode entered the final half of the two-legged, eight-day Olympic Trials in skeet this weekend in fourth place in a tight competition for two Olympic spots. Going into the last day on Sunday, Rhode was in fifth place, 11 points shy of the second spot. She ended up nine points behind second-place Smith.

Rhode previously said she hopes to continue competing, perhaps through the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

The U.S. is the deepest nation in women’s skeet with five of the world’s top 13. Rhode is second among Americans in the group at fifth overall, one spot behind Caitlin Connor, who also failed to qualify at trials.

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

First four U.S. shooters qualify for Olympics; Ginny Thrasher will not defend Rio title

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USA Shooting
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Lucas Kozeniesky, Will ShanerMary Tucker and Ali Weisz became the first U.S. shooters to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics at air rifle trials that finished Sunday.

Kozeniesky is the lone returning Olympian of the group, having placed 21st in Rio.

Meanwhile, Ginny Thrasher, who won the first gold medal of the Rio Games, will not defend that air rifle title in Tokyo. But she can still make the U.S. team in another event.

Tucker and Shaner are both 18-year-old University of Kentucky students. They are the third and fourth U.S. Olympic qualifiers across all sports so far born in 2001 or later.

The youngest U.S. Olympians in Rio (table tennis player Kanak Jha) and PyeongChang (figure skater Vincent Zhou) were born in 2000.

Thrasher, the youngest U.S. shooter in Rio as a 19-year-old West Virginia student, placed fifth at air rifle trials. She can still make the team via smallbore rifle trials, which she also did for Rio (placing 11th).

Thrasher was the surprise winner of the first medal event of the 2016 Olympics with no major international championship experience.

MORE: Full list of U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

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For the first time, a woman will start the Olympic torch relay

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — For the first time, a woman has been chosen to launch the torch relay for the Tokyo Games at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in Greece.

Greece’s Olympic committee said Thursday it has picked Rio shooting gold medalist Anna Korakaki as the first torchbearer following the flame-lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia on March 12.

The carefully-choreographed ceremony is led by an actress posing as an ancient Greek priestess who lights the flame using a a bowl-shaped mirror to focus the heat of the sun’s rays on her torch. She will then pass it on to Korakaki.

The torch relay will course through Greece for a week before the flame is handed over to Tokyo organizing officials at a ceremony in Athens. The last torchbearer in Greece will also be a woman — Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi who won the pole vault at Rio.

Greece’s national Olympic committee president Spyros Capralos said Korakaki’s selection was a “historic” moment.

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

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