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Ryder Cup
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Golf, Super Bowl show precedent for reshuffling calendar

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The 2001 Ryder Cup was scheduled for Sept. 28-30 of that year. In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, that Ryder Cup was postponed to 2002.

But just as the Tokyo Olympics will still be called Tokyo 2020, that Ryder Cup is, in many references, still the 2001 competition. Signage at The Belfry said “1927-2001.”  U.S. captain Curtis Strange refused to reconsider his wild-card picks a year later and noted that the team’s gear still said “2001.”

Most importantly, the trophy was embossed with the year “2001.”

Instead of doubling up on Ryder Cups in back-to-back years, the competition shifted to even-numbered years, and future Ryder Cups bore the names of the year in which they were actually played.

The Presidents Cup, previously played in even-numbered years, shifted to odd years, starting with 2003.

Changes like these are inevitable following the postponement of the 2020 Olympics. Odd-numbered years are full of world championships in many Olympic sports, and holding the Olympics in 2021 raises the question of whether to push back to 2022 or find some other way to reschedule or recognize world champions.

Another major event rescheduled after Sept. 11 was Super Bowl XXXVI, originally scheduled for Jan. 27 in New Orleans. With the NFL schedule interrupted by the attacks, the league opted to push the championship game back a week.

Fortunately for the NFL, the National Auto Dealers Association was willing to switch the dates of its convention in the Superdome in exchange for financial considerations and free ads during the game.

Major League Baseball, which doesn’t rely on booking a neutral site in advance, simply pushed the 2001 World Series into November.

Major League Soccer scrubbed the last week of its regular season and proceeded directly to the playoffs in order to hold the MLS Cup final, then held at a neutral site, on its original date of Oct. 21.

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Tyreek Hill eyes Olympics; qualifying for U.S. trials is difficult enough

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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill said he’s serious about trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic track and field team after Super Bowl LIV, but it would be very difficult for him to qualify for the Olympic trials, let alone get to Tokyo.

“Hopefully after this season, if I’m healthy and my mind is still in the right place, I really want to try to qualify for some Olympic teams,” Hill said at Super Bowl media day in Miami on Wednesday. “Even go to Penn Relays [in April], give that a try. Get a few guys off the [football] team put a relay together and show these track guys, hey, football guys, hey, we used to do this back in high school, man. We still got it. I just want to have fun with it.”

Hill was asked in a follow-up if he was serious about the Olympics and looked into it.

“Yeah, I have,” he said. “I have. I have.”

Hill was a world-class sprinter in high school. He ran the 200m in 20.14 seconds at age 18, ranking him sixth in the U.S. in 2012. If he ran that time between now and June 7, Hill would qualify for June’s U.S. Olympic Trials.

But asking him to get near his personal best, seven years removed from his sprint days and after the longest NFL season of his career, is a leap.

Hill easily qualified for Olympic trials in 2012 (the automatic qualifying time was 20.55), and 20.14 would have made the Olympic team at trials. But Hill did not race trials. He ran junior nationals and the world junior championships instead.

Hill also noted Wednesday that he broke 10 seconds in the 100m in high school. While that is true, it came with a 5.0 meter/second tailwind, which is 2.5 times the maximum tailwind for record purposes. His true 100m personal best is 10.19 seconds.

But none of those old races count if Hill wants to race at June’s Olympic trials. He must post a qualifying time between now and June 7. In the 100m, the automatic qualifying time is 10.05 seconds. In the 200m, it’s 20.24.

USA Track and Field could invite more men to either field if it deems not enough automatically qualified. Any extra invitees would be taken in order of the fastest time in the qualifying window. Hill would not get special treatment as an NFL star.

NBC Sports analyst Ato Boldon, a four-time Olympic sprint medalist who has coached NFL Draft prospects for the combine’s 40-yard dash, called Hill’s chances of qualifing for the trials “a long shot.”

“I think Tyreek is the fastest man in the NFL, but you’re not going from an entire NFL season to being an Olympic qualifier in the 100m,” Boldon tweeted. “NFL season wreaks havoc on a body. NFL season that extends through the playoffs to the Super Bowl makes it even worse.”

The only Olympians to compete in the NFL before and after their Olympics were running back Herschel Walker in bobsled (Albertville 1992) and New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner in rugby (Rio 2016).

However, former Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best qualified to race the 100m for Saint Lucia in Rio. Best, though, had been doing sprint training for more than one year before the Olympics (and had not played in the NFL in four years due to concussions).

If he’s serious, Hill has four months to qualify for trials in the U.S., which has a tougher 100m standard than what Best ran to qualify for Saint Lucia (10.16 seconds). Saint Lucia had no other Olympic-caliber sprinters.

Hill would also have to make major lifestyle changes.

“But the thing is, I weigh like 195 [pounds] right now. Back in high school, when I ran a 9.9, I was like 175,” he said. “If I do it, it would be me changing my whole diet, changing everything that I’ve been doing to get to this point where I am now.”

MORE: Coronavirus wreaks havoc with sport schedules, including Olympic qualifiers

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Usain Bolt having fun at Super Bowl, ‘ties’ NFL Combine 40-yard dash record

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As they sing in the song, “Anything you can do, I can do better.”

And it may just be the mantra for Jamaica’s eight-time Olympic gold medalist, and all-around showman, Usain Bolt. While attending the Super Bowl Experience in Atlanta, Bolt couldn’t resist toeing the line at the Combine Corner’s 40-yard dash challenge.

Bolt, wearing a T-shirt, track pants and a pair of flat-soled Pumas, casually crossed the finish line with the very unofficial time of 4.22 seconds. Bolt’s time “ties” the NFL Combine record set by John Ross in 2017.

So, about Tokyo 2020?