Tuesday August 3rd, 2010

As sprinting announcements go, this one isn't official until all the hamstrings and egos are actually in the starting blocks, but barring a late withdrawal, the 100 meters at the DN Galan Diamond League track meet in Stockholm on Friday night could be the highlight of the season. Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt has announced that he will be sprinting against a field that includes his countryman Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay of the U.S., a loaded roster that the sport rarely sees outside of Olympics and world championships. Since athletes often duck and dodge rivals to protect their reputation, Bolt's participation is further sign that -- with his most recent defeat coming in 2008 -- he has no serious challengers.

• Thanks to a series of missteps in planning and communication, the U.S. gymnastics team will not have a representative at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games that begin in Singapore later this month. Initially, the IOC, hoping to keep the event to a manageable size, began limiting the number of credentials afforded to national delegations for the competition. As a consequence, they allotted no more than three coaching credentials for each delegation's gymnastics team. Unfortunately, very few coaches in artistic gymnastics work with both men and women, leaving delegations with a difficult decision as to which athletes to take to Singapore. USA Gymnastics therefore chose not to nominate an athlete for the women's artistic classification. Last month, the IOC amended its decision and added a fourth coaching credential for gymnastics, but word only reached USA Gymnastics days before the July 10 deadline to submit a final delegation roster. That left too little time to throw together an impromptu meet to choose a representative for the women's individual competition. Jesse Glenn (men's), Polina Kozitskiy, (rhythmic) and Savanna Vinsant and Hunter Brewster (trampoline) will represent the team in Singapore.

• It isn't too early to start booking tickets to the 2012 London Olympics. That's what several eagle-eyed marksmen did in Berlin at the ISSF World Championships in shooting last week, becoming the first athletes to qualify for the Games. The first official qualified athlete was Italy's Niccolo Campriani, a 22-year-old West Virginia student who won the world title in the men's 10-meter air rifle event. Matt Emmons earned the first quota place for the U.S. team by taking a bronze medal in the 50-meter rifle prone competition. In the case of Emmons, a two-time Olympian, and all U.S. shooters, the high places only guarantee quota slots. Shooters who earn the places still have to win berths on the team through the U.S. trials process.

• USA Basketball has trimmed its roster of candidates for this summer's world championships in Istanbul to 15 players. Chauncey Billups, Tyson Chandler, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Jeff Green, Andre Iguodala, Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook are among the players under consideration for the roster that still has to be trimmed to 12 following a training camp in New York that will start on Aug. 10. The championships begin on Aug. 28. The U.S. men have won just two bronze medals in the last three championships since taking gold in Toronto in 1994.

Katie Uhlaender has proven herself a fast learner. It took her eight weeks after learning the skeleton in 2003 to become U.S. national champion, and she has since won two medals each, in team and individual events, at the world championships. But just what will the two-time Olympian do with her free summer? Uhlaender has it covered. She is now training for the London Games in her new sport of weightlifting. The native of Breckenridge, Colo. competed in her state championships in powerlifting at age 15. At 26, she is embarking on a new sport after an injury-filled year in her primary one. Uhlaender has undergone four surgeries over the last year for a broken leg, but still managed to place 11th at the Olympics in Vancouver. She trained with weights to regain much of her strength and has set her sights on making the national team in the 63-kilogram class within the next year. On Saturday, Uhlaender won her first competition at the Rocky Mountain State Games in Colorado Springs. She still plans to aim for a third winter Olympic berth in Sochi.

• France's Sylvan Sudrie outlasted defending champ Timothy O'Donnell of the U.S. to win the Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in Immenstadt, Germany last weekend. Switzerland's Caroline Steffen won the women's event. Haley Cooper, the top U.S. athlete, finished eighth. Both Sudrie and Steffen won their races with superior performances on the bike, during which they built leads of several minutes. The competition, which splits the difference between Olympic and Ironman distances, features a four-kilometer swim, a 130-kilometer bike ride and a 30-kilometer run.

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