Vollmer’s incredible comeback rolls on, Ledecky clocks personal best
Opening ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are scheduled for Aug. 5. Each week, as the countdown continues, we will bring you a roundup of the latest results, news items and storylines in Olympic sports. Here’s a look at what happened over the last seven days on the road to Rio:
• Several Rio hopefuls hit the pool in Charlotte for the fifth meet of the Arena Pro Swim Series. Dana Vollmer, looking to defend her 100-meter butterfly gold medal at the Games this summer, continues her incredible comeback after giving birth in March 2015. The two-time Olympian won the 100-meter freestyle in 53.59, the fastest time of any American since the beginning of 2015. Vollmer now sits atop the leaderboard for both the 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly, leapfrogging Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky in the freestyle event. Also in Charlotte, Ryan Lochte won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:58.97.
• Katie Ledecky had a great weekend at the Atlanta Classic Swim Meet, recording wins in the 200-meter (1:54.82) and 400-meter (4:00.31) freestyle races. Ledecky also posted a 1.5-second personal best time of 4:37.93 in the 400-meter individual medley.
• Michael Phelps did not compete this weekend but will swim at the Arena Pro Swim Series meet in Austin on June 3-5. His fiancée, Nicole Johnson, gave birth to the couple’s first son on May 5, and last week Phelps revealed how he and Nicole chose to name him Boomer.
• Speedo revealed the suits that Team USA will wear in Rio.
• San Francisco 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne announced his retirement from the NFL. The 28-year-old Australian native hopes to land a spot on Fiji’s Olympic rugby team. Rugby will return to the Olympics for the first time since 1924. Fiji has never won an Olympic medal in any sport.
• 2016 Olympic qualifier Gwen Jorgensen, who was beaten for the first time since April 2014 last month, returned to her winning ways with a victory at the World Triathlon Series event in Yokohama, Japan.
• Joe Maloy, Ben Kanute and Greg Billington punched their tickets to Rio as the U.S. Olympic men’s triathlon team.
Track and field
• Usain Bolt opened his season with a win, running 10.03 in the 100 meters at the Cayman Invitational. Same old start for Bolt, who remains undefeated in taht event since July 2013. His season continues Friday with a 100 meters in Ostrava, Czech Republic. There, he’ll face Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton.
Watch Bolt’s race in the Cayman Islands below:
• Olympic 800-meter champion and world record holder David Rudisha suffered his worst Diamond League loss since 2014, running 1:46.24 for fifth place in the 800 metesr at the Shanghai Diamond League. Nick Symmonds, a two-time U.S. Olympian and 2013 world championship silver medalist, crossed the line 10th in 1:48.39.
• Genzebe Dibaba says that she will try to lower her own world record in the 1,500 meters (3:50.07) and target the mile record of 4:12.56, which was set in 1996 by Svetlana Masterkova of Russia.
• Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin jumped a personal best of 8.45 meters in the long jump, the best distance in the world for 2016. To make his second Olympic team, he’ll need to finish in the top three at the trials in July. Not bad for someone who took a nearly three-year break from the sport.
• Odd story of the week: Two North Korean marathoners cut a course to meet the qualifying standard for Rio.
• Gold could truly glitter for U.S. star Jordan Burroughs. One die-hard fan has promised the 2012 champion at 74 kg a $500,000 bonus if he can repeat in Rio.
• Howard Shu (men’s singles); Iris Wang (women’s singles); Sattawat Pongnairat and Phillip Chew (men’s doubles); Eva Lee and Paula Lynn Obanana (women’s doubles); and Phillip Chew and Jamie Subandhi (mixed doubles) were all named to the U.S. Olympic team.
• Dr. Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa and Harvard Public Health Review published a grave warning that the 2016 Olympics should be cancelled or moved from Rio due to the Zika outbreak.
• Dr. Celine Gounder, an epidemiologist who specializes in infectious diseases, has a counter-argument from the medical standpoint.
• The World Health Organization issued a new update on Zika.
• Australian Olympic officials believe they may have one of the keys to stopping the spread of Zika and will distribute special condoms to their respective athletes.
• Last week, The New York Times revealed the lengths to which Russian Olympic officials went to beat anti-doping testing and make sure that their dirty athletes would not test positive for performance enhancing drugs. The Times report came just a few days after 60 Minutes’ own investigation on cheating in Sochi.
• With the latest revelation of evidence showing systemic and state-funded doping by Russia, all eyes will be on the IAAF conference on June 17 in Vienna, where a decision on whether to reinstate the Russian track and field team (banned last year in the wake of WADA’s investigation) in time for Rio will be announced. Russian athletes have denied all allegations.
Political woes for Brazil
• Brazil impeached president Dilma Roussef. The impeachment was passed on a 55–22 vote, and leaves Vice President Michel Temer in line to assume the duties of acting president. A trial will be held over the next six months to determine whether Rousseff will be removed from office permanently.
Recommended Olympic reads and watches
• The full New York Times story on the Russian cheating is fascinating.
• Nick Zaccardi of NBC has a look back at when tennis returned to the Olympics in 1988.
• Here’s Rachel Axon’s profile on swimmer Caleb Dressel for USA Today. Dressel is one of the up-and-coming U.S. swimming stars, having set the NCAA and American records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle as a Florida Gator.
• Jere Longman of The New York Times takes a look at the scientists chasing the two-hour marathon barrier. Olympic gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia has a prominent role in the story as well.