Time for Pacquiao to decide on Rio, Kim Rhode headed to sixth Olympics
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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:
• For the first time, professional boxers are allowed to compete at the Olympics, but one of the world’s best still has yet to decide if he’ll be participating in Rio. Manny Pacquiao has been given a deadline of May 27 to decide whether or not he wants to fight at the Olympics, according to Ed Picson, the executive director of the Association of Boxing of Alliances in the Philippines. The 37-year-old retired from boxing after defeating Timothy Bradley Jr. in April, but he can accept a wild card in the 64-kg junior welterweight class, which is one lower than where he usually fights.
• Kim Rhode dominated at the shooting U.S. Olympic team trials over the weekend, securing her spot at her sixth Olympics. She is only the second American women to compete at six Summer Games and will be the first to do so on six different continents. If she medals in Brazil, Rhode would tie Italian luge star Armin Zöggeler for most consecutive individual Olympic medals won by an athlete. Rhode could be the first shooter to win four gold medals in the sport.
• Enkelejda Shehaj will return to the Olympics for the first time in 20 years. After picking up pistol shooting in 1986 while living in her native Albania, Shehaj competed at the ’92 and ’96 Games. But trouble in the country forced her to move to the U.S. in 1999, and Albania left her off the roster for the 2000 Olympic team.
Shehaj took a break from shooting, allowing her to settle in the U.S., but her husband eventually encouraged her to pick up the sport again. She became an American citizen in 2012, and two years later, she returned to competition. Following a dramatic sudden-death battle at the Olympic Trials, she punched her ticket to Rio.
• Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross won their 15th consecutive FIVB World Tour match at this past weekend’s Cincinnati Open, effectively locking up their spot in Rio. SI.com’s Kayla Lombardo caught up with Walsh-Jennings to discuss her plans for Rio and more.
Track and field
• Usain Bolt dipped under 10 seconds for the first time in 2016, winning the 100 meters at the Ostrava Golden Spikes Meeting in the Czech Republic, but the world’s fastest men left disappointed with the race and will run again at the Racers Track Club Grand Prix in Kingston, Jamaica on June 11. There, he’ll face Olympic silver medalist Yohan Blake, who defeated Bolt at the 2012 Jamaica national championship, for the first time since the ’12 Olympic final.
• Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton was named SI’s fittest male athlete over LeBron James. Jessica Ennis-Hill, the Olympic heptathlon champion, took the No. 1 spot on the women’s side over sprinter Allyson Felix.
• Olympic hurdle champion Sally Pearson of Australia announced her return at the Birmingham Diamond League meet in England on June 5. She sustained a wrist injury last summer that knocked her out of the world championships.
• Ethiopia named its Olympic marathon team and did not include three-time Olympic gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele or two-time Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa.
• Katie Zafares was named to the 2016 U.S.A. triathlon team for Rio and will join Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah True. She finished last year ranked No. 5 in the world.
• USA Swimming moved its training camp from Puerto Rico to Georgia Tech’s aquatic center, where the 1996 Olympics were held, after concerns due to Zika.
• Michael Phelps introduced the world to Baby Boomer on Facebook Live. His next competition will be in Austin, Texas from June 3-5.
• NBC will have David Feherty broadcast golf in Rio. Golf will make its return to the Olympics for the first time since 1914 and will be broadcast on Golf Channel, which plans to have more than 300 hours of coverage.
• Rory McIllroy expressed some concern over Zika as he decides whether or not to compete in Rio.
• Jarryd Hayne played about 15 minutes in six matches over the weekend as he made his rugby sevens tournament debut with Fiji in London. The 26-year-old quit the NFL after one season to pursue his Olympic dreams.
“At the moment, I’m behind the eight ball and I’ve got no problem with that. It’s about working hard and getting there,” Hayne said after the game.
• Heba Allejji, 19, will be the first Syrian athlete to compete at the Olympics in table tennis as the International Table Tennis Federation announced its tripartite spots in the men's and women's competitions. Scotland upset South Africa to win the tournament.
• Adeline Gray visited the SI offices and showed off her winning moves on some staffers.
Oldest Olympic champion dies
• Sandor Tarics won gold as a member of Hungary’s water polo team at the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin. He died on Saturday at the age of 102 in his San Francisco home. There are 22 athletes from the 1936 Olympics that have reached the age of 100, including former FIFA president Joao Havelange.
Russian doping news
• Yulia Efimova, the four-time world champion, had her doping ban lifted. FINA, the sport’s world governing body, was following up on positive tests for Meldonium. The drug was banned on Jan. 1 but many athletes, including Efimova, claimed they took the drug before it was banned but it remained in their system after they stopped taking it.
• Yelena Isinbayeva, the two-time Olympic champion, says that she plans to file a lawsuit in an international human rights court, if she is unable to compete at he Olympics due to Russia’s ban from international competition by the IAAF.
• The good news for Isinbayeva is that the Russia’s new track and field federation president, Dmitry Shlyakhtin, puts the nation’s chances of competing in Rio between 50-60%.
• WADA has set a July 15 deadline for their independent investigation into the doping allegations involving Russians at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
• Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is one of 14 Russians that reportedly tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in the recent re-testing of 2008 Olympic doping samples.
Let’s talk about sex, baby
• The Olympic village in Rio de Janeiro will supply its athletes with 450,000 condoms, which is three times as many as the London Olympics.
• Four years after Olympic gold, Gabby Douglas’s reality remains riveting by Liz Clarke of The Washington Post.
• A Full Revolution: In the run-up to the Olympics, Simone Biles is transforming gymnastics by Reeves Wiedeman of The New Yorker.
• Alexi Pappas veers far from her lane by Sam McManis of The New York Times.
• Shirley Babashoff reminder of why clean athletes need protecting by Nancy Armour of USA Today