Two LPGA golfers are locked in a battle for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, and the reigning Olympic champion runs his final marathon before Tokyo. Here's a look at what's happening this weekend (April 16-18) on the Road to the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The LPGA's Lotte Championship continues this weekend with several U.S. golfers hoping to cushion their lead for an Olympic berth.
Nelly Korda and Danielle Kang are both sitting pretty as the No. 4 and No. 5 ranked women's golfers on the planet, respectively. Lexi Thompson isn't far behind them, ranking No. 7 while tied for 10th place in this weekend's tournament after two rounds.
For Jennifer Kupcho and Austin Ernst, though, there's a lot more on the line. If the Olympic rosters were announced today, Kupcho would make the team while Ernst would be left off. Kupcho and Ernst were both tied for 20th in the Lotte Championship after two rounds, and with Ernst sitting just three spots behind Kupcho in the Olympic Rankings, a stellar performance over the final two rounds could do wonders for her hopes of going to Tokyo.
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Track & Field
Defending Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya is entered to run this weekend's NN Mission Marathon at Twente Airport in Enschede, Netherlands — his first race in six months after a stunning eighth-place finish at the London Marathon last October, and his final marathon before the Tokyo Olympics. London was only his second career marathon defeat and first since September 2013. Watch his pre-race press conference from Friday here.
The world-record holder has run four of the top 17 marathon times in history, one each year from 2016-2019; his two best, from 2018 and 2019, are Nos. 1 and 3.
The race is Sunday at 2:30 a.m. ET and can be streamed live in the U.S. on FloSports (subscription required).
Open Water Swimming
Tokyo qualifiers Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell headline a roster of American open water swimmers gathered on the sun-bathed shores of Fort Myers, Florida, this weekend for the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships.
The Gulf Coast waters will host races of varying distances but all eyes will be focused on the men’s and women’s 10k events which are included in the Olympic program. Team USA’s only qualified man in the discipline, Jordan Wilimovsky, is not slated to compete, which leaves an opportunity for another American male distance swimmer to build momentum ahead of two final international opportunities to qualify for the Olympics this summer.
The International Gymnastics Federation’s 2021 Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup heads to Tashkent, Uzbekistan this weekend.
United States Senior National Team members Evita Griskenas and Laura Zeng will be in attendance. The duo qualified the U.S. for two Olympic quota spots in rhythmic gymnastics back in 2019 and are the front runners to represent Team USA in Tokyo.
Zeng was a 2016 Olympian and finished seventh in the all-around contest at the last World Cup stop in Sofia, Bulgaria. Griskenas, a four-time gold medalist at the 2019 Pan American Games, finished in 27th in the all-around in Sofia.
The all-around competition begins Friday in Tashkent with the hoop and ball apparatus, followed by clubs and ribbon on Saturday. The top eight athletes in each apparatus will qualify to event finals, set for Sunday.
While sport climbing at the Olympics combines speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering, the World Cup circuit treats the disciplines independently. Bouldering, the lowest discipline to the ground, is the focus this weekend in Meiringen, Switzerland.
Olympic qualifiers abound in the crowded field, including Tokyo contenders Janja Garnbret, Akiyo Noguchi, Adam Ondra and Alex Megos. All four American sport climbing Olympians — Brooke Raboutou, Kyra Condie, Nathaniel Coleman and Colin Duffy — are expected to feature as well.
Team USA has two of its possible four quota places already locked up: Sammy Schultz (née Achterberg) and Amro Elgeziry, a three-time Olympian for Egypt and U.S. citizen since 2017, both qualified for the Tokyo Games in 2019 with second- and fifth-place finishes, respectively, at the Pan American Games in Peru. The other two spots, one per gender, can be earned through ranking points at competitions like this week's 2021 World Cup II in Sofia, Bulgaria.
None of the American hopefuls – Brendan Anderson, Sam Ruddock, Isabella Isaksen, Jessica Davis and Claire Green – advanced past Wednesday and Thursday's qualification stages. But you can still watch the women's (Saturday, 11 a.m. ET) and men's (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET) laser-run finals live for free via UIPM TV or follow the live results.