Team USA has an opportunity to qualify more divers for the Tokyo Games, and beach volleyball pairings continue their push for qualification down in Cancun. Here's a look at what's happening in the world of Olympic sports this weekend (April 30 - May 2) as the Road to Tokyo continues onward.
Olympic diving hopefuls will get a sneak preview of the Tokyo Aquatics Center diving pool, where this summer’s Olympic competition will be held, May 1-6 at the 2021 FINA Diving World Cup. In addition to serving as a Tokyo test event, the World Cup also represents the biggest diving meet of the year prior to the Olympics, with dozens of Olympic qualification places on the line.
The United States has yet to qualify for the women’s springboard competition, as well as three of the four synchronized diving events. The World Cup is the last chance to rectify that. Making matters difficult though, some of Team USA’s most reliable finishers, namely Steele Johnson, Katrina Young and David Boudia (who contracted COVID-19 earlier this month), are absent from the competition. Mike Hixon, Kassidy Cook, David Dinsmore and Sarah Bacon lead the charge for the Americans in their stead. British stars Tom Daley and Jack Laugher will also look to build momentum for the Olympics at this week’s World Cup.
The U.S. Olympic Diving Trials, taking place June 6-13 on NBC and the Olympic Channel, will determine which athletes will fill whichever Olympic qualification slots the United States has earned by then.
Saturday, May 1
- Women's Synchronized Springboard Final: 3 - 4 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel [LIVE STREAM]
- Men's Synchronized Platform Final: 5 - 6:15 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel [LIVE STREAM]
Sunday, May 2
- Women's Synchronized Platform Final: 3 - 4 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel [LIVE STREAM]
- Men's Synchronized Springboard Final: 5 - 6:15 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel [LIVE STREAM]
The third event of the Cancun Hub will continue through Sunday. The Cancun Hub will be a significant event for beach volleyball pairings hoping to make the trip to Tokyo. For the United States, Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat are competing to solidify their spot as the No. 2 U.S. pairing for Tokyo's women's tournament. On the men's side, the pairing of Trevor Crabb and Tri Bourne have a chance to close the gap behind Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, Team USA's current No. 2 pairing.
Track & Field
The biennial World Athletics Relays' fifth edition is all but certain to be lackluster compared to previous competitions due to several top withdrawals. Notably absent from this weekend's races in Chorzow, Poland: the United States and Jamaica, the top two teams at every previous World Relays event. Both cited safety concerns for not sending teams.
Regardless of star power, relay races always put on a show and are arguably the most exciting track and field events to watch. And Olympic implications remain — the top eight 4x100m and 4x400m teams for all five gender-designated events auto-qualify for Tokyo, while those eight and the next best two men's and women's 4x100m and 4x400m teams, and next best four mixed 4x400m teams, get berths to the 2022 World Championships in Oregon.
Day 1 Saturday includes heats in the men's and women's 4x400m and 4x100m relays, as well as the mixed 4x400m (which is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo). There are also finals in the non-traditional mixed 2x2x400m and shuttle hurdles. Day 2 Sunday has finals in the aforementioned Olympic events, and in the men's and women's 4x200m relays.
You can watch the World Relays live on Olympic Channel and NBCSN and find live results here.
Day 1: Saturday, May 1
- 12:55 - 2:30 p.m. ET, Olympic Channel [LIVE STREAM]
- 2:30 - 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN [LIVE STREAM]
Day 2: Sunday, May 2
- 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. ET, Olympic Channel [LIVE STREAM]
The first World Cup of the 2021 season is underway in Zagreb, Croatia, and several of the world's top rowers are competing, including home-country and Tokyo Olympic favorites Martin and Valent Sinkovic. The Croatian brothers are back-to-back reigning world champions in pair and 2016 Olympic double sculls gold-medal winners.
The U.S. men's quadruple sculls crew that won the second phase of Olympic trials earlier this month plans to test its speed this weekend ahead of mid-May's final Olympic qualification regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland. It's there where the quad needs a top-two finish to secure its spot in Tokyo. Crew member Justin Keen told USRowing he and his team want to work on the first and last 500m of their races in Zagreb to prepare for Lucerne.
Earlier Friday the U.S. placed second in the first of two heats, missing by less than three seconds the auto-advance granted to both winners. It then took second in the repechage, advancing to Saturday's final. Recording the second-fastest time overall Friday, the U.S. has a good chance of winning the final, slated for 8:52 a.m. ET.
The fourth and final zonal qualifier for fencing takes place this weekend in San José, Costa Rica. The United States has already qualified for each of the fencing events taking place in Tokyo, so the final qualifier will mainly be for countries in the Americas currently on the outside looking in.