Rio Olympic commemorative coins will be issued by the Central Bank of Brazil beginning Friday.
The first nine coins of a total of 36 will launch, including one gold and four silvers.
The gold coins will honor Christ the Redeemer, the 100m dash and the Olympic motto — Citius, Altius, Fortius.
The gold coins are valued at about $460, with a face value of about $4.
Katie Ledecky‘s coach recently tried, and failed, to discuss a dilemma with her about next summer.
Here’s the situation:
Ledecky can enter as many as four individual events at August’s World Championships in Kazan, Russia — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles.
She swept the four at the biggest meet this year, the Pan Pacific Championships in August. She won a fifth gold anchoring the 4x200m free relay, after which a medal presenter proposed to her.
But the Worlds schedule is different and more grueling in some respects. Generally, the women’s 1500m free final — a 16-minute crucible (well, 15 1/2 for Ledecky) — and the 200m free semis are in the same night session at Worlds.
Ledecky broke her 1500m free world record at Pan Pacs, but she had the luxury of not worrying about any other events that night.
In 2013, Ledecky dropped the 200m free from her Worlds program because of the crowded schedule.
Will she drop the 200m free again next year, or will she shed the 1500m free, as it is an event not swum at the Olympics?
“I’ve tried to have the conversation with her about next summer and dropping something,” Coach Bruce Gemmell said before Ledecky won three Golden Goggles awards Monday night. “Right now, she doesn’t want to hear it.”
Ledecky felt the same when asked about dropping an event Monday night. Normally reserved, she began answering before a reporter could finish the questions.
Have we seen you swim a 1500m free for the last time …
“You’ll see me swim it again,” she said. “I don’t know when, but I’ll swim it again. I’m not done with that race. I love that race. It did hurt [at Pan Pacs], but I love that feeling.”
But you’ll have to drop that or the 200m free for Worlds …
“I’m two years older now [than going into 2013 Worlds],” the 17-year-old said, smiling. “I have more experience.”
But Ledecky also cautioned.
“I’m not saying I’m swimming them all,” she said.
Ledecky kept a busy schedule since Pan Pacs. She took about a week and a half off from swimming after returning from Australia.
The Bethesda, Md., high school senior used the extra hours out of the pool to help decorate the hallways with classmates at the all-girls Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, study in the library and just hang out.
Once back in the pool, she was beaten in one fall meet (by men) and wore the cap of a swimmer injured in a car accident at another.
Gemmell discussed Ledecky swimming in mixed-gender races with fellow coach David Marsh on Monday morning. Losing was good, he said.
“She talked about how she swam the races were a little different than she might if she was out there swimming all by herself, which is a good thing because next time she finds herself in a tight race with somebody, it’s another experience she’s had,” he said.
“It was a fun little challenge,” she said. “Bruce told me before I think it was the 500 [free], first race. He said boys like to go out really fast, so don’t go out really fast. The first 75, I conserved my energy. Sure enough, they all went out fast. I sort of was able to catch up. It was a lot of fun. Hopefully, I’ll, once or twice, get the opportunity to do that again.”
Ledecky will swim the 100-, 200-, 500- and 1,500-yard freestyles and the 200-yard individual medley at Winter Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., next week. The meet is held in a 25-yard pool, rather than an Olympic-size 50-meter pool.
Before that, Ledecky got some training in before an appearance on TODAY on Monday morning. She swam in a New York pool at 5 a.m.
Missy Franklin learned of it and joined Ledecky. Franklin is based in California, so for her it was like swimming at 2 a.m.
“We split the lane and didn’t hit each other’s hands once the entire time,” Franklin said with her constant smile. “I think that was very impressive.”
Ledecky’s goals for the Rio OlymPics, mostly about hitting specific times in events, were laid out before Pan Pacs. They were revisited after the meet and left unchanged.
Perhaps the 100m free is on that list. Ledecky is already the top U.S. swimmer in the 200m free. She would have a shot to at least finish in the top six at the 2016 Olympic trials and get on the 4x100m free relay.
“You know she’s going to get faster to swim a world-class 200, and with that comes a pretty good 100,” Gemmell acknowledged. “If she snuck on the team in a fifth or sixth spot, I don’t know if we’d be given the opportunity to swim it [in the relay] at the Olympics. The coaching staff would have to get together and say, hey, what’s the benefit here of doing this thing. Risk, reward.”
Ledecky said she would consider it.
“We’ll see how that progresses,” she said. “You never really know. It’s not something I’ll focus heavily on. I’m not going to jeopardize my other events for the 100.”
Nick Zaccardi | NBC Sports
Missy Franklin continues to do physical therapy to prevent a recurrence of back spasms, which first struck her two days before the Pan Pacific Championships in August, the biggest international meet of the year.
“Trying to just, kind of change the way that I move,” Franklin said before a screening of “Touch the Wall” in lower Manhattan on Sunday night. The film documents Franklin and three-time Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce‘s run up to the 2012 Olympics, where Franklin won five medals (four gold).
Has the back bothered her at all the last three months?
“It’s been a process,” Franklin answered. “I have made time to make sure I’m getting in and taking care of things.”
On Aug. 19, Franklin lined up for a backstroke start in training, like she had done hundreds of times, and felt such a knot in her back that she had to be helped out of the pool in Gold Coast, Australia.
She told her parents that day the pain felt like a “10 out of 10.” Franklin received acupuncture, massage and painkilling treatments. It subsided to a four out of 10 by her first race at the meet two days later, but was still constant.
She decided to compete. Franklin swam in 11 races over four days, including three relays.
“Honey, you really don’t have to do those relays,” her mother, D.A., told her.
“Yeah, I do, I’m going to do them,” Franklin responded.
Franklin couldn’t have reached her goals at the meet. She won a single bronze medal in four individual events, though her winning time in a consolation final of the 200m freestyle would have earned silver behind Katie Ledecky in the championship final.
“My career had been very much sunshine and rainbows every single meet,” Franklin said. “It was kind of only a matter of time before I had this moment where I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be. It’s been an unbelievable motivator. I’m very much ready to get back going upwards again.”
Franklin fortunately received an upgrade on her flight back from Australia to the U.S., giving her the option to lay down. She started her sophomore year at the University of California the day after landing in the States.
She also received an MRI and bone scan upon her return.
“It was nothing structural, nothing that was actually happening in my bones,” she said.
Franklin took on more classes this semester, 17 credits, after 13 in each of her semesters last year. The psychology major found a course called “drugs and the brain” particularly interesting, along with her first college math class (statistics), a language and society course (for her education minor) and Scandinavian literature.
Her workload in the pool changed, too. Franklin, known to volunteer for any event to help the team, swam up to 1,000-yard freestyle events last season. Now, Cal has a star freshman distance freestyler in Cierra Runge to handle that. Franklin is pleased to swim more backstrokes so far this year.
It’s her final season of college swimming. Franklin, whose biggest goal is to win an NCAA team title, will turn professional next spring but still train at Cal.
Nick Zaccardri | NBC Sports
The last edition if the Bank Windhoek Swimming Gala for this year will be held at the Olympia Swimming Pool in Windhoek this weekend. The gala gets underway on Election Day, 28 November at 15h00, featuring 102 swimmers with a total of 673 splashes.
Top swimmers, Zanrè Oberholzer, Toni Roth, Sonja Adelaar and Daniela Lindemeier will be participating in the upcoming World Short Course Championships in Doha, Qatar early next month and will thus not be available for this gala.
This leaves room for other upcoming juniors to take top honours in the offered events. Upcoming young swimmers such as Ricardo Richter, Jade Coury, Carissa Esslinger, Heleni Stergiadis, Corne Le Roux, Ronan Wantenaar, Ju-Ane Oberholzer and Rene Viljoen will participate in this weekend’s gala.
Swimmers are hoping to qualify for the Bank Windhoek Namibian Championships to be held in February next year and also qualify for the various level galas to be held in South Africa next year. Therefore, some excellent times and good competition amongst the swimmers is expected this weekend.
Swimmers Kiara Schatz, Nicolai Flemming and Zune Weber will be using this as a warm-up gala before they leave for the African Union Sport Region 5 gala in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, from December 9, 2014.
Website Swim Vortex has claimed that finals in the swimming event could start at 10pm in Brazil, which has raised concerns over possible minimal recovery time for the athletes.
“While we appreciate the importance of commercial considerations in the successful staging of an Olympics that should not impinge on the welfare of the athletes which must remain paramount,” said Swimming New Zealand chief executive Christian Renford.
“If the report is factual, a 10pm start time would mean some swimmers may not get back to the village until 1am or 2am which is completely unreasonable.
“We will certainly make our feelings known to FINA and hope good sense would prevail if this report is to be believed.”
The official schedules are yet to be finalised, but the Australian Olympic Committee have also expressed concern over the reports.
The World Anti-Doping Agency may appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after Chinese swimming star Sun Yang served a three-month doping ban in secret, a spokesman told AFP. The spokesman said WADA had not received full details of the case, while the World Anti-Doping Code said drugs violations must be made public within 20 days.
Chinese officials have denied covering up the suspension of the double Olympic champion, which took place between May and August but was only announced on Monday.
“WADA has not yet received the full decision regarding this case,” the spokesman said via email, in response to questions sent by AFP. “Once it is received, WADA will review the reasons for the decision and will subsequently decide whether or not to use its independent right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
Section 14.2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Code says violations must be publicly reported within 20 days and that decisions have to be sent to WADA in the same time-period.
Sun, the 1,500 metres world record-holder, received his suspension in July but it was backdated to May, when he tested positive at China’s national championships. Sun completed the unannounced ban on Aug17 and in September, he starred with three gold medals at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
The China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) said it had been too busy with other cases to announce Sun’s suspension, despite his high profile. “Sun is the most famous athlete in China and is known in the world, which means we need to handle his case very cautiously,” CHINADA deputy director said Zhao Jia told Xinhua news agency. “This is huge bad news but we will not cover it up.”
Chinese swimming was notorious for doping in the 1990s but cases have become less frequent in recent years, while China has risen to prominence as a swimming power.
Ning Zetao was banned for a year in 2011 for taking the performance-enhancer clenbuterol. In September, he set an Asian 100m freestyle record of 47.70sec at the Asian Games. Last year Li Zhesi, who was 14 when she anchored China to a 4x100m medley world record at the 2009 world championships, was banned for two years for taking the blood-booster EPO. And China’s top male backstroker Ouyang Kunpeng was banned for life by the Chinese Swimming Association over a positive drugs test in 2008, just before the Beijing Olympics.
China won just one swimming gold medal at the Beijing Games, while four years later Sun and a 16-year-old Ye Shiwen led them to a Chinese-record five wins at London 2012. Ye attracted speculation after she took five seconds off her personal best in the 400m individual medley, and swam the last 50m of the final quicker than men’s winner Ryan Lochte.
Sun, 22, told Xinhua he was “shocked and depressed” over his positive test for the banned stimulant trimetazidine, which he maintains was an accident. He told his doping hearing that he didn’t know the substance was banned, and that he took it as part of prescription medication for heart palpitations.
The Chinese Swimming Association on Tuesday defended Sun as an “outstanding athlete”, while acknowledging he had “made some detours and had some tumbles”.
Sun was briefly jailed last November for driving offences and barred from swimming for six months, and also last year he was suspended from commercial activities after a row with his coach over his relationship with an airline hostess.
The Olympic Council of Asia, which runs the Asian Games, told AFP it would not take any action over the doping case of Sun, who won gold in the 1,500m, 400m and 4x100m freestyle in Incheon.
The star of USA Swimming’s annual Golden Goggles banquet was a record-breaking prodigy from Maryland.
Katie Ledecky was on hand Monday night in Manhattan to accept her female athlete of the year award after again setting new standards in the sport. The male athlete of the year honoree was not in attendance: Michael Phelps is suspended for six months after his second DUI arrest.
Chuck Wielgus, the executive director of USA Swimming, offered a show of support for Phelps in announcing that the absent star had won, referring to him as the person who has ”done more for the sport of swimming than anyone else alive.”
Keenan Robinson, the director of athlete services at Phelps’ North Baltimore Aquatic Club, accepted the award on his behalf. He said Phelps is ”happily” back home and in the pool. Phelps had announced after the arrest that he was entering a six-week, in-patient program.
He’s banned from competing at next summer’s world championships, swimming’s biggest event before the 2016 Rio Olympics. Phelps carried the sport to new heights of popularity. Now other stars must try to captivate fans.
”We still have people like Katie Ledecky who are doing absolutely incredible things that have never been done before,” said four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin.
”We’re all supporting Michael and we’re so happy that he’s doing what Michael needs to be doing,” she added, ”and we’re all doing what we need to be doing. Hopefully we’ll continue to draw amazing attention to this sport.”
Like Phelps, the 17-year-old Ledecky is entering and winning a slate of events once not thought possible. She earned five gold medals at last summer’s Pan Pacific championships at freestyle distances ranging from 200 to 1,500 meters, setting world records on consecutive nights.
Ledecky could drop the 1,500 at next year’s worlds to save energy for a still-grueling schedule of the 200, 400, 800 and a relay. After all, the 1,500 isn’t an Olympic event, and she chose not to enter the 200 at the last worlds in 2013 when she swept the titles in the three longer distances.
But Ledecky was hearing none of it.
”I’ll be two years older, a little more experienced,” she contended.
She quickly added: ”I’m not saying I’m swimming them all.”
Ledecky won three awards, also earning female race of the year honors for her world record in the 1,500 at Pan Pacs in Australia. She was on the team that won the relay performance of the year for the 4×200 freestyle relay at the meet with Shannon Vreeland, Franklin and Leah Smith.
Bruce Gemmell won coach of the year after guiding Ledecky to those accomplishments.
Ledecky has committed to swim at Stanford but will decide in the next couple of months whether to defer enrollment a year as she plots the best training plan for Rio.
Gemmell wonders how Ledecky will handle the extra round of preliminaries for the 200 that the longer events don’t require. Then again, nothing seems to faze Ledecky, who won Olympic gold in the 800 in 2012 at age 15.
”There were maybe a couple challenges that I don’t want to say I thought she might back down from, because that would be not true, but that I wasn’t sure she was ready to take head on,” he said. ”She just took them head on.”
Fans attending the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) are in for a bonus treat. Not only will they get to see the world’s best swimmers at the Hamad Aquatic Centre between December 3 and 7, but they will also get to enjoy themselves at the FINA Market Street, an interactive fan zone.
This fan zone will be set up at the entrance of the Hamad Aquatic Centre here and will give fans an opportunity to
soak up the unique atmosphere of the World Swimming Championships.
Activities at the fan zone will include live performances by traditional and contemporary artists from the region, appearances by star swimmers and chances for fans to pose for selfies with the official mascot of the championships, Bahoor — the Arabian seahorse. Fans can also get henna tattoos, go on camel rides or have fun in Zorb balls.
Visitors will also be able to experience the flavours of Qatar at an Arabian-themed Chill Out and Food and Beverage Zone that will serve a variety of international and Arabic dishes and showcase traditional Arabic entertainment.
Speaking ahead of the opening of FINA Market Street, the President of the Qatar Swimming Association and Executive Director of Doha 2014, Khalil Al Jaber, said: “As well as hosting a world-class event and supporting the athletes that have trained hard all year to get to this point, one of the most important elements of any live sporting event is to create a unique experience for spectators. Through FINA Market Street, the community will have the chance to enjoy all of the action of the pool in a relaxed and fun environment with their friends and family, and create special memories thanks to the sport of swimming. With the support of fans, events like these wouldn’t be possible and we look forward to welcoming them all to Hamad Aquatic Centre.”
FINA Market Street will start daily at 9am and stay open till 45 minutes after the last race during the five days of the event.
In just one week, Doha will open its doors to 1,100 top athletes from 171 countries, including the likes of Olympic gold medallists Ryan Lochte, Chad Le Clos and Daniel Gyurta.
The team is made up of national swimmers Elisha Ekirikubinza, Arnold Kisulo, Jamila Lunkuse and will be coached by Abel Ddamulira, who is also the Uganda Swimming Federation Vice president technical.
Kisulo, will be swimming in 100 meters Backstroke, 100 meters butterfly, 100 meters Backstroke and 50 meters butterfly while Ekirikubinza will be swimming in the 50, 100 meters breastroke and 50 meter freestyle. Lunkuse will swim in the women’s 50 and 100 breastroke.
“FINA has supported the three elite swimmers who will be representing the nation at the championships,” Don Rukare, the Uganda Swimming Federation president who is also the leader of the delegation said yesterday at Aga Khan School. “The Qatar Swimming Association together with the Qatar Olympic Committee has developed the 1st FINA /Doha 2014 Youth Programme for the FINA World Swimming Championships under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, General Secretary – CEO of the Qatar Olympic Committee and have invited youth swimmers from all the FINA affialiated federations and associations.”
Uganda’s youth swimmers that will attend the Youth program include Jethro Sengonzi and Kimberly Hind, who will also be accompanied by coach Nana Nakiddu.
National coach Muzafaru Muwanguzi, will also be attending a FINA Swimming Coaches Golden Clinic for elite coaches from all the FINA affliated associations and federations and will be held from November 30 to December 1.
China’s national swimming federation on Tuesday rallied behind double Olympic champion Sun Yang, defending the “outstanding athlete” one day after it was revealed that he served a three-month doping ban earlier this year.
The 1500 metres world record-holder – who is also known for his brushes with authority – won three gold medals at the Asian Games in September after serving the previously unannounced ban.
In a statement posted on its website, the Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) acknowledged that the 22-year-old Sun had “made some detours and had some tumbles”.
But it maintained: “Sun Yang is an outstanding athlete who has trained himself to the utmost over a long period of time – even in cases of illness – all for the glory of the country, a feat that is praiseworthy and really not easy.”
“We also hope that friends from the media and all walks of society will continue to care for, support and help Sun Yang to grow,” it added.
CSA officials could not be reached for comment by AFP, and a press conference on Sun’s ban was abruptly cancelled, reports said.
The statement gave no further explanation for the long delay in revealing the ban.
On Monday, the deputy director of the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) told China’s official Xinhua news agency that it had been too busy with other tests to announce Sun’s case earlier.
Sun’s suspension was imposed in July but backdated to May 17, when he tested positive for trimetazidine at the Chinese national championships, the CSA said.
He was stripped of his 1500m national title and fined 5,000 yuan ($A865). The suspension ended on August 17, a month before the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
The CSA maintained on Tuesday that Sun had provided “clear and convincing evidence” that the trimetazidine was in a prescription drug he sometimes takes for heart palpitations.
It faulted the Zhejiang Swimming Association, in Sun’s home province, for not keeping the swimmer apprised of the latest World Anti-Doping Agency regulations.
“This incident shows that there are still loopholes in anti-doping work,” the CSA said, adding that it had found no “gross negligence” on Sun’s part.
The Olympic Council of Asia, which runs the Asian Games, has said it has no plans to strip Sun of his Asiad gold medals despite being unaware of the doping incident until Monday.
Chinese swimmers were notorious for doping in the 1990s.
Speculation arose again in 2012 after Ye Shiwen’s jaw-dropping women’s 400m individual medley win at the London Olympics, which included a final 50m that was faster than men’s race winner Ryan Lochte.