Rafael Nadal to Play Singles & Doubles at 2024 Paris Games

Rafael Nadais set to play at the 2024 Paris Games.

The 38-year-old Spanish professional tennis player has been named to the Spanish tennis team for the Paris Olympics, where he’ll also partner with French Open champion Carlos Alcaraz in doubles, the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation has announced.

Rafael NadalNadal, who has been limited the past two years by a number of injuries, has said the Olympic Games were his focus and that he could skip Wimbledon to prepare.

“My main goal now is to play Olympics,” Nadal said after losing in the first round at Roland Garros on May 27. “That’s going to be here. So I need to prepare myself the proper way to try to arrive here healthy and well prepared, and then let’s see.”

Nadal and Alcaraz will play in both singles and doubles at the Games.

The tennis competition will be held at Roland Garros, where Nadal is a 14-time Grand Slam champion and Alcaraz just won the French Open on Sunday.

“One pair, which I think everyone knows and was hoping for, is Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal and the second pair is yet to be decided. It hasn’t been 100% confirmed yet,” national team coach David Ferrer told reporters.

Alcaraz, who will be making his Olympic debut, has set winning an Olympic medal for Spain as one of his top career goals. He said after winning at Roland Garros that this year he would prefer a gold medal at the Paris Olympics over successfully defending his Wimbledon title.

“The Olympic Games are every four years and it’s a special tournament where you’re not only playing for yourself, but for a country, representing every Spaniard,” the No. 2-ranked Alcaraz said. “I think this year I’d choose Olympic gold.”

Nadal has a singles gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Games and a 2016 gold in doubles, when he played with Marc Lopez.

Spain also selected Pablo Carreno Busta, Alejandro Davidovich and Marcel Granollers (doubles) for the men’s competition. Captain Anabel Medina picked No. 55 Sara Sorribes Tormo and No. 67 Cristina Bucsa — the top-ranked Spanish players — for the women’s team, with Paula Badosa deciding not to compete as she has only two more events to play while using her protected ranking.

Diana Taurasi Expected to Compete in Historic Sixth Olympics at 2024 Paris Games

Diana Taurasi is headed to the 2024 Paris Games.

The United States is expected to take the 41-year-old Argentine American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury, a five-time Olympic champion, for a sixth Olympics.

Diana TaurasiTaurasi will break the record for most Olympics played in the sport of basketball.

Five players, including former Taurasi teammate Sue Bird, have competed in five.

Taurasi, who will turn 42 on Tuesday, will be joined by her Mercury teammate Brittney Griner.

This will be Griner’s first time playing internationally since she was detained in a Russian prison for 10 months in 2022. She said she’ll play abroad only with USA Basketball.

Joining the pair will be Olympic veterans Breanna StewartA’ja WilsonNapheesa CollierJewell Loyd and Chelsea Gray.

Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young, who helped the U.S. win the inaugural 3×3 gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games in 2021, will also be on the team.

First-time Olympians are Alyssa ThomasSabrina Ionescu and Kahleah Copper.

All three played on the American team that won the World Cup in Australia in 2022.

The U.S. women have won every gold medal in women’s basketball since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The U.S. team will get together to train for a few days in Phoenix in July. Then it’s off to London for an exhibition game against Germany before heading to France.

The Americans will play Japan, Belgium and Germany in pool play at the Olympics.

The U.S. team will be coached by longtime Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, who has extensive USA Basketball experience.

Reeve, like former Olympic coaches, was allowed to give feedback on team makeup but was not part of the group that picked players.

Aitana Bonmatí Helps Lead Spain to Inaugural Women’s Nations League Title

Aitana Bonmatí has helped Spain make soccer history again… 

The 26-year-old Spanish professional soccer star and Ballon d’Or winner scored to help Spain beat France 2-0 in the Women’s Nations League final on Wednesday, giving the world champions the inaugural Women’s Nations League title and another trophy.

Aitana Bonmatí, Spain, Women's Nations LeagueBonmati and Mariona Caldentey scored a goal each for Spain in front of 32,657 fans at La Cartuja Stadium in southern Spain. It was a record crowd for Spain’s women’s team in the country.

Spain also holds the men’s Nations League title, having beaten Croatia in the final in June.

“Really happy to win another trophy. What more can you ask for? It’s incredible what we have achieved,” Bonmatí said. “It seems easy, that winning is an obligation for us, but it’s not easy at all.

“We have so much ambition and, despite some rough patches, here we are lifting another trophy. We deserved the win. The first half was quite good, albeit with some lapses. I think we controlled France quite well in the second half. This team has no ceiling. We keep demonstrating that. We have won the Nations League and now we want to win the Olympics.”

Spain had its breakthrough tournament at the World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, winning the title in their third appearance.

“We always want more. Now is the moment for all the staff and players to savour and enjoy,” Spain coach Montse Tomé said. “You’ve seen on the pitch against a great opponent how we managed to limit them to very few chances and control the game. Our play has been evolving. We have a great group of players.”

The celebrations were marred by one of the country’s worst crises, though, as the then-president of the Spanish soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony to spark an outrage in soccer and Spanish society in general. Rubiales eventually resigned, and prosecutors later accused him of sexual assault.

“Today we get to celebrate again. We deserve it,” Hermoso said. “We try to enjoy ourselves but we also have the responsibility that there are so many people behind us who want to follow in our footsteps. We are so proud that there are so many girls who want to be champions in the future.”

Tomé took over the team in September after World Cup-winning coach Jorge Vilda was fired amid the fallout from Rubiales’ behavior.

But Spain haven’t lost momentum since becoming world champions. They defeated the Netherlands 3-0 in last week’s semifinal, a result that also secured the team a place in the 2024 Paris Games.

The final was Spain’s first victory over France, who had already qualified for the Olympics as the host country.

“They’ll be the team to beat at the Olympics, it won’t be easy,” France coach Hervé Renard said. “We are going to have to keep improving, learn lessons and keep moving forward. Let’s say we have taken one step but we haven’t taken the second. There’s still a lot of work to do.”

Jenni Hermoso & Aitana Bonmatí Help Spain’s Women’s Soccer Team Qualify for First Olympic Games

Jenni Hermoso and Aitana Bonmatí have helped Spain make Olympic history…

The Spanish tennis stars helped Spain beat the Netherlands 3-0 in the UEFA Women’s Nations League semifinals on Friday, a victory that secured the world champions a spot in the Paris Olympics.

Jenni Hermoso & Aitana BonmatíHermoso opened the scoring with a nice solo effort in the 41st minute before Ballon d’Or holder Bonmatí doubled the lead in the 45th. Left back Ona Batlle added the third in the 77th to complete the dominant performance by the hosts.

Spain will face France in the first Women’s Nations League final in the same La Cartuja Stadium on Wednesday. France beat Germany 2-1 in Friday’s other semifinal.

Qualifying for Spain’s first Olympic Games is the first important success for the team since Montse Tomé took over in September following the scandal that erupted when former Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales kissed Hermoso without her consent at the World Cup final.

“[I and my staff] took charge in a difficult moment that nobody wanted and we took a step forward,” Tomé said. “We are proud of the work we have done. This team deserves to play an Olympic Games after all the prior generations who fought for it and came up short.”

Spain started strong in front of their fans in southern Seville.

Striker Salma Paralluelo, who scored the winner to help Spain beat the Dutch in last year’s Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, missed twice from close-range before she was stopped by goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar in a one-on-one opportunity early on.

More shots came from Olga Carmona and Irene Paredes, while the Netherlands could threaten only through Lineth Beerensteyn‘s powerful shot saved by Cata Coll.

The Dutch resistance finally faltered when Hermoso used two slick changes of feet to avoid three defenders and beat Van Domselaar for the opener.

Bonmatí added a quick second blow when she raced forward to volley home a cross from Barcelona clubmate Mariona Caldentey.

The Netherlands improved after half-time, but Battle caught the visitors off guard when she finished off an attack that started with her own cross.

Spain coach Tomé gave a debut to 17-year-old Vicky López in the second half.

A moment of silence was held before kickoff in memory of the victims of a deadly fire in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia.

Diana Taurasi Named to U.S. National Team for Upcoming Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Diana Taurasi is getting back in the international game…

The 41-year-old Argentine American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury, a five-time Olympic champion considered one of the greatest players in WNBA history, has been selected as part of the U.S. national team that will play in a pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Belgium this week.

Diana TaurasiTaurasi is one of seven former Olympians on the roster.

She’s joined by Ariel AtkinsNapheesa CollierJewell LoydKelsey PlumBreanna Stewart and Jackie Young.

Additionally, 2022 World Cup champions Kahleah CopperSabrina Ionescu and Alyssa Thomas will be part of the team.

Aliyah Boston and Rhyne Howard round out the squad. Both players will be making their debuts with the senior national team.

Former Olympians A’ja Wilson, Brittney Griner and Chelsea Gray are unavailable to play in Belgium this week.

The U.S., which has already qualified for the Olympics thanks to a gold-medal finish at the 2022 World Cup, will open play against host Belgium on Thursday. More than 14,000 tickets have been sold for that game, and coach Cheryl Reeve expects a loud crowd that will be rooting for the home team.

“We’re expecting to go over there and be in a really tough environment,” the U.S. coach said on Sunday at the end of a three-day training camp in New York. “There’ll be 14,000 people rooting against us. It’s obviously a really good team as we open it, open the tournament. I’m hoping to experience that adversity in a way that helps prepare us for the next step.”

Reeve also feels potential adversity will help the team get ready for the Paris Olympics, where the U.S. will be trying for an eighth consecutive gold medal.

“It’ll be illuminating as far as maybe what we need to do as a coaching staff. How we can better utilize players,” she said. “Those challenges are what we are looking forward to.”

The Americans will also face Nigeria and Senegal. The top two teams other than the Americans will qualify for the Paris Games.

There are three other qualifying tournaments in Brazil, China and Hungary being played at the same time to help round out the 12-team Olympics field. France also has already qualified as the host nation.

The Americans will have another training camp at the Final Four in Cleveland in April before getting together right before the Olympics in Phoenix for a few days.

is getting back in the international game…

The 41-year-old Argentine American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury, a five-time Olympic champion considered one of the greatest players in WNBA history, has been selected as part of the U.S. national team that will play in a pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Belgium this week.

Taurasi is one of seven former Olympians on the roster.

She’s joined by Ariel AtkinsNapheesa CollierJewell LoydKelsey PlumBreanna Stewart and Jackie Young.

Additionally, 2022 World Cup champions Kahleah CopperSabrina Ionescu and Alyssa Thomas will be part of the team.

Aliyah Boston and Rhyne Howard round out the squad. Both players will be making their debuts with the senior national team.

Former Olympians A’ja Wilson, Brittney Griner and Chelsea Gray are unavailable to play in Belgium this week.

The U.S., which has already qualified for the Olympics thanks to a gold-medal finish at the 2022 World Cup, will open play against host Belgium on Thursday. More than 14,000 tickets have been sold for that game, and coach Cheryl Reeve expects a loud crowd that will be rooting for the home team.

“We’re expecting to go over there and be in a really tough environment,” the U.S. coach said on Sunday at the end of a three-day training camp in New York. “There’ll be 14,000 people rooting against us. It’s obviously a really good team as we open it, open the tournament. I’m hoping to experience that adversity in a way that helps prepare us for the next step.”

Reeve also feels potential adversity will help the team get ready for the Paris Olympics, where the U.S. will be trying for an eighth consecutive gold medal.

“It’ll be illuminating as far as maybe what we need to do as a coaching staff. How we can better utilize players,” she said. “Those challenges are what we are looking forward to.”

The Americans will also face Nigeria and Senegal. The top two teams other than the Americans will qualify for the Paris Games.

There are three other qualifying tournaments in Brazil, China and Hungary being played at the same time to help round out the 12-team Olympics field. France also has already qualified as the host nation.

The Americans will have another training camp at the Final Four in Cleveland in April before getting together right before the Olympics in Phoenix for a few days.

South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso to Miss Upcoming Games to Join Brazilian National Team for Olympics Qualifying Event

Kamilla Cardoso will be missing several South Carolina Gamecocks games… for good reason.

The 22-year-old Brazilian college basketball player, the top scorer and rebounder for NCAA Women’s Basketball’s South Carolina is leaving the team to join the Brazilian national team for its Olympic qualifying event this week.

Kamilla CardosoShe’ll miss the Gamecocks’ next two games at home, against Missouri on Thursday night and No. 11 UConn on February 11.

“We want the best players on our team,” Staley said. “But sometimes the best players are the best players that represent another country. When we recruited her, we said if there’s an opportunity to go with your national team, go with your national team.”

Brazil is hosting one of the four-team tournaments that serve as Olympic qualifiers. The Brazilians have a tough pool with Germany, Serbia and Australia in the group. The top three teams qualify for the 2024 Paris Games this summer.

“It only makes us feel good,” said Staley, who was the U.S. Olympic coach for the 2020 Tokyo Games in 2021.

Cardoso, at 6-foot-7, has been the best player on the Gamecocks and a top candidate for Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, averaging 13.7 points and 10 rebounds this season.

Her value was apparent in an 85-56 win over Ole Miss on Sunday. Cardoso picked up two quick fouls and had to sit much of the first two quarters as the Rebels got within 32-31 right before halftime.

When Cardoso returned to the court, she fueled a 16-2 run as South Carolina (21-0, 9-0 SEC) took control.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said Cardoso will be missed. But her time on the bench in the first half gave South Carolina forwards like Ashlyn WatkinsChloe Kitts and Sania Feagin more necessary minutes as they prepare to make up for Cardoso’s points, rebounds and blocks.

“No one has a rim protector like her,” Mississippi coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said.

South Carolina will find that out for itself over the next two games.

Mexico’s Osmar Olvera Ibarra Wins Men’s 1-Meter Springboard Gold at World Aquatics Championships

It’s the golden hour for Osmar Olvera Ibarra.

The 19-year-old Mexican diver has given his country its second diving gold medal in the history of the World Aquatics Championships, winning the men’s 1-meter springboard Saturday.

Osmar Olvera IbarraOlvera became the first diver from a country other than China to claim the top spot in the event since Alexandre Despatie of Canada in 2005.

Paolo Espinosa is the only other Mexican diving world champion, capturing gold on the 10-meter platform at Rome in 2009.

Olvera was a silver medalist on both 1- and 3-meter springboard at last summer’s world championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Now, he’s got some gold-medal momentum with the 2024 Paris Games just five months away.

Osmar Olvera IbarraOlvera led the morning preliminaries and cruised through the final, posting a score of 431.75 points over six dives. The silver went to Li Shixin of Australia at 395.70, while Ross Haslam of Britain took the bronze in 393.10.

China, which has dominated diving at both the Olympics and world championships, claimed its first gold in Doha when 13-year-old Huang Jianjie and Zhang Jiaqi won the mixed 10-meter synchronized platform.

With its focus firmly on Paris, China sent a scaled-back team to Doha, giving other nations a chance to shine. The diving superpower didn’t enter the first two events Friday and is assured of its fewest gold medals at worlds since settling for eight in 2017.

Over the past three championships, China has claimed 37 of 39 gold medals.

Zheng Jiuyuan of China lost any chance of cracking the 1-meter medal stand with a botched dive in the fifth round, nearly landing on his knees. He finished 11th out of 12 finalists.

Li’s silver-medal performance marked another remarkable turn for the 35-year-old diver, who captured 1-meter gold for his native China at both the 2011 and 2013 worlds before moving to Australia.

In the mixed event, Huang and 19-year-old Zhang romped to victory for China with 353.82 points. Zhang added to the gold won at Fukuoka while paired with Wang Feilong.

Jo Jin Mi and Im Yong Myong of North Korea took the silver with 303.96 points, while the bronze went to Kevin Berlin Reyes and Alejandra Estudillo Torres of Mexico at 296.13.

In other finals on Day 2 of the first world championships held in the Middle East, Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands pulled off a thrilling victory in the women’s 10-kilometer race and Evangelia Platanioti of Greece took artistic swimming gold in women’s solo technical.

Van Rouwendaal touched first in 1 hour, 57 minutes, 26.80 seconds — one-tenth of a second ahead of Maria de Valdes of Spain. The bronze went to Angelica Andre of Portugal, who was 1.4 seconds behind the winner.

On the last of six laps around the Old Doha Port, Moesha Johnson of Australia faded from the lead to fourth as van Rouwendaal showed off her finishing kick in the final 500 meters of the rough-and-tumble race.

The 30-year-old van Rouwendaal regained the title she held at the 2022 world championships in Budapest, Hungary. She finished fourth last summer in Fukuoka, where Leonie Beck of Germany swept the 5K and 10K titles. Beck finished 20th at Doha, 45 seconds behind the winner.

Van Rouwendaal is a longtime star on the open water circuit. She won gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and grabbed a silver at the Tokyo Games three years ago.

The 29-year-old Platanioti paced the final of solo technical with 272.9633 points. Jacqueline Simoneau of Canada claimed the silver (269.2767), and Xu Huiyan of China took bronze (262.3700).

Many top athletes are skipping Doha, which is hosting the worlds a year behind schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time the world championships have been held in the same calendar year as the Summer Games.

Mariana Pajón Among 32 Athletes Running for IOC Athletes’ Commission Elections in Paris

Mariana Pajón is hoping to represent her fellow athletes…

The 32-year-old Colombian cyclist, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and BMX World Champion, is a candidate in elections at the 2024 Paris Games to represent their fellow athletes at the IOC.Mariana PajónThe International Olympic Committee announced the list of 32 candidates this week for elections to be held during the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris from July 26-August 11, when about 10,500 athletes are eligible to vote.

After being the flag-bearer for Colombia during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Games, Pajón’s first participation in the BMX event resulted in the first gold medal for Colombia during the 2012 games and the second overall in Colombia’s participation in the Olympics.

In the 2016 Rio Games Pajón defended her title and won her second Olympic gold medal and fifth overall for Colombia. With this victory, Pajón became the first Colombian athlete to win two gold medals.

In the 2020 Tokyo Games, Pajón won silver.

But Pajon isn’t the only Latinx athlete in the running…

Kahena Kunze, a 32-year-old Brazilian Olympic sailor, is also a candidate. Together with Martine Grael she won the 49er FX class at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships and a gold medal in the inaugural 49er FX race, during the 2016 Rio Games, a feat both repeated at 2020 Tokyo Games.

Other Latinx candidates include Salvadoran sailor Enrique Arathoon, who competed at the 2016 Rio Games and 2020 Tokyo Games; Mexican pentathlon athlete Emiliano Hernandez Uscanga; Puerto Rican judoka Melissa Mojica Rosario, who competed at the 2012 London Games, 2016 Rio Games and 2020 Tokyo Games; and Argentine judoka Paula Belén Pareto, who won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games.

Four positions are up for election.

Jennifer Lozano Qualifies for 2024 Paris Games by Reaching Women’s 50 Kilogram Final at Pan American Games

Jennifer Lozano is headed to the City of Lights…

The 20-year-old Mexican American boxer, a native of Laredo, Texas, has qualified next year’s 2024 Paris Games by reaching the final of the women’s 50 kilogram weight class at the Pan American Games.

Jennifer LozanoLozano was dominant in the semifinal against Canada’s Mckenzie Wright, winning 5-0.

She will face Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira, a silver medalist in Tokyo, for the gold medal.

With the semifinal win, Lozano has given the city of Laredo its first Olympian.

Laredo has about 230,000 residents and sits on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Lozano said in a recent interview that her city, a mix of poor and better off, is “very small, very closed-minded,” and she wanted to overcome its machismo to thrive in sport.

Next year, both sides of the city will be pulling for the boxer nicknamed “La Traviesa.” It will be a different scene compared with a few years ago, when she was bullied for being overweight and a Spanish speaker.

Boxing changed it all for the hardcore fan of legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. Her other hero is her late grandmother, the main inspiration for her to compete.

“We are going to Paris, baby. La Traviesa es de Laredo, Texas. We are ready for all of the world, we are going to the Olympics,” a tearful Lozano said in a mixture of English and Spanish. “Being the first Olympian from Laredo means a lot to me.”

She celebrated her Olympic berth with family members who traveled to Santiago to watch her compete.

“I am very proud to be Mexican-American,” she said.

Laredo could get a second Olympian in Paris. Boxer Emilio Garcia, who could not secure his spot at the Pan American Games, will have two more events to try to qualify for next year in the 63.5 kilograms category.

Diana Taurasi Headlining USA Basketball’s Upcoming Exhibitions Against College Teams

Diana Taurasi is ready to play ‘ball…

The 41-year-old Argentine American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury, considered to be one of the greatest players in WNBA history, and Brittney Griner will headline USA Basketball’s roster for its upcoming exhibitions against college teams as well as November training camp.

Diana TaurasiUSA Basketball is eyeing its eighth consecutive gold medal at the 2024 Paris Games next summer.

The exhibitions — against Tennessee on November 5 (SEC Network/ESPN App, 6:00 pm ET) and Duke on November 12 (ACC Network Extra/ESPN App, noon ET) — and training camp (November 7-9) are held in preparation for the Games and to evaluate the program’s player pool.

The U.S. will also participate in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February before holding another training camp at the Final Four. The team is coached by the Minnesota Lynx‘s Cheryl Reeve, with Mike Thibault and Curt Miller serving as assistants.

Griner and Taurasi, who turned 41 in June and is a five-time Olympic gold medalist, will join Kahleah CopperAllisha GrayRhyne HowardSabrina Ionescu and Azura Stevens on the roster for both college exhibitions.

It will be the first USA Basketball competition for Griner, a two-time Olympian, since her nearly nine-month detainment in Russia last year.

WNBA Rookie of the Year Aliyah BostonAriel AtkinsBetnijah Laney and Jackie Young will suit up in the exhibition vs. Tennessee, while Dearica HambyNatasha Howard, Arike Ogunbowale and Kelsey Plum are on the roster in place of those four for the Duke matchup.

Young and Plum recently won the 2023 WNBA title with the Las Vegas Aces.

Two-time Olympian Angel McCoughtry will join the group at training camp in Atlanta.