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Five For Friday: June 27, 2014

By Paul D. Bowker | June 26, 2014, 12:01 p.m. (ET)
Gwen Jorgensen celebrates on the podium after her victory in the Elite Women's PruHealth World Triathlon Grand Final London at Hyde Park as part of the ITU World Championships Series on May 31, 2014 in London.

The world’s best athletes in triathlon will be in Chicago this weekend while the top U.S. track and field athletes will assemble in Sacramento, California, for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. In addition, the USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle & Pistol will be held in Fort Benning, Georgia. If tennis is your thing, there’s none bigger than Wimbledon, where U.S. Olympic gold medalists Serena and Venus Williams, and Mike and Bob Bryan are chasing Grand Slam titles.

As we ready for the weekend, here’s a look at five events to follow:

1) Triathlon

Gwen Jorgensen, a 2012 Olympian who is the No. 1-ranked women’s triathlete in the world, is hoping to add another win to her résumé Saturday in Chicago.

Jorgensen and four-time Olympian Hunter Kemper headline an elite field of about 130 triathletes in the ITU World Triathlon Chicago. The two-day event is the only ITU World Triathlon Series stop this year in the United States.

Jorgensen won her fifth career World Triathlon Series race in May at the 2012 Olympic venue in London, tying for the most wins in the series since it was launched in 2009. She became the first American woman to win a World Triathlon Series race in 2013 when she won in San Diego.

She will be joined by eight other U.S. women in the elite race Saturday: Kaitlin Donner, Lindsey Jerdonek, Erin Jones, Chelsea Burns, Brianna Blanchard, Erin Dolan, Taylor Spivey and Nicole Truxes.

The elite men’s race Sunday will include Kemper, Ben Kanute, Lukas Verzbicas, Reeven Nathan, Joe Maloy, Jason Pedersen, Jarrod Shoemaker, Kaleb Van Ort, William Huffman and Alex Libin. Athletes in both elite races are chasing after Olympic qualification points for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.

The races consist of a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike race and 10-kilometer run with the finish coming at Chicago Grant Park’s famed Buckingham Fountain.

An elite paratriathlon event will kick off the competition Saturday. Seven U.S. athletes won titles at the PATCO Paratriathlon Pan American Championships four weeks ago in Dallas. Among those to watch in Chicago are Aaron Scheidies and Hailey Danisewicz. The event is one of four races in the 2014 Can-Am Paratriathlon Race Series.

TV: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday, Universal Sports

2) Track & Field

Olympic champions Allyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross, Jenn Suhr and LaShawn Merritt are among a star-studded field assembled for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Sacramento, California.

The event is the final stop of the USATF Championship Series. Competition began Wednesday with the shot put events and the USATF Junior Outdoor Combined Events, and continues through Sunday at Sacramento State University’s Hornet Stadium.

Events will include the men’s and women’s 100-meter finals Friday, men’s 400- and women’s 100-meter hurdles Saturday, and men’s and women’s 800-meter and 400-meter hurdles finals Sunday. Field events will take place every day.

Felix is expected to race in the 100 and will face tough competition from Tori Bowie in that event. Richards-Ross, recovering from toe injuries, is the reigning Olympic champion in the 400. The 100 hurdles should make for an interesting event with Brianna Rollins, Dawn Harper, Queen Harrison, Kellie Wells and Lolo Jones, fresh off her bobsledding competition in Sochi, in the field.

Olympic silver medalist Trey Hardee is a medal contender in the decathlon and two-time national champion Sharon Day-Monroe is in the heptathlon. American record-holder Michelle Carter and Joe Kovacs won shot put titles Wednesday in front of the California state capitol building in downtown Sacramento.

TV: 10 p.m.-midnight ET Friday, NBC Sports Network; 4-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, NBC; 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Universal Sports.

Webcast: 2:45 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday; midnight-12:40 a.m. and 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, usa.tv.

3) Tennis

As Wimbledon moves toward the end of its first week, sisters Serena and Venus Williams are off to impressive starts. A 7-6, 6-1 victory over Japan’s Kurumi Nara on Wednesday advanced Venus, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, into a third-round matchup with 2011 champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. Serena Williams, a four-time Olympic gold medalist who is the top seed in the women’s field, is seeking her 18th Grand Slam title. It took her just 49 minutes to beat South Africa’s Chanelle Scheepers and advance to the third round. Next up for Williams is France’s Alizé Cornet.

Other Americans in the women’s tournament include Alison Riske, Victoria Duval and Madison Keys.

U.S. players in the men’s field include ninth-seeded John Isner, Jack Sock, Denis Kudla and Sam Querrey. Reigning Olympic gold medalists Bob and Mike Bryan are seeded No. 1 in men’s doubles.

TV: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Friday and 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN

4) Volleyball

It’s on to Russia for the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team, which has won seven of its first eight matches in World League play. The United States, which has already defeated Russia twice on U.S. soil, will face Russia Friday and Saturday in Kaliningrad, Russia.

The only loss for the U.S. squad was in five games to Bulgaria last weekend in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. After this weekend’s matches, the U.S. team will close out World League play next week in Serbia. The World League Final is set for July 16-20 in Florence, Italy.

Outside hitter Taylor Sander had a game-high 18 points on 13 spikes, four blocks and an ace against Bulgaria.

5) Shooting

Five-time Olympian Emil Milev and two-time Olympian Keith Sanderson punched their tickets for the 2014 ISSF World Championships with medal finishes this week at the USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle & Pistol in Fort Benning, Georgia. The competition, which determines roster spots on the world team for non-Olympic events and top juniors, continues through Sunday at the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.

Sanderson won the gold medal in standard pistol and Milev earned the bronze medal. Greg Markowski was silver medalist.

The world championships will be held in September in Spain. Olympic-event shooters were determined at a selection event held in May.

Ten Paralympic athletes are using the competition as a final preparation for the 2014 International Paralympic Committee Shooting World Championships in July. Competing are: Jazmin Almlie, Nick Beach Josh Budd, McKenna Dahl, Tammy Delano, Eric Hollen, John Joss, Kerry Morris, Mike Tagliapietra, and Shaun Tichenor.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org

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