British swimmer Rebecca Adlington joined swimming’s list of retirees on Tuesday when she announced her decision to stop swimming at the competitive level.
The 23-year-old said distance swimming is in the hands of the younger generation now. She’s right about that: 15-year-old American Katie Ledecky won the 800m freestyle at last summer’s London Olympics, while Adlington finished third.
Adlington also earned a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle. She won both events at the Beijing Games.
“I have achieved everything I wanted to,” said Adlington, who many British fans simply call ‘Becky.’ “Some people want to milk it all they can. I’ve always said I wanted to finish on a high, despite my love of the sport.
“I did feel old at 23, female distance swimming is going a lot younger as was evident in London,” she added. “I can’t compete with that and can’t do the same level of work. I need a lot more rest and recovery. I think it was the perfect time.”
Adlington, who took time after the London Olympics to ride a bicycle across the African nation Zambia for charity, wants to help grow the sport of swimming in Great Britain.
“My vision is that every child in Britain will be able to swim 25 meters by the time they leave primary school,” she said. “Being able to swim is such a wonderful life skill, and I see this as my greatest challenge in swimming.”
Adlington’s retirement news reached the U.S., where Michael Phelps – who is probably still celebrating the Baltimore Ravens’ victory in the Super Bowl – weighed in: “Our paths have crossed many times over the years … Her accomplishments speak for themselves, she has been a great representative for British Swimming and the sport overall. I congratulate her on a fantastic career and wish her all the best in the future.”
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the American sprinters whose raised-fist salutes at the 1968 Olympics are an ageless sign of race-inspired protest, will join the U.S. Olympic team at the White House next week for its meeting with President Barack Obama.
Smith and Carlos were sent home from the Olympics after raising their black-gloved fists in a symbolic protest during the U.S. national anthem. They called it a “human rights salute.”
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun asked them to serve as ambassadors as the federation tries to bring more diversity to its own ranks. They will join the team at the White House next Wednesday, then later that evening at an awards celebration in Washington.
The sprinters have been referenced frequently in the recent protests, spurred by Colin Kaepernick, during national anthems at NFL games. One player, Marcus Peters of the Chiefs, raised his own black-gloved fist before Kansas City’s season opener.
“I think Tommie and John have played an important and positive role in the evolution of our attitudes about diversity and inclusion, not only in the United States but around the world,” Blackmun said Friday night at a dinner to celebrate the U.S. performance in Brazil this summer.
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The men’s marathon world record has been broken five of the last nine years at the Berlin Marathon.
Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, who broke the world record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, believes that he can do it again on Sunday, when the race will stream live on the NBC Sports app beginning at 2:30 a.m. ET.
“I’ve trained well and, three years down the line from my world record here, I feel good and believe I have the potential to attempt the world record once more,” he said at today’s press conference, according to the IAAF. “Running at the top level, there is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially when you are running for a time, but I am very focused on the world record.”
Kipsang clocked 2 hours, 3 minutes, 23 seconds when he broke the world record in 2013. A year later, fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto lowered it to 2:02:57 on the same course. Kimetto will not race in Berlin this year.
Kipsang will be challenged by Kenyan compatriot Emmanuel Mutai, who has the fastest time (2:03:13) in the field, and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.
Bekele is a three-time Olympic track champion and the 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder, but acknowledged that his marathon personal best of 2:05:04 places him a distant fourth in the field.
“I consider my personal best of 2:05 to be slow compared to the best runners,” he said. “I want to run as fast as I can on Sunday and beat my best.”
MORE: Berlin Marathon to live stream on NBC Sports app