This year’s London Diamond League meet, taking place at Olympic Stadium and featuring world record sprinter Usain Bolt and British gold medalists Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis, sold out 75 minutes after going on sale Friday morning, organizers said.
The two-day event, July 26-27, is being billed as the “Anniversary Games” and will take place exactly one year after the London Olympics Opening Ceremony last summer. The stadium holds somewhere between 50-60,000 people, but tickets were only available to those who had pre-registered.
Other Olympic stars headlining the London event include gold medalists Greg Rutherford of Great Britain, Sally Pearson of Australia, Carmelita Jeter of the U.S., and Kirani James of Grenada.
Save for the Olympics, Bolt hasn’t run in London since 2009 because of tax laws that would have forced him to give up portions of his prize money and endorsements. But Bolt and the other “non-resident athletes” have been given an exemption to lure them to London for the event. Apparently it worked.
South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been cleared by the courts to race at international events, but won’t be welcome in London because organizers are concerned about the media circus he’ll bring and believe his appearance would overshadow the rest of the event.
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.
MORE: Usain Bolt says he received offers to play wide receiver in the NFL (video)
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