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VIDEO: Ben Johnson runs first race in two decades

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Disgraced 1988 Olympic 100m champ Ben Johnson ran in his first “competitive” race in about two decades on Tuesday, as he took part in a celebrity 4x100m relay at the Toronto International Track and Field Games. So how did he feel after anchoring his team to victory in two heats?

“Exhausted,” Johnson admitted to the National Post after running only 100 meters. “I’m in good shape, but my cardio is really bad. My breathing, you know? It’s bad. But my running style is OK.”

The Jamaican-born Canadian sprinter said he got the call about two weeks ago, and added that if he had been given more time he would have spent a couple of months training. For a 100-meters race. Against out-of-shape journalists who already weren’t within shouting distance when he crossed the line.

Johnson, 51, the subject of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary *9.79 about the infamous 1988 Olympics 100m final that he won before his medal was stripped for doping, then hung out to take pictures with fans, some of whom weren’t alive when Johnson was on the top of the track world a quarter-century ago.

“I got lots of fans, you know?” Johnson said after hearing his hometown crowd roar as he ran down the track. “It’s just a few people in track and field that don’t like me. I’ve got great fans all over the world.”

That’s probably news to Carl Lewis, who lost to Johnson in the ’88 race before being bumped up to the gold medal when the doping results came in. And I can only assume the always bitter Lewis is hard at work preparing for the ultimate rematch at next year’s celebrity race. God willing.

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Ida Keeling, 100 years old, sets world record at Penn Relays (video)

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Ida Keeling electrified the Penn Relays crowd with her 100-meter dash in 1 minute, 17.33 seconds on Saturday afternoon.

Keeling set a world record for fastest 100m by a woman 100 years and older. There is no data on USA Track and Field and masters athletics websites for a previous record holder.

“I’ll be 101 in a couple of weeks,” Keeling pointed out to NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno after the race, a mixed-gender event for athletes 80 and older. “I’ve never seen nothing like this crowd. Maybe that’s what the excitement was.”

Keeling’s advice?

“Love yourself, do what you have to do and what you want to do,” she said. “Eat for nutrition, not for taste. And exercise at least once a day.”

More on Keeling is here.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics

U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

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