Usain Bolt

Video: Usain Bolt anchors relay win; Diamond League recap

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Usain Bolt wrapped up the London Anniversary Games with a no-doubt-about-it anchor leg on the 4×100-meter relay at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Bolt and his Racers Track Club won the event in 37.75 seconds, easily beating France (38.45). The 4×100 world record set by Bolt and Jamaica at the 2012 Olympics is 36.84. This was Bolt’s first appearance at the Olympic Stadium since his triple gold performance at the 2012 Games.

An All-Star team of Americans Mike RodgersWallace SpearmonTony McQuay and St. Kitts and Nevis’ Kim Collins could have given Bolt’s Racers quartet problems, but they botched the last handoff from Collins to McQuay.

Bolt was the star attraction, even in a team event. His teammates — Mario ForsytheKemar Bailey-Cole and Warren Weir — all wore yellow jerseys. Bolt was in a blue and red Puma uniform.

He took the orange baton from Weir for the final straight and breezed to win, keeping his eye on the clock the whole time. Mo Farah could be seen in the background watching Bolt cross the finish.

“I wanted to run a fast time to see where we’re at,” Bolt told the BBC, adding this foursome will pretty much be the Jamaican relay team in Moscow (though Forsythe didn’t make the Jamaican team in an individual event).

Bolt now goes into worlds with the fastest time in the world in the 100 (if you take out Tyson Gay) and the 200. His Jamaican team in the 4×100, even without the injured Yohan Blake, will fight with the U.S., without Gay, for gold as well.

“It wasn’t perfect early in the season, but it’s coming together at the right time,” Bolt said.

Complete results

Women’s 100 meters: It was a strange afternoon in what was the deepest sprint field of the second day of the meet.

Reigning world champion Carmelita Jeter withdrew from the final with a quad injury, according to Flotrack, after running a season’s best 10.93 in her heat.

Jeter missed the U.S. championships in June due to a quad injury. With worlds just two weeks away, this is a situation to monitor.

Two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce put up a very smooth world-leading 10.77 in her heat. But Fraser-Pryce was never a factor in the final, running a 10.94 for fourth place.

The winner of the final was Nigerian Blessing Okagbare, who broke Glory Alozie‘s 14-year-old African record in her heat (10.86) and again in the final (10.79).

Okagbare is also ranked fourth in the world this year in both the 200 and the long jump.

The fastest American on Saturday was a woman who didn’t make the world championships team — Barbara Pierre. Pierre matched her personal-best 10.85 in the final, the same time English Gardner clocked to win nationals in June.

Gardner, meanwhile, finished seventh and last in the final in 11.08 after going 11.10 in her heat. She’s yet to run sub-11 outside the U.S. this year and, at this point, can’t be considered a medal favorite in Moscow.

Women’s 100-meter hurdles: Olympic champion Sally Pearson notched a season’s best 12.65, while Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis came in fourth in 13.08. Both are coming off injuries.

Pearson, returning from two hamstring tears, crossed the finish line, bent down to the track, grinned and gave a thumbs-up.

That shows how tough the last few months have been, given the season’s best was merely .02 under her time in Ostrava, Czech Republic, last month and well slower than her personal best of 12.28.

“It still wasn’t perfect,” Pearson told the BBC. “Not 100 percent, but i’m happy with it. … Jess, I was nervous of her in the warm-up. You don’t know what she’s going to do. She’s a freak.”

Pearson is still nearly four tenths behind world leader and U.S. and NCAA champion Brianna Rollins, who skipped a potential race against Pearson in Monaco earlier this month.

Ennis, still not a definite for worlds due to an Achilles injury, was well off her personal best of 12.54 set at the Olympics and disappointed with her time Saturday.

“This was very nerve-racking,” said Ennis, who received a rousing ovation in introductions from the packed Olympic Stadium. “Having this injury, not been able to prepare as best as I could have.”

Ennis, who later placed last in the long jump, said she would talk with coach Toni Minichiello about her next move before worlds. Minichiello said on the BBC that Ennis needs at least one more race before heading to Moscow to potentially enter the heptathlon.

“We’ll take another two, three days after this to take a look how the injury reacts,” Minichiello said.

Women’s 200 meters: Olympic champion Allyson Felix had to work to cross the finish first in 22.41, edging fellow American Shalonda Solomon (22.50) in a shallow field.

“Final preparations,” said Felix, who ran her last race before worlds, which begin Aug. 10. “Last year was a long year. I’m taking it slow this year. A little more work to do.”

Felix, who won world bronze in 2011, is ranked seventh in the world this year at 22.36. The world leaders are Fraser-Pryce (22.13) and Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast (22.24), both of whom chose to only run the 100 at the Anniversary Games.

Felix was beaten at the U.S. championships by Kimberlyn Duncan (22.35), who was also not in the field Saturday.

Men’s 3,000 meters: Mo Farah is now three for three on Saturdays at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Farah, who won Olympic gold at the same track on the second and third Saturdays of the 2012 Games, prevailed with ease in the non-Olympic distance in 7:36.85. Nobody was within five seconds.

“Coming here, I felt really emotional about it,” Farah told the BBC. “It was close in noise to the Olympics.”

The Somali-born, Oregon-trained Farah will attempt to repeat his Olympic 5,000-10,000 double in Moscow. He’s already set the British record in the 1,500 meters this season.

Farah heads back to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for more high-altitude training Sunday.

Men’s 110-meter hurdles: Olympic champion and world-record holder Aries Merritt hit the fifth hurdle with his trail leg and ran through the sixth hurdle but told the BBC he’s not injured.

“I was able to catch myself because of my cat-like reflexes,” he joked.

American David Oliver, who owns the world lead of 13.03 and was second at nationals, went on to win in 13.20.

Merritt, third at nationals behind Ryan Wilson and Oliver, went under 13 seconds eight times last year, including that world-record run of 12.80. He has yet to go under 13 this year, opening up the gold-medal picture a little bit going into worlds.

Notable: Brit favorite Christine Ohuruogu did one better than she did at the Olympics, winning the women’s 400 in 50 flat, a season’s best, over the top two from the U.S. championships, Francena McCorory (50.13) and Natasha Hastings (50.68). Reigning world champion Amantle Montsho, not in the field, remains the world leader at 49.33. Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross did not make the U.S. team for the world championships. … Olympic silver medalist and U.S. champion Michael Tinsley won the 400 hurdles in 47.98. Tinsley is the only man to go under 48 seconds this year, and he’s now done it twice. He’s the favorite in Moscow. …. Two-time reigning Olympic champion and three-time reigning world champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand won the women’s shot put with a world-leading throw of 20.90 meters. Adams, who originally won silver in London but was upgraded to gold after the Belarusian champion failed drug tests, is the only woman to throw farther than 20.24 this year.

Video: Inside Usain Bolt’s training

Karen Chen breaks U.S. Champs scoring record; Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold trail

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KANSAS CITY — A skater broke the U.S. Championships women’s short program scoring record Thursday night, but it wasn’t Ashley Wagner or Gracie Gold.

Karen Chen, a 17-year-old former junior star who struggled the last two years, tallied 72.82 points at the Sprint Center to lead going into Saturday’s free skate (8 p.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Mirai Nagasu, a 2010 Olympian, is second, .87 of a point behind.

That leaves Wagner and Gold, who combined to win the last five U.S. titles, in third and fifth, respectively.

This is concerning for Wagner (1.88 behind Chen) and Gold (7.97 behind) given U.S. Figure Skating can send three women to worlds in two months. That selection will be made this weekend, primarily — but not totally — based off U.S. Championships results.

Tessa Hong is in fourth place, but at 14 years old is too young for senior worlds.

Full results are here.

Though Wagner and Gold are usually higher placed, the biggest surprise was Chen.

“My body’s still trembling right now,” she said, two hours after her performance.

Chen skated a clean program Thursday, rare for her in the last couple of seasons. Chen burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old two years ago, finishing third at nationals behind Wagner and Gold.

She was too young to be selected for the 2015 Worlds team. Little has been heard from Chen since.

She dropped to eighth at the 2016 U.S. Championships and came into Kansas City as the seventh-ranked U.S. woman this season. Struggling to find comfortable boots — a common skater problem — has plagued her. She went through 14 pairs in a four-month stretch.

“Everyone has doubts, and I certainly do as well,” said Chen, who choreographed her short program. “But I just kept pushing and telling myself that I’m gaining more experience, I’m learning about everything in the process and I’m just going to keep getting better.”

Wagner bounced back from her last outing — her worst Grand Prix finish in 25 career starts — with a decent program. She needed to save a double Axel near the end of her short. The 2016 World silver medalist was the pre-event favorite.

“People do not understand how difficult of a position I am in,” said Wagner, a 25-year-old bidding to become the oldest U.S. women’s champion in 90 years. “It might seem like I’m on top of the world, or second from being top of the world, but this is a very tough position to be in. It’s mentally been weighing on my shoulders all season. To be able to come out and show people I am a fighter, I’m really proud of that.”

Gold needed to show a fighting spirit given her well-publicized disaster of a fall season. And she did. Her only miss in the short program was doubling a planned triple flip.

“I can feel a huge improvement as a skater. I think everyone can see it,” Gold said. “I have made comebacks before. This doesn’t feel like a major comeback in some ways, because I felt pretty solid. … A long program is worth a lot of points, and I can certainly deliver some good long programs. I kind of feel like I’m due for a good one.”

If Gold doesn’t improve in the free skate, she could be left off the worlds team for the first time in her senior career. However, Gold believes her strong credentials in recent seasons merit consideration.

“We’ve seen different controversies where people aren’t on the [nationals] podium, and they’re still selected for events,” Gold said. “Michelle Kwan has not gone to nationals and been selected for an Olympic team [in 2006]. I believe that I deserve to be on the world team, but I’m not on the selection committee. Of course, every athlete feels like they should be on the world team.”

Earlier Thursday, the pairs short program produced surprise leaders.

The U.S. Championships continue Friday with the short dance and men’s short program. A full broadcast schedule is here.

MORE: U.S. Figure Skating boss wants Russia out of PyeongChang

Women’s Short Program
1. Karen Chen — 72.82
2. Mirai Nagasu — 71.95
3. Ashley Wagner — 70.94
4. Tessa Hong — 65.02
5. Gracie Gold — 64.85

 

Gwen Jorgensen pregnant, to sit out 2017 triathlon season

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: USA's Gwen Jorgensen followed by Switzerland's Nicola Spirig Hug (L) compete in the running portion of the women's triathlon at Fort Copacabana during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 20, 2016.(Photo by Jeff Pachoud-Pool/Getty Images)
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Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen is pregnant and will not compete this year.

“Just kind of take this year a little bit easier,” Jorgensen said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.

The baby is due Aug. 3, according to Jorgensen’s social media.

Jorgensen, 30, became the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion in Rio after going in as the heavy favorite. She has said for months that she planned to take time off to have a baby before returning to defend her Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

Swiss Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016 silver medalist, is reportedly expecting a child in May.

In Jorgensen and Spirig’s absences, the top triathletes going into the season are defending world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, U.S. Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True and Britons Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.

Jorgensen’s last competition was the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, when she finished 14th in her first running race longer than 10 miles.

The World Triathlon Series kicks off in Abu Dhabi the first weekend of March.

MORE: Triathlon federation boss wants Olympic races shortened