Jenny Simpson

Jenny Simpson leads silver night for U.S. at worlds; Mary Cain 10th in 1,500-meter final (video)

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Jenny Simpson won one of three silver medals for the U.S. at the World Track and Field Championships on Thursday in a 1,500-meter final where 17-year-old Mary Cain finished a respectable 10th.

The 1,500 was the key event for American fans on Thursday’s schedule at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Simpson, 26, came in as the defending world champion. Cain impressed in becoming the youngest woman ever to make the 1,500 final at the World Championships.

Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi, who competed for Ethiopia at the 2012 Olympics, entered as the favorite and won in 4 minutes, 2.67 seconds. Simpson led for most of the race until Aregawi passed her with about 300 meters left. The Colorado native held on for silver in 4:02.99. Kenyan Hellen Obiri earned bronze in 4:03.86.

“We can do another round,” Simpson told NBC Sports reporter Lewis Johnson on Universal Sports. “I’m ready for a fourth round. … I was so tired at the end because I led so much of it. I tried so hard to catch Aregawi. … That’s the hardest I’ve ever run (trying to catch her) in my life.”

Cain completed an impressive season that saw her become the youngest woman to make the U.S. team at a world championships. In the final, she was in last place going into the final lap and looked to be losing ground on the pack. But she summoned energy to finish 10th out of 12 in 4:07.19, the third fastest time of her life.

“They (my coaches) said there was no pressure, but I think I could have medaled,” said Cain, who watched the 2012 baseball drama “Trouble with the Curve” before her race, according to Universal Sports. “I’m definitely a little upset, but I’ve got to rally, get out of this funk.”

Cain said it was her last race of the season. She will head back to Bronxville (N.Y.) High School to begin her senior year.

“I think I’ve matured on the world scene,” she said. “It makes me a lot more motivated to be here two years from now.”

The final was delayed eight minutes by the men’s high jump, where Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko took three attempts at a world record after winning gold but couldn’t beat Javier Sotomayor‘s all-time best from 20 years ago.

The U.S. won silver medals in both 400-meter hurdles races. Michael Tinsley repeated his Olympic silver in the closest men’s 400 hurdles finish in worlds history. He was outleaned by Trinidad and Tobago’s Jehue Gordon by .01 of a second.

The women’s 400 hurdles saw the largest margin of victory in the event’s worlds history. The Czech Republic’s Zuzana Hejnova won in 52.83. while silver and bronze went to Americans Dalilah Muhammad (54.09) and 2011 world champion Lashinda Demus (54.27).

Allyson Felix and Usain Bolt will be star attractions Friday in Moscow. Felix advanced to the finals of the 200, an event where she holds three world titles and an Olympic title. She’ll face off with 100-meter champ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time (Universal Sports).

Bolt will run the heats of the 200 in the morning and the semifinals in the evening in Moscow (11:40 a.m. ET), his first action since winning the 100 on Sunday.

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AVP set to start season without Kerri Walsh Jennings

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BOSTON (AP) — The AVP said it has reached an agreement with “practically all the players” on a contract that will carry it through the 2020 Summer Games, even as a holdout by five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings threatens to deprive the domestic beach volleyball tour of its biggest name.

“I respect her decisions, and I wish her well,” AVP owner Donald Sun told The Associated Press. “But in the meantime, we’re just geared up. All the athletes that are signed are fired up to play Huntington Beach next weekend.”

Walsh Jennings did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment. But she told the AP in March that negotiations were “a work in progress” and that the two sides were “pretty far off.”

She also boycotted an AVP event last summer over experimental rules that she said weren’t discussed with the athletes.

Each of the other seven Americans who went to the 2016 Olympics has signed, Sun said, except for Brooke Sweat. Sweat, who failed to make it out of group play in Rio de Janeiro with teammate Lauren Fendrick, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Sun told the AP that the tour has “a four-year agreement with practically all the players, which is awesome.” The deal includes a minimum of eight events per season and prize money minimums that will increase by at least 50 percent over the term of the deal, he said.

“It was a few months of process, discussing with individual players, groups of players, discussing what concerns they had,” Sun said. “We all made it. I think we’re all pretty happy.”

Well, not everyone.

The rift with Walsh, a three-time gold medalist who won bronze with April Ross in 2016, was exposed when the tour released its 2017 schedule in March and her name wasn’t among the list of those expected to participate.

Sun told the AP this week that the tour is prepared to proceed without Walsh Jennings, who has missed events previous summers because of injury, childbirth or to play on the international tour that determines Olympic qualification.

“It didn’t seem to affect attendance, TV ratings, or viewership on line,” Sun said. “The AVP is not just one person or one athlete; if it was, it would be a very challenging business model.”

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Anthony Joshua TKOs Wladimir Klitschko in battle of Olympic champs

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LONDON (AP) — Anthony Joshua wasn’t wrong when he raised his hands in victory after knocking Wladimir Klitschko down in the fifth round of what looked like a one-sided heavyweight title fight. He was just celebrating too early.

The rookie mistake allowed Klitschko to rally, nearly taking the lead as the two 6-foot-6 men went to the 11th round — four rounds longer than any Joshua fight had ever gone.

That’s when Joshua unleashed a brutal uppercut that spun Klitschko around, leading to a win that set off British celebrations in Wembley Stadium and beyond Saturday night and cemented the 27-year-old as boxing’s new superstar.

Rounds 5 and 6 featured some of the best heavyweight action since Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis — the latter two sitting ringside — ruled the division.

The two men in the ring were both Olympic super heavyweight champions. Joshua took gold for Great Britain in 2012, and Klitschko won for Ukraine in 1996.

Klitschko, who had barely thrown any power punches before the knockdown, came back to make the end of the fifth round interesting and knocked Joshua down in the next round.

With an entire country screaming for him, Joshua — who had knocked all his previous opponents out by the end of the seventh round — looked tired. But he saved his best for the late rounds, particularly the uppercut that will be a YouTube moment for decades.

Klitschko didn’t fall down after the uppercut, but Joshua was all over the stunned former champ and dropped him with a left hook. Klitschko got up only to take even more punishment. Joshua knocked Klitschko down again and was landing punches to his head on the ropes when referee David Fields moved in to stop the bout late in the 11th round.

“When you go to the trenches, that’s when you find out who you really are,” Joshua said. “In this small little ring here, there’s nowhere to hide.”

The biggest heavyweight title fight in more than a decade had a little something for everyone, and Joshua finished off in style.

“As I said from the get-go, it will be a boxing classic and the best man will win,” Joshua said.

Klitschko’s rally was inspiring, starting soon after he was knocked down in the fifth. By the end of the round, it was Klitschko pummeling a tired Joshua.

Joshua was still feeling the effect of those punches when he was dropped by a right hand in the sixth round. Klitschko began piling up rounds and it seemed like the savvy Ukrainian would quiet the hometown fans, until Joshua turned things around with that vicious right uppercut.

“If you don’t take part, you’re going to fail,” Joshua said. “Just give it a go and you never know the outcome.”

Joshua was up 96-93 and 95-93 on two scorecards, while Klitschko was ahead 95-93 on the third going into the final round. The Associated Press had it 94-94.

Klitschko, who reigned over the heavyweight division for a decade, was fighting both Joshua and Father Time at the age of 41. He looked to be overmatched in the early rounds, but fought his best after he was knocked down.

It was anyone’s fight when Joshua landed the uppercut that proved decisive, much to the delight of his countrymen who packed England’s national stadium for the highly anticipated bout.

“As I said I’m not perfect but I’m trying,” said Joshua, who was fighting for only the 19th time as a pro.

Joshua had never been beyond seven rounds, and it looked like he might be running out of gas as he tried to find his legs following the knockdown in the sixth. Klitschko, in his 29th world title fight, seemed to be taking the advantage in the later rounds, until the uppercut sent him spinning across the ring.

“It was really sad I didn’t make it tonight,” Klitschko said. “I was planning to do it. It didn’t work. But all respect to Anthony.”

Joshua defended his heavyweight titles and his undefeated record in a bout that lived up to its billing as the best matchup after a long drought in the heavyweight division. Already a hero in his native England, he may become one worldwide.

Joshua said before the bout that it was just two men in the ring, and nothing more than that. But it was clear by the crowd’s reaction as he came back to win that it was a lot more to many fans.

It was a battle of massive heavyweights, with both standing 6-foot-6. Joshua weighed 250.1 pounds to 240.5 for Klitschko.

Klitschko fell to 64-5 in a long career that began in 1996 after he won the Olympic gold in Atlanta. It may have been his last fight.

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