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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U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
Getty Images
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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.”

Bob Costas’ report 100 days out from Rio (video)

Bob Costas
NBC News
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Bob Costas reported from Rio de Janeiro for NBC News on Wednesday, 100 days out from the Opening Ceremony.

In the clip below, Michael PhelpsSimone Biles and even Brazil soccer legend Pelé comment on preparing for the first Games in South America.

Costas finished the clip with a stand-up from Copacabana Beach, where beach volleyball will take place in August.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics