Usain Bolt, Warren Weir

Usain Bolt dominates 200 meters for another world championship (video)

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Usain Bolt made it look easy in making more history, winning the 200 meters in 19.66 seconds at the World Championships on Saturday.

Bolt, 26, became the first man to win three world titles in the 200 and remained undefeated over the distance at major international championships since his first Olympic gold in the event in 2008.

Bolt breezed past medal threat Adam Gemili of Great Britain on the turn and then slowed on the final straight so much so that silver medalist Warren Weir cut into Bolt’s winning margin. Weir was never a threat of passing Bolt in the final meters, though.

“I said that I want to be remembered like (Muhammad) Ali, Pele and the greats,” Bolt said, according to the Jamaica Gleaner. “This is another step towards that.”

Bolt’s winning time was by far his slowest at an Olympic or worlds final. His world record is 19.19, set at the 2009 World Championships. His slowest previous final was the 2011 worlds, where he won in 19.40 seconds.

Weir, the Olympic bronze medalist, won silver, matching his personal best of 19.79 seconds. American Curtis Mitchell earned bronze in 20.04, his first major international medal. (full results below)

“I just had to use all heart coming down the straight,” Mitchell told NBC Sports reporter Lewis Johnson. “For me to come out here and get a medal, it’s unbelievable.”

The final lacked the reigning Olympic silver medalist, the injured Yohan Blake, the defending world silver and bronze medalists, the injured Walter Dix and Christophe Lemaitre, as well as Americans Tyson Gay (failed drug tests) and Justin Gatlin (opted out of the 200 at nationals).

Bolt celebrated by taking a photographer’s camera and appearing to snap photos, just as he did at the 2012 Olympics. He and Weir danced to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” according to The Associated Press. Bolt also wished good luck to each of his other seven competitors before the final.

The Jamaican now owns nine career world medals, second among men only to Carl Lewis‘ 10. His seven career world golds only trail Lewis and Michael Johnson (both have eight) among men.

The 19.66 matched Bolt’s 10th fastest time ever and Johnson’s first world record set in 1996, before Johnson reset it with a 19.32 in the Olympic final. Johnson is commentating for the BBC in Moscow this week.

Bolt can match both of those records as part of Jamaica’s 4×100 relay team on the final day of worlds Sunday. Jamaica hasn’t lost the 4×100 relay at a worlds or Olympics since 2007.

“I never get tired of shouldering the expectations of millions,” Bolt said, according to the Gleaner. “It keeps me going, I welcome it.”

Results
Gold: Usain Bolt (JAM) 19.66

Silver: Warren Weir (JAM) 19.79
Bronze: Curtis Mitchell (USA) 20.04
4. Nickel Ashmeade (JAM) 20.05
5. Adam Gemili (GBR) 20.08
6. Anaso Jobodwana (RSA) 20.14
7. Churandy Martina (NED) 20.35
8. Jaysuma Saidy Ndure (NOR) 20.37

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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