One of the most anticipated marathons in recent memory will include a bevy of American star distance runners.
2004 Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan headline the list announced Tuesday.
The 118th Boston Marathon will be April 21, 2014, and will mark a return to the site of bombings that rocked one of the great 26.2-mile races last year.
Keflezighi and Flanagan will be joined by three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein and 2012 Olympians Desi Davila and Amy Hastings. The full elite U.S. field list is here.
Flanagan, who grew up in Marblehead, Mass., was the top American at last year’s Boston Marathon in fourth.
“In my career, I’ve never felt my running take on a more personal meaning than it will to prepare for this year’s race,” Flanagan said in a press release. “The 2014 Boston Marathon will be run with overwhelming honor, passion and joy. Each step we take closer to the finish line is a victory in and of itself. It’s hard to express what it means to return this particular year to the place where I grew up and compete. In one word, I guess it would be ‘pride’. I and many in the field will be fueled by those who were affected by the tragedy and will be running for those who can not.”
Also in the field is Jason Hartmann, the top U.S. men’s finisher each of the last two years. He was fourth both times.
“I had the opportunity to become part of the historic legacy the past two years,” Hartmann said in a press release. “And now I look forward to running the Boston Marathon to improve upon my past performances. My expectations are for me to leave it all out on the course, no matter the elements.”
The international field is expected to be announced later this month.
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Top Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina withdrew from the World Gymnastics Championships after being set back by injuries this summer, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Mustafina’s place on the Russian team wavered in September as she tried to overcome health issues, most notably a back injury.
She was included on an original team of seven athletes — of which one would have to be an alternate — on Sept. 23 after being quoted by Russian media earlier in the month saying she would miss the World Championships in Glasgow in the last week of October.
Mustafina, 21, won all-around medals at the 2010 World Championships (gold), 2012 Olympics (bronze) and 2013 World Championships (bronze) and was fourth in 2014 while dealing with health problems.
Mustafina has been a stalwart in the Russian program. With her, the Russian team took silver behind the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics and bronze at the 2014 World Championships.
The seven-woman Russian team for Worlds includes Viktoria Komova, Maria Paseka and Ksenia Afanasyeva, 2012 Olympians who missed the 2013 and 2014 Worlds. Komova took all-around silver at the 2011 Worlds (behind Jordyn Wieber) and the 2012 Olympics (behind Gabby Douglas)
The new Russian star may be Daria Spiridonova, who won the Russian Cup all-around earlier this month and was also put on the seven-woman team for Glasgow.
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Usain Bolt wasn’t dressed to race, but he took up a challenge from an unlikely opponent at The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday.
The six-time Olympic champion went on the show as part of a Los Angeles visit, three days after he partied at Oktoberfest in Munich for a third straight year. Also Tuesday, Bolt met with USC sprinter Andre De Grasse, who shared bronze in the World Championships 100m behind the gold medalist Bolt in Beijing on Aug. 23.
On Ellen, Demarjay Smith, an 8-year-old YouTube sensation for his videos as a personal trainer, said he could beat Bolt in a race. Watch the segment here.
“100 percent,” the Bronx boy said. “Trust me.”
Then Ellen brought Bolt out from off stage, all three of them did push-ups together and then headed to a parking lot for a race.
“Come on, Usain, don’t be scared of me,” the kid said.
Bolt, wearing jeans, did not back down, even though the starting blocks were positioned backwards. Smith clearly false-started, but Bolt didn’t call it back.
They sprinted for about 15 seconds, with Bolt unable to catch Smith and pulling up before the finish line, holding the back of his right leg.
“I got cramps,” Bolt said. “You got lucky, man. I want a rematch, though.”
Also on Ellen, Bolt talked about training for his last Olympics and that he’s considered moving into acting after his planned 2017 retirement. Watch part of that interview here.
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