Kikkan Randall knocked out in quarterfinals of women’s individual sprint

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Considered a gold medal contender going into today’s cross-country individual sprint, Kikkan Randall has come up empty-handed.

The American World Cup sprint champion got a tough draw for her quarterfinal heat, which included not one but two of her biggest rivals for sprint gold in Norway’s Marit Bjorgen and Germany’s Denise Herrmann.

Randall was able to charge to the front of the heat, but then fell back late and finished a disappointing fourth behind Herrmann, Bjorgen and Italy’s Gaia Vuerich.

Herrmann and Bjorgen automatically advanced out as the top two finishers in the heat, and Randall failed to be one of the two “lucky losers” – the two fastest third or fourth-place finishers – that also go to the next round.

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She lost out on a “lucky loser” spot by a mere five one-hundredths of a second to Vuerich.

Sochi marks Randall’s fourth Olympics and she was hoping to become the first American woman to win an Olympic medal and the first American man or woman to win cross-country gold.

Instead, her teammate, Sophie Caldwell, will look to get that chance after she advanced into the semis. She is the lone American in that round, after Randall, along with Ida Sargent and Jessie Diggins, were unable to move on.

One of Randall’s teammates, Holly Brooks, reacted to Randall’s early defeat on Twitter:

Coaches to receive medals at World Track and Field Championships

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Coaches will receive medals at the World Track and Field Championships for the first time this summer.

London will host the 16th edition of the event in 100 days.

Coaches’ medals will be based on similar themes to athlete medals but will look different.

“The medals, gifted to successful athletes once they return from their ceremony, will be for them to hand to their coach or significant advisor in recognition of the unique and valued working relationship between athlete and coach,” the IAAF said in a press release.

Coaches do not receive Olympic medals.

The U.S. Olympic Committee established the Order of Ikkos medals starting with the 2008 Beijing Games, allowing medal-winning athletes to acknowledge one coach.

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What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

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Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.

First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).

USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.

The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.

Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.

Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.

The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.

Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.

That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.

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