Ashton Eaton

Ashton Eaton ‘disappointed’ after missing world record in heptathlon; World Indoors recap

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Olympic decathlon champion and world record holder Ashton Eaton missed breaking his own world record in the heptathlon but still repeated as World Indoor champion in Sopot, Poland, on Saturday.

Afterward, he said he was disappointed and that he wasn’t in shape.

Eaton won his fourth straight global multi-event championship after taking the decathlon at last summer’s World Outdoor Championships.

Eaton’s win Saturday came with his wife, Canadian Brianne Theisen-Eaton, looking on at Ergo Arena one day after she won silver in the pentathlon.

“I’m never really satisfied if I don’t get a personal best,” Eaton told Eurosport. “Yeah, I’m disappointed. I wish I would have gotten the world record.”

Eaton entered the seventh and final event of the heptathlon needing to run the 800m in 2:33.54 for the world record, nearly three quarters of a second slower than he did to set the mark at the 2012 World Indoors.

But Eaton was well off the pace going into the final lap and, despite a valiant breakaway kick, came up shy in 2:34.72.

“I wasn’t in shape,” Eaton said. “I was feeling fatigued before I even started. … I tried. I’m not a robot.”

Eaton scored 6,632 total points. His world record from 2012 is 6,645. He won by 329 points over silver medalist Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus.

“I’m happy with being world champion, but no world record this time,” Eaton said. “Dang it.”

Eaton confirmed Saturday he would enter 400m hurdles races during the upcoming outdoor season.

There are no major outdoor championships for Americans this year, and he’s automatically qualified into the 2015 World Outdoor Championships decathlon. So he’s got some time to enter the events he pleases.

“It’s going to be good to kind of take a break from the multi events for a while to get ready for ’15 and ’16,” Eaton said.

Later, Brit Richard Kilty stunned the field to win the 60m in 6.49 seconds. American Marvin Bracy, a 20-year-old former Florida State football recruit, took silver in 6.51.

Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson of Australia was beaten in the 60m hurdles. American Nia Ali won in a personal best 7.8 seconds. Pearson took silver in 7.85. Michigan-born Brit Tiffany Porter grabbed bronze in 7.86.

In the women’s 400m, American Francena McCorory won the biggest title of her career in 51.12 seconds. The race was missing the last two World Outdoor champions (Christine Ohuruogu and Amantle Montsho) and U.S. Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross.

In the women’s 1500m, Ethiopian-born Swede Abeba Aregawi won in 4:00.61, consolidating her World Outdoor Championship last season.

This was the race American Mary Cain, 17, was slated to run before pulling out of the meet with a calf injury. Without Cain, Treniere Moser was fourth and Heather Kampf, Cain’s replacement, fell during the race and was later disqualified.

In the men’s 400m, American Kyle Clemons won a bronze medal in his global championship debut. The Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslak, 23, won gold. The Bahamas’ Chris Brown, 35, won silver.

In the women’s shot put, New Zealand’s two-time Olympic champion Valerie Adams won her fifth straight global championship and her 44th straight meet title.

World Indoor Championships broadcast schedule

Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross win World Series of Beach Volleyball

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Rio bronze medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross bounced back from an Olympic upset to win the biggest annual tournament in the U.S. on Sunday.

Walsh Jennings and Ross captured the Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball title in Long Beach, Calif., for the second time in three years. They beat Spanish pair Liliana Fernández and Elsa Baquerizo 21-16, 21-16 in the final.

Absent from Long Beach were Olympic gold medalists Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany and silver medalists Ágatha and Bárbara of Brazil.

Walsh Jennings and Ross, who lost to Ágatha and Bárbara in the Olympic semifinals, dropped a total of two sets in seven undefeated matches this past week.

They earned their fifth international title of the year after winning none in 2015, last season shortened by Walsh Jennings’ fifth right shoulder surgery.

Later, the top U.S. men’s pair of Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena were scheduled to play Brazilians Pedro and Evandro in the men’s final in Long Beach.

The beach volleyball season continues with the FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto in two weeks.

MORE: Tough for Misty May-Treanor to watch Kerri Walsh Jennings in Rio

Monica Puig’s unlikely Olympic tennis gold reminded her of ‘Miracle’ scene

Monica Puig
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NEW YORK (AP) — Monica Puig gazed out at her fellow Puerto Ricans jamming the parade route, and in their eyes she saw hope.

They hailed her with “a sense of satisfaction,” she recalled Saturday, “and a sense of belief that things are going to get better.”

Throughout her stunning run to the Olympic tennis gold medal, Puig embraced the symbolism of each upset victory. An economic crisis is devastating the island of her birth, and she appreciated that if she could prove the impossible is possible, that message would reverberate far beyond sports.

“If Puerto Rico channels that same energy and belief that things will get better and working for the better of the island, the better of the community, things will improve,” Puig said four days after the U.S. territory honored its Olympic team and, above all, its first gold medalist.

“I really hope I gave them a lot of confidence moving forward,” she added, “that things will actually get better.”

The world’s 34th-ranked women’s tennis player met with a roomful of reporters Saturday, exactly two weeks after she beat Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber in three sets in the final in Rio de Janeiro. Poised and philosophical in ways that bely her age, the 22-year-old realizes some people deem her gold medal “a fluke.”

After all, Puig has never made it past the round of 16 at a major. And at the U.S. Open, which starts Monday, she’s never advanced beyond the second round. Puig is already bracing herself for the reality that her run at Flushing Meadows could fall well short of what took place in Rio.

“I’m 22 years old. There’s still a long way for me to go, a long stretch of career,” she said. “If anything happens, any kind of slip-up, it’s not really going to be a big deal, because I have a process and I have a long-term view of where I want to go.”

Which isn’t to say she expects a slip-up.

“I know that the Olympics wasn’t a fluke for me, because I have worked very hard to get to where I am,” Puig said. “I know the hours and the tears and the sweat and everything that’s been put into my practices. It’s been very difficult for me.

“But that moment, nobody will be able to take away.”

Even she considers that Olympic moment to be like something out of a movie script. When spectators chanted “Si se puede!” (“Yes you can!” in Spanish) during the final against the second-ranked Kerber, Puig flashed back to a scene from the film “Miracle” about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team.

With fans roaring “U-S-A!” coach Herb Brooks tells his players: “Listen to them. That’s what you’ve done.” As Puig said Saturday, “I needed to listen to the crowd.”

Her gold might not have been quite as unlikely as the Miracle on Ice, but it wasn’t too far off. The night after her victory, Puig slept with the medal on her nightstand, waking up every few hours to make sure it was real. She still feels the need to check up on it during the day.

“I see the videos and I’m like, ‘Did this really just happen?'” Puig said.

When they showed the clip of her medal ceremony when she was honored in Puerto Rico, she started crying again. Through it all, she insisted Saturday, she felt she kept her focus, knowing the U.S. Open was looming.

After Rio, Puig spent some time with her family in Miami, where she lives. Then it was on to the island “where the big party was waiting.” It’s been hard to squeeze in sleep and alone time and practice — all the things she needs to recover from one big event and prepare for another.

Puig faces 60th-ranked Zheng Saisai, who upset Agnieszka Radwanska at the Olympics, in the first round Monday. She originally wasn’t seeded at Flushing Meadows, which meant she could have faced a top player in her opening match, but she moved up to the final seed when Sloane Stephens withdrew because of an injury Friday.

It’s the first time Puig has been seeded at a major, and in what was a breakthrough season even before her golden moment, she’s starting to grow comfortable with those sorts of roles.

“I feel like I finally understand what I’m doing when it comes to tennis,” she said.

MORE: U.S. goes one-two in Olympic mixed doubles