Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi stuns to win Boston Marathon (video)

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BOSTON — Meb Keflezighi left a spectator grandstand at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon about five minutes before the first bomb went off.

“All of a sudden, I heard something,” said Keflezighi, who had withdrawn from the race 10 days before with a calf injury but went to the world’s oldest annual marathon as a fan. “I didn’t think it was a big deal.”

He heard another sound about 12 seconds later and was shoved into a Copley Plaza hotel near the Boylston Street finish line. What he heard were two bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260.

“We started crying because we knew how many people were there,” Keflezighi said.

Keflezighi cried again at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

“Tears of joy,” he said.

Keflezighi, 38 and the oldest elite runner in the field by three years, became the first U.S. man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 in a shocking upset.

Keflezighi moved his sunglasses to the top of his head and raised his arms as he crossed the finish line to win by 11 seconds over Kenyan Wilson Chebet. He cried and was draped in an American flag on Boylston Street afterward. He ran with the names of the three who died from the bombings, plus a police officer killed by the suspects days later, written on the corners of his racing bib.

“This is beyond running,” Keflezighi said just outside the finish.

“Boston Strong. Meb Strong,” he said. “I was going to give everything I had for the people.”

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Keflezighi was born in Eritrea, but his story is quintessential, polite American, from his pleased-to-meet-you smile to his colorful Skechers shoes. He came to the U.S. as a refugee from the war-torn African nation, after a brief stint in Italy, in 1987. The story is documented in his autobiography, “Run to Overcome,” a phrase that also defined the Patriots’ Day race and the last year in Boston.

“It gave me hope,” Keflezighi said of his upbringing.

Keflezighi, who won in 2:08:37, a personal record, texted Olympic teammate Ryan Hall after last year’s bombings and said they had to run Boston the next year. Hall, slowed by injuries the last two years, finished his first marathon since the 2012 Olympics in 2:17:50, 20th place.

source: AP
Meb Keflezighi became the first American to win the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon and an Olympic medal. (AP)

“The bomb happened, and every day since, I said I want to come back and win it,” Keflezighi said. “Beyond words.”

Keflezighi won the 2004 Olympic marathon silver medal and the 2009 New York City Marathon.

But he was doubted last week and for the last several months, coming into his first start in Boston since finishing fifth in 2010.

A reporter asked him in a press conference if he would retire if he crossed the finish line first in Boston. It wasn’t an absurd question, but perhaps the most startling point of it was the suggestion he could have won.

Keflezighi was a disappointing 23rd at November’s New York City Marathon and 10th at his warm-up race, the NYC Half Marathon, on March 16.

It’s been a trying few years for Keflezighi after winning New York in 2009. He was dropped by Nike in 2011, and went seven months without a shoe contract before Skechers.

“I’d be mistaken if I said I didn’t consider retiring,” he said.

He now has 11 sponsors.

He felt slighted before the 2012 Olympic marathon when he wasn’t among 10 men introduced in a front row before the race as contenders. He was the only man in the field of more than 100 with an Olympic medal already to his name.

Keflezighi finished fourth in London, a minute and a half outside of a medal. Injured last year and slow in his last two New York races, Keflezighi came to Boston with three goals, from at best winning to at worst running a personal best.

So he set out hard.

“I can’t run a personal best from behind,” he said. “I can’t win a race from behind. That’s what I kept thinking to myself.”

Keflezighi took off from the start in Hopkinton and led with Kenyan-born American Josphat Boit by 30 seconds at the halfway mark. He said he didn’t see his half marathon split (1:04:21).

Keflezighi pulled away from Boit between the 15th and 19th miles, opening up a one-minute lead. Then he struggled.

The margin dropped to about eight seconds at the 25-mile mark. But he summoned the kind of energy that’s helped him remain an elite marathoner for the last decade.

“You can’t touch the heart,” Keflezighi said. “Every day you’ve got to work hard and make it happen.”

He credited the crowd, which officials prepared to be one million strong through eight cities and towns, twice the usual amount. Go Meb, they said. You can pull it off, Meb. You’ve got this, Meb.

“I used them to propel me forward,” Keflezighi said.

He ran a personal best by 31 seconds.

Asked about his place among U.S. distance greats, he mentioned 1972 Olympic marathon champion Frank Shorter, three-time New York City Marathon champion Alberto Salazar and four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers.

“To have that in one person … I’m delighted to have that career,” said Keflezighi, the first American man to win an Olympic medal and both the New York City and Boston Marathons. “I always say 99.9 of my career was fulfilled. Today, 110 percent.”

Keflezighi, who won $150,000 for his victory Monday, announced before the Boston Marathon he would donate $10,000 to the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation. Martin was the 8-year-old boy who died in last year’s bombings. Keflezighi met his dad at a charity event.

Keflezighi has personal evidence of what it was like in Boston on April 15, 2013. He took photos of finishers from his grandstand seat before the bombing and posted them on YouTube.

He cherished his post-race experience this year, walking through the medical tent. He received high fives. Thanks, from Boston. Thanks, from America.

“The scene was different last year,” Keflezighi said, wearing a golden wreath atop his bald head. “As an athlete, we have dreams. Today, the dream and the reality meet.”

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Picabo Street to argue self-defense in domestic violence case

Picabo Street
AP
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A lawyer for Olympic gold medalist skier Picabo Street said Thursday that she was defending herself during a December fight with her father and will demand a jury trial on domestic violence and assault charges.

Attorney Joe Wrona said that the ex-Olympian called 911 for help after her father attacked her, and she doesn’t plan to strike a plea deal with prosecutors.

“We’re not interested in a sweetheart deal. We’re interested in being vindicated at trial,” he said.

Street is accused of throwing her 76-year-old father down the stairs and locking him in the basement during a fight at her home near Park City, Utah, on Dec. 23.

Street, 44, told 911 dispatchers that she “put” her father, Roland Street, down the stairs after he pulled her hair and scratched her face, according to a recording of the call. Her mother can be heard in the background disputing that version of what happened.

Picabo Street told dispatchers her dad started the fight after he bumped his car into her house in snowy weather and she tried to help dig it out so her parents could use her car.

Prosecutors say an investigation found Picabo Street was the primary aggressor. Roland Street has not been charged in the fight near Park City, Utah. Summit County prosecutor Ivy Telles didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

Roland Street told police his daughter got angry and started yelling after he hit the house while trying to leave, documents show. He said the physical altercation broke out after they re-entered the house and she pushed him down two flights of stairs. Police saw cuts on Roland Street’s elbow and neck.

Picabo Street is facing three counts of misdemeanor domestic violence in the presence of a child and one count of misdemeanor assault. A hearing is set for Tuesday.

Picabo Street had an illustrious skiing career highlighted by a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in the women’s super-G event. She also won silver in the downhill at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and competed in the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

She was the first American woman to win the World Cup downhill season title in 1995, and she repeated as champion the next season. She totaled nine downhill victories in World Cup races during her career.

More recently, she worked as an analyst for Fox Sports during the 2014 Winter Games from Sochi, Russia.

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Shaun White discusses ‘shock’ of missing X Games

Shaun White
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Two-time Olympic halfpipe champion Shaun White said he has no hard feelings toward the X Games, after the event didn’t invite him to compete last month for the first time this millennium.

“Basically, I got the phone call that I was uninvited,” White told a Fox TV station in California while promoting his Los Angeles Air & Style event next weekend. “It was a bit of a shock to me. I don’t have any hard feelings. It’s definitely interesting because I was invited to the event for X Games in Norway [in two weeks]. So, I don’t know, they may have some sort of strange politics happening. … I got my own event coming up, which is pretty amazing. Maybe there’s some friction.”

X Games organizers have not elaborated on why White was not invited.

White, an eight-time X Games halfpipe champion, plans to compete in X Games Oslo, his coach said before X Games Aspen two weeks ago, when announcing that White would not compete in Aspen.

White’s relationship with the X Games changed when, before the Sochi Olympics, he purchased a majority share in Air & Style, a touring big air ski and snowboard event that also includes music. Air & Style events have been held in Europe, Beijing and, debuting last year, Los Angeles.

White expanded on Air & Style in October, saying his acquisition came after his conversations with X Games organizers for a similar plan fell apart.

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