Justin Gatlin

Mixed finishes for Allyson Felix, Justin Gatlin in Shanghai (video)

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Allyson Felix and Justin Gatlin produced differing results in their Diamond League season debuts in Shanghai on Sunday.

Felix finished fifth in a 400m race, her first competition since tearing her hamstring in the 200m final at the 2013 World Championships on Aug. 16.

Felix, the most decorated U.S. female track and field athlete with six Olympic medals and 10 World Championships medals, ran one lap in 50.81 seconds, a half-second behind winner Novlene Williams-Mills.

Felix has said she is focusing more on the 400m this year as a complementary event to her 200m specialty. Last May, she ran a 400m in 50.19. In 2011, when she also put emphasis on the 400m, Felix recorded her personal best of 49.59 in winning a world silver.

In the 100m, Gatlin posted a world-leading 9.92 seconds, dominating after 30 meters and dusting the field by two tenths with zero wind.

“I have much more left in the tank,” Gatlin said, according to The Associated Press. “I cruised at 9.92 with no wind. I felt I made it look easy.”

World bronze medalist Nesta Carter was second in 10.12, followed by American Mike Rodgers in 10.18.

Jamaican stars Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake have yet to debut at 100m this season but will chase Gatlin’s mark in races over the next month.

The Diamond League next moves to Eugene, Ore., for the Prefontaine Classic on May 31.

In other results Sunday, Nigerian Blessing Okagbare won the long jump and the 200m, two events she earned medals in last year’s World Championships.

In the 200m, Okagbare crossed first in 22.36 seconds. Jamaican world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce pulled out of the meet with a reported shin injury, and two-time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown faded to fifth in 23.08.

Olympic champion and world record holder Renaud Lavillenie won the pole vault with a top clearance of 5.92 meters.

China’s Xie Wenjun shocked the 110m hurdles field to win in a personal best 13.23. Xie defeated all three 2013 World Championships medalists and the 2008 Olympic champion, with 2004 Olympic champion and Chinese superstar Liu Xiang smiling in the stands.

World champion David Oliver was third in 13.28. Beijing Olympic champion Dayron Robles was sixth in 13.48.

Beijing Olympic silver medalist Christian Cantwell continued his spectacular early season shot put form with a winning 21.73m throw. Cantwell, who missed much of last season due to injury, has four of the top six throws this year.

Olympic and world silver medalist Michael Tinsley emerged after the final hurdle to win the 400m hurdles in 48.77. World champion Jehue Gordon was sixth in 49.56.

Abeba Aregawi pulled away to beat American Jenny Simpson in a battle of the last two world 1500m champions. The Swede Aregawi clocked 3:58.72 and became the first woman under four minutes this year.

Emma Coburn notched a rare American 3000m steeplechase victory in 9:19.80, beating a field that included all three 2013 World Championships medalists by 5.96 seconds.

Miracle on Ice gold medal sells at auction

IPC president: Now is the right time to have Paralympics in Brazil

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AP
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International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven said the upcoming Paralympic Games, which open in 100 days, could not be going to a better city than Rio de Janeiro.

“Many people might think that it’s not the time to go there now with the economic and political problems,” Craven said in a phone interview last week. “But is that not just the right time to be going, to just show what sport can truly do to mobilize and galvanize a people?”

And the Zika virus?

“We believe that the measures that have been communicated on a regular basis, reiterated to our member nations, will be effective, and the Zika virus will not have a major effect on the Games,” Craven said.

The Paralympics will visit South America for the first time in their 15th edition. The Rio Games, which run from Sept. 7-18, will have more broadcast coverage than ever and an expected record number of athletes and nations in the largest number of sports on a single Paralympic program.

NBC and NBCSN will air a record 66 hours of coverage of the Games. The USOC will provide live coverage at TeamUSA.org, too.

How the Paralympics will deal with the well-known issues facing Brazil will be largely impacted by how the preceding Olympics handle them.

But one issue unique to the Paralympics came to light four weeks ago.

A British Paralympic champion swimmer was disqualified from a European Championships event because his Olympic rings tattoo was not covered (he later competed at the meet with the tattoo covered).

An International Paralympic Committee swimming rule states, “body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”

The rule will cover all sports at the Rio Paralympics. Craven said he has not heard of any appeals by para-athletes to change the rule.

The IPC will take a “common-sense approach” to enforcing the rule in Rio to make sure there are no disqualifications by communicating thoroughly to national committees, Craven said.

“IPC has got very strict rules for the Paralympic Games and for other events prohibiting body advertisements, and this includes tattoos for commercial brands and non-IPC symbols, such as the Olympic rings,” Craven said. “These rules were emphasized, re-emphasized to all competing teams and swimmers at that particular event, and, similarly, we’ll be doing so prior to the Games in Rio.”

Some Paralympians identify themselves as Olympians, too — some have event competed in both Games — but Craven made the difference clear.

The 65-year-old, five-time Paralympic wheelchair basketball player likened Olympic rings tattoos at the Paralympics to an NFL player with an NBA team tattoo.

Craven added that there has been no pressure from the IOC regarding the rule and that he would expect a hypothetical Paralympian competing at the Olympics to cover up a tattoo of the Agitos, which is the Paralympic logo.

“We want Paralympic athletes to show pride in promoting the Paralympic movement, including our symbol, which is the Agitos, which is very different from the Olympic rings,” Craven said. “When you have a Paralympic athlete, a para-athlete sporting a branding from another event, then it just creates confusion. It creates confusion for the IPC. It creates confusion for the IOC.”

MORE: Paralympic champ long jumper still hopes to be allowed into Olympics

First four U.S. Olympic archers qualified; Khatuna Lorig waits

Khatuna Lorig
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The first four U.S. Olympic archers for Rio are known, while Khatuna Lorig will learn in three weeks if she makes her sixth Olympic team.

A full men’s team of 2012 Olympic team silver medalists Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski and first-time Olympian Zach Garrett earned their spots at the U.S. Olympic Trials that ended Monday.

Mackenzie Brown clinched her first Olympic berth by winning the women’s trials Monday.

The U.S. can send two more women to Rio if it qualifies a full team at a World Cup event in Turkey in three weeks. Those two women would be Hye Youn Park and Lorig.

Lorig, 42, is best known for teaching archery to Jennifer Lawrence before “The Hunger Games.” Lorig also competed in the 1992 Olympics for the Unified Team, the 1996 and 2000 Games for Georgia and the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the U.S.

Lorig earned team bronze at Barcelona 1992 and finished fifth and fourth individually at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic team alternates are Daniel McLaughlin and La Nola Pritchard.

MORE: Full list of athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team