Ashton Eaton

Ashton Eaton makes history at Oslo Diamond League

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source: Getty ImagesAshton Eaton became the first decathlete to win a Diamond League event ever, while Allyson Felix notched her first race victory of the Diamond League season in Oslo on Wednesday.

Eaton, the Olympic and World decathlon champion, captured the non-decathlon event of 400m hurdles in 49.16 seconds.

It was .09 of a second slower than his personal best from Sunday, but Eaton beat an Oslo field that included 2011 World bronze medalist LJ Van Zyl.

Eaton is focusing on the 400m hurdles this season since there are no Olympics or World Championships to defend his decathlon titles.

He is the 10th fastest 400m hurdles man this year and said he would like to break 49 seconds in his next meet, Tuesday in the Czech Republic.

Felix took the 200m in 22.73, continuing her comeback from a torn hamstring at the 2013 World Championships.

The six-time Olympic medalist actually ran .29 faster in Eugene, Ore., two weeks ago, when she finished third against a stronger field.

The Diamond League moves to New York for the Adidas Grand Prix on Saturday.

In other Oslo events, Galen Rupp followed up his 10,000m American record from Eugene with a third-place finish in the 5000m. Rupp clocked 13:03.35, 10 seconds slower than Bernard Lagat‘s American record. Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew won in 13:01.57.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson won the 100m in 10.02, .02 faster than France’s Jimmy Vicaut. The event was missing stars Usain BoltYohan BlakeJustin Gatlin and Tyson Gay.

Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman edged New Zealand’s Nick Willis in the Dream Mile, 3:49.49 to 3:49.83. American Matthew Centrowitz was eighth in 3:52.23.

Olympic champion and world record holder Renaud Lavillenie stayed perfect on the Diamond League season with a 5.77m pole-vault clearance.

Olympic silver medalist Will Claye won his third straight triple jump competition (17.41m), topping Olympic champion Christian Taylor (17.15m). Brit Phillips Idowu, on the comeback trail after winning medals at every global championship from 2008 through 2011, was eighth and last at 16.30m.

American Joe Kovacs upset Olympic and World shot put medalists David StorlReese HoffaTomasz Majewski and Christian Cantwell with a 21.14m throw.

Olympic and World high jump champions Anna Chicherova and Blanka Vlasic were beaten by Russian World Indoor champion Mariya Kuchina, who leaped 1.98m.

Jamaican Novlene Williams-Mills, a breast cancer survivor, won the women’s 400m in 50.06, ahead of American Natasha Hastings (50.6) and 2011 World champion Amantle Montsho of Botswana (51.05).

Kenyan Eunice Sum took the 800m in 1:59.02, ahead of American World bronze medalist Brenda Martinez (1:59.68). South African Caster Semenya was 12th out of 12 finishers in 2:03.68.

France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde took the 110m hurdles in 13.12, the fastest time in the world this year. He smashed a field that included the four reigning Olympic and World silver and bronze medalists by .24.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce out of Adidas Grand Prix

Ragan Smith delivers in first U.S. championship title win

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ragan Smith embraced the role of heavy favorite coming into the U.S. gymnastics championships.

Thrust into the spotlight for the first time in her career, the 17-year-old hardly appeared intimidated by the stage. Smith pulled away from the field to claim her first national title Sunday, posting a score of 115.250, more than three points clear of Jordan Chiles in second place and Riley McCusker in third.

Smith opened up a 1.3-point lead over McCusker in the opening round Friday but admitted afterward she wasn’t particularly impressed by her own performance. She was considerably sharper less than 48 hours later, her 57.850 total in the finals was the best in the 16-woman all-around field by nearly two points.

Smith is one of the few holdovers from the 2016 Olympic cycle, serving as an alternate for the “Final Five” team that won half of the available medals in Rio de Janeiro last fall. Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez are taking breaks or have moved on, leaving Smith as the standard bearer for new national team coordinator Valeri Liukin.

The program appears to be in solid hands. Smith ditched “The Addams Family” themed floor routine she used last year for something a little more mature. It’s not the only part of her gymnastics that has grown up. Smith finished first on floor and beam and tied for third on bars.

Smith will be in the mix for the all-around title at the world championships in Montreal, where she’ll have a chance to extend the U.S.’s dominance. An American woman has won the world or Olympic title each of the last six years. Barring injury, Smith should be right there.

Liukin said he wasn’t alarmed following an uneven performance by the field in preliminaries, calling it a positive step for a group lacking in experience. The gymnastics were markedly improved in the finals.

Chiles slipped by McCusker into second thanks to a fabulous save on beam in which she turned a near disaster into something decidedly artful.

Chiles was in the middle of “wolf turn” (basically spinning on one foot while in a crouch on a 4-inch wide piece of wood) when she nearly fell over. Instead she rose to her feet, kept rotating, and went right into the next part of her routine as if it was planned all along.

Chiles’ steadiness gives Liukin another option as he tries to put together the rest of the four-woman team that will join Smith in Montreal. McCusker, only recently recovered from foot and wrist injuries, tried to keep the heat on Smith but stepped out of bounds following the last tumbling pass on her floor routine. McCusker finished first on bars — her legs practically magnetized together as she went from bar to bar — to win the event with ease.

Ashton Locklear, like Smith an alternate last summer, wound up second on bars with a watered down routine as he makes her way back from her own injury issues and should have time to install upgrades before Montreal.

Whoever heads to Canada in October will go with the usual expectations for what has become the sport’s most dominant program.

MORE: Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles has competed in the six previous U.S. National Championships, winning the last four, but in Anaheim this year, she’s watching from the sidelines. Biles won four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor) and one bronze (on beam) last summer at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

This week she revealed she has returned to the gym to prepare for a yet to be determined event, in her return to competition.

When asked how she’s been doing in the gym by NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce, Biles responded with her signature smile accompanied by an endearingly bashful eye roll, “the beginning is…OK.”

MORE: Danell Leyva on why he’s retiring

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