Galen Rupp

Galen Rupp cruises to 10,000m title at U.S. Championships; Thursday recap

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Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp won his sixth straight U.S. title in the 10,000m in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday night.

Rupp eased pass Chris Derrick with about 500m to go and crossed the finish line in what appeared a comfortable 28 minutes, 12.07 seconds. Derrick ended up 6.11 seconds behind for second.

Rupp, who broke his own American record in the 25-lap race with a 26:44.36 on May 30, said after his race Thursday that he would not contest the 5000m on Friday.

Kim Conley, a 2012 Olympian in the 5000m, won the women’s 10,000m despite pacing Jordan Hasay for the final two miles. Hasay finally made a pass on the final lap, but Conley summoned a final surge to retake the lead and finish in 32:02.07. Hasay followed in 32:03.28, and then 2012 Olympic finalist Amy Hastings.

Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan withdrew earlier Thursday but said she was healthy and preparing for a fall marathon on Twitter.

Alysia Montano runs 800m while 34 months pregnant

In other action, Olympic silver medalist Trey Hardee scored 4,441 points in the first five decathlon events. He leads by 368 points going into the final five events Friday. Olympic champion and world record holder Ashton Eaton was not entered, rather focusing on the 400m hurdles this season.

Olympic champions Allyson FelixLaShawn Merritt and Sanya Richards-Ross all advanced to the semifinals of their sprints.

Felix tied for 14th overall in the 100m preliminary heats at 11.53 to be among 16 women advancing. Defending champion English Gardner was fastest at 11.3, followed by world 200m leader Tori Bowie in 11.33.

Merritt easily qualified second into the 400m semis at 45.19, behind Gil Roberts (45.16). Merritt is the only American capable of bettering 44 seconds.

“The 400’s always tough,” Merritt said in a video interview posted by RunnerSpace. “For me sometimes, the slower I run, the more tired I am.”

[WATCH LIVEU.S. Championships, Friday at 10 pm ET]

Richards-Ross finished second in her heat in 52.39 to advance in the women’s 400m. She still feels pain in her right big toe, which she had surgery on last year and delayed her training to start this season. World Indoor champion Francena McCorory is the favorite.

“This is the best I’ve felt all year,” Richards-Ross said, according to The Associated Press. “I’m actually in more pain most of the time, but I’m getting through.”

Dentarius Locke, the third fastest American in the 100m this year, pulled up with an injury in his preliminary heat. The two faster Americans, World silver medalist Justin Gatlin and NCAA champion Trayvon Bromell, are not racing in Sacramento.

That leaves Olympic and World relay medalists Mike RodgersCharles Silmon and Ryan Bailey as the top men going into the semifinals and final Friday.

USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships broadcast schedule

Max Aaron retires from figure skating

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Max Aaron, a national champion and Skate America winner, has retired from competitive figure skating.

Aaron, 26, ends his career as the only Skate America men’s winner not to compete in an Olympics. He is one of three U.S. men’s champions in the last 55 years not to compete in an Olympics, along with Ryan Bradley and Rudy Galindo.

“Of course, becoming an Olympian, or having an Olympic medal would have been great to say, ride off on my white horse, but having the ability to say that I have no regrets in my entire career of figure skating, for me that is my gold medal,” Aaron said Thursday night.

Aaron, a former top USA Hockey developmental player, also figure skated growing up to help with his skating skills as one of the smaller players on his team.

He stopped playing hockey at 16 due to a broken vertebra but continued full-time with figure skating. By 2012, Aaron considered quitting figure skating after placing eighth at nationals (one year after being U.S. junior champion) and being told he wasn’t artistic enough.

But Aaron kept with it and completed a remarkable bounce back the next year, winning the U.S. title and setting himself up as a favorite to make the 2014 Olympic team.

But Aaron ended up third at the 2014 U.S. Championships. The two Sochi Olympic spots went to Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown.

Aaron continued, becoming the first U.S. man to win Skate America in six years in 2015 and topping the short program at the 2016 U.S. Championships before ultimately finishing second to Adam Rippon.

Aaron plummeted to ninth at the 2017 U.S. Championships, coming back from offseason hernia surgery, but returned to the Olympic team radar last fall with a personal-best free skate at Cup of China, including three landed quadruple jumps. He went into the 2018 U.S. Championships ranking third among American men for the season.

But Aaron was again ninth at nationals, missing the Olympic team. He was called on to compete at last month’s world championships as the third alternate after Rippon, Ross Miner and Brown all passed.

Aaron had stopped skating and instead was training for a triathlon. He went to worlds in Milan on two weeks of training and finished 11th, a result that helped the U.S. keep three men’s spots for 2019 Worlds. Nathan Chen won the world title, but Vincent Zhou was 14th. The U.S. needed its second man to be 12th or better to go along with Chen’s first place to ensure three spots next year. Aaron reportedly said at worlds that it may have been his last competition.

Aaron said he’s started a job with Merrill Lynch.

“It’s really been a great ride. I have no regrets,” he said. “That’s one thing that I always told myself, in sport, in life, I want to have no regrets, and I can honestly say, with the help from my coaches and friends, that I have no regrets in the sport.”

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Martha, Bela Karolyi speak on Larry Nassar case (video)

Martha Karolyi, Bela Karolyi
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Former USA Gymnastics national team coordinators Martha and Bela Karolyi said they knew nothing about Larry Nassar‘s alleged abuse in an interview that airs on an hourlong NBC News “Dateline” special Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

Star U.S. gymnasts, among more than 100 who said they were sexually abused by the convicted Nassar, said they were abused at the Karolyi’s ranch in Texas during national-team training camps.

“That’s awful, but I would say even if they have big names or they have no names, any child who was violated by Nassar, it’s a crime and it’s so sad,” Martha Karolyi told Savannah Guthrie in part of the interview that aired on TODAY on Friday.

How could the Karolyis not have known about the alleged abuses committed at their property?

“Yes, but if you couldn’t suspect anything, I heard during the testimonies that some of the parents were in therapy room with their own child and Larry Nassar was performing this — and the parent couldn’t see. How I could see?” Martha Karolyi said.

“The whole thing is just like an explosion, a bomb exploding, boom,” Bela Karolyi said.

Martha Karolyi led the national team for 15 years before retiring after the Rio Olympics. She told Guthrie that in “no way” did she suspect Nassar was sexually abusing athletes.

The Karolyis have been named as co-defendants in several civil lawsuits filed against Nassar and USA Gymnastics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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