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

What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

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Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.

First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).

USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.

The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.

Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.

Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.

The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.

Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.

That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.

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IOC president unsure whether esports should be considered sport

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Esports are gaining momentum in the international sports movement, but they are not close to becoming an Olympic sport.

“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday, according to insidethegames. “We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured.”

The first clear step (of many) to become an Olympic sport is for the IOC to recognize the sport’s international governing body.

Esports will be added as a medal sport to the Asian Games in 2022, and has been praised by LA 2024 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman, but it is not yet IOC recognized.

“We are watching it, we see the differences, we see the lack of organisation,” Bach said, according to the report. “But we also see the high engagement of youth in esports. Therefore, we have to carefully consider how this could be consolidated.”

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