Dawn Harper-Nelson

Dawn Harper-Nelson wins 100m hurdles at U.S. Championships; Saturday recap

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Dawn Harper-Nelson beat the World champion in the 100m hurdles to win the U.S. Championship and celebrated with a cartwheel.

Harper-Nelson, the 2008 Olympic champion, clocked 12.55 seconds in the final in Sacramento, Calif. Queen Harrison was second in 12.56, followed by Lolo Jones in 12.65. World champion Brianna Rollins, who also owns the fastest time in the world this year, was fifth in 12.81.

“I made a little mistake in the middle [of the race], and I was like, ‘Oh, Lord, don’t let it go,'” Harper-Nelson told Lewis Johnson on NBC. “I knew it was going to be a great race. Fierce ladies.”

In the women’s 400m final, Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross couldn’t run down Francena McCorory. McCorory, the World Indoor champion, ran a personal best 49.48 seconds. That’s the fastest 400m by an American woman since Richards-Ross won the 2012 Olympic Trials in 49.28.

“I just wanted to get out, execute my race and finish strong,” said McCorory, gasping for breaths. “I’m just happy for the win.”

Richards-Ross went her fastest time of 2014 by .37 of a second, one day after chopping 1.16 seconds off her best time this year. She’s coming back from toe injuries that sidelined her most of the last season.

“What keeps me going now is my legacy,” said Richards-Ross, 29, a five-time Olympic medalist. “I do want to be a two-time [individual] Olympic champion, so I’m working hard to get back to Rio.”

The U.S. Championships finish Sunday with finals including the 200m, men’s 110m hurdles and women’s 1500m.

[WATCH LIVEU.S. Championships, Sunday at 3 p.m. ET]

In other events Saturday, Brittney Reese won the long jump with a 6.92m leap. Reese has won every global outdoor championship since placing fifth at the 2008 Olympics. Tianna Bartoletta, who won the 100m on Friday night, was second with five jumps of 6.8m or better. Nobody else did so more than once.

Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard won the high jump with a clearance of 2.35m. Kynard took three attempts at 2.41m, which would have been a American record, but failed on all three.

Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano passed Pat Casey in the final 100m of the 1500m to win by .31 in 3:38.63.

Two-time Olympian Sharon Day-Monroe successfully defended her heptathlon title with 6,470 points. Day-Monroe finished sixth at the 2013 World Championships with 6,407.

Emma Coburn took the 3000m steeplechase in 9:19.71, a meet record. She became the first American to win a Diamond League steeplechase in Shanghai on May 18.

Gil Roberts won a 400m final lacking the reigning World Championships gold and silver medalists, LaShawn Merritt and Tony McQuay. Merritt withdrew before the semifinals Friday. Roberts ran a personal best 44.53.

World Championships medalists Curtis Mitchell and Wallace Spearmon won their 200m first round heats. The last two World champions, David Oliver and Jason Richardson, advanced in the 110m hurdles. The semifinals and finals of both sprints are Sunday.

Olympic silver medalist Lashinda Demus and Olympians Tiffany Williams and Georganne Moline were among the qualifiers into the 400m hurdles final Sunday.

Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Bershawn JacksonJohnny Dutch and Jeshua Anderson made the men’s 400m hurdles final. London Olympic silver medalist Michael Tinsley was shockingly eliminated in the first round Friday.

Oscar Pistorius trial set to resume Monday

Lindsey Vonn sets date for proposal to enter men’s race

ALTENMARKT/ZAUCHENSEE, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 15: Lindsey Vonn of USA celebrates during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill on January 15, 2017 in Altenmarkt/Zauchensee, Austria (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
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The U.S. Ski Team plans to submit a proposal in the spring for Lindsey Vonn to be able to race against men in November 2018, according to the Denver Post.

“I know I’m not going to win, but I would like to at least have the opportunity to try,” Vonn said, according to the newspaper. “I think I’ve won enough World Cups where I should have enough respect within the industry to be able to have that opportunity.”

Vonn’s idea is to race in Lake Louise, Canada, an annual late fall stop on both the men’s and women’s World Cup schedules. The men generally race in Lake Louise one week before the women do.

Vonn’s greatest success has come at Lake Louise, with 18 victories in 41 downhill and super-G starts dating to 2001.

Vonn previously requested in 2012 to be able to race against men in Lake Louise, but that was denied by the International Ski Federation (FIS). The federation said then “that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.”

It doesn’t look like the federation’s stance has changed.

“You can set up a day where a female racer can compete against men racers, just as a show, but it has nothing to do with competition,” FIS women’s race director Atle Skaardal said, according to the Denver Post. “I don’t see that it’s going to change in the next years — no driving forces to urge a change like that. This is something the teams could do also in training. But why would you want to have a competition in this direction?

“I just don’t see the interest. For me it’s a meaningless comparison. It doesn’t matter if she’s one second behind or a half-second ahead. We compete female against female and men against men. To me it doesn’t matter if one gender is faster or slower. It doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, just because it’s of interest to one racer. I haven’t heard of any other sport being dragged into this kind of position.”

Vonn raced for the first time in 322 days on Sunday, finishing 13th in a World Cup downhill in Austria. It was actually an encouraging result, as Vonn said she wasn’t skiing to her limit in her first race back.

Her upcoming goals are to compete in the 2018 Olympics, after missing Sochi due to injury, and earn 11 more World Cup wins to break Ingemar Stenmark‘s career record of 86 victories. She can overtake Stenmark next season if she stays healthy and continues to win at her usual pace.

Vonn said in the spring that she would postpone retirement by one year and compete in the 2018-19 season if it meant being able to race the men.

But Skaardal’s comments suggest that won’t be possible.

“It’s definitely frustrating to hear that he said that, because I respect Atle very much,” Vonn said, according to the Denver Post. “He does a great job on the World Cup, and he is a former racer, so he understands. It’s disappointing to hear he doesn’t support it. But maybe if we organize something and a plan is put in front of him, maybe he would change his mind. I think most of the men are supporting me.”

Vonn is expected to race this weekend in a downhill and super-G in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany, streamed live on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

MORE: Bode Miller plans to race next season, U.S. coach says

Wayne Gretzky compares Hayley Wickenheiser to NHL legend

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The greatest male hockey player of all time paid the greatest female player of all time quite the compliment at her retirement ceremony Saturday.

“You played with heart, desire, finesse, speed, skill,” Wayne Gretzky said to Hayley Wickenheiser. “The only other person, the greatest player to ever live, I think he would be happy if I said you were the female Gordie Howe. Congratulations.”

The Canadian legend Wickenheiser announced her retirement Friday, after six Olympics and four gold medals. On Saturday, she was honored before a Calgary Flames-Edmonton Oilers game. A highlight was a speech by Gretzky, who now works in the Oilers’ front office.

Wickenheiser’s first Olympics, Nagano 1998, marked the only Winter Games for Gretzky. Gretzky played in the first Olympics with NHL participation in Nagano, finishing fourth with Canada, and retired in 1999 without an Olympic medal.

“You’ve opened so many doors for so many young girls to be able to one day win a gold medal,” Gretzky said to Wickenheiser. “To me, that’s more important than anything.”

Wickenheiser then took the mic at center ice and reciprocated.

“A big part of why I play the game is because of this man standing right here, Wayne Gretzky,” she said, later adding, according to Canadian media, “In Salt Lake City [2002] when we won the gold medal, the first two people I saw when we stepped off the ice were Wayne and [former Oilers All-Star defenseman] Kevin [Lowe] standing in our dressing room cheering for us.”

As part of the Wickenheiser ceremony, a tribute video was played including messages from Canadian Olympian and Hall of Famer Mark Messier, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

MORE: Amanda Kessel sets sights on 2018 Olympics