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

U.S. Olympic Committee to hire infectious disease specialists for Zika

Christ the Redeemer
AP
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The U.S. Olympic Committee will hire two infectious disease specialists to advise potential Olympians who are worried about the Zika outbreak in Brazil.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun sent a letter Wednesday to all possible Olympians, acknowledging the growing worries over the virus.

“I know that the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil is of concern to many of you,” Blackmun wrote. “I want to emphasize that it is to us, as well, and that your well-being in Rio this summer is our highest priority.”

The letter goes on to spell out much of the information that’s already been relayed by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The virus is spread by mosquitoes. About 20 percent of those infected display mild symptoms, including body aches and rash. But pregnant women and those considering getting pregnant have greater reason for concern because the virus can cause microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated earlier this week, U.S. soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo said if the Olympics were being held now, she wouldn’t go.

Blackmun told The Associated Press that Solo’s comments “made us realize we need to provide concise and accurate info for our athletes.”

At least one of the two infectious disease specialists will be a woman, Blackmun said.

In addition to those two hires, the USOC will post updates to its website at USOC.org/RioTravelUpdates.

The USOC’s decision to hire the specialists was first reported by USA Today.

The letter, addressed to prospective members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic delegation, says “no matter how much we prepare … there will always be risk associated with international competition. Each country, each venue and each discipline will present different risks and require different mitigation strategies.”

Blackmun said the USOC is monitoring the frequent updates regarding Zika. The letter makes note that “rapid testing to determine if an individual is infected is expected in the near future.”

“First and foremost, we want to make sure our athletes have accurate information because they’re concerned,” Blackmun said. “Based on what we know now, the primary threat is to unborn children.”

MORE: Zika won’t stop Olympics; only war has done that, historian says

Alex Morgan scores 12 seconds into U.S. Olympic qualifying romp (video)

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Alex Morgan wasted no time igniting the U.S. women’s soccer team’s Olympic qualifying campaign.

The striker scored the first of her two goals 12 seconds into the Americans’ CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament-opening 5-0 rout of Costa Rica on Wednesday in Frisco, Texas.

It’s believed to be the fastest goal in U.S. Soccer history, according to U.S. Soccer.

“I think we shocked Costa Rica’s confidence a little bit,” Morgan said on NBC Sports Live Extra. “We’ve been working on that play, so I’m glad that we executed it perfectly.”

Crystal DunnCarli Lloyd and Christen Press also scored for the Americans, who are ranked No. 1 in the world. Costa Rica is ranked No. 34.

“Overall, we brought the fight,” Lloyd said on Live Extra. “We’ve got to put this one to bed and move on.”

The first three goals came in the first 15 minutes.

GOAL VIDEOS: Dunn | LloydMorgan’s second | Press

The U.S. is in one of two CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament groups with Costa Rica, Mexico (ranked No. 26) and Puerto Rico (No. 108).

It plays Mexico next on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra. Mexico crushed Puerto Rico 6-0 earlier Wednesday.

The top two nations per group will advance to the tournament semifinals, and the Feb. 19 semifinal winners advance to the Rio Games in August.

The U.S. is heavily favored to qualify for Rio, where it would go for its fourth straight Olympic title. The next-best North American team is ranked No. 11 (Canada, which is in the opposite CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament group).

If the U.S. and Canada win their respective groups, they would not have to play each other to qualify for the Olympics.

The U.S. roster for Olympic qualifying includes 13 of the 23 players from the World Cup, led by Olympic champions Morgan, Lloyd and Hope Solo, who blanked Costa Rica on Wednesday.

All 15 matches of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra.

MORE: No Olympics for Messi, but another Argentine star striker possible

2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship Schedule

Frisco, Texas – Toyota Stadium
Houston, Texas – BBVA Compass Stadium
Times U.S. Central (U.S. Eastern in parentheses)

FIRST ROUND
Group A: USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica
Group B: Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana

Wednesday, Feb. 10 (Frisco)
Mexico 6, Puerto Rico 0                                 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA 5, Costa Rica 0                                    7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)

Thursday, Feb. 11 (Houston)
Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago                  5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guyana                                           7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)

Saturday, Feb. 13 (Frisco)
Costa Rica vs. Puerto Rico                              12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
USA vs. Mexico                                                 3 p.m. (4 p.m.) NBCSN at 9:30 p.m. ET

Sunday, Feb. 14 (Houston)
Guyana vs. Guatemala                                     12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
Trinidad vs. Canada                                          3 p.m. (4 p.m.)

Monday, Feb. 15 (Frisco)
Mexico vs. Costa Rica                                       5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA vs. Puerto Rico                                          7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.) LIVE on NBCSN

Tuesday, Feb. 16 (Houston)
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guyana                         5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guatemala                                      7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)

SEMIFINALS

Friday, Feb. 19 (Houston)
Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up          4:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m.) ***
Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up          7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.) ***

FINAL

Sunday, Feb. 21 (Houston)
Semifinal winners                                            4 p.m. (5 p.m.) NBCSN at 11 p.m.

***USA’s semifinal, should the USA advance, will air LIVE on NBCSN