Ruta Meilutyte

Ruta Meilutyte adds Olympic star power to Nanjing Games

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The Nanjing Youth Olympic athlete bios include a section called “Sporting Achievements.” For one Lithuanian swimmer at the Games, written in that category is “Gold in London Olympic Games.”

Ruta Meilutyte, the reigning Olympic 100m breaststroke champion, is one of the most familiar names among about 3,800 athletes competing at the second Youth Olympics.

How could somebody who won Olympic gold be eligible for the Youth Olympics? Well, Meilutyte stunned in London when she was 15. The Youth Olympics include athletes up to 18 years old.

So, even U.S. star Katie Ledecky, 17 like Meilutyte, is eligible for Nanjing (Ledecky is in Australia for the Pan Pacific Championships next week rather than Nanjing).

Schedule of NBC Olympics, Universal Sports coverage of Youth Olympics

NBC will air Youth Olympics coverage from 3-4 p.m. ET on Sunday (as will NBC Sports Live Extra). NBCSN’s coverage continues from 8-10 p.m. ET (also on NBC Sports Live Extra).

Meilutyte is entered in the 50m and 100m breaststrokes in Nanjing, as well as the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley.

Her world record in the 50m breast (29.48) is nearly two seconds faster than anyone else’s personal best among the Nanjing field. Her world record in the 100m breast (1:04.35) is more than four seconds faster than the field.

The Lithuanian’s march to add Youth Olympic gold to her London title begins on the first day of medal competition Sunday with 50m breast heats and semifinals and the 200m IM heats and final.

Youth Olympics Opening Ceremony a festive production (photos)

Ida Keeling, 100 years old, sets world record at Penn Relays (video)

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Ida Keeling electrified the Penn Relays crowd with her 100-meter dash in 1 minute, 17.33 seconds on Saturday afternoon.

Keeling set a world record for fastest 100m by a woman 100 years and older. There is no data on USA Track and Field and masters athletics websites for a previous record holder.

“I’ll be 101 in a couple of weeks,” Keeling pointed out to NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno after the race, a mixed-gender event for athletes 80 and older. “I’ve never seen nothing like this crowd. Maybe that’s what the excitement was.”

Keeling’s advice?

“Love yourself, do what you have to do and what you want to do,” she said. “Eat for nutrition, not for taste. And exercise at least once a day.”

More on Keeling is here.

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U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

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