Tatyana McFadden’s path to potential 7 gold medals in Rio

Leave a comment

No American has done it in 12 years, but Tatyana McFadden is giving it a go at the Rio Paralympics.

McFadden is entered in seven track and field events, a total of 12 races in 11 days traversing 58,195 meters (or 630 football fields). The wheelchair racer believes it’s possible to win them all. No American has bagged seven golds at a single Paralympics since 2004.

“It’s definitely going to be one of the greatest challenges I face in athletics,” said McFadden, a 27-year-old who swept the Boston, Chicago, London and New York City Marathons in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

McFadden is entered in the 100m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 4x400m relay and the marathon. Her first preliminary heat is Thursday night. Her last medal race in her trademark event, the marathon, is on the final day of the Games on Sept. 18.

“In the sprinting, most of those girls are really just focused on the 100m and 400m, so I know that I have a lot of work cut out for me,” McFadden said Tuesday.

McFadden’s back story is well-known in Paralympic and marathon circles. She was born in Russia paralyzed from the waist down due to spina bifida and adopted from a St. Petersburg orphanage at age 6.

The last American to win seven golds at a single Paralympics was swimmer Erin Popovich at Athens 2004. Most of the Americans to earn that many golds were swimmers. The only U.S. track athlete to do it was Bart Dodson at Barcelona 1992, according to International Paralympic Committee archives.

McFadden is already one of the Paralympic greats going into Rio, her fourth Games. She owns 10 Summer Paralympic medals dating to her debut at age 15 in 2004 and tacked on a cross-country skiing silver at the Sochi Winter Games in 2014.

McFadden showed her track versatility at the 2013 IPC World Championships, sweeping the 100m through the 5000m to become the first athlete to take six golds at a single worlds. That was in July 2013. Earlier that year, she won the Boston and London Marathons. Later that year, she won the Chicago and New York City Marathons.

McFadden skipped the 2015 IPC Worlds to focus on her marathon racing, so she hasn’t been tested in a global championship in three years.

McFadden is confident, though, and pointed to Canadian wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc, who swept the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m at the 2004 and 2008 Paralympics.

“If she can do it, I feel like I can do it as well,” McFadden said.

However, Petitclerc did not contest the 5000m 0r marathon at those Games.

If McFadden can even win six golds, it would be the largest haul by an American in Rio this year, topping the likes of Michael PhelpsKatie Ledecky and Simone Biles.

“Legends like Michael and Katie, and some of the U.S. girls, especially in gymnastics, too, they’ve made history,” McFadden said. “It would be honoring to be part of that history and part of that movement. I think it would also really, really help to grow the Paralympic sport as well, to show how dominant it is. Hopefully people will go wow.”

MORE: Rio Paralympics broadcast schedule

Katie Ledecky wins by 19 seconds, breaks world swimming titles record

Leave a comment

Katie Ledecky convincingly broke the female record for swimming world titles.

But Lilly King tasted even sweeter victory, breaking a world record and dominating rival Yulia Efimova at the world championships in Budapest on Tuesday. Video of that showdown is here.

Ledecky clocked 15:31.82 to win the 1500m freestyle by a whopping 19 seconds at the Danube Arena, her 12th career world gold. Spain’s Mireia Belmonte took silver, followed by Italian Simona Quadarella. Ledecky owns the world record of 15:25.48 and the seven fastest times in history.

Ledecky, a 20-year-old rising Stanford sophomore, broke her tie with Missy Franklin for the most career world titles by a woman. The overall record is held by Michael Phelps, who won 26.

Fifty minutes after her 1500m free, Ledecky won her 200m free semifinal to make Wednesday’s final.

“It’s hard 364 of the other days of the year,” Ledecky said. “It’s putting in the work in practice, so that when I get to this day of the meet, I can just do it. It’s routine. I can just get up and know that I have the work in the bank to get up and swim those times.”

Ledecky has three gold medals so far this week, en route to a possible six, which would tie Franklin’s female record for golds at a single worlds.

In other events Tuesday, Lilly King handed Russian rival Yulia Efimova another beating in the 100m breast. This time, the finger-wagging King broke the world record.

Kylie Masse became the first Canadian woman to win a world swimming title after the nation previously took 18 combined silver and bronze medals. Masse broke the longest-standing women’s world record in swimming, the 100m backstroke, which had stood since 2009, with a time of 58.10.

American Kathleen Baker took silver in 58.58, followed by defending world champion Emily Seebohm of Australia.

China’s Sun Yang bagged his ninth career world title with his first crown in the 200m freestyle in 1:44.39. American Townley Haas took silver, .65 behind, followed by Russian Aleksandr Krasnykh.

In Rio, Sun became the first swimmer to win Olympic titles in the 200m, 400m and 1500m frees. Now, he’s the first man to complete the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m free set at worlds. Ledecky recorded that feat at a single worlds in 2015.

Canadian Xu Jiayu followed his Olympic silver medal with a gold in the 100m backstroke, edging 2012 Olympic champion Matt Grevers by .04. Rio gold medalist Ryan Murphy earned bronze.

Great Britain’s Adam Peaty broke his 50m breaststroke world record twice on Tuesday, in the preliminary heats and the semifinals. Peaty lowered the mark from 26.42 to 25.95 in the non-Olympic event.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

WORLDS: TV Schedule | Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview | Schedule/Results

Lilly King beats Yulia Efimova again, breaks world record (video)

Leave a comment

Lilly King stared toward Yulia Efimova before the race. She glanced at her afterward.

In between, King handed her Russian rival another beating, this time in world-record fashion at the world championships in Budapest on Tuesday.

King won the 100m breaststroke in 1:04.13 to back up her finger-wagging Olympic 100m breast title with her first world title.

Countrywoman Katie Meili earned silver in 1:05.03, followed by Efimova getting bronze in 1:05.05.

“The rivalry is definitely there. I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon,” King said, according to The Associated Press. “Obviously, it’s very awkward between the two of us. We’re competitors. We don’t really like each other too much.”

King smashed the previous record of 1:04.35 held by Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte, but she didn’t exactly feel confident Tuesday afternoon.

“I was actually, like really freaking out when I got to the pool,” King told media in Budapest. “I was like very nervous. Then I got in for warm-up, and I felt a lot better. I was feeling very confident going into the race.”

Once on the pool deck, King looked very much the trash-talking Indiana Hoosier who in Rio said Efimova shouldn’t be allowed to compete for previously failing two drug tests.

After introductions Tuesday, King stood staring at the lane next to her, where Efimova happened to be. Efimova did not appear to reciprocate.

“It’s always going to be a showdown,” King said, noting how impressed she was by Efimova’s semifinal swim Monday, when the Russian missed the world record by .01 and finger-wagged after.

King smirked, got up on her block and swam the fastest first 50 meters by a half-second over Efimova.

As Efimova faded in the last 25 meters, King surged to the wall. She turned around, saw the scoreboard and slammed her right arm into the pool.

Then she looked ever so briefly toward Efimova’s lane, turned back and raised both of her arms in the air.

Efimova said afterward that last year’s loss hurt more, according to the AP.

“There’s still pressure from the media, but it’s more fun,” Efimova reportedly said. “The Olympic Games were the worst.”

King and Efimova are slated to go head to head again in finals of the 200m breaststroke (Friday) and 50m breaststroke (Sunday). They are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in both events this year.

Women’s 100m Breaststroke Results
Gold: Lilly King (USA) — 1:04.13

Silver: Katie Meili (USA) — 1:05:03
Bronze: Yulia Efimova (RUS) — 1:05.05
4. Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) — 1:05.65
5. Shi Jinglin (CHN) — 1:06.43
6. Kierra Smith (CAN) — 1:06.90
7. Jessica Vall (ESP) — 1:06.95
8. Sarah Vasey (GBR) — 1:07.19

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

WORLDS: TV Schedule | Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview | Schedule/Results