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Usain Bolt among IAAF World Athlete of the Year nominees

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Usain Bolt is one of 10 men nominated for the IAAF’s Male Athlete of the Year, bidding to win the award for a sixth time after another Olympic triple-gold performance.

Bolt, who won the award after previous Olympics in 2008 and 2012, will go up against a field made up of Rio gold medalists.

That includes South African Wayde van Niekerk, the only man to break a world record in an Olympic event this year, the 400m in Rio.

The American finalists are Ashton Eaton and Christian Taylor, who repeated as Olympic champions in the decathlon and triple jump, respectively. Eaton won the Men’s Athlete of the Year in 2015 after breaking his world record at the world championships.

The 10 Women’s Athlete of the Year nominees include nine Rio gold medalists plus American Keni Harrison, who failed to qualify for the Olympic team but broke the 100m hurdles world record two weeks before the Games.

No women who previously captured the award are among the nominees, such as 2015 winner Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia.

In November, three men’s and three women’s finalists will be announced.

The winners will be announced Dec. 2 in Monaco at the IAAF awards night.

Here are the nominees (italics = broke Olympic event world record in 2016):

Men
Usain Bolt (JAM) — 100m, 200m, 4x100m
Thiago Braz da Silva (BRA) — Pole vault
Ashton Eaton (USA) — Decathlon
Mo Farah (GBR) — 5000m, 10,000m
Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) — Marathon
Conseslus Kipruto (KEN) — 3000m steeplechase
Omar McLeod (JAM) — 110m hurdles
David Rudisha (KEN) — 800m
Christian Taylor (USA) — Triple jump
Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) — 400m

Women
Almaz Ayana (ETH) — 10,000m
Ruth Beitia (ESP) — High jump
Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) — 5000m
Keni Harrison (USA) — 100m hurdles
Caterine Ibarguen (COL) — Triple jump
Ruth Jebet (BRN) — 3000m steeplechase
Sandra Perkovic (CRO) — Discus
Caster Semenya (RSA) — 800m
Elaine Thompson (JAM) — 100m, 200m
Anita Wlodarczyk (POL) — Hammer throw

VIDEO: ‘I am Bolt’ trailer

Chinese lead, star pairs struggle in world championships short program

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China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong recorded the highest pairs short program score in the world since the 2014 Olympics, topping the world championships field in Helsinki on Wednesday.

Two-time defending world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada and Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov are well behind in seventh and 13th place, respectively.

Sui and Han, in just their second event this season, tallied a personal-best 81.23 points.

They lead by 1.39 over Germans Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot going into the free skate Thursday (1 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are in third.

The Chinese will go for their first world title after giving up a short-program lead last year and taking silver for a second straight time.

Full worlds short program results are here.

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Sui and Han missed the fall season after Sui underwent right ankle and left foot surgeries last spring. They returned at the Four Continents Championships in February and posted personal-best free skate and total scores, ranking only behind Tarasova and Morozov for the season.

Duhamel and Radford, looking to become the first pair to three-peat in 40 years, came in slowed by Radford’s hip injury suffered in the last week. Radford was off-balance on his triple toe loop landing Wednesday. Duhamel’s hand touched the ice on her throw triple Lutz landing.

They scored 72.67 points, which is 8.56 behind Sui and Han.

Stolbova and Klimov both suffered falls in their short program and scored 65.59, qualifying for the 16-pair free skate by four points. The Russian champions missed the autumn season due to Stolbova’s left leg injury.

The top U.S. pair was Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim, who posted a personal-best 72.17 points for eighth place. The husband-and-wife pair are competing for the second time this season after Scimeca Knierim’s serious abdominal injury.

U.S. champions Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier suffered two falls and placed 20th, matching the worst U.S. pairs finish in worlds history. They did not qualify for the 16-pair free skate.

Therefore, the Knierims must finish 10th or better after the free skate to ensure the U.S. earns two pairs places at the 2018 Olympics.

Pairs is the U.S.’ weakest discipline. The last U.S. medal in pairs at worlds came in 2002. The last Olympic medal was in 1988.

North Korean pair Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik placed 14th in the short program, the highest of any pair expected to compete for one of four final Olympic quota spots in September.

North Korea sent no athletes to the Sochi Olympics, and it’s not a guarantee it will qualify any athletes for PyeongChang, or if it will send athletes to South Korea in February. But Ryom and Kim’s personal best by nearly 11 points on Wednesday was very encouraging.

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MORE: U.S. pairs skater back from life-threatening condition

Pairs Short Program
1. Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (CHN) — 81.23
2. Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot (GER) — 79.84
3. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 79.37
8. Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Christopher Knierim (USA) — 72.17
20. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 56.23

Missy Franklin out due to shoulder surgeries

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Missy Franklin is sidelined from swimming competition for an undisclosed period of time to recover from surgeries on both of her shoulders due to bursitis, according to her social media.

“This is what’s best for me to come stronger than ever,” was posted on Franklin’s Instagram. “I’m so far from being done with this sport.”

The five-time Olympic champion was diagnosed in early January following an MRI, underwent surgeries that month and has returned to limited training.

Franklin, who has not raced since the Rio Olympics, will not compete in the next USA Swimming Pro Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., in two weeks.

Her return date is not set.

The U.S. Championships are in June in Indianapolis and serve as a qualifying meet for the world championships in Budapest in July.

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