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Carmelita Jeter’s busy summer will not include racing at U.S. Championships

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Carmelita Jeter hasn’t raced in nearly one year. The second-fastest woman in history jokes that you will probably see her at the U.S. Championships in Sacramento later this month.

“But you will not see me competing,” said Jeter, a 37-year-old who lives in the Los Angeles area.

Jeter, the 2011 World 100m champion and triple 2012 Olympic medalist, was slowed significantly by torn quads from 2013 through 2016. That forced her to withdraw ahead of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Jeter said the injuries are behind her now, but she decided that 2017 would be a year to let her body rest.

“Am I training? Yes, I am training, but I’m training to just stay in shape now,” Jeter said.

No U.S. Championships means no world championships for Jeter. Asked if she might compete again elsewhere later this year, or next year, and Jeter offered this with a laugh:

I have not retired. I’m still getting drug tested constantly.”

Olympic sports athletes generally make retirements official by filing paperwork to take their names out of a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency drug-testing pool.

Jeter is adamant that she could come back to compete. The evidence is on her Instagram. Video of Jeter starting out of the blocks for the first time since her last quad tear 11 months ago.

But she has other priorities now. Jeter spent this past school year coaching at her alma mater, Division II Cal State Dominguez Hills.

“I can see the eyes of girls that haven’t gotten to where I’ve been,” she said. “It gave me the love of the sport again.”

Jeter is working with her professional agency, Total Sports, to hand-pick athletes to mentor and manage.

And she’s now writing a to-be-titled book due out by August that will be largely about her career. It has been a unique one.

After failing to make the 2008 Olympic team, Jeter put together a stunning four-year cycle that concluded with a medal of every color at London 2012.

In 2009, she broke 11 seconds in the 100m on 16 occasions in six months (some wind-aided, via Tilastopaja.org). Jeter had broken 11 seconds once in her life prior to 2009.

She dropped her personal best from 10.97 to 10.64 that year and became the second-fastest woman all time in the 100m, behind Florence Griffith-Joyner. Her incredible improvement at age 29 (advanced for sprinting) led to scrutiny and skepticism, but Jeter had a clean drug-test record.

“A lot of [the book] is going to be about how I felt when I ran 10.6 and how I didn’t get the notoriety I felt I should have received,” Jeter said. “There were so many question marks on my 10.6 when people weren’t asking all the right questions. They were asking me all the wrong questions. They weren’t asking me, what did I change? How did my life change? How did my mindset change? Those questions weren’t asked, as if those were not important.”

Jeter said three men were largely responsible for her improvement.

Famed sprint coach John Smith, whom she began working with in late 2008. A doctor, Craig Dossman, who worked on her body twice a week. And a nutritionist, Wayne Douglas.

At the 2012 Olympics, Jeter took silver behind Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100m and bronze in the 200m behind Allyson Felix and Fraser-Pryce. She capped the meet by anchoring the U.S. 4x100m relay team to gold in a world-record time.

At the world championships, Jeter took 100m gold in 2011 and bronze in 2007, 2009 and 2013. She is the only U.S. man or woman to win an Olympic or world 100m title in this Jamaican-dominated era.

Jeter is now the same age as the oldest U.S. Olympic sprinter in history (Gail Devers was also 37 at the 2004 Athens Games). If she does come back, it will only be in the 100m, and likely not for another Olympics.

“If I just stay training and stay healthy, then we’re talking a different conversation in 2019,” Jeter said. “But for right now, 2020 is a bit far. It’s like looking down a long hallway. That’s really not where my eyes are set right now, but who knows what could happen.”

What’s for sure is that Jeter would be pleased if another woman comes along and runs faster than her 10.64.

“One thing I always say is somebody will come along and evolve,” she said.

Rio Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica is 24 years old and last year ran 10.70. This year, she has already run 10.78 into a slight headwind with the world championships still to come in August.

“Is she capable of running faster than me? Yes, she is,” Jeter said. “I’m not a hater. If it can be done, I want to see it.”

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Alysia Montano races pregnant again at USATF Outdoor Championships

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U.S. Olympic 800m runner Alysia Montaño raced four months pregnant in 110-degree heat at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday.

Montaño, who raced eight months pregnant at the 2014 USATF Outdoors also in Sacramento, finished last in her 800m first-round heat in 2:21.40. She was 10 seconds faster than her time three years ago.

In a Wonder Woman top, she gritted her teeth on the final straightaway and raised her arms crossing the finish line.

“[In 2014] women let me know that my journey and my story had inspired them in so many different ways,” Montaño told media in Sacramento, standing next to 2-year-old daughter Linnea. “I think there’s something about coming out to any venue, not really expecting to win, but just going along with the journey and seeing what comes out of it. And that’s the most beautiful part for me, being a track and field athlete, the platform that I have, I feel so responsible to be a representative for people who don’t have the same platform, don’t have the same voice that I do.

“I represent so many different people. I represent women. I represent black women. I represent pregnant women. … I think it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m a voice and advocate for them.”

Athletes are looking for top-three finishes to qualify for the world championships in London in August. Finals are later this weekend.

In the men’s 800m, two-time Olympian and 2013 World silver medalist Nick Symmonds was eliminated, 32nd-fastest of 33 runners in the first round.

Symmonds, in his final season, said he has one more race left — the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 10.

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Lilly King to be less vocal on Yuliya Efimova topic this summer

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Expect to see Lilly King and Yuliya Efimova resume their breaststroke rivalry at the world championships next month.

It will look very different than in Rio, when King became a vocal opponent of doping and directed some of her words at the formerly suspended Russian Efimova.

“This summer, I’m not going to talk about everything that happened last summer,” King said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “I spoke my piece. I’ve said everything I need to say.”

Her focus needs to stay in the pool, where she must finish first or second at the USA Swimming National Championships next week to make it to worlds (broadcast schedule here).

King said in May her goal is to break world records at worlds in Budapest in July.

She may need to in order to defeat Efimova like in Rio.

Efimova has the fastest 100m breast time in the world this year, a 1:04.82 set on Sunday. The national record put her No. 3 on the all-time list (and .09 faster than King’s winning time in Rio).

King is in third place this year at 1:06.20, though she spent all winter focusing on NCAA competition in 25-yard pools.

In Rio, King said Efimova shouldn’t have been allowed to compete given her doping history.

Efimova served a 16-month ban for testing positive for the banned steroid DHEA in 2013. She again tested positive in February 2016 for meldonium, though she said she stopped taking it before it became a banned substance Jan. 1, 2016, and was absolved along with other athletes.

King memorably finger-wagged at an image of Efimova on a TV in the ready room before her 100m breast semifinal and relegated the Russian to silver the following the night.

“You’ve been caught for drug cheating, I’m just not a fan,” King memorably said in Rio, adding last November, “[Doping] was on all of our minds. We had team meetings talking about what it was going to be like. We were going to be racing dopers, and we all knew it.”

King struggled with her newfound fame after she returned home last summer, sobbing in a winter meeting with her University of Indiana coach, Ray Looze, according to the Indianapolis Star:

It was so hard to do normal activities in her hometown – go to the grocery store or eat at a restaurant – that she considered wearing a wig to disguise herself. Her likeness was on a bingo card at a fall festival, so people purposely looked for her. When in Evansville now, she said, she looks at the ground so no one will recognize her. After an initial wave of attention on IU’s campus, she can walk around without interruption.

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