16-year-old runs 3:56 mile; Oslo recap

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Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who at 16 is already the youngest sub-4-minute miler in history, lowered that mark by another two seconds at a Diamond League meet in Oslo on Thursday.

Ingebrigtsen won a mile race in 3 minutes, 56.29 seconds. Three weeks ago, Ingebrigtsen became the youngest man to break four minutes in the mile by running 3:58.07 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

“I believe that I could run at least one second faster [than at the Pre Classic] if I had the right pace from the beginning, so I’m really happy,” Ingebrigtsen said Thursday. “This is probably the best day that can happen to me. … There’s no limits. It’s up to myself how fast I can run.”

Full Oslo results are here. Many U.S. stars sat out the meet as they prepare for next week’s national championships, a qualifier for worlds in London in August.

In other events Thursday, favorites Caster Semenya and Andre De Grasse and Dafne Schippers all won races.

Semenya, the scrutinized South African, extended her 800m winning streak to 17 meets dating to 2015. She beat a field including Olympic silver and bronze medalists Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui. Niyonsaba was closest, finished .59 behind Semenya, who won in her typical relaxed fashion.

De Grasse had a much closer victory. He held off Brit C.J. Ujah by .01 in the 100m, clocking 10.01 seconds with a .2 meter/second tailwind.

De Grasse, who took 100m bronze and 200m silver behind Usain Bolt in Rio, ranks No. 14 in the world this year in the 100m, but he is known to ease his way into a season.

Schippers, the Olympic 200m silver medalist, ran under protest after a false start. She crossed the finish line first in 22.31 seconds but was later DQ’d for the infraction. She appealed, and 45 minutes later was reinstated as the winner.

Her clocking was well of the fastest time in the world this year of 21.77 set by Tori Bowie.

In the high jump, two-time Olympic medalist Mutaz Barshim of Qatar cleared 2.38 meters, the highest in the world this year. He beat a field that included the top five from Rio.

The Diamond League season continues in Stockholm on Sunday, with coverage on NBC Sports Gold starting at 9:15 a.m. ET.

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Alysia Montano races pregnant again at USATF Outdoor Championships

Alysia Montano
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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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