Redemption for Olympic champions in Diamond League final

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2016 Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Shaunae Miller-Uibo both failed to earn a medal in their signature event at August’s world track and field world championships.

But they both returned to the top of the podium Friday in the second of two Diamond League finals in Brussels.

Thompson won the 100m title, crossing the finish line .01 seconds ahead of Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast.

Thompson, the 2016 Olympic 100m and 200m champion, did not earn a medal of any color at August’s world championships, despite having run the year’s fastest 100m time (10.71 seconds) in June. The Jamaican sprinter joked that she watched the 100m race from Worlds, when she finished fifth, “over 1,000 times” trying to figure out what went wrong.

Three of the four women who finished ahead of Thompson at Worlds were not in the field in Brussels. Ta Lou was the silver medalist.

Miller-Uibo claimed the 400m title by clocking the year’s fastest time, 49.46 seconds.

At Worlds, she came off the final turn in the lead, but faded late to finish fourth behind Phyllis Francis, Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser and Allyson Felix.

Neither Francis nor Felix raced in Brussels. Naser finished second, breaking the national record in 49.88 seconds.

Miller-Uibo also won the 200m title last Thursday in the first Diamond League final. By winning both races, she earned a combined $100,000 in prize money.

Full Brussels results are here.

Four U.S. athletes earned a Diamond Trophy in Brussels, in addition to pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, who received his last Thursday in the first Diamond League final meet in Zurich.

2016 Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad edged two-time world champion Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic by .04 seconds to claim the 400m hurdles title.

Noah Lyles chased down fellow American Ameer Webb from the outside lane to win the 200m title by just .01 seconds. It was the first race for the 20-year-old Lyles since June.

Christian Taylor and Will Claye claimed the top two spots in the triple jump. Taylor, a two-time Olympic champion, has won the Diamond League triple jump title for six consecutive years.

Competing Friday night in a scenic venue in the center of Brussels, Darrell Hill held off compatriot Ryan Crouser, the Olympic champion, for the shot put title.

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Matt, Becca Hamilton are first U.S. Olympic mixed doubles curling team

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A brother and sister from Wisconsin will be the busiest athletes at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

A month ago the Hamilton siblings, Matt and Becca, qualified to compete at the Olympics with the U.S. men’s and women’s curling teams, and today they also qualified to play as a mixed doubles team.

With a win over two of their teammates, John Shuster (skip of Matt’s four-man team) and Cory Christensen (alternate on Becca’s four-woman team), at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for mixed doubles curling, the Hamiltons earned the opportunity to curl on potentially every day of the Olympics.

The Hamiltons will start their Olympic competitions with the mixed doubles tournament on Thursday, Feb. 8, the day before the the Opening Ceremony marks the official beginning of the Olympics. When mixed doubles wraps up on Tuesday the 13th, they’ll start playing separately in the men’s and women’s tournaments on Wednesday the 14th. The traditional curling tournaments go until Sunday, Feb. 25, the day of the Closing Ceremony.

Of course, if one of their teams doesn’t advance past the round-robin rounds to the semifinals and medal games, they’ll have some time off. But if they do go all the way to the gold medal matches, it’ll mean 18 straight days of competition for the Hamiltons.

Matt and Becca showed their readiness during the Olympic Trials. They had the second-best record of the round-robin stage, 5-2, then beat Shuster and Christensen twice in two days to win the Olympic berth. The score of the final was 6-5.

After the match, the siblings–who say their partnership works because they can be brutally honest on the ice–had nothing but kind words for each other.

Becca, the younger Hamilton by a year and a half, said her older brother “taught me everything I know.”

Matt then said of Becca, “it’s been impressive to watch her grow up and become the superstar she is now.”

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Jessica Kooreman, Thomas Hong, Ryan Pivirotto earn last three spots on U.S. Olympic short track team

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Jessica Kooreman, Thomas Hong and Ryan Pivirotto grabbed the last three spots on the U.S. Olympic short track team on Sunday as competition wrapped up at the Olympic Trials.

Kooreman survived a fall in the last women’s race of the Trials, the 1000m #2 A Final, to finish second overall in the 1000m and earn a spot on the team that will race on Olympic ice in PyeongChang.

Kooreman, a 2014 Olympian, joined Lana Gehring, a 2010 Olympian and Maame Biney, a 17-year-old who will make her Olympic debut in 2018, on the U.S. Olympic women’s short track team.

At 34 years old, Kooreman will be the veteran of the team. Four years ago, she swept all three events at the 2014 U.S. Olympic Trials and then finished fourth in the 1000m at the Sochi Winter Games.

She struggled to breakthrough to the top spots at this Trials; she finished third overall in both the 1500m on Friday and 500m on Saturday.

Left off the team is Katherine-Reutter Adamek, a two-time Olympic medalist from Vancouver who retired in 2013 due to injuries before coming back in 2016 in hopes of making another Olympic team. Reutter is the American record holder and Olympic silver medalist in the 1000m, but her Olympic aspirations ended when she didn’t qualify for the 1000m #2 A Final today.

Hong, a native of South Korea who moved to the U.S. at 4 years old, finished fourth in the men’s 1000m #2 A Final, and fourth overall. Pivirotto didn’t qualify for that A Final, and had to watch from the sidelines as his Olympic fate was decided. Pivirotto clinched the fifth and final spot by finishing fifth overall across all distances.

The overall winner on the men’s side was John-Henry Krueger, who was nearly undefeated over the three days of racing and won four of six A Finals: both 1000m finals today, the 500m #2 final yesterday and the 1500m #2 final on Friday. 22-year-old Krueger was expected to make the Olympic team four years ago, but had to withdraw from some races at the 2014 U.S. Olympic Trials when he was diagnosed with swine flu.

J.R. Celski, the only member of the team with prior Olympic experience, had an uncharacteristically rough Trials with four falls in three days. However his results when he did stay on his skates were good enough to put him into second-place overall. The third overall men’s skater was Aaron Tran, who also make the Olympic team.

The U.S. Olympic short track team:

Lana Gehring
Maame Biney
Jessica Kooreman
John-Henry Krueger
J.R. Celski
Aaron Tran
Thomas Hong
Ryan Pivirotto

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MORE: J.R. Celski, Maame Biney join U.S. Olympic short track team