Hidekichi Miyazaki
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Hidekichi Miyazaki, 105, not the true Guinness World Record holder


Hidekichi Miyazaki may have been presented with a Guinness World Record as the world’s oldest competitive sprinter on Wednesday, but another man deserves the title.

Poland’s Stanislaw Kowalski ran the 100m at age 105 in June (and in a faster time, 34.50 seconds to Miyazaki’s 42.22). Kowalski turned 105 in April. Miyazaki turned 105 on Sept. 22, one day before his Guinness World Record sprint.

So Kowalski ran his 100m before Miyazaki, at an older age and in a quicker time.

A World Masters Athletics official confirmed Kowalski’s time Saturday.

Here’s video of Kowalski running a 60m indoor race earlier this year. Here’s a Daily Mail report on Kowalski from 2014.

MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Michael Johnson: I was capable of running sub-19 200m

With Olympics coming, U.S. swimming, track and field look for rebound

Tyson Gay, Mike Rodgers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The buzz in U.S. Olympic circles is about bringing the 2024 Games to Los Angeles.

A more urgent matter: Bringing home the most medals from next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

That may not be a sure thing, especially considering the struggles of the U.S. swimming and track teams this summer.

Track and swimming combined for 53 percent of the country’s 407 medals over the last four Olympics, each of which ended with the United States on top of the medals table. But at this year’s world championships, swimmers took home 21 medals in Olympic events. That’s four fewer than they did in 2011, the year before the London Games. The track team took home only 18, seven fewer than four years ago.

“There’s always a level of anxiety,” said Chuck Wielgus, the executive director of USA Swimming since 1997. “I’d say the level of anxiety is probably higher this time around than any time I’ve been executive director. But there have never been more opportunities for people to step up and make an impact on the Olympic team.”

There are reasons for optimism, starting with the fact that the United States traditionally brings the deepest pool of athletes to the Olympics in both these sports. Also, the swimming results came without the presence of 22-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps, who was banned from worlds because of his arrest on drunken-driving charges. He competed the same week at U.S. nationals and posted three times that would have won gold at worlds.

But there were also some red flags waving at the meets in Russia (swimming) and China (track).

Missy Franklin didn’t win any individual gold medals at worlds, after taking three in 2013. It could be attributed to the grind of her recently completed college season, though she now has more competition in the 200 free with teammate Katie Ledecky, the star of the world championships, dropping down to that distance. Also, relay races that used to almost automatically go in the U.S. win column are now being more hotly contested by countries putting more resources into winning the team events.

Larry Probst, the chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said the board talked about the results at their quarterly meeting Friday.

“I wouldn’t call it blaring alarm bells, but both organizations had higher expectations going into worlds,” Probst said. “Everyone’s aware that there’s work to be done between now and Rio. Everyone knows we have to improve results when we get to the Olympic Games in Rio.”

At the track meet in Beijing, the United States led the medal count but brought home the lowest total since 2003, when it won 20. That number was reduced to 16 after a number of doping cases were resolved.

“None of us are overjoyed with the performance we had at world championships,” said USA Track and Field CEO Max Siegel.

Kenya and Jamaica — both powerhouses in their specific niches but nowhere near as deep as the U.S. – each won one more gold than the United States and finished only two shy of America’s overall total. The U.S. had a few pleasant surprises at the Bird’s Nest — Tianna Bartoletta‘s gold in long jump, for instance. But they were offset by a number of flame-outs, including in the men’s 4×100 relay, where the long-time problem of passing the baton came up again and cost them a medal.

“We’re stripping it all apart and looking at it, event by event,” Siegel said. “We’re looking at the talent pool, ways to support the athletes more, ways to get prepared better for Rio.”

In other sports, there have been some improvements that could help the medal count.

The U.S. wrestling team took home seven medals from worlds on home turf in Las Vegas – three more than at the 2011 worlds. The United States took home a surprise bronze medal in sprint canoeing (Michal Smolen) and has medal contenders in triathlon, starting with world champion Gwen Jorgensen.

Still, over the last few Olympics cycles, the USOC has shifted some focus and money away from development and into sports and athletes who can deliver medals when the world is watching at the Olympics. Swimming and track are at the top of that list because of both the sheer number of medals available and the talent of the U.S. athletes.

Will that strategy pay off?

Only if next year’s numbers are better.

MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Michael Johnson: I was capable of running 200m under 19 seconds

USOC extends CEO’s contract through 2021 with option to 2024

Scott Blackmun
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — In the U.S. Olympic Committee’s version of a perfect world, CEO Scott Blackmun will help the Americans bring the curtain down on the Los Angeles Olympics in 2024.

The USOC board extended Blackmun’s contract by five years, through 2021, with an option to keep him through the 2024 Games.

Chairman Larry Probst said the extension, announced Friday, was recognition of the work Blackmun has done since he got the job in 2010, but clearly there’s another factor at play here: The USOC wants to show it is stable as it tries to help Los Angeles land the 2024 Olympics.

“It seemed like a no-brainer to me and the board,” Probst said. “We’re highly interested in him leading the organization forward for the next six years, at least.”

Blackmun will work under the same terms as his current contract, which pays him nearly $980,000 a year, including bonuses.

The announcement came on the same day that Mike Krzyzewski, the coach of Duke and the USA basketball team, was on hand to deliver a speech to the U.S. Olympic Assembly. He appreciated the message being sent.

“It’s really powerful,” Krzyzewski said. “When you keep changing, then people don’t know (the culture). The neighborhood he has to negotiate, it’s very difficult. The more knowledge and more activity you’ve had in it is a good thing.”

Blackmun came into the job five years ago, after a nine-month period of tumult at the USOC that included the forced resignation of Jim Scherr as CEO, the unpopular hiring of Stephanie Streeter to replace him and, most notably, the fourth-place humiliation of Chicago in the bidding for the 2016 Olympics.

All the upheaval, combined with the USOC’s poor international reputation, hurt Chicago’s cause. Under Blackmun and Probst, the USOC has established itself as a more reliable partner worldwide.

Los Angeles is in the running for the 2024 Games against Paris, Rome, Hamburg, Germany, and Budapest, Hungary. The vote is in 2017.

Blackmun’s contract runs through at least 2021, and if both sides agree, he would stay on for four years beyond that.

“He has offered terrific leadership to the organization and developed a high level or respect internationally,” Probst said.

Notes: Probst said LA 2024 chairman Casey Wasserman will be involved with the bid on a day-to-day basis but that Wasserman told the USOC board he also plans to hire a CEO. … The USOC is slimming down its operation of the training center in Chula Vista, California, hoping to redistribute some of the saved money to other sports and athletes. … Blackmun said the USOC has $15 million of the $20 million it is trying to raise to run its Safe Sport program and the nomination and governance boards were named earlier this month. … When Wasserman was 17, Probst hired him as an intern at EA Sports, where the executive-to-be was a game-tester. Probst: “If you’re 17 years old and get hired as a game tester and you get paid, you’re a pretty happy kid, and he did a great job.” … Probst said a defining moment for him came in 2012 when Thomas Bach, now the president of the International Olympic Committee, shook his hand after the USOC and IOC finally ironed out a revenue-sharing agreement that had been a sore spot for both sides for years. “He said something along the lines of, `Welcome to the Olympic movement,”‘ Probst said. “That was the highest hurdle we had to get over.”

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