track and field

Emma Coburn, Sam Kendricks
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Emma Coburn, Sam Kendricks win USATF Athlete of the Year awards

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Emma Coburn and Sam Kendricks followed Rio Olympic bronze medals with their first world titles in August. And now, they both won USATF Athlete of the Year honors.

Coburn, 27, took the female award named after Jackie Joyner-Kersee after becoming the first American woman to bag 3000m steeplechase gold at the Olympics or worlds.

Coburn led an emotional U.S. one-two with Courtney Frerichs in London on Aug. 11 (video here). She broke the American record (by five seconds) and the world championships record by winning in 9:02.58.

Kendricks, 25, captured the Jesse Owens Award after an undefeated season that included the first Olympic or world pole vault title by an American man in 10 years.

The first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve won all 17 of his competitions in 2017, clearing six meters for the first time. No American had eclipsed that barrier since 2008.

Coburn and Kendricks won the USATF honors over the likes of fellow world champions Justin Gatlin and Tori Bowie (100m), Christian Taylor (triple jump), Phyllis Francis (400m), Kori Carter (400m hurdles) and Brittney Reese (long jump). Plus Shalane Flanagan and Galen Rupp, who each won World Marathon Majors this fall.

Rio gold medalists Michelle Carter (shot put) and Matthew Centrowitz (1500m) won the awards last year.

Coburn is the first steeplechaser to take home a USATF Athlete of the Year award. They’ve been handed out since 1981.

Kendricks joined 2000 Olympic champion Stacy Dragila as the only pole vaulters to earn the honor.

More from USATF on the awards here.

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VIDEO: NFL team celebrates TD by racing sprint relay

Houston Texans turn TD celebration into relay race (video)

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The relaxation of NFL celebration rules generated another Olympic sport-themed touchdown celebration on Sunday.

Four Houston Texans players combined to make up a relay team in Sunday’s 31-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Running back Lamar Miller led off after scoring on a seven-yard pass.

Miller, who reportedly ran a 100m in 10.71 seconds as a 16-year-old, handed the football off to DeAndre Hopkins, followed by Braxton Miller and finally Bruce Ellington on anchor.

“I think [Hopkins] came up with that out there,” said Lamar Miller, who briefly sprinted at the University of Miami. “He was like, whoever scored, we should do a relay.”

Unlike some recent U.S. men’s 4x100m teams at the Olympics and world championships, the Texans got the baton around clean.

“No rehearsal,” Lamar Miller said. “I think we would be a great 4x100m team.”

Last month, the Green Bay Packers celebrated like a bobsled team.

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MORE: John Carlos feels deja vu watching NFL protests

Wallace Spearmon on partying with Usain Bolt

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NEW YORK – U.S. sprinter Wallace Spearmon had been reluctant to discuss details of partying with longtime friend Usain Bolt.

But now that Bolt is retired, Spearmon was asked whether he could reveal any new Bolt stories.

“Oh man, you’re going to get me in trouble,” Spearmon said, laughing, at the USATF Black Tie and Sneakers Gala.

Spearmon had Bolt’s number a decade ago. He went into the 2008 Olympics with a 9-5 head-to-head edge over the Jamaican, according to Tilastopaja.org. (Bolt went on to win their last 10 head-to-heads.)

In Beijing, Spearmon shared that he partied with a group of Jamaican sprinters including Bolt, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell the night after Bolt won the 200m in world-record time.

Spearmon had finished his Olympics after being disqualified for a lane violation in the 200m final (where he crossed the line third), while Bolt still had the 4x100m relay.

Spearmon does not remember how late they partied, but it was well past 2 a.m. Bolt, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday, ate at least 20 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

The next day, Bolt, along with Nesta Carter, Frater and Powell, broke the 4x100m world record.

“I was confused as to how he actually did that,” Spearmon said, although the Jamaicans were stripped of the gold medal in January due to Carter’s doping.

Spearmon, who calls Bolt by his nickname “Ugo,” has long admired his friend’s ability to party at Carnival at a time of the year when most other sprinters are locked in at training camps.

“Do you know when Carnival is?” Spearmon asked, referring to the festival that begins the Friday before Ash Wednesday, typically in late February or early March. “Go look up when it is and then when the season starts, and you will see how good he really is. He could party and be super intoxicated, and then win a medal and break a world record.”

Bolt retired after the world championships in August, tearing his left hamstring in his relay finale. He asked Spearmon to stay for a couple of extra days in London, where they bowled.

“Little did he know that I’m from the country, and I do that once a week at least,” said Spearmon, an Arkansas resident who described Bolt as an “average” bowler. “I kicked their butts pretty bad. They told me I’m no longer welcome back to their bowling game.”

Bolt invited Spearmon to go to Australia this month, while Spearmon plans on bringing Bolt to Arkansas in January.

Spearmon is excited to show Bolt his alma mater, the University of Arkansas, as well as “cows, four-wheelers and dirt bikes.”

So how does a retired Bolt compare to a competitive Bolt as a partier?

“It’s not even a comparison,” Spearmon said. “Retired Bolt is out of control.”

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MORE: Michael Johnson’s advice to Usain Bolt