Simon Cho fails to make U.S. team; expects ban

Simon Cho

Vancouver bronze-medalist Simon Cho failed to make the U.S. World Cup team Sunday and says he expects to be suspended after allegations of him tampering with a rival’s skates at the 2011 world speed skating championships were made public.

“I went from being Simon Cho, Olympic medalist and world champion to the guy that supposedly tampered with somebody’s skates,” Cho, 20, told the AP. “That was very damaging to me and my family. Now I have to be a class act about it and do the best I can to portray how my family raised me.”

Cho’s admission comes amid controversy involving U.S. short track coach Jae Su Chun, who Cho says ordered him to tamper with Canadian Oliver Jean’s skates before the 5000m relay final in Poland last year. Chun has been accused by 14 members of team of verbal and physical abuse against his skaters, with seven other members of the team coming out in support of Chun.

Ten skaters secured a spot on the team Sunday, but many have threatened to boycott if Chun is retained as the head coach and will wait until they hear final word before accepting positions. They have until Oct. 7.

As for Cho, the 2011 500m world champ, he’ll hope he can get one of two discretionary team spots handed out later this month. In the meantime he’s retained council to deal with the tampering allegations and is willing to testify if called on during an Oct. 8 hearing regarding Chun’s dismissal as coach.

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein

Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah

British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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