Tyson Gay wins Lausanne 100 in 9.79; Diamond League recap

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Tyson Gay continued his world-best form by winning the 100 meters in 9.79 seconds at the Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday.

Gay now owns the three fastest times in the world this season — adding the 9.79 (with a barely legal 2.0 wind) to a 9.75 and a 9.86 — after beating former world-record holder Asafa Powell, who clocked a season’s best 9.88 for second place. American Mike Rodgers was third in 9.96.

Another impressive performance from Gay puts more scrutiny on Usain Bolt, who runs a 200 in Paris on Saturday. Bolt’s best 100 time this season is a pedestrian (for him) 9.94 at Jamaican nationals. Bolt was beaten by American Justin Gatlin in Rome on June 6.

Is Gay the current favorite for the world championships, which begin Aug. 10 in Moscow? You could make a strong argument, but even Gay expects better out of Bolt in Russia.

“It’s no secret that this guy is a championship performer and you have to bring your ‘A’ game to beat him, or better than your ‘A’ game,” he said before the Lausanne meet, according to The Associated Press.

The women’s 100 hurdles saw a shock in Australian Olympic champion Sally Pearson finishing seventh out of eight in 12.69 seconds. Pearson is coming back from a hamstring injury, but in three races since June 27 hasn’t run within four tenths of U.S. champion Brianna Rollins’ world lead.

2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper won the hurdles in a season’s best 12.53, leading a U.S. sweep with Kellie Wells (12.58) and Lolo Jones (12.60). Jones later led off the U.S. 4×100 relay, which was disqualified on Jones’ handoff to the second runner.

In the women’s 200, U.S. champion Kimberlyn Duncan placed third in 22.73 in her first individual race in Europe. Olympic bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter, coming back from a quad injury, was fifth in 22.77, a season’s best. The world lead is held by Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce — 22.13.

David Oliver, who surprisingly missed the 2012 Olympic team, ran a world-leading 13.03 to win the 110 hurdles over fellow Americans Jason Richardson (13.20), Ryan Wilson (13.27) and David Payne (13.30). Oliver had finished second to Wilson at the U.S. Championships.

American Francena McCorory edged reigning world champion Amantle Montsho of Botswana in the 400, 50.36 to 50.37. Jamaican Novlene Williams-Mills, who competed in the London Olympics a month after learning she had breast cancer, was third in 50.87.

Nigerian Blessing Okagbare showed her versatility by beating Olympic champion Brittney Reese in the long jump with a 6.98-meter jump. Okagbare won the 200 in Birmingham on Sunday, an event where she holds the second-fastest time in the world this year.

Tommy Ford ends U.S. men’s World Cup drought at Beaver Creek

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Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup win at age 30 and ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades.

Ford won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, the last North American race on tour this season. He prevailed by eight tenths of a second combining times over two runs.

“It doesn’t beat doing it here. I’ve been working hard,” Ford, in his 86th World Cup start dating to 2009, said on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. “No secret, just kept it simple and really trusted what I was doing.”

Norwegians Henrik Kristoffersen and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen were second and third. American Ted Ligety, fourth after the opening run, finished 11th.

Full results are here.

Ford became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup since Travis Ganong took a downhill on Jan. 27, 2017. He also became the first U.S. male podium finisher since Ligety in January 2018. Both were the longest droughts for the program since the late 1990s.

Ford, a 2010 and 2018 Olympian who missed the 2014 Olympics due to a broken femur, had been working toward this moment.

He finished a World Cup career-high fourth at the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27. Last season, the Oregon native and former Dartmouth student had a pair of fifths.

The men’s World Cup moves to Val d’Isere, France, next weekend for a giant slalom and slalom.

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Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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