Video: Usain Bolt anchors relay win; Diamond League recap

Usain Bolt
0 Comments

Usain Bolt wrapped up the London Anniversary Games with a no-doubt-about-it anchor leg on the 4×100-meter relay at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Bolt and his Racers Track Club won the event in 37.75 seconds, easily beating France (38.45). The 4×100 world record set by Bolt and Jamaica at the 2012 Olympics is 36.84. This was Bolt’s first appearance at the Olympic Stadium since his triple gold performance at the 2012 Games.

An All-Star team of Americans Mike RodgersWallace SpearmonTony McQuay and St. Kitts and Nevis’ Kim Collins could have given Bolt’s Racers quartet problems, but they botched the last handoff from Collins to McQuay.

Bolt was the star attraction, even in a team event. His teammates — Mario ForsytheKemar Bailey-Cole and Warren Weir — all wore yellow jerseys. Bolt was in a blue and red Puma uniform.

He took the orange baton from Weir for the final straight and breezed to win, keeping his eye on the clock the whole time. Mo Farah could be seen in the background watching Bolt cross the finish.

“I wanted to run a fast time to see where we’re at,” Bolt told the BBC, adding this foursome will pretty much be the Jamaican relay team in Moscow (though Forsythe didn’t make the Jamaican team in an individual event).

Bolt now goes into worlds with the fastest time in the world in the 100 (if you take out Tyson Gay) and the 200. His Jamaican team in the 4×100, even without the injured Yohan Blake, will fight with the U.S., without Gay, for gold as well.

“It wasn’t perfect early in the season, but it’s coming together at the right time,” Bolt said.

Complete results

Women’s 100 meters: It was a strange afternoon in what was the deepest sprint field of the second day of the meet.

Reigning world champion Carmelita Jeter withdrew from the final with a quad injury, according to Flotrack, after running a season’s best 10.93 in her heat.

Jeter missed the U.S. championships in June due to a quad injury. With worlds just two weeks away, this is a situation to monitor.

Two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce put up a very smooth world-leading 10.77 in her heat. But Fraser-Pryce was never a factor in the final, running a 10.94 for fourth place.

The winner of the final was Nigerian Blessing Okagbare, who broke Glory Alozie‘s 14-year-old African record in her heat (10.86) and again in the final (10.79).

Okagbare is also ranked fourth in the world this year in both the 200 and the long jump.

The fastest American on Saturday was a woman who didn’t make the world championships team — Barbara Pierre. Pierre matched her personal-best 10.85 in the final, the same time English Gardner clocked to win nationals in June.

Gardner, meanwhile, finished seventh and last in the final in 11.08 after going 11.10 in her heat. She’s yet to run sub-11 outside the U.S. this year and, at this point, can’t be considered a medal favorite in Moscow.

Women’s 100-meter hurdles: Olympic champion Sally Pearson notched a season’s best 12.65, while Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis came in fourth in 13.08. Both are coming off injuries.

Pearson, returning from two hamstring tears, crossed the finish line, bent down to the track, grinned and gave a thumbs-up.

That shows how tough the last few months have been, given the season’s best was merely .02 under her time in Ostrava, Czech Republic, last month and well slower than her personal best of 12.28.

“It still wasn’t perfect,” Pearson told the BBC. “Not 100 percent, but i’m happy with it. … Jess, I was nervous of her in the warm-up. You don’t know what she’s going to do. She’s a freak.”

Pearson is still nearly four tenths behind world leader and U.S. and NCAA champion Brianna Rollins, who skipped a potential race against Pearson in Monaco earlier this month.

Ennis, still not a definite for worlds due to an Achilles injury, was well off her personal best of 12.54 set at the Olympics and disappointed with her time Saturday.

“This was very nerve-racking,” said Ennis, who received a rousing ovation in introductions from the packed Olympic Stadium. “Having this injury, not been able to prepare as best as I could have.”

Ennis, who later placed last in the long jump, said she would talk with coach Toni Minichiello about her next move before worlds. Minichiello said on the BBC that Ennis needs at least one more race before heading to Moscow to potentially enter the heptathlon.

“We’ll take another two, three days after this to take a look how the injury reacts,” Minichiello said.

Women’s 200 meters: Olympic champion Allyson Felix had to work to cross the finish first in 22.41, edging fellow American Shalonda Solomon (22.50) in a shallow field.

“Final preparations,” said Felix, who ran her last race before worlds, which begin Aug. 10. “Last year was a long year. I’m taking it slow this year. A little more work to do.”

Felix, who won world bronze in 2011, is ranked seventh in the world this year at 22.36. The world leaders are Fraser-Pryce (22.13) and Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast (22.24), both of whom chose to only run the 100 at the Anniversary Games.

Felix was beaten at the U.S. championships by Kimberlyn Duncan (22.35), who was also not in the field Saturday.

Men’s 3,000 meters: Mo Farah is now three for three on Saturdays at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Farah, who won Olympic gold at the same track on the second and third Saturdays of the 2012 Games, prevailed with ease in the non-Olympic distance in 7:36.85. Nobody was within five seconds.

“Coming here, I felt really emotional about it,” Farah told the BBC. “It was close in noise to the Olympics.”

The Somali-born, Oregon-trained Farah will attempt to repeat his Olympic 5,000-10,000 double in Moscow. He’s already set the British record in the 1,500 meters this season.

Farah heads back to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for more high-altitude training Sunday.

Men’s 110-meter hurdles: Olympic champion and world-record holder Aries Merritt hit the fifth hurdle with his trail leg and ran through the sixth hurdle but told the BBC he’s not injured.

“I was able to catch myself because of my cat-like reflexes,” he joked.

American David Oliver, who owns the world lead of 13.03 and was second at nationals, went on to win in 13.20.

Merritt, third at nationals behind Ryan Wilson and Oliver, went under 13 seconds eight times last year, including that world-record run of 12.80. He has yet to go under 13 this year, opening up the gold-medal picture a little bit going into worlds.

Notable: Brit favorite Christine Ohuruogu did one better than she did at the Olympics, winning the women’s 400 in 50 flat, a season’s best, over the top two from the U.S. championships, Francena McCorory (50.13) and Natasha Hastings (50.68). Reigning world champion Amantle Montsho, not in the field, remains the world leader at 49.33. Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross did not make the U.S. team for the world championships. … Olympic silver medalist and U.S. champion Michael Tinsley won the 400 hurdles in 47.98. Tinsley is the only man to go under 48 seconds this year, and he’s now done it twice. He’s the favorite in Moscow. …. Two-time reigning Olympic champion and three-time reigning world champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand won the women’s shot put with a world-leading throw of 20.90 meters. Adams, who originally won silver in London but was upgraded to gold after the Belarusian champion failed drug tests, is the only woman to throw farther than 20.24 this year.

Video: Inside Usain Bolt’s training

Elena Fanchini, medal-winning Alpine skier, dies at 37

Elena Fanchini
Getty
0 Comments

Elena Fanchini, an Italian Alpine skier whose career was cut short by a tumor, has died. She was 37.

Fanchini, the 2005 World downhill silver medalist at age 19, passed away Wednesday at her home in Solato, near Brescia, the Italian Winter Sports Federation announced.

Fanchini died on the same day that fellow Italian Marta Bassino won the super-G at the world championships in Meribel, France; and two days after Federica Brignone — another former teammate — claimed gold in the combined.

Sofia Goggia, who is the favorite for Saturday’s downhill, dedicated her World Cup win in Cortina d’Ampezzo last month to Fanchini.

Fanchini last raced in December 2017. She was cleared to return to train nearly a year later but never made it fully back, and her condition grew worse in recent months.

Fanchini won her world downhill silver medal in Italy in 2005, exactly one month after her World Cup debut, an astonishing breakout.

Ten months later, she won a World Cup downhill in Canada with “Ciao Mamma” scribbled on face tape to guard against 1-degree temperatures. She was 20. Nobody younger than 21 has won a World Cup downhill since. Her second and final World Cup win, also a downhill, came more than nine years later.

In between her two World Cup wins, Fanchini raced at three Olympics with a best finish of 12th in the downhill in 2014. She missed the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics because of her condition.

Fanchini’s younger sisters Nadia and Sabrina were also World Cup racers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

USA Boxing to skip world championships

USA Boxing
Getty
0 Comments

USA Boxing will not send boxers to this year’s men’s and women’s world championships, citing “the ongoing failures” of the IBA, the sport’s international governing body, that put boxing’s place on the Olympic program at risk.

The Washington Post first reported the decision.

In a letter to its members, USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee listed many factors that led to the decision, including IBA governance issues, financial irregularities and transparency and that Russian and Belarusian boxers are allowed to compete with their flags.

IBA lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers in October and said it would allow their flags and anthems to return, too.

The IOC has not shifted from its recommendation to international sports federations last February that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred, though the IOC and Olympic sports officials have been exploring whether those athletes could return without national symbols.

USA Boxing said that Russian boxers have competed at an IBA event in Morocco this month with their flags and are expected to compete at this year’s world championships under their flags.

“While sport is intended to be politically neutral, many boxers, coaches and other representatives of the Ukrainian boxing community were killed as a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, including coach Mykhaylo Korenovsky who was killed when a Russian missile hit an apartment block in January 2023,” according to the USA Boxing letter. “Ukraine’s sports infrastructure, including numerous boxing gyms, has been devastated by Russian aggression.”

McAtee added later that USA Boxing would still not send athletes to worlds even if Russians and Belarusians were competing as neutrals and without their flags.

“USA Boxing’s decision is based on the ‘totality of all of the factors,'” he said in an emailed response. “Third party oversite and fairness in the field of play is the most important factor.”

A message has been sent to the IBA seeking comment on USA Boxing’s decision.

The women’s world championships are in March in India. The men’s world championships are in May in Uzbekistan. They do not count toward 2024 Olympic qualifying.

In December, the IOC said recent IBA decisions could lead to “the cancellation of boxing” for the 2024 Paris Games.

Some of the already reported governance issues led to the IOC stripping IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition in 2019. AIBA had suspended all 36 referees and judges used at the 2016 Rio Olympics pending an investigation into a possible judging scandal, one that found that some medal bouts were fixed by “complicit and compliant” referees and judges.

The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

Boxing was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games announced in December 2021, though it could still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” IOC President Thomas Bach said then.

This past June, the IOC said IBA would not run qualifying competitions for the 2024 Paris Games.

In September, the IOC said it was “extremely concerned” about the Olympic future of boxing after an IBA extraordinary congress overwhelmingly backed Russian Umar Kremlev to remain as its president rather than hold an election.

Kremlev was re-elected in May after an opponent, Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands, was barred from running against him. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in June that van der Vorst should have been eligible to run against Kremlev, but the IBA group still decided not to hold a new election.

Last May, Rashida Ellis became the first U.S. woman to win a world boxing title at an Olympic weight since Claressa Shields in 2016, taking the 60kg lightweight crown in Istanbul. In Tokyo, Ellis lost 3-0 in her opening bout in her Olympic debut.

At the last men’s worlds in 2021, Robby Gonzales and Jahmal Harvey became the first U.S. men to win an Olympic or world title since 2007, ending the longest American men’s drought since World War II.

The Associated Press and NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!