David Oliver

David Oliver rolls to 110-meter hurdles World Championship

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AVJZ89NPdk

The U.S. went one-two in the 110-meter hurdles final at the World Championships, but the world record holder and the defending world champion did not medal.

David Oliver bounced back from missing the 2012 Olympic team, coming out strong, clearly leading most of the way and winning in 13.00 seconds, his first world title. Ryan Wilson, 32, in his first world or Olympic final, took silver in 13.13.

Oliver, beset by a pelvis injury in 2011 and calf problems in 2012, let out a scream after crossing the finish line.

“It’s about time,” Oliver told Universal Sports. “So many sacrifices. … I’ve been injured for so long, dealing with that, still running. Never giving up, believing in myself.”

Russian Sergey Shubenkov kept the U.S. from sweeping the podium. Shubenkov clocked 13.24 for bronze.

The defending world champion, Jason Richardson, and the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder, Aries Merritt, finished fourth (13.27) and sixth (13.31), respectively.

Merritt was a revelation in track and field last year, running sub-13 eight times, including the 12.80 world record after the Olympics. A hamstring injury affected his early season, and he never challenged Oliver on Monday.

Oliver’s time marked the fastest in the world this year. The last time a year went by without anybody running sub-13 was 2009.

He added the world gold to his Olympic bronze in 2008. Oliver, who also played football at Howard University and still has that physique, ran the world’s five fastest times in 2010. But he missed the 2009 World Championships with an injury and placed fourth at the 2011 World Championships.

He finished fifth at the 2012 Olympic trials, where only the top three earned trips to London.

“Not the way I wanted it to end, made a whole lot of changes,” Oliver said of last year. “After having the amazing 2010, ’11 started with the injuries. … Not being able to perform at your best, running like a donkey, it sucks.”

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Federica Brignone passes Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup overall lead

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Italian Federica Brignone passed an absent Mikaela Shiffrin for the World Cup overall standings lead by winning a combined in Switzerland on Sunday.

Brignone prevailed by .92 of a second adding times from super-G and slalom runs in Crans-Montana. Full results are here.

Brignone moved 73 points ahead of Shiffrin in the overall through 29 of 40 scheduled races. A race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place finisher. The season runs through March 22.

Shiffrin, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, has not competed since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Brignone, 29, is having a career season with five wins and 10 podiums across four disciplines.

Brignone’s best previous World Cup overall standings finish was fifth. She earned giant slalom medals at the 2018 Olympics (bronze) and 2011 World Championships (silver).

She could become Italy’s first female World Cup overall champion. The last Italian male winner was Alberto Tomba in 1995.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves to La Thuile, Italy, for a super-G and a combined next Saturday and Sunday.

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Jade Carey on brink of becoming first gymnast to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

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The U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials aren’t until late June, but Jade Carey is in position to qualify for the Tokyo Games in March.

Carey, seeking an individual Olympic gymnastics spot outside of the team competition, earned the maximum points in a World Cup series that is one path to Olympic qualification.

Carey has three wins each on floor exercise and vault with two World Cups left in March. Carey will mathematically clinch an Olympic spot if no other gymnasts win three times on one of the apparatuses to force a tiebreaker.

So far, no other gymnast has two wins on floor. One gymnast has two wins on vault. A gymnast’s top three finishes across the eight-stop series count in Olympic qualifying. If Carey finishes atop the floor or vault standings, she goes to the Olympics.

Carey picked up those third wins on floor and vault at the sixth World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend.

The one downside to qualifying this route: Carey would not be able to compete in the team competition at the Olympics. Those four spots will be determined at and after June’s trials in St. Louis, with Simone Biles likely grabbing one of them.

“I knew I would be giving up being on the team,” Carey said in October of going the World Cup route, “but I think, for me, it made sense to just go for it.”

Carey is a world medalist on vault and floor, but she doesn’t have the all-around credentials of Biles and some other U.S. gymnasts.

Olympic team event roster sizes were cut from five to four for Tokyo, putting a greater onus on all-around prowess given a team must put three gymnasts on each apparatus in the Olympic final.

The U.S. is the deepest country in women’s gymnastics, so the only truly safe pick to make the four-woman Olympic team event roster is Biles.

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