Bernard Lagat competes in World Speedgolf Championships (video)

Bernard Lagat

Two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat was plenty fast in his World Speedgolf Championships debut.

He had a little more trouble with his clubs, though.

Lagat, one of the world’s greatest middle distance runners, improved nine strokes from his first round Saturday to his second round Sunday, playing 18 holes each day.

He finished in 24th and last place.

The more seasoned Nick Willis, the 2008 Olympic 1500m silver medalist for New Zealand, placed 13th.

“I think I got one par today,” Lagat said, excitedly, Sunday. “That got me motivated.” defines speedgolf:

Speedgolf is pretty much just what it sounds like; golf played at a very fast pace. Competitors play 9 or 18 holes and run between shots. Scores are calculated by adding the time taken to complete the round and the total strokes taken. For instance, if a competitor shoots a golf score of 80 and it takes 60 minutes to complete their round, their Speedgolf score (SGS) would be 140 (80 + 60).

Competitors generally carry 5-6 clubs in a small bag, wear athletic golf attire, put on their running shoes and they are ready to go.

The only real differences from traditional golf are the flagstick is left in when putting and lost balls are dropped anywhere on the line of flight of the previous shot with a one-shot penalty.

Lagat totaled 219 strokes and was actually much slower than the winner, Rob Hogan, who has run five miles in 30:12, according to Hogan ran the course in 39:31 while shooting a 77 on Saturday. In contrast, Lagat’s better day, Sunday took 47:38 with 110 strokes.

Lagat said his first round Saturday was his “first time all the way through” the 18 holes at Bandon Dunes in Oregon.

“Of course I was nervous,” said Lagat, adding he lost at least one golf ball and was confused at which green to hit at one point. “When you don’t know how to do something, and you’re in front of people who know how to do it. … Even when I’m teeing off like this, I’m thinking to my head, somebody knows that I’m doing something wrong.

“Once I (teed) off, I’m like, ‘Nobody’s going to care now. I’m going to go.'”

It sounds like Lagat’s golfing days aren’t over.

“Nick (Willis) used the word, ‘I’m hooked,'” Lagat said. “And I think I’m hooked.”

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Amazing view of the ocean- Bandon Dunes.

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Asafa Powell markets his calendar for the ladies (photos)

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell

At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich

A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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