Bernard Lagat

Bernard Lagat competes in World Speedgolf Championships (video)

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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.”

Speedgolfinternational.com 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 LetsRun.com. 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)

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned 4 years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)