Noelle Pikus-Pace stops Lizzy Yarnold in St. Moritz

Noelle Pikus-Pace
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Noelle Pikus-Pace returned to the top of the podium and kept Brit Lizzy Yarnold from a three-race winning streak at a World Cup event in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Saturday.

Pikus-Pace, 31, prevailed in a two-run time of 2 minutes, 19.88 seconds, setting a track record in the second run where she briefly fell behind Yarnold.

“This has been such a great week,” said Pikus-Pace, the 2007 world champion on the same track whose brother surprised her by showing up in town on Friday night. “I was a little behind at the start today and I knew some athletes made some mistakes in the first run, so I needed to attack each curve. This is such a special track, and I feel great with the result today.”

Pikus-Pace recovered at the bottom of the natural track and won by a comfortable .40 over Yarnold. Another Brit, Shelley Rudman, the world champion on the St. Moritz track last year, took third for her first podium of the season.

The women’s skeleton World Cup continues with an event in Igls, Austria, next week. It will be the final event before the U.S. Olympic Team is named.

Pikus-Pace, who notched her first win since mid-December, and Yarnold have each captured three of the six total races this season.

Pikus-Pace would have four if not for her season-opening disqualification in Calgary, Alberta. Other than that, they have been on the podium in every race and are setting up for a duel for Olympic gold in Sochi.

It’s remarkable for Pikus-Pace, who finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics, retired, had her second baby and came back last season.

American Katie Uhlaender was sixth in St. Moritz, her best finish of a season that got off to a slow start due to a concussion.

Uhlaender, the 2012 world champion, took last weekend off. It paid off. She improved one spot to 15th in the World Cup standings.

St. Moritz Women’s Skeleton
1. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 2:19.88
2. Lizzy Yarnold (GBR) 2:20.28
3. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 2:20.32
6. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 2:20.73

Sochi protest zone will be 7 miles away from Olympics

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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