USOC has no specific medal goals for Sochi Olympics

Alan Ashley
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As is custom, the U.S. Olympic Committee is not announcing specific medal targets for the Sochi Olympics.

“I thought a lot about the medal count,” said Alan Ashley, U.S. chef de mission and USOC chief of sport performance. “The one thing I’ll tell you is I don’t have a specific number. … I think Team USA goes into this in a really good place and can do well like we did in Vancouver.”

The U.S. topped the overall standings at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics with 37 medals. That was the second time it led the Winter Games medal table after Lake Placid 1932.

It also marked the most medals ever won by a single nation at a Winter Olympics, an unsurprising statistic given more events are added to the Olympic program every four years.

The U.S. is expected to contend to win the most overall and gold medals with Germany, Norway, Canada and perhaps Russia. It will be boosted by the addition of new Olympic events snowboard slopestyle, ski slopestyle and ski halfpipe.

The USOC and national governing bodies have also worked together to match “needs with resources” since Vancouver, Ashley said. That’s why sports such as cross-country skiing and biathlon that aren’t traditionally American dominated could see medal breakthroughs in Sochi.

“We’ve been able to really customize and drill down where we can have the greatest impact,” Ashley said. “I’d like to try to get as many athletes opportunities as possible to become obviously Olympians, then become successful Olympians as well.”

U.S. Olympic Team roster with Twitter handles

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

Mo Farah
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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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