U.S. bobsledders hit the track in unofficial training

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Team USA’s drive for bobsled gold in Sochi began today with unofficial training on the 17-turn Sanki Sliding Center course.

But while the session was a relatively light affair with learning the course’s quirks a bigger priority than attaining pure speed, the women’s side still has some business to take care of as they haven’t yet decided upon driver and push athlete pairings.

Elana Meyers, now a driver after serving as Erin Pac’s brakeman in their bronze-medal run four years ago at Vancouver, said getting that speed out of the Sanki track – the longest in the world and one that boasts three uphill sections – would be the toughest task.

MORE: Learn about Elana Meyers’ origins as a bobsledder

“It’s not a very difficult track to get down, but a very difficult track to be fast on,” Meyers (pictured, with Aja Evans) said to the Associated Press. “That’s the cool thing about these kinds of tracks as a driver…Whoever wins this race will have to have the fastest starts and is going to have to drive their way to the medals. That’s exciting.”

Final pairings for the women are expected to be set by tomorrow night. Meyers, Jamie Greubel and Jazmine Fenlator are the drivers for the U.S., while Evans, Lolo Jones, and Lauryn Williams are the push athletes.

The women’s event begins on Feb. 18, with the medals to be handed out a day later. Bobsled begins as a whole with the men’s two-man on Feb. 16.

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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