Gold medal threat McMorris struggles; more work needed to make final

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Canada’s Mark McMorris (pictured) will have to take a harder road in order to come away with the inaugural Olympic gold in snowboard slopestyle.

McMorris, who has been tagged as one of the major contenders but is nursing a broken rib, went down on his first qualifying run today and then bounced back on his second attempt with a score of 89.25. However, it wasn’t enough to vault him straight into the slopestyle final on Saturday – which will feature his fellow countrymen, Sebastien Toutant and Max Parrot.

The top four from each of today’s two qualifying heats made it into the final, and in Heat One, Toutant finished third behind Norway’s Staale Sandbech and Finland’s Peetu Piiroinen while coming ahead of fourth-place Jamie Nicholls from Great Britain.

But in Heat Two, Parrot bettered the 91.75 score on his first run with the best qualifying run overall in his second go, a 97.50. That was enough to top the heat ahead of Finland’s Roope Tonteri, Sweden’s Sven Thorgren, and Norway’s Gjermund Bratten.

MORE: Men’s slopestyle qualifying recap from the AT&T Olympic News Desk

Those eight are locked into the main event, while McMorris will have to compete for one of the last four spots early Saturday morning in the semi-final. That’s also true for the American trio of Chas Guldemond, Sage Kotsenburg and Ryan Stassel.

Guldemond came the closest to making the final among the members of Team USA, placing fifth in Heat One behind Nicholls. Kotsenburg and Stassel finished eighth and ninth respectively in Heat Two behind the seventh-place McMorris.

MEN’S SNOWBOARD SLOPESTYLE – QUALIFYING

HEAT ONE (Top four advance to final)
1. Staale Sandbech (NOR), 94.50
2. Peetu Piiroinen (FIN), 90.75
3. Sebastien Toutant (CAN), 87.25
4. Jamie Nicholls (GBR), 86.75
5. Chas Guldemond (USA), 86.00

HEAT TWO (Top four advance to final)
1. Max Parrot (CAN), 97.50
2. Roope Tonteri (FIN), 95.75
3. Sven Thorgren (SWE), 94.25
4. Gjermund Bratten (NOR), 91.25

7. Mark McMorris (CAN), 89.25
8. Sage Kotsenburg (USA), 86.50
9. Ryan Stassel (USA), 81.00

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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