Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso return as World Cup season continues

Bode Miller
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Sochi’s Alpine stars are back in action as early as Friday for the resumption of World Cup races.

Bronze medalist Bode Miller, the most decorated Olympic skier in U.S. history, is slated for a downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, on Friday, the first of three straight days of racing at the site of the 1994 Olympics. Poor visibility canceled training Thursday.

If the weather brightens, Miller will take on a field including world champion Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, who will be looking to put an illness-filled, medal-less Olympics behind him.

Olympic giant slalom champion Ted Ligety will not race in Kvitfjell. He does not usually race downhills (Friday and Saturday) and opted out of coming over just for the super-G on Sunday.

The women’s tour resumes in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, with a downhill Saturday and a super combined Sunday. Olympic super combined bronze medalist Julia Mancuso is expected to race both days.

Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin is not racing, as she is a slalom and giant slalom specialist.

Swiss Lara Gut, the Sochi downhill bronze medalist, was fastest in downhill training Thursday. Also in the field are German Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Slovenian Tina Maze, the most decorated active women’s skiers.

What’s on the line the rest of the season?

Precious crystal globes that go to individual discipline winners (except combined) and for overall points. Skiers accumulate points based on finishes in each race (100 for the winner, 80 for second, 60 for third, etc.).

Here are standings through 25 of 34 men’s races:

Overall
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 955 points
2. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 897
3. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 774
4. Ted Ligety (USA) 629
5. Felix Neureuther (GER) 551
8. Bode Miller (USA) 449

Downhill (through six of nine races)
1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 440
2. Hannes Reichelt (AUT) 360 — OUT (back surgery)
3. Patrick Kueng (SUI) 239
6. Bode Miller (USA) 185

Super-G (through four of six races)
1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 296
2. Didier Defago (SUI) 162
3. Patrick Kueng (SUI) 159
4. Bode Miller (USA) 138

Svindal can clinch the downhill and super-G season titles with strong finishes this weekend.

Here are standings through 24 of 33 women’s races:

Overall
1. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 1,079
2. Tina Weirather (LIE) 943 — OUT FOR SEASON (shin injury)
3. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 871
4. Lara Gut (SUI) 796
5. Tina Maze (SLO) 754
6. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 650

Downhill (through seven of nine races)
1. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 475
2. Tina Weirather (LIE) 400 — OUT FOR SEASON (shin injury)
3. Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden (SUI) 389
11. Stacey Cook (USA) 133
14. Julia Mancuso (USA) 121

Combined (through one of two races)
1. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) 100
2. Michaela Kirchgasser (AUT) 80
3. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 60

Hoefl-Riesch can clinch the downhill season title with a win Saturday, or a lower finish with help. The women’s super combined season title will be determined Sunday as it is the final super combined of the season.

Video: Ligety, Shiffrin on late-night talk shows

Kenenisa Bekele still eyes Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record, but a duel must wait

Kenenisa Bekele
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LONDON — Kenenisa Bekele made headlines last week by declaring “of course I am the best” long distance runner ever. But the Ethiopian was fifth-best at Sunday’s London Marathon, finishing 74 seconds behind Kenya’s Amos Kipruto.

Bekele, 40, clocked 2:05:53, the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. He was with the lead pack until being dropped in the 21st mile.

But Bekele estimated he could have run 90 to 120 seconds faster had he not missed parts of six weeks of training with hip and joint injuries.

“I expect better even if the preparation is short,” he said. “I know my talent and I know my capacity, but really I couldn’t achieve what I expect.”

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history behind Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who broke his own world record by clocking 2:01:09 at the Berlin Marathon last week.

“I am happy when I see Eliud Kipchoge run that time,” Bekele said. “It motivates all athletes who really expect to do the same thing.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Bekele’s best time was within two seconds of Kipchoge’s previous world record (2:01:39). He described breaking Kipchoge’s new mark as the “main goal” for the rest of his career.

“Yes, I hope, one day it will happen, of course,” Bekele said. “With good preparation, I don’t know when, but we will see one more time.”

Nobody has won more London Marathons than Kipchoge, a four-time champion who set the course record (2:02:37) in 2019. But the two-time Olympic marathon champion did not run this year in London, as elite marathoners typically choose to enter one race each spring and fall.

Bekele does not know which race he will enter in the spring. But it will not be against Kipchoge.

“I need to show something first,” Bekele said. “I need to run a fast time. I have to check myself. This is not enough.”

Kipchoge will try to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles at the Paris Games. Bekele, who will be 42 in 2024, has not committed to trying to qualify for the Ethiopian team.

“There’s a long time to go before Paris,” Bekele said. “At this moment I am not decided. I have to show something.”

So who is the greatest long distance runner ever?

Bekele can make a strong case on the track:

Bekele
Four Olympic medals (three gold)
Six World Championship medals (five gold)
Former 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder

Kipchoge
Two Olympic medals
Two World Championship medals (one gold)

But Kipchoge can make a strong case on the pavement:

Bekele
Second-fastest marathoner in history
Two World Marathon Major victories

Kipchoge
Four of the five best marathon times in history
Two-time Olympic marathon champion
12 World Marathon Major victories

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Yalemzerf Yehualaw, Amos Kipruto win London Marathon

Yalemzerf Yehualaw
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Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw became the youngest female runner to win the London Marathon, while Kenyan Amos Kipruto earned the biggest victory of his career in the men’s race.

Yehualaw, 23, clocked 2:17:26, prevailing by 41 seconds over 2021 London champ Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya.

Yehualaw tripped and fell over a speed bump around the 20-mile mark. She quickly rejoined the lead pack, then pulled away from Jepkosgei by running the 24th mile in a reported 4:43, which converts to 2:03:30 marathon pace; the women’s world record is 2:14:04.

Yehualaw and Jepkosgei were pre-race favorites after world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya withdrew Monday with a right hamstring injury.

On April 24, Yehualaw ran the fastest women’s debut marathon in history, a 2:17:23 to win in Hamburg, Germany.

She has joined the elite tier of female marathoners, a group led by Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir, the reigning Olympic, New York City and Boston champion. Another Ethiopian staked a claim last week when Tigist Assefa won Berlin in 2:15:37, shattering Yehualaw’s national record.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, finished Sunday’s race in 3:20:20 at age 65.

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Kipruto, 30, won the men’s race in 2:04:39. He broke free from the leading group in the 25th mile and crossed the finish line 33 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Leul Gebresilase, who said he had hamstring problems.

Kipruto, one of the pre-race favorites, had never won a major marathon but did finish second behind world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in Tokyo (2022) and Berlin (2018) and third at the world championships (2019) and Tokyo (2018).

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest marathoner in history, was fifth after being dropped in the 21st mile. His 2:05:53 was the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. Bekele ran his personal best at the 2019 Berlin Marathon — 2:01:41 — and has not run within four minutes of that time since.

The major marathon season continues next Sunday with the Chicago Marathon, headlined by a women’s field that includes Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich and American Emily Sisson.

London returns next year to its traditional April place after being pushed to October the last three years due to the pandemic.

MORE: Bekele looks ahead to Kipchoge chase after London Marathon

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