Walter Dix anchors U.S. to close win at Penn Relays

Walter Dix
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Two-time Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix anchored the U.S. to victory by .01 of a second over Jamaica in the 4x100m relay at the Penn Relays on Saturday.

Dix, who won 100m and 200m bronze at the 2008 Olympics, held off Jamaican anchor Oshane Bailey to win in 38.57 seconds at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

“Just had to dig down deep,” Dix said on NBCSN. “I knew that I didn’t want to let these guys down and let my country down. I had to run my hardest and hold that guy off.”

The U.S. won four of six “USA vs. The World” relay matchups at the meet, held annually since 1895.

Dix, 28, has been plagued by injuries since winning 100m and 200m silver medals at the 2011 World Championships. He failed to make the 2012 Olympic Team after suffering a hamstring injury at Olympic Trials.

The U.S. quartet of Charles Silmon, Olympic and world champion Justin GatlinMookie Salaam and Dix made it three straight U.S. wins in the men’s 4x100m at the Penn Relays.

“It’s a tradition,” Gatlin said. “We come out here. It’s not one person against another. It’s our country against the world. We’ve got to come out here and represent.”

Gatlin, who beat Usain Bolt at a Diamond League meet last year and took silver behind the Jamaican at the World Championships, has said his goal this season is to break Tyson Gay‘s American record of 9.69 in the 100m. He’s scheduled to race 100m at the Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston on May 3.

Bolt may not make his season debut until June. It’s unknown when Gay will race again after he tested positive last year. Olympic 100m silver medalist Yohan Blake is slated to run 150m in Manchester, England, on May 17.

The U.S. began the day with a loss to Jamaica in the women’s 4x100m relay.

The Jamaican team had the most decorated athlete in the field, three-time Olympic medalist Kerron Stewart. Stewart ran the second leg as Jamaica cruised to victory in 42.81 seconds.

“Everybody’s looking at Jamaican track and field right now as the top dogs,” Jamaican anchor Trisha-Ann Hawthorne said on NBCSN. “We’re coming out here knowing that everybody’s after us.”

The U.S. quartet of Stacey-Ann Smith, 2013 World Championships relay silver medalist Alexandria Anderson, two-time Olympian Muna Lee and LaKeisha Lawson clocked 43.15 for second ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil.

The U.S. women came from behind on the final leg to win the sprint medley relay over Jamaica. Ajee Wilson, a 19-year-old student at nearby Temple University, erased a 1.3-second deficit on the 800m anchor to win in 3:37.94, .47 faster than Jamaica. The first three legs were 200m, 200m and 400m.

Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano anchored the U.S. men to victory in the distance medley relay.

The U.S. women won the 4x400m relay with a team that included Olympic relay champion DeeDee Trotter.

The finale, the men’s 4x400m relay, went to the Bahamas, which also won the London Olympic title. The U.S. was second.

Lolo Jones slow in return to track

IOC gives more time to pick 2030 Olympic host, studies rotating Winter Games

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The 2030 Winter Olympic host, expected to be Salt Lake City or Sapporo, Japan, is no longer targeted to be decided before next fall, the IOC said in announcing wider discussions into the future of the Winter Games, including the possibility of rotating the Games within a pool of hosts.

The IOC Future Host Commission was granted more time to study factors, including climate change, that could impact which cities and regions host future Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The 2030 Winter Games host is not expected to be decided before or at an IOC session next September or October.

Hosts have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years before the Games, though recent reforms allow flexibility on the process and timeline. For example, the 2024 and 2028 Games were awarded to Paris and Los Angeles in a historic double award in 2017. The 2032 Summer Games were awarded to Brisbane last year without a traditional bid race.

There are three interested parties for the 2030 Winter Olympics, the IOC said Tuesday without naming them. Previously, Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Vancouver were confirmed as bids. Then in October, the British Columbia government said it would not support a Vancouver bid, a major setback, though organizers did not say that decision ended the bid. All three cities are attractive as past Winter Games hosts with existing venues.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee officials have said Salt Lake City is a likelier candidate for 2034 than 2030, but could step in for 2030 if asked.

The future host commission outlined proposals for future Winter Olympics, which included rotating hosts within a pool of cities or regions and a requirement that hosts have an average minimum temperature below freezing (32 degrees) for snow competition venues at the time of the Games over a 10-year period.

The IOC Executive Board gave the commission more time to study the proposals and other factors impacting winter sports.

The IOC board also discussed and will continue to explore a potential double awarding of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympic hosts.

Also Tuesday, the IOC board said that Afghanistan participation in the 2024 Olympics will depend on making progress in safe access to sports for women and young girls in the country.

On Monday, Human Rights Watch urged the IOC to suspend Afghanistan until women and girls can play sport in the country.

In a press release, the IOC board expressed “serious concern and strongly condemned the latest restrictions imposed by the Afghan authorities on women and young girls in Afghanistan, which prevent them from practicing sport in the country.” It urged Afghanistan authorities to “take immediate action at the highest level to reverse such restrictions and ensure safe access to sport for women and young girls.”

The IOC board also announced that North Korea’s National Olympic Committee will be reinstated when its suspension is up at the end of the year.

In September 2021, the IOC banned the North Korean NOC through the end of 2022, including banning a North Korean delegation from participating in the Beijing Winter Games, after it chose not to participate in the Tokyo Games.

North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was the only one of 206 National Olympic Committees to withdraw from Tokyo. The country made its choice in late March 2021, citing a desire “to protect our athletes from the global health crisis caused by the malicious virus infection.”

The IOC said in September 2021 that it “provided reassurances for the holding of safe Games and offered constructive proposals to find an appropriate and tailor-made solution until the very last minute (including the provision of vaccines), which were systematically rejected by the PRK NOC.”

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Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe leaves moguls for another skiing discipline

Justine Dufour-Lapointe
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Justine Dufour-Lapointe, the 2014 Olympic moguls champion, is leaving the event to compete in freeriding, a non-Olympic skiing discipline.

“After three Olympic cycles and 12 years on the World Cup circuit, I felt that I needed to find a new source of motivation and had to push my limits even more so I can reach my full potential as a skier,” the 28-year-old Montreal native said in a social media video, according to a translation from French. “Today, I am starting a new chapter in my career. … I want to perfect myself in another discipline. I want to connect with the mountain differently. Above all, I want to get out of my comfort zone in a way I’ve never done before.”

Dufour-Lapointe said she will compete on the Freeride World Tour, a series of judged competitions described as:

There‘s a start gate at the summit and a finish gate at the bottom. That’s it. Best run down wins. It truly is that simple. Think skiers and snowboarders choosing impossible-looking lines through cornices and cliff-faces and nasty couloirs. Think progressive: big jumps, mach-speed turns and full-on attack. Think entertaining.

Dufour-Lapointe has retired from moguls skiing, according to a Freeride World Tour press release, though she did not explicitly say that in social media posts Tuesday.

At the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Dufour-Lapointe denied American Hannah Kearney‘s bid to become the first freestyle skier to repeat as Olympic champion. Older sister Chloé took silver in a Canadian one-two.

Dufour-Lapointe also won the world title in 2015, then Olympic silver in 2018 behind Frenchwoman Perrine Laffont.

Chloé announced her retirement in September. A third Dufour-Lapointe Olympic moguls skier, Maxime, retired in 2018.

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