Justin Gatlin stays perfect for 2014 in Rome

Justin Gatlin
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Justin Gatlin extended his unblemished record this year by winning the 100m in 9.91 seconds at a Diamond League meet in Rome on Thursday night.

Gatlin, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist and World silver medalist, beat a field that didn’t include top rivals Usain BoltYohan Blake and Tyson Gay. Nobody else broke 10 seconds at Stadio Olimpico, where Gatlin beat Bolt by .01 of a second last year.

Gatlin now owns the three fastest legal 100m times of 2014, according to the IAAF.

The Diamond League moves to Oslo on Wednesday. Blake is entered in the following Diamond League meet on June 14 in New York. Bolt isn’t scheduled to debut this year until June 17 in the Czech Republic.

Gatlin is scheduled to race against Gay at a Diamond League meet on July 3 in Lausanne, Switzerland, in Gay’s first race in more than one year as he returns from a doping suspension.

In other events Thursday, American Tori Bowie backed up her shock 200m victory at last Saturday’s Prefontaine Classic by crossing first in the 100m. Bowie, a long jumper at the World Indoor Championships in March, prevailed in 11.05, a personal best by .05.

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the reigning Olympic and World champion, lacked her usual spark and finished eighth in 11.19. Fraser-Pryce also took eighth at the Prefontaine Classic 200m and said after she arrived in Rome that she had a leg problem.

World champion Brianna Rollins was victorious in her Diamond League debut, taking the 100m hurdles in 12.53, the fastest time in the world this year. She edged 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson by .01. London Olympic champion Sally Pearson pulled out before the start.

The most anticipated field event was the men’s high jump, where Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim cleared 2.41m for the win. Both Barshim and Ukraine World champion Bohdan Bondarenko failed all three attempts at 2.43m, which would have been the highest clearance since Javier Sotomayor set his 2.45m world record in 1993.

South African Caster Semenya was a disappointing 10th in the 800m, nowhere near the form that took her to Olympic silver two years ago.

Likewise, Kenyan World champion Asbel Kiprop was unimpressive in the 1500m, losing by 1.55 seconds to countryman Silas Kiplagat while running under threat from Athletics Kenya.

LaShawn Merritt took the 400m in 44.48, unchallenged with rival Kirani James absent.

IOC to contribute to Munich memorial

Oleksandr Abramenko, Ukraine’s top Winter Olympian, tears knee, career in question

Oleksandr Abramenko
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Aerials skier Oleksandr Abramenko, who won both of Ukraine’s medals over the last two Winter Olympics, is out for the season after a knee ligament tear and said he might not return to competition at all, according to Ukrainian media.

Abramenko, 34, won gold at the 2018 Olympics — Ukraine’s second-ever individual Winter Olympic title after figure skater Oksana Baiul in 1994 — and silver last year.

He competed once this season, placing 10th at a World Cup in Finland on Dec. 4, and then flew with the Ukrainian national team to stay in Utah ahead of World Cups in Canada in January and at the 2002 Olympic venue in Park City this weekend. The area also hosted many Ukraine winter sports athletes this past summer.

Abramenko missed the competition in Canada two weeks ago due to injury and then wasn’t on the start list for today’s aerials event in Park City. He is set to miss the world championships later this month in Georgia (the country, not the state).

Abramenko said he needs surgery, followed by a nine-month rehabilitation process, similar to an operation on his other knee six years ago, according to Ukraine’s public broadcaster. He said he will see how the recovery goes and determine whether to return to the sport at age 35, according to the report.

Abramenko is already the oldest Olympic men’s aerials medalist and come the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games will be older than all but one male aerialist in Olympic history, according to Olympedia.org.

At last year’s Olympics, Abramenko, Ukraine’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, was hugged after the aerials final by Russian Ilya Burov, who finished one spot behind Abramenko for a bronze medal. A week later, Russia invaded Ukraine.

A week after that, Abramenko posed for a photo sitting on a mattress in a Kyiv parking garage with his wife and 2-year-old son published by The New York Times.

“We spend the night in the underground parking in the car, because the air attack siren is constantly on,” Abramenko texted, according to the newspaper. “It’s scary to sleep in the apartment, I myself saw from the window how the air defense systems worked on enemy missiles, and strong explosions were heard.”

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Freestyle skiers in World Cup action on NBC Sports, Peacock

Ski Halfpipe
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Olympic gold medalists David Wise and Alex Hall headline World Cup freestyle skiing and snowboarding stops in the U.S. this weekend, airing on NBC Sports and Peacock.

Wise, who last Sunday won his fifth X Games Aspen ski halfpipe title, led the qualifiers into the final at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix in California.

He’s joined in the 10-man final by U.S. Olympic teammates Aaron Blunck and Birk Irving. The women’s ski halfpipe final includes the top three from last week’s X Games — Brit Zoe Atkin, Canadian Rachael Karker and American Svea Irving. Olympic champion Eileen Gu of China is out after suffering a knee injury in an X Games training crash.

The ski slopestyle finals include the reigning men’s and women’s Olympic gold medalists — Hall, plus Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland.

The marquee snowboarders in Mammoth finals are Olympic big air silver medalist Julia Marino (slopestyle) and X Games silver medalist Maddie Mastro (halfpipe). Two-time Olympic champion Chloe Kim is taking the season off, and another double Olympic champion, Jamie Anderson, is pregnant.

Aerials and moguls skiers are competing in their lone U.S. World Cup stop in Park City, Utah.

The moguls fields including Olympic gold medalists Walter Wallberg of Sweden, Mikael Kingsbury of the U.S., Perrine Laffont of France and Jakara Anthony of Australia. Olympic silver medalist Jaelin Kauf is the standout American.

The aerials include every member of the U.S. team that took gold at last year’s Olympics — Ashley Caldwell, Chris Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld.

Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding World Cup Broadcast Schedule

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Saturday Moguls 11 a.m. CNBC, Peacock
Ski Halfpipe 3 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Sunday Ski Slopestyle 12 p.m. CNBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Aerials, Dual Moguls 2 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Snowboard Halfpipe 2 p.m. CNBC, Peacock

All NBC and CNBC coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

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