Jenn Suhr

Adidas Grand Prix schedule, broadcast info, events to watch

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NEW YORK — Some of the track and field season’s most anticipated events are approaching, and the busy stretch begins with the Adidas Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium on Saturday.

It’s the sixth of 14 Diamond League meets and the final one before the U.S. Championships in two weeks in Sacramento, Calif. The New York headliners have sparingly competed in the first five Diamond League meets, some not at all. They include Mary Cain (her last meet before a driver’s test and graduation), Jenn Suhr, Lolo JonesYohan Blake and David Rudisha.

The Adidas Grand Prix will be their showcase before focus jumps to the U.S. Championships, Tyson Gay‘s return (against Justin Gatlin) on July 3, the Commonwealth Games and Usain Bolt‘s hopeful 2014 debut later this summer.

NBCSN will have live coverage Saturday from 4-6 p.m. ET. The full schedule and entry lists can be found here.

Here’s the Saturday schedule of notable senior events (all times Eastern):

11:45 a.m. — Men’s discus
12:20 p.m. — Women’s triple jump
1:20 — Women’s javelin
2:35 — Men’s long jump
2:40 — Women’s pole vault
3:37 — Women’s 800m
4:04 — Men’s 400m hurdles
4:13 — Women’s 3000m
4:15 — Men’s high jump
4:29 — Men’s 400m
4:38 — Women’s 3000m steeplechase
4:51 — Women’s 400m
4:55 — Women’s shot put
5:01 — Women’s 1500m
5:20 — Women’s 100m hurdles
5:29 — Men’s 200m
5:35 — Men’s 100m
5:42 — Men’s 800m
5:50 — Women’s 100m
6:05 — Women’s 200m

Here are five events to watch:

Women’s pole vault

Jenn Suhr competes three days after vaulting in New York’s Herald Square with the Empire State Building among other scenery as a backdrop. She’s been lying low so far this outdoor season, attaching to a new carbon pole after winning Olympic gold and World silver with a traditional fiberglass model.

Suhr will not be facing longtime rival Yelena Isinbayeva, who is taking time off to start a family. But she will go up against the other woman to win medals at the Olympics and World Championships — Cuban Yarisley Silva.

Women’s 1500m

In Eugene two weeks ago, World champion Abeba Aregawi lost a Diamond League 1500m for the first time since Aug. 17, 2012. Her conqueror, Kenyan Hellen Obiri, is not running in New York, making 2011 World champion Jenny Simpson the biggest threat. Simpson was fourth in Eugene in a personal best, setting her up to potentially take down Aregawi at last.

Women’s 100m hurdles

Crossover Olympian Lolo Jones makes her 2014 Diamond League debut. Jones, who finished 11th in bobsled in Sochi, didn’t enter this meet until after she notched a 12.74-second victory in Morocco on Sunday. Her addition came with the withdrawal of Olympic champion Sally Pearson due to a hamstring problem.

World champion Brianna Rollins is also absent, but Jones faces a familiar group of top U.S. women — 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson, 2014 World Indoor 60m hurdles champion Nia Ali and veteran Queen Harrison.

Men’s 100m

Before last Saturday, Yohan Blake clocked 9.76, 9.69 and 9.75 in his last three 100m races. Problem is, they were all in August 2012. What kind of form is the Jamaican Olympic silver medalist in after last year’s hamstring injury?

His only open sprints this year were a 10.02 over 100m in a low-key Jamaican meet last Saturday and a nondescript 20.49 over 200m in Kingston in March. Hopefully he gets pushed at Icahn Stadium by American Marvin Bracy, the World Indoor 60m silver medalist. Watch for Bracy to set a personal best and possibly break 10 seconds for the first time.

Men’s 800m

Olympic champion and world-record holder David Rudisha hurt his knee running in Central Park last year and wound up missing more than a calendar’s worth of competition.

The Kenyan returned in Eugene, where he looked strong for about 600m before fading from first to seventh. The field here is weaker, with American Duane Solomon the top rival. Solomon, though, owns fourth- and 10th-place finishes in two Diamond League races this season, despite entering with American record aspirations.

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Brigid Kosgei beaten as another world record smashed in Nike shoes

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Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh broke the half marathon world record by 20 seconds, beating new marathon world-record holder Brigid Kosgei in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.

Nike-sponsored runners lowered the men’s and women’s marathon and half marathon records since September 2018, each appearing to race in versions of the apparel giant’s scrutinized Vaporfly shoes.

Yeshaneh, a 28-year-old who finished 14th in the 2016 Olympic 5000m, clocked 1:04:31 for 13.1 miles to better Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei‘s world record from 2017.

Kosgei, a 26-year-old Kenyan, also came in under the old world record but 18 seconds behind Yeshaneh.

Kosgei took 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record on Oct. 13, clocking 2:14:04 to win the Chicago Marathon.

Nike Vaporfly shoes, including the prototypes worn by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge when he ran a sub-two-hour marathon, were deemed legal by World Athletics’ new shoe regulations last month, according to Nike.

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Olympic, world champion lugers pull out of World Cup event over safety

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U.S. Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer and other top lugers are skipping this weekend’s World Cup stop in Winterberg, Germany, citing unsafe track conditions and a growing frustration with the international federation over athlete concerns.

“This was brought to the attention of the FIL [International Luge Federation] and yet again we were told that everything is ok,” was posted on Mazdzer’s Instagram. “I realize that a boycott is a lose-lose situation and there are no winners. But I have no other option at this point. I feel personally that this track is not safe for doubles sleds or for athletes who do not have adequate numbers of runs.”

Mazdzer said by phone Friday that he noticed significant bumps on the track in his first training run earlier this week.

“I couldn’t drive because I’m being thrown everywhere,” he said. “When you’re going 130 kilometers an hour [80 miles per hour], you don’t really want the track to be bad.”

An FIL spokesperson said Friday that Mazdzer’s choice was “his individual decision” and declined further comment ahead of races scheduled Saturday and Sunday. Mazdzer said that he was told the race starts will be moved down.

USA Luge said in a Friday statement that it will not participate in the World Cup and would communicate its concern for athlete safety to the FIL.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Summer Britcher said she was boycotting via Instagram, calling it “a farce of a World Cup.” Top lugers said athletes suffered serious injuries in training runs.

“I love this sport, but after too many decisions too many times that disregard 1-the safety of the athletes, and 2- the integrity and fairness of our sport, I have grown a great disdain for the International Luge Federation, and those who make these decisions,” was posted on Britcher’s account. “I will not race this weekend. I do not believe the track is safe, I do not believe it has been prepared to a World Cup standard, and I do not believe that the International Federation and Winterberg World Cup organisers should get away from this with no consequences.”

Britcher’s post noted that her team notified coaches and the technical director that the track was unsafe after her first training run Wednesday.

“Our concerns, and the concerns of the rest of the athletes from other nations throughout the day were not taken seriously,” Britcher posted.

Britcher said that several coaches attempted to fix the track for several hours on Thursday after athletes refused to train.

Olympic champion David Gleirscher of Austria and World Cup standings leader Roman Repilov of Russia and the top doubles teams of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany also posted on Instagram that they’re skipping the Winterberg World Cup, the penultimate stop of the season, for safety reasons.

Mazdzer estimated a 20 percent crash rate in training, but that the track condition has improved since Wednesday. He still plans to race next week at the last World Cup in Königssee.

“There’s a lot of problems with Winterberg,” he said after detailing the situation between athletes and the FIL, “and it’s not just the track.”

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