Mike Rodgers

Rodgers, Bartoletta take 100m titles at U.S. Championships

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World and Olympic relay medalists Mike Rodgers and Tianna Bartoletta captured individual 100m titles at the U.S. Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday night.

Rodgers, part of the silver medal 4x100m relay team at the 2013 World Championships, clocked 10.09 seconds into a 1.7 m/s headwind. Ryan Bailey, who was fifth at the London Olympics, took second in 10.23.

Rodgers now looks forward to facing top U.S. sprinters Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay at the next Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday. Gatlin has run 9.86 this year. The American record holder Gay’s presence in Lausanne will be his return race from a yearlong doping suspension.

Bartoletta, fourth in the 2012 Olympic 100m running as Tianna Madison, prevailed in 11.15 seconds into a 2.1 m/s headwind in Friday’s final. Defending U.S. champion English Gardner stumbled out of the blocks and finished fourth.

“I really believe that track and field is a metaphor for life, and last year I got hurt,” Bartoletta, who dabbled in bobsledding after the London Olympics but didn’t make it to Sochi, told Lewis Johnson on NBCSN. “Just like a lot of people, there are setbacks, but you find out what you’re made of and what the people around you are made of, and you just keep pushing. I feel like that’s what made me a success so far this year and throughout the whole trajectory of my career.”

The fastest woman Friday withdrew from the final. Tori Bowie ran a personal best 10.91 in the semifinals (with a 2.0 m/s tailwind) and appeared to suffer a left leg injury.

The U.S. Championships continue Saturday with finals including the men’s and women’s 400m and women’s 100m hurdles.

[WATCH LIVEU.S. Championships, Saturday at 4 p.m. ET]

In other Friday events, Olympic silver medalist Trey Hardee won the decathlon with 8,599 points, the highest total in the world this year.

Hardee, set back by injuries last year, had not completed a decathlon since the London Games until posting 8,518 points in Gotzis, Austria, four weeks ago.

He won the 2009 and 2011 World Championships before Ashton Eaton took over as the world’s greatest athlete. Eaton is focusing on the 400m hurdles this year and expected to return to decathlons in 2015.

“I haven’t lost a step, I’m still in it,” said Hardee, 30. “I’m going to love it [the decathlon] ’til I die.”

Olympic champion Jenn Suhr won the U.S. pole vault title for the eighth time, matching 2000 Olympic champion Stacy Dragila‘s record number of titles in the event.

Will Claye beat Christian Taylor in the triple jump, reversing their one-two finish from the London Olympics. Claye leaped a personal best 17.75m on his final jump, having already topped Taylor’s 17.37m. Claye, in a backwards hat, climbed into the stands immediately after his final jump and began hugging and kissing spectators.

Bernard Lagat recorded his seventh U.S. 5000m title, passing Andrew Bumbalough with 100m to go and crossing in 13:31.41. Molly Huddle captured her second 5000m title in 15:01.56.

Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross matched the fastest 400m time in the world this year, 50.03, to reach Saturday’s final. Richards-Ross, plagued by toe problems last year, chopped 1.16 seconds off her previous best time of 2014.

“To be back, close to my old self, I feel so blessed,” said Richards-Ross, who won the Olympic title in 49.55.

World champion LaShawn Merritt scratched out of the 400m semifinals, leaving Gil Roberts as the fastest qualifier for Saturday’s final.

World champion Brianna Rollins, 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson and three-time Olympian Lolo Jones were among 16 qualifiers into the 100m hurdles semifinals Saturday.

The 2011 World champion Jenny Simpson and 2013 Worlds finalist Mary Cain, 18, advanced to Sunday’s 1500m final.

Olympic and World silver medalist Michael Tinsley shockingly failed to advance out of the first round of the 400m hurdles.

USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships broadcast schedule

Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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Mikaela Shiffrin runner-up in Lake Louise downhill

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LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (AP) — Here’s a scary thought for her competition: Mikaela Shiffrin is still getting comfortable with the intensity and the speed of the downhill.

That’s why podium finishes are still a little surprising even to her.

The American three-time overall World Cup champion finished runner-up to Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria in a downhill race Saturday. Schmidhofer cruised through the course in 1 minute, 49.92 seconds to edge Shiffrin by 0.13 seconds. Francesca Marsaglia of Italy wound up third.

Schmidhofer has four career World Cup wins, with three of them arriving at Lake Louise.

Known as a tech specialist, Shiffrin is steadily getting up to speed in the speed events. This was Shiffrin’s fourth career World Cup podium finish in the downhill, which includes a Lake Louise win in 2017.

So, does Shiffrin anticipate this kind of downhill success?

“No, no, no,” the 24-year-old from Colorado said. “It’s certainly not normal (for a downhill podium). Even racing downhill doesn’t feel normal. But I feel every year like I have more experience and get more comfortable.”

Shiffrin currently sits at 62 World Cup wins, which ties her with Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell for second-most on the women’s side. Lindsey Vonn had 82 wins before her retirement.

“I’m certainly more comfortable with the long skis,” Shiffrin said of downhill racing. “Right now, it’s enjoying it, because speed is a little bit extra for me. My goal is to be able to succeed in speed as well. It’s making the transition and trying to have fun with it.”

Czech Republic skier and snowboarder Ester Ledecka finished fourth Saturday. She was the surprise winner of Friday’s season-opening downhill, which was delayed and shortened by heavy snowfall on the mountain. The race Saturday was restored to its full length.

Next up, a super-G on Sunday.

“It’s always been a little bit tricky for me from downhill skis to super-G skis and to change the timing a little bit,” Shiffrin said. “I’m going to have fun.”

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