Allyson Felix edged out by Blessing Okagbare at Paris Diamond League

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Reigning Olympic champion Allyson Felix took second place in the 200m event  at the Paris Diamond League. A week earlier, Felix withdrew from the U.S. championships after placing 14th in the 100m prelims. Felix, who tore her hamstring at the 2013 World Championships, was run down by Blessing Okagbare and finished just two-hundredths of a second behind the Nigerian. Felix’s time of 22.34s was her best this season.

The other Olympic star in the race, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, came in fifth. Fraser-Pryce took silver in the 200m in London.

American Mike Rodgers, who took third place behind Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay on Friday’s 100m race in Lausanne, returned to the Diamond League to take first. He clocked a time of 10.00s; Gatlin, who did not compete in Paris, won two days earlier with world-leading time of 9.80s.

Also noteworthy were two runners who didn’t cross the finish line. Former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell was anticipated to return to the track in Paris after being granted a temporary reprieve from his suspension for a failed drug test. However, he withdrew due to a reported hamstring injury. Powell will appeal having to serve the rest of his ban, which was set to end in December, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on July 7-8.

Another Jamaican, Nickel Ashmeade, false-started and delayed the race for several minutes as he vehemently protested his disqualification. Arguing with officials and sitting on the track, Ashmeade had to be convinced to leave before the remaining runners could compete.

Americans swept the podium in the women’s 100m hurdles, with Dawn Harper-Nelson finishing in 12.44s, the fastest time in the world this season. Harper-Nelson also won this event at the U.S. Championships. Queen Harrison and Lolo Jones, returning to the track after competing in two-woman bobsled at the Sochi Olympics, came in second and third, respectively.

Olympic gold medalist Sally Pearson finished sixth.

American Michael Tinsley lost to Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson in the men’s 400m hurdles in Lausanne two days ago, but was victorious in Paris. Culson, who previously tied Tinsley for top of the standings in this event, finished third. Olympic decathalon champion Ashton Eaton came in sixth.

Five-time Olympic medalist Sanya Richards-Ross took first place in the women’s 400m, followed by Jamaicans Stephenie Ann McPherson and Novlene Williams-Mills.

Three other events saw season’s best times: Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop in the men’s 800m with 1:43:34, the Netherland’s Sifan Hassan in the women’s 1,500m with 3:57:00, and Kenya’s Edwin Cheruiyot Soi in the men’s 5,000m with 12:59.82.

The next Diamond League meet will be held in Glasgow on July 11-12.

Gatlins wins 100m over Gay at Lausanne Diamond League

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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