Commonwealth Games diving includes scores of 0, 13-year-old (video)

Grant Nel

The Commonwealth Games diving competition made peculiar headlines on Thursday.

Two Australian divers, including an Olympic silver medalist, were so off on their dives that they received zeroes from judges. England fielded a team that included a national champion born April 3, 2001.

First, the Aussies.

Grant Nel slipped on his 3m springboard takeoff for a forward 4 1/2 and nearly entered the water flat on his back to receive straight zeroes from the judges.

Nel appeared to laugh it off on the deck after his scores came up, and he grabbed redemption in the synchro event with a silver-medal performance Friday.

“I am absolutely chuffed to come back and see that diving board again and think, ‘That’s my house,'” Nel said, according to the Australian Associated Press. “I really wanted to take control if it.”

Melissa Wu is an experienced platform diver, winning silver in the synchro event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But she had an uncharacteristic miss in the individual event Thursday, slipping off the platform and landing feet first into the water.

Like Nel, she earned zero points from the judges. She bravely came back to complete her final four dives in the competition.

“My body just sort of reacted. I had no idea where I was. The dive just felt completely different to normal and I just didn’t know where I was,” Wu said, according to the Australian newspaper The Age. “It was a bit of a shock really. My foot slipped on the platform and I didn’t get into my rotation properly and I just got really lost and ended out coming out (early). Luckily I didn’t hurt myself too badly or anything. I guess I was just really shocked as it doesn’t happen a lot.”

source: Getty Images
Victoria Vincent (Getty Images)

Then there’s Victoria Vincent, the British champion, who at 13 would be too young to compete in the World Junior Championships if they were held this year.

Vincent, who is 4 feet, 8 inches, finished 10th in the Commonwealth Games platform, against women twice her age less than a year after her first dive off the 10m surface.

Vincent’s most prized possession is a teddy bear, which brings to mind one of the most precocious U.S. Olympians ever, Amanda Beard, the swimmer who won three medals at Atlanta 1996 at age 14. Beard toted a teddy bear that became so famous it was asked to be sent for a photo shoot sans Beard.

Vincent’s 2001 birthdate also reminds us that the 2016 Olympics will be the first Games to include athletes born in the new millennium.

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Valencia Marathon produces historic times in men’s, women’s races

2022 Valencia Marathon

Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum and Ethiopian Amane Beriso won the Valencia Marathon and became the third-fastest man and woman in history, respectively.

Kiptum, a 23-year-old in his marathon debut, won the men’s race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 53 seconds. The only men to ever run faster over 26.2 miles are legends: Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09 world record, plus a 2:01:39) and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41).

Kipchoge made his marathon debut at age 28, and Bekele at 31.

Beriso, a 31-year-old whose personal best was 2:20:48 from January 2016, stunned the women’s field Sunday by running 2:14:58. The only women to have run faster: Kenyans Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) and Ruth Chepngetich (2:14:18).

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey finished second in 2:16:49, the fastest-ever time for a woman in her marathon debut. Gidey is the world record holder at 5000m and 10,000m.

Valencia is arguably the top annual marathon outside of the six World Marathon Majors. The next major marathon is Tokyo on March 5.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill


BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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