Step right up: the Nanjing 2014 Video Booth

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The athletes’ village at any Olympics is always a hub of camaraderie, bonding and hijinks – Johnny Quinn’s Olympic bathroom escape, anyone? The Youth Olympic Village at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics is apparently no exception.

The International Olympic Committee is doing its part to promote those good times with the Nanjing 2014 Video Booth, into which step village residents for solo and group interviews. And if you want a good example of what happens when you ask a bunch of teenagers – who happen to be among the world’s best athletes – to interview themselves, this video of Americans Tyler Merkley, Myles Marshall and Kenneth Brinson is a great example.

All three are track-and-field athletes: Merkley competes in discuss, Brinson in hammer and Marshall in the 800m; Marshall’s father, John Marshall, competed in the same event at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

The first video prompt is to say hello in their native language. Easy enough, the guys nail it with two hellos and a ‘sup.

Next up, their favorite part of living in the Young Athletes Village: The friendly volunteers, meeting new people from distant countries, comfy beds – and, of course, the all-you-can-eat environment.

“And I like all the free food,” says Merkley. “Free food’s delicious.”

Their victory dance? Better to watch than read about – and definitely worth the watch.

The last two questions highlight a universal truth about teenagers in that, when you ask three teens a serious question, you’ll get answers that range from the sarcastic to the refreshingly honest.

Where do they want to be in 10 years? Apart from the competing in the Olympics, they just want the basics.

“Hopefully I’ll still be running track and doing something great in the track world,” says Marshall. “And alive. Yeah.”

What does it take to be a true champion? Hard work and dedication, says Marshall, and setting goals high, says Merkley.

“I think the biggest thing would probably be, believe in yourself and surround yourself with good people who are trying to accomplish high goals like what you want to do,” says Brinson, a hammer athlete.

That earnest response earns an approving nod from Merkley – who follows that up with a mockingly tender shoulder pat.

And scene.

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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