Diamond League resumes with women’s sprint clash in Stockholm

Allyson Felix

U.S. track and field athletes spent the last month in the shadows as the top meets have been European- and Commonwealth-only affairs.

The resumption of the Diamond League, beginning in Stockholm on Thursday (Universal Sports, 2 p.m. ET), brings Americans back into the spotlight.

The marquee race features the biggest U.S. women’s sprint star at the last three Olympics — Allyson Felix — and the biggest U.S. women’s sprint star of 2014 — Tori Bowie.

Felix’s season, a comeback campaign from last year’s torn hamstring at the World Championships, has not reached her usual standard. She’s notched one Diamond League race victory — a 200m in Oslo on June 11.

Felix, a four-time Olympic champion, was on the track for one of the more memorable races of the season. She finished third in the Prefontaine Classic 200m on May 31.

That race victory was snagged by the then-unheralded Bowie, previously best known for long jumping at the World Indoor Championships in March.

Bowie proved no fluke, going down to 100m and winning Diamond League races in Rome, New York and Monaco, overcoming a hamstring injury at the U.S. Championships between New York and Monaco.

Bowie is the fastest woman this year in the 100m (10.8 seconds, after entering 2014 with a personal best of 11.14) and held the world’s fastest 200m time this year until Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers took the mantle at the European Championships on Friday.

Here are five events to watch in Stockholm:

Men’s shot put — 12:45 p.m. ET

The field is loaded — the top five men this year, the two-time reigning World champion and the two-time reigning Olympic champion.

Joe Kovacs, with zero global medals to his name, is the only man to throw farther than 22 meters this year, doing so to win the U.S. Championship on the California State Capitol grounds on June 25.

Kovacs will be looking for his second Diamond League win of the year, going against all of the other men to have won in 2014 — Reese HoffaChristian Cantwell and David Storl.

Men’s 400m hurdles — 2:03

This race features Olympic champion Felix Sanchez, World champion Jehue Gordon, Olympic and World silver medalist Michael Tinsley and 2014 world leader Javier Culson.

The American Tinsley is looking to match the Puerto Rican Culson in Diamond League race wins this season at three.

Men’s 5000m — 2:15

Galen Rupp became a father of twins during the Diamond League break. Now, the Olympic 10,000m silver medalist will try to better his two previous 5000m results from this season, a third and a fourth.

Rupp’s task will be difficult. The field in Stockholm is led by Kenyan Edwin Soi, who won a race in Paris that included Rupp, Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwetthe World silver medalist, and Kenyan Caleb Ndiku, the Commonwealth Games champion.

Women’s 200m — 2:32

Five different women have won the six Diamond League 200m races this season, but Felix and Bowie are the only ones returning to this field. They’ll both try to match Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare at two victories in 2014.

Will Bowie have her sights set on Schippers’ world lead of 22.03? She would need to knock .15 off her personal best from this year to match it. Felix is ranked No. 6 in the world this year at 22.34. Her best time in a season hasn’t been that slow since 2002, when she was 16.

Women’s 1500m — 3:50

The usual Abeba AregawiJenny Simpson duel adds World Indoor 3000m champion Genzebe Dibaba for a little extra spice to cap off the night’s action in Stockholm.

The favorite may be none of them but Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan, who won the last two Diamond League 1500m races and the European Championship over Aregawi.

Lolo Jones ends track and field season early

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

Lim Hyo-Jun

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

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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