Diamond League resumes with women’s sprint clash in Stockholm

Allyson Felix
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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

Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James
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Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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