Birmingham Diamond League preview; loaded women’s 100m, men’s mile

Mo Farah
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The track and field season is winding down with three Diamond League meets to go. The last meet before the two-legged Diamond League finals is Sunday in Birmingham, England, and there are a few savory events.

Cheers will be loudest for Mo Farah, who was forced to miss the biggest meet in Great Britain this year due to illness, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, a month ago.

A world record could fall in the men’s high jump, the fastest woman this year takes on a far more decorated group and the world’s elite gather in the men’s mile.

Here are five events to watch:

Men’s High Jump — 10:09 a.m. ET

Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko and Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim will take another crack at a 21-year-old world record they have both had attempts at this year.

The record is 2.45m, held by Cuban Javier Sotomayor. Bondarenko and Barshim have both cleared 2.42m this year.

Women’s 100m — 10:33 a.m.

There were 16 women on the entry list as of this publishing, which means heats. The field includes the reigning Olympic and World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the 2011 World champion Carmelita Jeter, the Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix and the fastest woman in the world this year, American Tori Bowie.

As accomplished as the field is, Bowie’s world-leading 10.80 is two tenths better than the other 15 sprinters this year.

Women’s 100m Hurdles — 11:29 a.m.

The field includes the last two Olympic champions — Sally Pearson and Dawn Harper-Nelson — and the reigning World champion — Brianna Rollins. It’s a rarity that they convene at the same meet.

The Aussie Pearson’s mission is to break up American dominance in this event this season. The 10 fastest times have been run by Americans, spread across four women. The only one of that quartet not in this race is Lolo Jones, who ended her season early to rest after two years of doing summer and winter sports.

Men’s Mile — 11:38 a.m.

Kenyan Asbel Kiprop runs in his first Diamond League meet since a failed attempt at Hicham El Guerrouj‘s world 1500m record in Monaco on July 18. He is the two-time reigning World champion in the 1500m.

The man who beat Kiprop in Monaco, with the fastest time in nearly 10 years, is also in the mile field in Birmingham. That’s countryman Silas Kiplagat. As is the fastest miler this year, Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman. Top Americans Leo Manzano and Matthew Centrowitz will have their hands full.

Men’s Two Miles — 11:48 a.m.

This is not a Diamond League or Olympic distance, but it includes Britain’s greatest active track and field athlete, double Olympic champion Mo Farah. Farah, who finished eighth in his first marathon in London April 13, is focusing on the track again and swept the 5000m and 10,000m at the European Championships earlier this month in Zurch.

Among Farah’s competition is American Will Leer.

Usain Bolt wins after Humvee entrance

Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record with slopestyle gold

Mark McMorris
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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

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

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“I think I was just not ready to deliver at that day,” Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen, said on NBC. “I was really so confident, I think I sort of overthought everything and tried to get ahead of myself. But I think it’s all right.”

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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