Katie Ledecky

Katie Ledecky smashes another world record at Pan Pacs

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Katie Ledecky broke her 1500m freestyle world record by six seconds on the final night of the Pan Pacific Championships on Sunday.

“Six seconds was a little surprising,” said Ledecky, who grimaced after winning in 15 minutes, 28.36 seconds, “It was painful, but it pays off in the end.”

The reigning Female World Swimmer of the Year has broken five world records in the last nine weeks, including the 400m free on Saturday and the 1500m free twice. Women do not contest the 1500m free at the Olympics.

She became the first woman to win four individual gold medals at a single Pan Pacific Championships, sweeping the 200m through 1500m frees at a meet contested among the world’s top swim nations outside Europe. She won five golds in six races overall, including the 4x200m free relay.

In the 1500m free, Ledecky was 27 seconds faster than the silver medalist, New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle. She lapped three of the eight finalists, meaning she finished her 1500m before they finished 1400m.

Ledecky’s time was .01 faster than Ryan Lochte‘s 1500m free at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, where her time would have placed fifth in the final.

“I knew it was my last race of the meet, and last race of the season,” Ledecky said. “I wanted to finish on a good note. I didn’t want to walk away from the meet with a little bit of, like, ‘Uh, that was just OK.’ I just dug in deep the last 50.”

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air Pan Pacs coverage on Sunday from 1-2 p.m. ET.

In other events Sunday, Michael Phelps took second to Japan’s Kosuke Hagino in the 200m individual medley. Hagino won in 1:56.02, followed by Phelps in 1:56.04. Lochte won the consolation final in the same time as Hagino won the top final.

Phelps finished his first international meet since the London Olympics with gold in the 100m butterfly, silver in the 200m IM and fourth in the 100m free. He also won two relay gold medals and one relay silver. He swam the butterfly leg on the victorious U.S. 4x100m medley relay that closed the meet Sunday.

Lochte finished Pan Pacs with one individual medal, silver in the 100m fly.

Missy Franklin won a silver medal as part of the U.S. 4x100m medley relay. Australia won by 1.92 seconds. Franklin, slowed by back spasms Tuesday, finished the meet with one gold and two silvers in relays and one bronze individually.

American Maya DiRado won her first major international individual gold medal, taking the women’s 200m IM in 2:09.93.

Australian Cate Campbell added 50m free gold to her 100m free title, matching the fastest textile suit time ever in 23.96.

Brazil’s Bruno Fratus took the men’s 50m free in 21.44. Anthony Ervin, 33 and the oldest U.S. swimmer at the meet, took silver in 21.73 and qualified for the 2015 World Championships. Ervin tied for gold in the 50m free at the Olympics 14 years ago.

Japan swept the 200m breaststrokes with Yasuhiro Koseki (2:08.57) and Kanako Watanabe (2:21.41).

Canadian Ryan Cochrane prevailed in the 800m free in 7:45.39, repeating as Pan Pacs champion.

Usain Bolt wins 100m in Warsaw after Humvee entrance

Brigid Kosgei beaten as another world record smashed in Nike shoes

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Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh broke the half marathon world record by 20 seconds, beating new marathon world-record holder Brigid Kosgei in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.

Nike-sponsored runners lowered the men’s and women’s marathon and half marathon records since September 2018, each appearing to race in versions of the apparel giant’s scrutinized Vaporfly shoes.

Yeshaneh, a 28-year-old who finished 14th in the 2016 Olympic 5000m, clocked 1:04:31 for 13.1 miles to better Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei‘s world record from 2017.

Kosgei, a 26-year-old Kenyan, also came in under the old world record but 18 seconds behind Yeshaneh.

Kosgei took 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record on Oct. 13, clocking 2:14:04 to win the Chicago Marathon.

Nike Vaporfly shoes, including the prototypes worn by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge when he ran a sub-two-hour marathon, were deemed legal by World Athletics’ new shoe regulations last month, according to Nike.

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Olympic, world champion lugers pull out of World Cup event over safety

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U.S. Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer and other top lugers are skipping this weekend’s World Cup stop in Winterberg, Germany, citing unsafe track conditions and a growing frustration with the international federation over athlete concerns.

“This was brought to the attention of the FIL [International Luge Federation] and yet again we were told that everything is ok,” was posted on Mazdzer’s Instagram. “I realize that a boycott is a lose-lose situation and there are no winners. But I have no other option at this point. I feel personally that this track is not safe for doubles sleds or for athletes who do not have adequate numbers of runs.”

Mazdzer said by phone Friday that he noticed significant bumps on the track in his first training run earlier this week.

“I couldn’t drive because I’m being thrown everywhere,” he said. “When you’re going 130 kilometers an hour [80 miles per hour], you don’t really want the track to be bad.”

An FIL spokesperson said Friday that Mazdzer’s choice was “his individual decision” and declined further comment ahead of races scheduled Saturday and Sunday. Mazdzer said that he was told the race starts will be moved down.

USA Luge said in a Friday statement that it will not participate in the World Cup and would communicate its concern for athlete safety to the FIL.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Summer Britcher said she was boycotting via Instagram, calling it “a farce of a World Cup.” Top lugers said athletes suffered serious injuries in training runs.

“I love this sport, but after too many decisions too many times that disregard 1-the safety of the athletes, and 2- the integrity and fairness of our sport, I have grown a great disdain for the International Luge Federation, and those who make these decisions,” was posted on Britcher’s account. “I will not race this weekend. I do not believe the track is safe, I do not believe it has been prepared to a World Cup standard, and I do not believe that the International Federation and Winterberg World Cup organisers should get away from this with no consequences.”

Britcher’s post noted that her team notified coaches and the technical director that the track was unsafe after her first training run Wednesday.

“Our concerns, and the concerns of the rest of the athletes from other nations throughout the day were not taken seriously,” Britcher posted.

Britcher said that several coaches attempted to fix the track for several hours on Thursday after athletes refused to train.

Olympic champion David Gleirscher of Austria and World Cup standings leader Roman Repilov of Russia and the top doubles teams of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany also posted on Instagram that they’re skipping the Winterberg World Cup, the penultimate stop of the season, for safety reasons.

Mazdzer estimated a 20 percent crash rate in training, but that the track condition has improved since Wednesday. He still plans to race next week at the last World Cup in Königssee.

“There’s a lot of problems with Winterberg,” he said after detailing the situation between athletes and the FIL, “and it’s not just the track.”

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