Justin Gatlin runs fastest 100m of 2014, wins 200m an hour later (video)

Justin Gatlin
1 Comment

Justin Gatlin pulled off one of the greatest sprint doubles in a short time frame ever Friday, winning a 100m in 9.77 seconds and a 200m in 19.71 with about an hour between races in Brussels on Friday.

Gatlin’s victory in the 100m was a personal-best time at the final Diamond League meet of the season.

It’s also the fastest time in the world this year, bettering Gatlin’s 9.80 from earlier. Gatlin remained undefeated for 2014. The 9.77 also matched Usain Bolt‘s winning time from the 2013 World Championships.

Gatlin finished second to Bolt at 2013 Worlds and third behind Bolt and Yohan Blake at the 2012 Olympics after winning the 2004 Olympic title and sitting out four years due to a doping ban.

Bolt ran two 100m races this season, after getting a late start due to foot surgery, clocking a best of 9.98 before shutting it down for the year. Bolt said he didn’t think he would beat a Gatlin-at-his-best this year, given the Jamaican’s lack of training and racing this year.

Gatlin has run 9.77 before, matching the world record in 2006. But that time was later erased due to his doping suspension.

American Mike Rodgers was second to Gatlin in 9.93 on Friday. Former world record holder Asafa Powell was third in 9.95. Tyson Gay was sixth in 10.01. (full results here)

Gatlin’s victory in the 200m, not his primary event, was faster than any other man has run this year. Gatlin ran 19.68 earlier this year. Bolt, who didn’t run the 200m this year, won the 2013 World Championship in 19.66.

In other events Friday, Allyson Felix won the 200m in 22.02, the fastest time in the world this year. Felix also shaved .32 off her fastest time of 2014, a comeback year for the Olympic champion who suffered a torn hamstring in the 2013 World Championships 200m final.

Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross won the 400m in 49.98, a half-second slower than countrywoman Francena McCorory‘s fastest time in the world this year from June. McCorory was seventh in 51.44 in Friday’s race.

Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko took a combined five attempts at breaking the high jump world record and failed on all of them. Barshim won the competition with a 2.43m clearance, making him the second best man of all time in the event. Cuba’s Javier Sotomayor set the 2.45m world record in 1993.

Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi edged Kenyan Silas Kiplagat in the 1500m by .02. Both men celebrated prematurely, though Kiplagat had reason to given second place was enough to win the Diamond League season title in the event.

Galen Rupp, whose best events are the 5000m and 10,000m, was 11th in 3:34.15, a personal best. Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano was last among 15 finishers.

Evan Jager broke his U.S. record in the 3000m steeplechase by 2.1 seconds, clocking 8:04.71 for third place.

Americans Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury finished fourth and fifth in personal-best times in the 3000m behind Kenyan winner Mercy Cherono.

France’s Renaud Lavillenie cleared 5.93m to take the pole vault, the highest clearance in the world this year.

France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde won the 110m hurdles in 13.08. Olympic champion and world record holder Aries Merritt was seventh in 13.37. Merritt hasn’t run faster than 13.27 this year during which he’s dealt with a reported hamstring injury.

New Zealand’s Valerie Adams extended her shot put winning streak, which is at more than 50 dating to 2010, with a 20.59m throw, the best in the world this year.

Usain Bolt talks Olympic history, racing in the U.S., more in Q&A

Football takes significant step in Olympic push

Flag Football
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Football took another step toward possible Olympic inclusion with the IOC executive board proposing that the sport’s international federation — the IFAF — be granted full IOC recognition at a meeting in October.

IOC recognition does not equate to eventual Olympic inclusion, but it is a necessary early marker if a sport is to join the Olympics down the line. The IOC gave the IFAF provisional recognition in 2013.

Specific measures are required for IOC recognition, including having an anti-doping policy compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency and having 50 affiliated national federations from at least three continents. The IFAF has 74 national federations over five continents with almost 4.8 million registered athletes, according to the IOC.

The NFL has helped lead the push for flag football to be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games. Flag football had medal events for men and women at last year’s World Games, a multi-sport competition including Olympic and non-Olympic sports, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Football is one of nine sports that have been reported to be in the running to be proposed by LA 2028 to the IOC to be added for the 2028 Games only. LA 2028 has not announced which, if any sports, it plans to propose.

Under rules instituted before the Tokyo Games, Olympic hosts have successfully proposed to the IOC adding sports solely for their edition of the Games.

For Tokyo, baseball-softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were added. For Paris, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were approved again, and breaking will make its Olympic debut. Those sports were added four years out from the Games.

For 2028, the other sports reportedly in the running for proposal are baseball and softball, breaking, cricket, karate, kickboxing, lacrosse, motorsports and squash.

All of the other eight sports reportedly in the running for 2028 proposal already have a federation with full IOC recognition (if one counts the international motorcycle racing federation for motorsports).

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Helen Maroulis stars in wrestling documentary, with help from Chris Pratt

Helen Maroulis, Chris Pratt

One of the remarkable recent Olympic comeback stories is the subject of a film that will be shown nationwide in theaters for one day only on Thursday.

“Helen | Believe” is a documentary about Helen Maroulis, the first U.S. Olympic women’s wrestling champion. It is produced by Religion of Sports, the venture founded by Gotham Chopra, Michael Strahan and Tom Brady. Showing details are here.

After taking gold at the 2016 Rio Games, Maroulis briefly retired in 2019 during a two-year stretch in which she dealt with concussions and post-traumatic stress disorder. The film focuses on that period and her successful bid to return and qualify for the Tokyo Games, where she took bronze.

In a poignant moment in the film, Maroulis described her “rock bottom” — being hospitalized for suicidal ideations.

In an interview, Maroulis said she was first approached about the project in 2018, the same year she had her first life-changing concussion that January. A wrestling partner’s mother was connected to director Dylan Mulick.

Maroulis agreed to the film in part to help spread mental health awareness in sports. Later, she cried while watching the 2020 HBO film, “The Weight of Gold,” on the mental health challenges that other Olympians faced, because it resonated with her so much.

“When you’re going through something, it sometimes gives you an anchor of hope to know that someone’s been through it before, and they’ve overcome it,” she said.

Maroulis’ comeback story hit a crossroads at the Olympic trials in April 2021, where the winner of a best-of-three finals series in each weight class made Team USA.

Maroulis won the opening match against Jenna Burkert, but then lost the second match. Statistically, a wrestler who loses the second match in a best-of-three series usually loses the third. But Maroulis pinned Burkert just 22 seconds into the rubber match to clinch the Olympic spot.

Shen then revealed that she tore an MCL two weeks earlier.

“They told me I would have to be in a brace for six weeks,” she said then. “I said, ‘I don’t have that. I have two and a half.’”

Maroulis said she later asked the director what would have happened if she didn’t make the team for Tokyo. She was told the film still have been done.

“He had mentioned this isn’t about a sports story or sports comeback story,” Maroulis said. “This is about a human story. And we’re using wrestling as the vehicle to tell this story of overcoming and healing and rediscovering oneself.”

Maroulis said she was told that, during filming, the project was pitched to the production company of actor Chris Pratt, who wrestled in high school in Washington. Pratt signed on as a producer.

“Wrestling has made an impact on his life, and so he wants to support these kinds of stories,” said Maroulis, who appeared at last month’s Santa Barbara Film Festival with Pratt.

Pratt said he knew about Maroulis before learning about the film, which he said “needed a little help to get it over the finish line,” according to a public relations company promoting the film.

The film also highlights the rest of the six-woman U.S. Olympic wrestling team in Tokyo. Four of the six won a medal, including Tamyra Mensah-Stock‘s gold.

“I was excited to be part of, not just (Maroulis’) incredible story, but also helping to further advance wrestling and, in particular, female wrestling,” Pratt said, according to responses provided by the PR company from submitted questions. “To me, the most compelling part of Helen’s story is the example of what life looks like after a person wins a gold medal. The inevitable comedown, the trauma around her injuries, the PTSD, the drive to continue that is what makes her who she is.”

Maroulis, who now trains in Arizona, hopes to qualify for this year’s world championships and next year’s Olympics.

“I try to treat every Games as my last,” she said. “Now I’m leaning toward being done [after 2024], but never say never.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!