Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin among IAAF World Athlete of the Year candidates

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Justin Gatlin could win IAAF World Athlete of the Year for his undefeated sprint season, four years after coming back from a four-year doping ban.

Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m champion, was among 10 candidates for the men’s award named by track and field’s international governing body Friday.

Usain Bolt, who won World Athlete of the Year five times in the last six years, is not a candidate. Bolt ran a total of 400 meters this season, set back due to March foot surgery. Gatlin was the world’s fastest man in the 100m and 200m in 2014.

Bolt won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year Award in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Kenyan David Rudisha, the world record holder in the 800m, won in 2010, when Bolt was hampered by injury and lost a 100m to Tyson Gay.

Rudisha is also not a candidate this year. Therefore, this year’s men’s winner will be a first-time recipient.

Here are the 10 men’s candidates:

Nigel Amos (BOT) — Diamond League 800m champion
Mutaz Barshim (QAT) — Became No. 2 all time high jumper
Jairus Kipchoge Birech (KEN) — Diamond League 3000m steeplechase champion
Bohdan Bondarenko (UKR) — Became No. 3 (tied) all time high jumper
Yohann Diniz (FRA) — Broke 50km race walk world record, undefeated
Justin Gatlin (USA) — Diamond League 100m champion, undefeated
Robert Harting (GER) — Won 13 of 14 discus competitions
Dennis Kipruto Kimetto (KEN) — Broke marathon world record
Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) — Broke pole vault world record, Diamond League champion
LaShawn Merritt (USA) — Diamond League 400m champion

The women’s recipient will also be a first-time winner. Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce and Allyson Felix won the last two years but were not among the nominees. Fraser-Pryce was slowed by injury this season, while Felix did not impress until late in the summer, coming off last year’s torn hamstring.

The women’s list includes two Americans but omitted three of the four U.S. women who won Diamond League season titles — Felix (200m), Tianna Bartoletta (long jump) and Jenny Simpson (1500m).

The women’s candidates:

Valerie Adams (NZL) — Diamond League shot put champion, undefeated
Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) — Broke indoor world records in 1500m, 3000m
Dawn Harper Nelson (USA) — Diamond League 100m hurdles champion
Caterine Ibarguen (COL) — Diamond League triple jump champion, undefeated
Francena McCorory (USA) — World Indoor 400m champion
Sandra Perkovic (CRO) — Diamond League discus champion
Dafne Schippers (NED) — European champion in 100m, 200m
Kaliese Spencer (JAM) — Diamond League 400m hurdles champion
Barbora Spotakova (CZE) — Diamond League javelin champion
Anita Wlodarczyk (POL) — Broken hammer throw world record

The lists will be narrowed to three finalists for each award after an email poll of track and field officials closes Oct. 16. The winners will be announced Nov. 21 after an IAAF council decision.

Justin Gatlin eyes more 200s after undefeated season

2022 Pan Pacific Championships canceled as swimming calendar shifts

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The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, a quadrennial major international meet, will not be held in 2022 “out of respect for the recent changes to the international sporting calendar,” according to a press release.

The Pan Pacs’ charter nations — the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan — agreed to the move. The 2026 event will be held in Canada, which was supposed to be the 2022 host.

The decision came after the 2021 World Championships were moved to May 2022, following the Tokyo Olympics moving from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The quadrennial multi-sport Commonwealth Games — which includes Australia and Canada, but not the U.S. or Japan — are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7, 2022.

“Organizing a third major championships in that window presented several challenges,” according to the Pan Pacs release.

Pan Pacs mark the third-biggest major international meet for U.S. swimmers, held in non-Olympic, non-world championships years.

MORE: Caeleb Dressel co-hosts a podcast. It’s not about swimming.

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Boston Marathon canceled for first time after 123 years; virtual event planned

Boston Marathon
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The Boston Marathon, held every year since 1897, has been canceled as an in-person event for the first time. It will be held as a virtual race instead due to the coronavirus.

“While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon,” Boston Athletic Association (BAA) CEO Tom Grilk said in a press release.

The world’s oldest annual marathon had been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14, it was announced March 13.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he first considered canceling the postponed marathon during a coronavirus surge in April.

“We were maxed out in our hospital emergency rooms,” Walsh said Thursday. “I realized that the downside of the curve, which we were on, the backside of the curve, is going to be going for some time. The concern of a second surge made me have some real reservations about can we have the marathon or not.”

Walsh said experts said a potential second surge would be between August and October. He held out hope to hold the race until talking with the BAA last week.

All participants originally registered for Boston will be offered a full refund of their entry fee and have the opportunity to participate in the virtual alternative, which can be run between Sept. 7-14.

More details, including entry information, will be announced in the coming weeks.

It’s the biggest alteration to the Boston Marathon, which was inspired by the marathon’s debut at the first modern Olympics in 1896. Previously, the biggest change came in 1918, the last year of World War I. The marathon was still held on Patriots’ Day in April but as a 10-man military relay race.

The original 2020 Boston elite fields included two-time U.S. Olympian Des Linden, the 2018 Boston winner who was fourth at the Feb. 29 Olympic Trials, where the top three earned Olympic spots.

London is the world’s other major spring marathon. It was rescheduled from April 27 to Oct. 4. Its original fields for April were headlined by the two fastest men in history — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. It’s unknown if they will remain in the field, should London happen.

The fall major marathon schedule

Boston — Sept. 7-14 (virtual event)
Berlin — TBD (will not be held as planned on Sept. 27)
London — Oct. 4
Chicago — Oct. 11
New York City — Nov. 1

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results