Jeremy Abbott, rebuilt and motivated, begins 10th season

Jeremy Abbott
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source: Getty ImagesJeremy Abbott said he spent the weekend rewatching videos of his career, one that’s included four U.S. Championships, two Olympics and a bronze medal from Sochi.

He wanted to get back into a competitive mode — and its associated tension and nerves — going into his debut event of his 10th senior figure skating season at Skate America in Hoffman Estates, Ill., next week.

His takeaway?

“I’ve had a pretty good career,” he said on a teleconference Monday. “Certainly there are still more things that I want to do.”

Abbott went into last season believing it would be his finale as a competitive skater.

He won the U.S. Championships in January then had a disastrous performance in the Olympic team event short program (seventh overall), though he still took home a bronze medal. Abbott later also fell in his singles short program, considered dropping out due to pain, but gutted out a 12th-place finish overall.

Abbott went to the World Championships a month later and finished fifth, matching his best performance ever at a Worlds or Olympics. That motivated him to reconsider retirement.

“I am missing one thing in my competitive career that I want,” he told Examiner.com in May. “I want a World medal. I feel like there is such a void.”

He still feels that way.

“It is a strong motivating factor,” Abbott said Monday. “It’s not the only one.”

Abbott will begin working toward that goal competitively at Skate America next week. There, he’s slated to face 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan, fifth-place finisher Tatsuki Machida of Japan and countryman Jason Brown, who was ninth in Sochi and won his season debut in Germany three weeks ago.

Confidence will rise if he can top a field of that caliber, but which Abbott will show up?

The man who knocked off Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir at back-to-back U.S. Championships in 2009 and 2010, or the one who underperformed at so many international competitions before that Worlds awakening in Japan in March?

Abbott finished fifth in his only Skate America appearance in 2012. He hasn’t won a Grand Prix series event since 2011. He still has at least a little of that fire, ignited with that “middle finger” rant in Sochi.

“When I comepted against Evan and Johnny, I was always constantly fighting for that attention, because I was always that third one,” Abbott said. “I was always brushed aside by the media because they garnered the attention. Now, Jason Brown is garnering that attention as well. That’s great for figure skating, and that’s great for the U.S., but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to win.”

Abbott said this season “is for me.” He said he’s rebuilt himself as a skater, right down to the “biomechanics,” not a term often used in the sport. Less dancing movement. More classic figure skating.

“We kind of wanted to throw it back and be very traditional,” said Abbott, who said his body feels better than it has in years with less hip and back pain.

He’s grown facial hair and added a short program to Sam Smith‘s “Lay Me Down.”

“Since this is the first year we get to do lyrics,” Abbott said of a new rule allowing skaters to perform to music with words, “I was super excited to get the chance to do that.”

Abbott said he’s loving his skating right now but cautioned to let time and competitions play out.

“Every season is long,” he said. “We get to start the whole marathon next week.”

Video: Wrong anthem played at World Gymnastics Championships

Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago.

The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet in Kenya’s Rift Valley, often hauling by bike several gallons of the family’s milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a nursery school teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.

At 18, he upset legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 World 5000m title on the track. He won Olympic 5000m medals (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then moved to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final