Justin Gatlin not among IAAF Athlete of the Year award finalists

Justin Gatlin
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Justin Gatlin was not voted a finalist for the World Athlete of the Year, following criticism over his original nomination two weeks ago due to his doping past.

Gatlin was scrutinized for his inclusion on a 10-man candidate list announced Oct. 3 since he was banned four years for taking performance-enhancing drugs in 2006.

The men’s award finalists announced Friday were Qatar high jumper Mutaz Barshim, Kenyan marathon runner Dennis Kimetto and French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie.

The finalists were determined by an email poll of track and field officials that closed Thursday. The winners will be announced Nov. 21 after an IAAF council decision.

This season, Gatlin went undefeated over 100m and 200m and was the world’s fastest man in both distances. He never raced against Usain Bolt in 2014.

Barshim this season moved up from being tied as the fifth highest high jumper in history to alone at No. 2 behind world-record holder Javier Sotomayor. He took several attempts at breaking Sotomayor’s world record.

Kimetto broke the world record in the marathon in Berlin on Sept. 28.

In February, Lavillenie broke Sergey Bubka‘s nearly 21-year-old world record in the pole vault.

Two weeks ago, German Olympic discus champion Robert Harting asked for his name to be taken off the 10-man candidate list due to the inclusion of an athlete previously banned for doping (it wasn’t, but he wasn’t a favorite to be a finalist anyway).

IAAF vice president Seb Coe said he had “big problems” with Gatlin’s name being on the 10-man list.

The women’s finalists are New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams, Ethiopian middle distance runner Genzebe Dibaba and Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers.

None of the six men’s and women’s finalists has won an IAAF Athlete of the Year award before.

The 2013 finalists were Bolt (winner), British distance runner Mo Farah and Ukrainian high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (winner), Czech Republic 400m hurdler Zuzana Hejnova and Adams.

Bolt, who won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year Award in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, was not on the 10-man candidates list after he ran a total of 400m in an injury-shortened season.

This is Adams’ fourth straight year as a finalist.

Simone Biles still buzzing after World Championships whirlwind

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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