Bill Demong

Bill Demong to run New York City Marathon

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Bill Demong, the only American to win an Olympic Nordic combined gold medal, will test his endurance at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 2.

“Intermittently, over the last however many, 15 years, I have had the desire and done some running races,” Demong said in a phone interview while driving in rural Germany on Monday. “I’ve kind of had a desire to do a marathon, especially while I’m relatively fit.”

Demong, 34, won gold and silver medals at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. He came back for a fifth Olympics in Sochi, and placed sixth with the U.S. team and 24th and 31st in individual events.

It was reported in Sochi that Demong would probably retire after those Winter Games, but he will partially compete this season, hoping to help the U.S. Nordic combined team regain funding following U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association cuts after Sochi.

Demong hopes to average six minutes per mile at the New York City Marathon, with a finishing time around 2 hours, 36 minutes. He said in 2003 he ran a 37km Colorado road race (three miles shy of a marathon) over a mountain in 2 hours, 17 minutes, but said he was in better running shape then.

Demong’s work ethic is well-known among U.S. Winter Olympians.

“He will wake up at four in the morning, go hike up some insane mountain with his cross-country skis, find a field and go trudging around cross-country,” ski jumper Anders Johnson once said. “Then he’ll come back down for breakfast, go do intervals on his bike for two hours, come home and eat lunch. … Then he’ll go and do a bike race. … I don’t think the guy has taken a day off since he was 13.”

Demong’s experience in cross-country skiing endurance training for Nordic combined should pay off in New York. He pointed to other cross-country skiers who performed well in distance running, such as former Dartmouth skier Ben True. True was the second-fastest U.S. man in the 5000m this year.

“Certainly having that cardiovascular base helps immensely, already knowing that given a few training sessions you can easily go out and probably run a marathon,” said Demong, whose summer roller-ski training over the last two decades included three-, four- and five-hour sessions at 10 mph. “The catch is, of course, that just because you could finish one doesn’t necessarily make you, a) fast — not all cross-country skiers cross over well into running — and b) in cross-country skiing, you’re used to going out, uphill, as hard as you can and then recovering. Obviously, in a marathon if you go and burn it in the first three miles, you’re not coming back. That’s going to be the challenge.”

Demong will join a long list of Olympians to take part in the five-borough race.

It includes his U.S. Winter Olympic teammate Apolo Ohno, who clocked 3:25:14 in 2011. Ohno recently completed the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

Outside of Olympic distance runners, Olympic champions swimmer Summer Sanders and sprinter Marie-Jose Perec also ran the NYC Marathon in 2013.

Caroline Wozniacki, a two-time Olympic tennis player, will also run this year’s NYC Marathon.

Olympic triathlete Gwen Jorgensen, the reigning World champion, will race the Dash to the Finish Line 5k in Central Park the day before the marathon.

Lindsey Vonn still struggles with depression

Bobby Joe Morrow, triple Olympic sprint champion, dies at 84

Bobby Joe Morrow
AP
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Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.

Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.

Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.

Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.

He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.

“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Johnny Gregorek runs fastest blue jeans mile in history

Johnny Gregorek
Getty Images
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Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.

Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.

Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.

Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.

“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”

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