Caroline Wozniacki nervous for New York City Marathon, even in her dreams

Caroline Wozniacki
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NEW YORK — A funny thing happened when Caroline Wozniacki went for a run in Central Park shortly after the U.S. Open in September.

Onlookers stopped, clapped and raised their thumbs.

“Everyone knows that I’m running,” Wozniacki said Wednesday, about 14 hours after flying into New York from her native Denmark. “I’m probably in the shape of my life.”

Wozniacki, a two-time Olympian and eighth-ranked tennis player in the world, is arguably the most recognizable woman running the New York City Marathon on Sunday (actress Teri Hatcher may have an argument).

“I’m a little bit nervous,” were the 24-year-old’s first words in a news conference four days before the race. “I’m probably not going to get much sleep the night before.”

Wozniacki said she recently panicked thinking about the race while in Asia.

“I had a few dreams that night that I didn’t finish [the marathon],” Wozniacki said, laughing. “I had to be carried through with a wheelchair.”

Wozniacki decided one week before Wimbledon that she wanted to run the 26.2-mile, five-borough race (a few weeks after golfer Rory McIlroy called off their wedding, planned for November). Her team didn’t believe her when she said she could squeeze it in the week after her season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore.

She told her manager to look up charities, received a list that night and decided to run for Team for Kids. Wozniacki said Wednesday she wouldn’t be running Sunday if not for the organization that supports youth fitness programs.

“Everybody’s told me I’m crazy,” said Wozniacki, who called the marathon a bucket list item. “Life is too short to not do things that you would love to do.”

She’s raised more than $50,000.

As for the race, Wozniacki repeated she has a time goal in mind but wouldn’t divulge it. She will have two pacers with her. Her strategy?

“Start off slow,” said Wozniacki, an athlete used to short sprints and heart-rate fluctuations on the court.

Wozniacki hasn’t run more than a half marathon in training, canceling her longest planned training run in Singapore due to tennis activities. Wozniacki reached the semifinals of the WTA Finals, falling to Serena Williams on Saturday.

She flew from Singapore to Copenhagen, stretched her legs in Denmark for a day and then came to New York on Tuesday. She didn’t run before addressing the media Wednesday afternoon but planned a few treadmill runs before Sunday.

“It’s important to get [used to] the time zone, first of all,” Wozniacki said. “I can push through anything.”

Wozniacki said other players — such as Olympic champion Andy Murray — and the WTA are supporting her charity. Williams, who beat Wozniacki in the U.S. Open final Sept. 7, committed to but hadn’t delivered as of Wednesday.

“Now I put [Williams] on the spot,” Wozniacki joked. “Now she doesn’t have a choice [but to donate].”

She joins other tennis players who have run the five-borough marathon, including three retired professionals in 2010.

Former world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo completed the race in 3 hours, 40 minutes, 20 seconds. Former French Open champion Yannick Noah did it in 4:01:38, followed by Justin Gimelstob in 4:09:58.

People have started asking Wozniacki if a marathon will become an annual event.

“I need to finish this one first,” she joked. “It’s something I’m going to take with me for years and years to come.”

U.S. Winter Olympic champion to run NYC Marathon

Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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Kaillie Humphries begins trek to 2026 Winter Olympics with monobob World Cup win

Kaillie Humphries
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Kaillie Humphries is off to a strong start to a four-year cycle that she hopes ends with her breaking the record as the oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

Humphries, the women’s record holder with three Olympic bobsled titles, earned her first World Cup victory since February’s Winter Games, taking a monobob in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Humphries, the first Olympic monobob champion, prevailed by .31 of a second over German Lisa Buckwitz combining times from two runs at the 2002 Olympic track.

Humphries has said since February’s Olympics that she planned to take time off in this four-year cycle to start a family, then return in time for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games. Humphries, who can become the first female Olympic bobsledder in her 40s, shared her experiences with IVF in the offseason on her social media.

“We’ve pushed pause so that I could go and compete this season, maintain my world ranking to be able to still work towards my 2026 goals, and we’ll go back in March to do the implantation of the embryos that we did retrieve,” she said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The next Games come 20 years after her first Olympic experience in Italy, which was a sad one. Humphries, then a bobsled push athlete, was part of the Canadian delegation at the 2006 Torino Games, marched at the Opening Ceremony and had her parents flown in to cheer her on.

But four days before the competition, Humphries learned she was not chosen for either of the two Canadian push athlete spots. She vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She has since become the greatest female driver in history — Olympic golds in 2010, 2014 and 2022, plus five world championships.

Her longtime rival, five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, plans to return to competition from her second childbirth later in this Olympic cycle and can also break the record of oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

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