Bernard Lagat cancels farewell tour with Rio in mind

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As far back as 2010, Bernard Lagat couldn’t imagine going for a fifth Olympic track berth in 2016.

“2012 will not be the end of competition for me, but the end of my track competitions almost for sure,” Lagat told Universal Sports in September 2010. “If I was to go back in 2013, it would be like a farewell tour, just having fun going through places like London and Berlin and waving to the crowds that have blessed me with their support in my career.”

Yet the two-time Olympic medalist (last in 2004) and six-time World Championships medalist (last in 2011) still races. Lagat will continue as long as he’s competitive.

He placed fourth in the London Olympic 5000m final, after tripping around the final turn. He won the U.S. 5000m title in 2013 and was the fourth-fastest American man overall last year.

Now 40, his sights are on breaking 40-and-over masters records (which he accomplished in the 3000m at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Feb. 7 and the mile at the NYRR Millrose Games on Feb. 14.)

Lagat said before the Millrose Games that he has the talent to win a medal at the World Championships in Beijing in August and make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team at 41. Lagat and Meb Keflezighi are trying to become the oldest U.S. Olympic runners of all time, according to sports-reference.com.

He felt people doubted him early in the 2014 outdoor season. Lagat was 14th at the Prefontaine Classic in 13:31.23 on May 31 and 12th at the Glasgow Diamond League meet in 13:27.08 on July 11. In between, Lagat captured his seventh U.S. 5000m title, albeit slowly in 13:31.41 against a field that didn’t include Galen Rupp.

Lagat was headed toward being outside the 50 fastest men worldwide last year until his out-of-nowhere 13:06.68 in Berlin on Aug. 31. That, plus finishing within .14 of Ethiopian Olympic 5000m silver medalist Dejen Gebremeskel at the New Balance Indoor 3000m three weeks ago gave him confidence.

“Would I really slow down that much that I wouldn’t make the team?” Lagat recently said of his chances for Rio. “I don’t think so.”

Lagat splits time training and helping raise his two children in Tucson, Ariz., where he’s seen Kenyan NCAA 5000m champion Lawi Lalang emerge to surpass him in workouts. Lalang, who finished his NCAA career at Arizona last season, is 17 years younger than Lagat.

Lagat is the same age as Hicham El Guerrouj, the 1500m and mile world record holder who retired after the Athens 2004 Olympics. El Guerrouj, who relegated the then-Kenyan Lagat to 2004 Olympic 1500m silver, joined the IAAF Hall of Fame last year.

Lagat’s son, Miika, was born in 2006 and is old enough to start giving Lagat strategy tips.

“I feel no pressure,” Lagat said. “Why do I have to cut it short why I still enjoy it?”

Matthew Centrowitz’s chase of Asbel Kiprop

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