Gwen Jorgensen

Gwen Jorgensen wins sixth straight World Triathlon Series event; Alan Webb struggles

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Triathlon World champion Gwen Jorgensen appears to have improved her running even more in the offseason.

The sport’s greatest runner extended her record streak with a sixth straight World Triathlon Series victory in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. True to form, she overcame a deficit going into the run and easily won.

The 2012 Olympian was around one minute behind at the beginning of the final 5km in the United Arab Emirates capital. She ended up winning by 16 seconds over countrywoman Katie Zaferes, who claimed her first career World Triathlon Series podium (full results here).

“You know [Jorgensen] could run professionally, so to be doing all three sports really well is really cool,” Zaferes said. “It’s really inspiring.”

In 2014, Jorgensen routinely erased deficits in 10km runs in Olympic-distance races, including 69 seconds in the Grand Final in Edmonton on Aug. 30.

She passed a different test Saturday, sprinting at half the Olympic distance. Jorgensen won a pair of sprint triathlons last season, but her deficits going into those 5km runs last year were far smaller.

“I didn’t really have the swim I wanted to,” said Jorgensen, who trailed by 38 seconds after the 750m swim, “but I’m shocked with how fast I ran.”

Zaferes’ result was perhaps more remarkable as she had never finished better than seventh in a World Triathlon Series race.

The U.S. can send a maximum of three women to the Rio 2016 Olympics. Jorgensen and Sarah True, who were one-two in last year’s standings, appear favorites to take two of those spots.

Later Saturday, American Alan Webb finished 56th in the men’s race, 4:48 behind Spanish winner Mario Mola. (full results here)

Webb, the U.S. record holder in the mile, switched from track and field to triathlon last year and was making his individual World Triathlon Series debut.

The World Triathlon Series heads to Auckland for the next stop in three weeks.

Jordyn Wieber announces gymnastics retirement

Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

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Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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