Ryan Bailey, Usain Bolt

U.S. holds off Usain Bolt at World Relays (video)

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The U.S. won gold over Usain Bolt at a global championship for the first time since 2007 in the 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, on Saturday night.

The U.S. quartet of Mike RodgersJustin GatlinTyson Gay and Ryan Bailey clocked 37.38 seconds, beating the Bolt-anchored Jamaican team that finished in 37.68.

Rodgers, Gatlin and Gay provided a .48 lead to Bailey, according to IAAF splits, which proved too much of a deficit for Bolt to make up in a rematch of the anchor legs from the 2012 Olympics. At the London Games, Bolt and Bailey received their batons almost simultaneously, and Bolt won it by two tenths of a second.

“I’m not in the best shape,” Bolt told media in Nassau.

On Saturday, Bailey celebrated the U.S. victory by mimicking Bolt’s famous “To Di World” pose, turning it into a throat-slashing gesture.

“I feel comfortable bringing it home, running against Usain,” Bailey told media in Nassau.

The U.S. quartet included the three fastest Americans in the 100m in 2014, plus Bailey, who was fifth in the 2012 Olympic 100m.

The Jamaican quartet did not include Olympic 100m silver medalist Yohan Blake, who has been plagued by injuries since he matched Gay as the second-fastest 100m sprinter ever two weeks after the London Olympics. Nor did it include Asafa Powell, the 100m world-record holder before Bolt who was the fastest Jamaican 100m sprinter in 2014.

“We just need to go back to the drawing board [for the World Championships relay in Beijing in August],” Bolt told media in Nassau.

The World Relays were anticipated as a Bolt-Gatlin showdown, but Gatlin, the fastest 100m sprinter in the world in 2014, ran the second leg in both the preliminary heat and the final, as he did in the London Olympic final. Bolt and Gatlin have not raced head to head since 2013.

Gatlin and the U.S. and Bolt and Jamaica could face off in the 4x200m relay as the World Relays close Sunday night (Universal Sports, 7 p.m. ET).

Earlier in the women’s 4x200m relay, Jeneba Tarmoh and Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix collided on the final exchange, with the U.S. giving up the lead and failing to finish. Tarmoh couldn’t get the baton into Felix’s hand, and both runners fell. The 4x200m is not an Olympic event.

Tarmoh and Felix memorably tied for third place in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials 100m final. No tiebreaker was in place, a runoff was eventually decided and Tarmoh chose not to run, giving Felix the final individual spot on the Olympic team in the event.

Nigeria ended up winning the women’s 4x200m after the Tarmoh-Felix collision.

The U.S. women fared better in the distance medley relay, breaking the world record. The distance medley relay, also not an Olympic event, includes a 1200m, 400m, 800m and 1600m.

The U.S. quartet of Treniere MoserSanya Richards-RossAjee’ Wilson and Shannon Rowbury clocked 10:36.50 (video here). The previous mark was 10:48.38, also set by the U.S., in 1988.

Richards-Ross is the Olympic 400m champion, Wilson was the fastest 800m runner in the world in 2014 and Rowbury was one of seven women to clock a sub-4-minute 1500m in 2014.

The U.S. quartet for Duane SolomonErik Sowinski, Casimir Loxsom and Robby Andrews edged Kenya to win the 4x800m relay (video here), which is also not contested at the Olympics. Kenya was then disqualified for an illegal baton exchange.

Solomon was fourth in the 2012 Olympic 800m final. Missing were Kenyan Olympic champion David Rudisha and American Nick Symmonds, the 2013 World Championships silver medalist.

Usain Bolt’s road to Rio Olympics, retirement to be made into documentary

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned 4 years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)