Jamaica exacts revenge on U.S. at World Relays, without Usain Bolt

Jamaica
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Jamaica beat the U.S. in sprints on the final night of the IAAF World Relays, without Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in Nassau, Bahamas, on Sunday night.

Bolt, who anchored the Jamaican 4x100m team that was beaten by the U.S. on Saturday, sat out the 4x200m but was seen at the stadium wearing headphones and talking into a phone. Bolt reportedly sat out as a precaution due to a minor hamstring injury.

No matter, Jamaica still outsprinted the U.S. in the 4x200m, winning in 1:20.97. The Americans dropped the baton on the second exchange between Isiah Young and Curtis Mitchell. Anchor Justin Gatlin received the baton in seventh or eighth place and recovered to cross the finish line third before the U.S. was disqualified due to that failed exchange.

“I didn’t even know we dropped the baton,” said Gatlin, the world’s fastest man in the 100m and 200m last season. “I saw the deficit we had. I just wanted to make up as much ground as we possibly can and still get on the medal stand.”

The U.S. women didn’t drop the baton in the 4x100m, but anchor Carmelita Jeter finished .18 shy of Jamaican veteran Veronica Campbell-Brown. Allyson Felix ran the second leg for the U.S. and was passed by Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye before Kimberlyn Duncan and Jeter took the stick.

“I was doing my best to try and hold it and do some work, but I just didn’t feel as sharp as I normally am,” said Felix, who collided with Jeneba Tarmoh in the 4x200m relay Saturday.

The U.S. also swept the men’s and women’s 4x400m, the women’s 4x800m and broke the world record in the men’s distance medley relay.

Olympic 400m champions Jeremy Wariner (2004) and LaShawn Merritt (2008) ran the final two legs for the U.S. men in the 4x400m. The Americans prevailed in 2:58.43, edging the Bahamas by .48.

“I said yesterday it was a great step in the right direction,” said Wariner, 31, who also ran in the 4x400m heats Saturday and is looking to rebound from finishing sixth in the 400m at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and last in his heat at the 2013 U.S. Championships. “Today is an even bigger step.”

In the women’s 4x400m, Phyllis Francis, Natasha Hastings, Sanya Richards-Ross and Francena McCorory clocked 3:19.39 to win by 3.1 seconds over Jamaica. Notably, the Olympic 400m champion Richards-Ross split 48.79 seconds. McCorory, the only woman to run faster than Richards-Ross in 2014, split 49.27 on anchor, albeit with a comfortable lead built from the first three legs.

Richards-Ross, who was born in Jamaica and moved to the U.S. before high school, took pleasure in competing in a Caribbean nation.

“When I first started running for the U.S., sometimes I thought the Jamaicans were really upset, but now they’ve really started to embrace me again,” the 30-year-old said. “I kind of feel like I’m enjoying my twilight years in track and field.”

In the women’s 4x800m, Chanelle Price, Maggie Vessey, Molly Beckwith and Alysia Montano won in 8:00.62, a 10.74-second margin over second-place Poland. The U.S. breezed in the non-Olympic relay without its three fastest 800m runners from 2014 — Ajee’ Wilson, Brenda Martinez and Laura Roesler.

The U.S. men’s distance medley relay team of Kyle Merber (1200m leg), Brycen Spratling (400m), Brandon Johnson (800m) and Ben Blankenship (1600m) broke the world record by .06 by clocking 9:15.50. Of that quartet, only Johnson has competed at a World Championships or Olympics. They beat Kenya, the previous world-record holder, by 1.7 seconds.

The track and field season continues with the start of the Diamond League on May 15 in Doha, Qatar.

Justin Gatlin: I’m the guy to beat right now

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier win U.S. figure skating pairs’ title in possible final nationals

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier
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Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier haven’t decided if they’ll compete beyond this season, so Saturday may have been their farewell to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

If so, they went out as dominant winners, the first pair in their 30s to win nationals in more than 50 years.

Knierim, 31, and Frazier, 30, took their second U.S. title together, totaling 227.97 points to prevail by 31.11 over Emily Chan and Spencer Howe. They led by a gaping 15.1 points after Thursday’s short.

Knierim and Frazier were solid after errors on their opening jumping combination in Saturday’s free skate. They broke their own pairs’ margin of victory record from the 2021 U.S. Championships under a scoring system implemented in 2006. Knierim appeared to wipe away tears backstage.

“As I get older, the longer I’m in this sport, the more gratitude I have for it,” Knierim, the oldest woman to win a U.S. figure skating title since 1995 (Renée Roca), said on USA Network. “After that music ended, I’m just thankful that Brandon’s by my side and I’m able to do what I love.”

Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea bagged bronze to likely round out the three-pair team for March’s world championships.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

Knierim and Frazier considered retiring after last season, after they missed nationals due to Frazier’s COVID-19, petitioned onto the Olympic team and posted the best Olympic finish for a U.S. pair (sixth) in 20 years.

They then became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979, beating a field that didn’t include any of the top five from the Olympics.

They returned in part to compete as world champions and rank second in the world this season (during which the top Olympic pairs also haven’t competed). They will likely go into March’s worlds in Japan as underdogs to Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, who won their lone head-to-head this past fall at the Grand Prix Final.

Back in October, Knierim said this will probably be their last season competing together, though the pair also thought they were done last spring. They don’t expect to make a final decision until after a Stars on Ice tour this spring.

“This U.S. Championships for us was extra special because you’re just reflecting on the journey, and you know that there’s a good chance that this will be your last one,” Frazier said.

Knierim won her fifth U.S. title, tying the record for a pairs’ skater since World War II, joining Kyoka InaTai BabiloniaRandy GardnerKarol Kennedy and Peter Kennedy. Knierim’s first three titles, and her first Olympics in 2018, were with husband Chris, who retired in 2020.

Silver medalists Chan and Howe continued their recent surge. After placing fourth at last season’s nationals, they rank sixth in the world this season. That’s despite summer injuries that left them unable to practice lifts (his shoulder) and throws (her foot) for a while.

Kam, 18, and O’Shea, 31, made the podium four months after becoming a pair and less than two months after a car Kim was riding in was hit by a drunk driver while crossing an intersection. The car was totaled, but Kim and O’Shea still competed days later in Croatia.

O’Shea won the 2016 U.S. title with Tarah Kayne, retired after they split in late 2020, then came back in 2021 with Chelsea Liu. They ranked sixth in the U.S. going into 2022 Nationals, but withdrew beforehand due to concussions both suffered in a November competition fall, according to Figure Skaters Online.

NBC Sports’ Sarah Hughes (not the figure skater) contributed to this report.

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2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships scores, results

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Full scores and results from the 2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose …

Women
Gold: Isabeau Levito — 223.33
Silver: Bradie Tennell — 213.12
Bronze: Amber Glenn — 207.44
4. Starr Andrews — 188.24
5. Josephine Lee — 187.68
6. Lindsay Thorngren — 187.19
7. Clare Seo — 175.60
8. Gracie Gold — 173.98
9. Ava Ziegler — 167.70
10. Sonja Hilmer — 166.49
11. Gabriella Izzo — 166.40
12. Ting Cui — 161.27
13. Audrey Shin — 161.12
14. Lindsay Wang — 154.91
15. Michelle Lee — 145.28
16. Elsa Cheng — 138.13
17. Alexa Gasparotto — 129.41
WD. Hanna Harrell

Men’s Short Program
1. Ilia Malinin — 110.36
2. Jason Brown — 100.25
3. Tomoki Hiwatashi — 85.43
4. Liam Kapeikis — 82.27
5. Andrew Torgashev — 78.78
6. Maxim Naumov — 77.71
7. Jimmy Ma — 73.88
8. Goku Endo — 73.45
9. Samuel Mindra — 71.36
10. Yaroslav Paniot — 70.87
11. Camden Pulkinen — 69.47
12. Matthew Nielsen — 67.98
13. Joonsoo Kim — 67.45
14. Daniel Martynov — 64.04
15. Will Annis — 63.46
16. Dinh Tran — 60.63
17. Mitchell Friess — 59.14
18. Joseph Klein — 58.38

Pairs
Gold: Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier — 227.97
Silver: Emily Chan/Spencer Howe — 196.86

Bronze: Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea — 184.01
4. Sonia Baram/Danil Tioumentsev —- 179.08
5. Valentina Plazas/Maximiliano Fernandez — 176.34
6. Katie McBeath/Nathan Bartholomay —- 172.74
7. Maria Mokhova/Ivan Mokhov —- 148.84
8. Nica Digerness/Mark Sadusky — 137.98
9. Grace Hanns / Danny Neudecker — 135.30
10. Nina Ouellette/Rique Newby-Estrella — 132.07
11. Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger — 129.80

Ice Dance
Gold: Madison Chock/Evan Bates — 229.75
Silver: Caroline Green/Michael Parsons — 207.46
Bronze: Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko — 198.45
4. Emilea Zingas/Vadym Kolesnik — 198.13
5. Emily Bratti/Ian Somerville — 189.84
6. Lorraine McNamara/Anton Spiridonov — 189.15
7. Katarina Wolfkostin/Jeffrey Chen — 183.05
8. Eva Pate/Logan Bye — 182.61
9. Oona Brown/Gage Brown — 181.89
10. Isabella Flores/Ivan Desyatov — 177.31
11. Angela Ling/Caleb Wein — 167.87
12. Leah Krauskopf/YuanShi Jin — 133.93
13. Cara Murphy/Joshua Levitt — 129.85
14. Caroline Depietri/TJ Carey — 123.40
WD. Raffaella Koncius/Alexey Shchepetov

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Broadcast Schedule | New Era for U.S.

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