Prefontaine Classic preview, schedule, broadcast info

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The Prefontaine Classic will provide an early look at World Track and Field Championships contenders, live on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday.

The annual Diamond League meet in Eugene, Ore., will carry extra significance this year, given it will be contested on the 40-year anniversary of the death of its namesake, 1972 Olympic 5000m runner Steve Prefontaine.

Competition starts Friday night, with Olympic and World champion Brittney Reese in the long jump, Olympic bronze medalist Reese Hoffa in the shot put, Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp in the 5000m and Olympic and World champion Mo Farah in the 10,000m. USATF.TV will have live coverage.

On Saturday, Olympic champions Allyson FelixJustin GatlinSanya Richards-Ross and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce headline the fields.

NBCSN will have live coverage Saturday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. ET, followed by NBC from 4:30-6. Live Extra will stream the entire broadcast window. The full schedule and entry lists can be found here.

Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

Friday
11:03 p.m. — Men’s discus
11:06 — Women’s long jump
11:28 — Men’s shot put
12 a.m. (Saturday) — Men’s 5000m
12:20 — Men’s 10,000m

Saturday
3:21 p.m. — Women’s triple jump
3:26 — Men’s pole vault
3:41 — Women’s 400m
3:49 — Men’s 800m
3:56 — Men’s high jump
4:03 — Men’s 400m hurdles
4:11 — Men’s 3000m steeplechase
4:30 — Women’s javelin
4:33 — Women’s 100m
4:42 — Men’s 100m
4:49 — Men’s 400m
4:55 — Women’s 800m
5:05 — Men’s 110m hurdles
5:12 — Women’s 5000m
5:32 — Men’s 200m
5:40 — Women’s 1500m
5:49 — Men’s Bowerman Mile

Here are five track events to watch Saturday:

Women’s 400m (3:41 p.m. ET)

Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix will race a 400m at a Diamond League meet for the first time in more than one year. Felix said she will enter one of the 200m or 400m at the World Championships in August, and her performance at the Prefontaine Classic could go into determining her event at Worlds in Beijing.

On Saturday, Felix will oppose Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross, who owns the fastest time in the world this year. Felix is capable of beating Richards-Ross when at their best, as she did at the 2011 World Championships. The Pre Classic field is lacking the world’s other elite 400m runner, American Francena McCorory.

Women’s 100m (4:33 p.m. ET)

The field includes the fastest women from 2015 (Elaine Thompson, Jamaica), 2014 (Tori Bowie, U.S.), 2013 and 2012 (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica) and 2011 (Carmelita Jeter, U.S.).

The opportunity is ripe for Thompson, 22, to stake her claim as the favorite to be crowned world’s fastest woman at the World Championships in three months. She’s already won 100m races in Kingston in March, April and May, but training partner and Olympic and World champion Fraser-Pryce was not in any of those races.

Thompson’s clocked 10.92 this year, but it was Bowie who starred in 2014 with a top time of 10.80. The Mississippi native missed the end of last season after a late August hamstring injury and ran 11.07 in Shanghai on May 17.

Men’s 200m (5:32 p.m. ET)

Usain Bolt ran 20.13 on a wet track in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Tuesday. Bolt is not in Eugene, but rival Justin Gatlin is in this 200m field. Gatlin ran mostly 100m races since his return from a four-year doping ban in 2010, but last year he clocked 19.68 and 19.71 in the 200m, the fastest times in the world since Bolt won the 2013 World Championship in 19.66. Gatlin hasn’t run a wind-legal 200m yet this season. He did clock a wind-aided 20.10 on April 11.

Gatlin’s competition Saturday will come from the three fastest Jamaicans aside from Bolt this year — Julian ForteNickel Ashmeade and Rasheed Dwyer — Panama’s 2009 World silver medalist Alonso Edward and U.S. 2013 World bronze medalist Curtis Mitchell.

Women’s 1500m (5:40 p.m. ET)

The day’s final women’s race includes reigning Diamond League champion Jenny Simpson, the world’s fastest woman from 2014, Ethiopian-born Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, plus talented Americans Shannon Rowbury, the 18-year-old Alexa Efraimson and steeplechaser Emma Coburn.

It’s early, but Simpson and Rowbury are threats to break a 44-year U.S. gold-medal drought in Olympic track events longer than 400m next summer in Rio de Janeiro.

Men’s Bowerman Mile (5:49 p.m. ET)

The traditional finale of the meet could be a U.S.-Kenya battle. The Kenyan contingent includes two-time reigning World champion Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat, the fastest 1500m runner in the last decade. Americans Matthew Centrowitz, the 2013 World silver medalist, and Leo Manzano, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, will look to dethrone them.

Mary Cain leaves Oregon, returns home to New York

Elena Fanchini, medal-winning Alpine skier, dies at 37

Elena Fanchini
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Italian skier Elena Fanchini, whose career was cut short by a tumor, has died. She was 37.

Fanchini passed away Wednesday at her home in Solato, near Brescia, the Italian Winter Sports Federation announced.

Fanchini died on the same day that fellow Italian Marta Bassino won the super-G at the world championships in Meribel, France; and two days after Federica Brignone — another former teammate — claimed gold in combined.

Sofia Goggia, who is the favorite for Saturday’s downhill, dedicated her win in Cortina d’Ampezzo last month to Fanchini.

Fanchini last raced in December 2017. She was cleared to return to train nearly a year later but never made it fully back, and her condition grew worse in recent months.

Fanchini won a silver medal in downhill at the 2005 World Championships and also won two World Cup races in her career — both in downhill.

She missed the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics because of her condition.

Fanchini’s younger sisters Nadia and Sabrina were also World Cup racers.

USA Boxing to skip world championships

USA Boxing
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USA Boxing will not send boxers to this year’s men’s and women’s world championships, citing “the ongoing failures” of the IBA, the sport’s international governing body, that put boxing’s place on the Olympic program at risk.

The Washington Post first reported the decision.

In a letter to its members, USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee listed many factors that led to the decision, including IBA governance issues, financial irregularities and transparency and that Russian and Belarusian boxers are allowed to compete with their flags.

IBA lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers in October and said it would allow their flags and anthems to return, too.

The IOC has not shifted from its recommendation to international sports federations last February that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred, though the IOC and Olympic sports officials have been exploring whether those athletes could return without national symbols.

USA Boxing said that Russian boxers have competed at an IBA event in Morocco this month with their flags and are expected to compete at this year’s world championships under their flags.

“While sport is intended to be politically neutral, many boxers, coaches and other representatives of the Ukrainian boxing community were killed as a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, including coach Mykhaylo Korenovsky who was killed when a Russian missile hit an apartment block in January 2023,” according to the USA Boxing letter. “Ukraine’s sports infrastructure, including numerous boxing gyms, has been devastated by Russian aggression.”

McAtee added later that USA Boxing would still not send athletes to worlds even if Russians and Belarusians were competing as neutrals and without their flags.

“USA Boxing’s decision is based on the ‘totality of all of the factors,'” he said in an emailed response. “Third party oversite and fairness in the field of play is the most important factor.”

A message has been sent to the IBA seeking comment on USA Boxing’s decision.

The women’s world championships are in March in India. The men’s world championships are in May in Uzbekistan. They do not count toward 2024 Olympic qualifying.

In December, the IOC said recent IBA decisions could lead to “the cancellation of boxing” for the 2024 Paris Games.

Some of the already reported governance issues led to the IOC stripping IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition in 2019. AIBA had suspended all 36 referees and judges used at the 2016 Rio Olympics pending an investigation into a possible judging scandal, one that found that some medal bouts were fixed by “complicit and compliant” referees and judges.

The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

Boxing was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games announced in December 2021, though it could still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” IOC President Thomas Bach said then.

This past June, the IOC said IBA would not run qualifying competitions for the 2024 Paris Games.

In September, the IOC said it was “extremely concerned” about the Olympic future of boxing after an IBA extraordinary congress overwhelmingly backed Russian Umar Kremlev to remain as its president rather than hold an election.

Kremlev was re-elected in May after an opponent, Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands, was barred from running against him. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in June that van der Vorst should have been eligible to run against Kremlev, but the IBA group still decided not to hold a new election.

Last May, Rashida Ellis became the first U.S. woman to win a world boxing title at an Olympic weight since Claressa Shields in 2016, taking the 60kg lightweight crown in Istanbul. In Tokyo, Ellis lost 3-0 in her opening bout in her Olympic debut.

At the last men’s worlds in 2021, Robby Gonzales and Jahmal Harvey became the first U.S. men to win an Olympic or world title since 2007, ending the longest American men’s drought since World War II.

The Associated Press and NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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