Mo Farah prevails, Galen Rupp beaten at Prefontaine Classic

Mo Farah
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Mo Farah was unhappy after he won the 10,000m, while training partner Galen Rupp finished third in the 5000m, getting passed with 300 meters left at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., on Friday night.

Farah, the British Olympic and World 5000m and 10,000m champion, pulled away from Kenyans Paul Tanui and Geoffrey Kamworor in the last 100 meters to conclude the first of two days of action at the Diamond League meet at Hayward Field.

Farah clocked 26 minutes, 50.97 seconds, which was 4.40 seconds slower than his personal best from 2011. He won by .89 (race video here) but was discouraged with both the pacemaking and not having a pacemaker for the final half of the race.

“I wasn’t so happy,” Farah told media in Eugene. “With the pacemaking, it was tough to be able to just go alone all the way [the last 5,000m].”

Earlier, Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, 17, won the 5000m in 13:10.54, on the final lap passing Rupp, who was third in 13:12.36. Two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat, 40, was fourth in 13:14.97. Kejelcha, the World Junior champion, chopped 14.65 seconds off his personal best (race video here).

“It’s May, so I know what I need to do, gives me some good information moving forward the rest of the summer,” Rupp, whom Farah called his greatest challenger in the 10,000m, told media in Eugene. “I really wanted to see how I stacked up.”

U.S. champion Joe Kovacs won the shot put with a 22.12m throw, the farthest in the world this year. Kovacs, who also had the farthest throw in the world in 2014, defeated a field that included all three 2012 Olympic medalists.

Tianna Bartoletta, the U.S. 100m champion, won the long jump with a wind-aided 7.11m leap. Olympic and World champion Brittney Reese was fifth (6.69m).

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

Prefontaine Classic preview of Saturday’s action

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here with redactions.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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