Yohan Blake

Yohan Blake is running scared, coach says

Leave a comment

NEW YORK — Yohan Blake must overcome a fear of injury, the coach of the Olympic 100m and 200m silver medalist said Saturday.

Blake, joint second-fastest man all time in the 100m and the only man other than Usain Bolt to break 19.30 in the 200m, is trying to come back from major hamstring injuries in 2013 and 2014.

The 25-year-old nicknamed “The Beast” reportedly competed Saturday for the second time since tumbling to the track July 11, tearing a muscle off the bone (video of the fall here).

On Saturday, Blake clocked 10.21 seconds in a 100m with a 1.2 meters/second tailwind at a small meet in Jamaica, according to TeamJA.org, which would rank tied for 13th among Jamaican men this year. Blake’s personal best, 9.69, was set two weeks after the 2012 Olympics, before the injuries.

“He has a problem to get over the fear of getting hurt again,” coach Glen Mills said earlier Saturday at the Adidas Grand Prix, where Blake was a headliner last year but did not race this year. “We just have to take our time. … I think once his confidence comes back, he’ll do well, because he’s in good physical shape.”

The previous Saturday, Blake won a 200m race in Jamaica in 21.57, which ranks outside the top 200 in the world this year.

“I wouldn’t call that running,” Mills said. “He went through the motion.”

Mills said he wasn’t sure of Blake’s plan for the Jamaican Championships in two weeks, after which the Jamaican team for the World Championships in Beijing in August will be announced.

Blake will enter the 100m at the Jamaican Championships, Mills said, which comes before the 200m.

“We’ll see how he does in the early rounds,” Mills said. “If he’s not really competing, I think then we don’t want him to go any further. We don’t want to push him. If he does really well, if he makes the team at the 100m level, we may decide not to do the 200m. We’ll do enough to lay a foundation for the Olympic year. That’s our main objective.”

Three men plus defending World champion Bolt are expected to make the Worlds team each in the 100m and 200m. The No. 3 Jamaicans, excluding Bolt, in the 100m and 200m this year clocked 10.01 in the 100m and 20.28 in the 200m.

Blake was Bolt’s biggest rival in 2011 and 2012. After Bolt false-started out of the 2011 Worlds 100m final, Blake went on to win. Blake defeated Bolt in both the 100m and 200m at the 2012 Jamaican Olympic trials before Bolt returned the favor in London.

Blake, at 25, is three years younger than Bolt and eight years younger than Justin Gatlin, the world’s fastest man in 2014 and 2015. Blake has said he wants to retire before 2020, which would make the Rio 2016 Olympics his second and final Games, should he qualify.

Also Saturday, Mills said Warren Weir, the Olympic 200m bronze medalist and World silver medalist, scratched earlier last week out of the Adidas Grand Prix 200m with Bolt due to a severe hamstring cramp in training.

Usain Bolt runs slowest 200m since 2006 at Adidas Grand Prix

Gracie Gold qualifies for nationals, Polina Edmunds shut out

NBC Sports Gold
Leave a comment

2014 Olympian Gracie Gold qualified for the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships by virtue of a third-place finish at the Eastern Sectional Singles Final on Saturday in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

“Bronze: so hot this fall,” Gold posted on Instagram. She last competed at U.S. nationals in 2017, when she finished sixth. She won the national title in 2014 and 2016.

Gold sat second after the short program with 63.55 points, and ultimately finished third overall with 109.90 points in the free skate for 173.45 points. The top four at the event qualify for the national championships in Greensboro, North Carolina in January.

Her free skate included a fall on the opening triple Lutz and an under-rotation on the triple Lutz, double toe loop combination. She also put a hand down on the landing of a double Axel. The rest of the program, though, was clean.

Her performance, set to “She Used to be Mine” by Sara Bareilles, can be found at the 2:05 mark of the on-demand stream of the event for NBC Gold Pass subscribers.

Meanwhile, her Sochi teammate Polina Edmunds was shut out of nationals based on a fifth-place finish at the Pacific Coast Sectional Singles Final (top four qualify). Her performance can be found for NBC Gold Pass subscribers at the 1:50 mark of the on-demand stream for the event. Edmunds last competed at Nationals in 2016, when she earned the silver medal behind Gold.

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Alexandra Trusova qualifies for Grand Prix Final after win at Rostelecom Cup

View this post on Instagram

Bronze: so hot this fall 🥉

A post shared by Gracie Gold (@graciegold95) on

Brittany Bowe extends unbeaten streak to open speed skating World Cup

Leave a comment

Brittany Bowe extended one of the most dominant runs for any U.S. Winter Olympian, earning her first straight World Cup 1000m win to open the season on Sunday.

Bowe, fourth and eighth in the event at her two Olympics, clocked 1:15.35 in Minsk, Belarus, to beat PyeongChang gold medalist Jorien ter Mors by six tenths. Ter Mors missed all of last season after knee surgery.

Bowe won every World Cup 1000m dating to last December, plus her second world title in the event last February, lowering track records at each stop.

She ended last season by breaking the world record by .48 of a second on the fast ice of the 2002 Olympic oval in Kearns, Utah. That time — 1:11.61 — would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1997.

Bowe, a former Florida Atlantic point guard who missed all of 2016-17 with a concussion, is up to 23 career World Cup wins. That’s fifth on the U.S. all-time list behind Bonnie Blair (69), Shani Davis (58), Dan Jansen (46) and Heather Bergsma (34), according to schaatsstatistieken.nl.

The World Cup moves to Poland next week.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Fastest female speed skater in history retires