Dana Vollmer not retired, returns to practice after childbirth

Dana Vollmer
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Olympic 100m butterfly champion Dana Vollmer, who hasn’t competed since the 2013 World Championships and had a baby boy March 6, said she hasn’t retired and has been back in the water for one and a half months.

“I hated when I saw the rumors that I actually retired,” Vollmer said on Universal Sports at a Pro Swim Series meet in Santa Clara, Calif., on Saturday. “I never did retire. I always wanted to leave it open for myself, and I want to get back into shape. Now it’s one of those things that if I get back in shape, maybe I’ll see what I can go in the pool, but lifestyle-wise, I want to be extremely active with my son and life in general.”

Vollmer, 27, said she has done a few practices with other female swimmers at the University of California.

“I miss it, I miss the thrill and I never thought that I would miss the nerves,” she said. “I want to be back in and feel that thrill.”

Vollmer won the 2012 Olympic 100m butterfly and three Olympic relay golds across two Games. In the 100m fly, Vollmer broke the world record in the 2012 Olympic final.

She last competed at the 2013 World Championships, taking bronze in the 100m fly and gold as part of the medley relay.

Vollmer first competed at the Olympics in 2004, when she was 16, and finished sixth in the 200m freestyle and won gold as part of the U.S. 4x200m free relay team. She failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who formerly held the 100m fly world record, has been the world’s fastest woman in the event the last three years.

The top Americans in the 100m fly are Kelsi WorrellKendyl StewartKatie McLaughlin and Claire Donahue. The top two at the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials will earn berths for the Rio Olympics.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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