Tyson Gay, Tori Bowie take U.S. 100m titles; Carmelita Jeter hurt

Leave a comment

American record holder Tyson Gay and Tori Bowie captured 100m titles at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Friday night.

Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross failed to qualify for the 400m final (race video here), meaning she will not run in the World Championships in Beijing in August.

In the 100m, Gay clocked 9.87 seconds for his biggest victory since returning from a doping ban last year and his first World Championships berth since 2009 (race video here).

“It means everything,” Gay told Lewis Johnson on NBCSN. “Just being able to come back from a mistake, show the world that you can make up for the mistake.”

“I think this is the most meaningful USA championship I’ve ever won,” Gay said later on USATF.TV. “I feel like this is the most, I wouldn’t say love, or respect that I’ve ever gotten. I’ve had so many people giving me high-fives, saying we love you, so glad to have you back, you’re a breath of fresh air.”

The U.S. men’s 100m team at Worlds will include Gay, Justin Gatlin (who didn’t run the 100m on Friday but has a bye as the 2014 Diamond League champion) and Trayvon Bromell, who finished second to Gay in 9.96, and Mike Rodgers, third in 9.97.

The Baylor rising junior Bromell’s college coach said before the meet, “if he goes big up there this weekend, which by all accounts he probably will, it’s going to be difficult for him to come back,” according to the Waco Tribune.

Bromell, 19, said Friday he does not have immediate plans to turn professional.

“Only way I’m going to come out is if I get what I’m worth,” Bromell said on USATF.TV. “I’m not like the average athlete that jumps when they see a dollar sign. … I don’t want to seem like I’m asking too much or anything, but I don’t want to be that person that gets gypped over and not get what they should get. I feel like if I’m not getting what I deserve, I’m going to stay in school because I guarantee my degree will get me what I’m worth.”

On Thursday, Bromell ran the fastest wind-legal 100m of the U.S. Championships, a 9.84 in the first round.

“He’s the future,” Gay said of Bromell, who called Gay his idol. “When I was in the back room, talking to some guys, it was just a new era. I’m not familiar with a lot of faces.”

Full U.S. Championships results | U.S. qualifiers for World Championships

Bowie took the women’s 100m final in 10.81 seconds (race video here), tying for third fastest in the world this year behind Olympic and World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

The soft-spoken Bowie, primarily a long jumper until spring 2014, qualified for her first Worlds team.

“It’s a huge step,” Bowie, the fastest woman in the world in 2014 in 10.80, told Johnson on NBCSN. “It’s kind of like a dream come true almost. Oh my gosh, I worked so hard to get to this level. Honestly, I would’ve been content to just get top three, but I’ll take first place any day.”

Bowie is joined on the U.S. women’s 100m team for Worlds by 2013 U.S. champion English Gardner, who was second in 10.86, and University of Oregon rising junior Jasmine Todd, who was third in 10.92.

The 2011 World champion Carmelita Jeter finished seventh, failing to make the U.S. team, and fell to the track after the race. The 35-year-old said she believes she tore her left quadriceps, according to Lewis Johnson.

Jeter suffered a right quad injury in May 2013 and went 10 months between races in 2013 and 2014.

Olympic silver medalist Trey Hardee won the decathlon with 8,725 points to join Olympic and World champion Ashton Eaton on the Worlds team. Eaton had a bye and didn’t compete in the decathlon at Nationals.

Hardee’s point total was his highest since he won the 2009 World Championship.

In the women’s 400m, Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix and 2014 U.S. champion Francena McCorory led the qualifiers into Saturday’s final. Richards-Ross was fifth in her semifinal, failing to make the final.

World gold and silver medalists LaShawn Merritt and Tony McQuay were among the qualifiers into Saturday’s men’s 400m final, while 2004 Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner failed to advance out of the semifinals Friday.

In the women’s 100m hurdles, 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson, World champion Brianna Rollins and Summer and Winter Olympian Lolo Jones, along with the world’s two fastest women this year, Sharika Nelvis and Jasmin Stowers, advanced to Saturday’s semifinals. Rollins has a bye onto the Worlds team and will be joined in Beijing by the top three women from the final.

Diamond League champion Jenny Simpson led the qualifiers into Sunday’s 1500m final, though Simpson has a bye into Worlds. She’s joined in the final by Shannon Rowbury and Mary Cain, among others.

Brenda MartinezAjee’ Wilson and Alysia Montano, who finished three-four-six at the 2013 Worlds, all qualified into Sunday’s 800m final.

World silver medalist Nick Symmonds and Olympic fourth-place finisher Duane Solomon made Sunday’s men’s 800m final.

The U.S. Championships continue Saturday (NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra, 4-6 p.m. ET) highlighted by the men’s and women’s 400m finals.

Powell, Fraser-Pryce win Jamaican Championships; Yohan Blake out

Too early to say whether virus threatens Olympics, WHO says

Getty Images
2 Comments

GENEVA (AP) — Despite a virus outbreak spreading from China, a top World Health Organization official said Tuesday it’s much too soon to say whether the Tokyo Olympics are at risk of being cancelled or moved.

Tokyo organizers and the International Olympic Committee have repeatedly said they have no contingency plans for the July 24-Aug. 9 Summer Games since the WHO declared a global health emergency last month.

The U.N. agency’s emergencies program director, Michael Ryan, said Tuesday the sporting event was “way too far” away to consider giving advice that would affect Tokyo’s hosting of the Olympics.

“We are not there to make a decision for that,” Ryan told The Associated Press on the sidelines of a news conference at WHO headquarters.

Geneva-based WHO has been in regular contact with the IOC in nearby Lausanne since the virus known as COVID-19 emerged in December.

“We don’t give them judgments,” Ryan said. “We assist them with their risk assessment. We will be working closely with them in the coming weeks and months.”

The death toll in mainland China due to the virus rose to almost 1,900 on Tuesday, with more than 72,000 confirmed cases.

The outbreak has caused numerous sports events in China to be canceled, postponed, or moved, including qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics.

Chinese athletes and teams have also been unable to travel for some competitions. China sent a team of more than 400 athletes to the Rio Olympics. It won 70 medals, including 26 gold, to place second in total medal standings.

Around 11,000 athletes and many more team coaches and officials from more than 200 national teams are expected in Japan for the Olympics.

Japan has experienced the most significant outbreak of the virus outside of China, on the cruise ship Diamond Princess docked in quarantine at Yokohama in Tokyo Bay.

During a 14-day isolation that ends Wednesday, 542 cases have been identified among more than 3,700 passengers and crew.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Tokyo Marathon limited to elite runners due to coronavirus

For Mike Eruzione, Al Michaels, it’s no miracle that 1980 Olympics endure

Leave a comment

Mike Eruzione has been reminded on a daily basis about the Miracle on Ice for nearly four decades. While playing celebrity golf tournaments. At speaking engagements. Or that time he auctioned his jersey and stick from the Soviet game to a 9-year-old boy named Seven.

Eruzione, now 65, likes to open conversations with one anecdote about meeting strangers, which he repeated in a call with reporters last week.

“The stories I hear, 40 years later, it’s depending on their age — I remember where I was when Kennedy was assassinated, I remember where I was on 9/11. I remember where I was when the Challenger blew up. And I remember where I was when we won,” Eruzione said. “And I always say, ‘We? I didn’t know you were on the team.’

“But people felt a part of it. … It’s nice to know that people remember and share some great stories about what we did so long ago.”

The captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team owns a last name that means “eruption” in Italian. Eruzione scored the decisive goal in the U.S.’ 4-3 win over the Soviet Union en route to a shock gold medal during the Cold War in Lake Placid, N.Y.

NBCSN airs a 30-minute special marking the 40th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice on Wednesday at 11:30 p.m. ET. It will feature a conversation between Olympic primetime host Mike Tirico and Al Michaels, the play-by-play voice of the game dubbed by Sports Illustrated the greatest sports moment of the 20th century.

Eruzione has grandchildren now. Three of them skate at the Mike Eruzione Center in his hometown of Winthrop, Mass.

“They don’t even know who Mike Eruzione is,” Eruzione said of the 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds, “but they know about the Miracle.”

All credit to the U.S. Olympic team of 20 players between ages 19 and 25, back when the NHL did not participate in the Olympics. The Soviets were essentially a team of professionals. The nation won the previous four Olympics and throttled the U.S. 10-3 in a pre-Olympic exhibition at Madison Square Garden.

Enter Michaels, calling hockey at the Lake Placid Winter Games alongside Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden. Michaels, then 35, said he was assigned the sport because he had the most hockey experience on the ABC Olympic talent roster — one game. He called the 1972 Olympic hockey final by himself.

Feb. 22, 1980: As the U.S. led the Soviet Union 4-3 and the final seconds ticked down, one word came to mind: miraculous.

“It got morphed into a question and quick answer, and away we went,” Michaels said.

Eruzione said he didn’t learn of Michaels’ call — “Do you believe in Miracles? Yes!” — until two weeks after the Olympics. He didn’t watch the game broadcast until years later.

“I never thought it was a miracle, but it was a catchy phrase and it sounded right,” Eruzione said, noting he preferred Michaels’ call in the final comeback win over Finland to clinch the gold: “This impossible dream comes true.”

Team members since gathered often — to light the 2002 Olympic cauldron in Salt Lake City, for fantasy camps in Lake Placid and for coach Herb Brooks‘ 2003 funeral. Eighteen of the 20 players are scheduled to reunite this weekend in Las Vegas.

Absent will be Mark Pavelich, who was jailed last year on assault charges and ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial. And Bob Suter, who died in 2014 of a heart attack at age 57.

It was Suter’s death that motivated Eruzione and others to commemorate the 35th anniversary together in Lake Placid. It was believed to be the first time all living players were together in Lake Placid since the 1980 Winter Games.

Eruzione said that the 2004 film “Miracle” introduced the team to a new generation. Now at many of his speeches, the majority of Eruzione’s audience was born after 1980.

“I’ll say, how many people watched the movie ‘Miracle,’ and almost everybody raises their hand,” he said. “So I think what the movie did for us as a team was kind of rejuvenated our team as far as people knowing who we were and what we are and what we were about.”

NFL coaches set up “Miracle” viewings for their teams before games. Michael Phelps watched it for motivation at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Phelps told relay teammates, “This is our time,” before they beat rival Australia. An ode to Brooks’ pregame speech before the Soviet game.

Michaels, whose 13-year-old grandson won an October hockey tournament in Lake Placid, said he watched “Miracle” last week for the first time in about a decade. He helped do voiceovers in production more than 15 years ago, though the original Lake Placid audio was used for his signature call.

“The great thing is, in a way, when you watch it back or you watch highlights back, you almost become like in the third person, like somebody else is doing this and announcing this game,” Michaels said. “I exult the way I think most of the country did and do when they see highlights of it. So it’s kind of an out-of-body experience in a way, but it’s a beautiful thing.”

After Eruzione shared his tale of strangers’ memories, Michaels added one of his own.

“One of my favorite stories is Mike Eruzione calling me maybe eight to 10 years ago and saying, ‘The greatest thing about this is every time I come home and maybe I’m a little down, I need a little pick-me-up, I’ll put the tape in,'” Michaels said. “‘Every time I shoot, the puck goes in. It will forever.'”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Miracle on Ice reunion to include all but 2 players