Michael Phelps answers Chad le Clos with world’s top 100m butterfly

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Chad le Clos said Michael Phelps “can keep quiet now” on Saturday. Hours later, Phelps let his swimming do the talking. It spoke loudly.

Just as Phelps did Friday, the 22-time Olympic medalist clocked the fastest time in the world in a butterfly event since 2009 at the U.S. Championships in San Antonio on Saturday night.

Phelps won the 100m butterfly in 50.45 seconds, .11 faster than the South African le Clos’ winning time at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, earlier Saturday.

After his victory, Phelps said he was aware of the 2012 Olympic 200m butterfly champion le Clos’ comments from Russia that could accurately be described as trash talk.

“Let that swim make statements,” Phelps told media of his swim in San Antonio (video here). “Chad’s a good swimmer. You know, you can’t take that away from him. Like I said, I welcome any comment that anyone wants to say. It doesn’t bother me.”

Phelps has uttered those last two sentences before. He’s dealt with similar comments from other swimmers in the past.

Leading up to the 2008 Olympics, Australian Ian Thorpe repeatedly said Phelps would fail if he tried to win a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Games. Phelps, as he did after countryman Ian Crocker once beat him in a 100m butterfly in 2003, posted a picture of Thorpe and/or Thorpe’s comments in his locker for motivation. Then he proved Thorpe wrong.

Also in 2008, France’s Alain Bernard said before the Olympic 4x100m freestyle relay of the Americans, “We’re going to smash them. That’s what we came here for.” Phelps and the U.S. upset the French at the Beijing Games, with Jason Lezak running down Bernard in an epic anchor leg.

In 2009, Serbian Milorad Cavic splashed into the controversy of the time about (now-banned) ultra-fast suits, challenging Phelps by saying the American had options other than Speedo to wear for races, insinuating there were better models such as Cavic’s Arena suit.

Phelps, who beat Cavic by .01 the year before at the Beijing Olympics, responded by beating Cavic by .13 in the 2009 World Championships final. Phelps broke the world record that Cavic had set in the semifinals. Phelps’ celebrated by popping and slapping his black Speedo bodysuit.

“It’s happened to me in the past,” Phelps said Saturday. “Thorpe said some stuff. Cavic said some stuff. Go ahead. It’s just going to fuel me. Bernard in the 4x100m free relay. … If you want to do it, go for it. Like I said, I welcome it. I smile at some and get serious at other comments. They are what they are, they’re just comments, and they’re printed on a piece of paper. It has nothing to do with me. Whatever I do in the pool will speak for itself.”

Phelps also made reference Saturday to his original May 15 comments about the 200m butterfly being a slow event.

“I don’t do it to talk trash,” Phelps said. “I do it to state facts, and I know some people went back and checked my facts after I said that stuff about the 200m fly, and I was right. So I know my facts about the sport.”

On Sunday, le Clos back tracked from his previous comments a little, saying he’s not a trash talker and not to classify him in the group of the likes of Cavic.

“I don’t fear Michael Phelps,” he said Sunday. “I never have, and I never will. … If he wants to race tomorrow, I’ll race tomorrow.”

Le Clos and Phelps have not raced since the 2012 Olympics.

Phelps’ longtime rival Laszlo Cseh, who won the 200m butterfly at Worlds, said the Rio Games will be his fourth and final Olympics.

“If there is no Michael, then there is no me,” said Cseh, whose five Olympic medals spread across three Games all came in events won by Phelps. “He is the fastest swimmer. He always [pushes] me to the times I achieve.”

Phelps is scheduled to swim the 200m individual medley in San Antonio on Sunday.

Ledecky completes unprecedented World Championships sweep

NBC Olympic researcher Amanda Doyle contributed to this report from Kazan.

Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago.

The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet in Kenya’s Rift Valley, often hauling by bike several gallons of the family’s milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a nursery school teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.

At 18, he upset legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 World 5000m title on the track. He won Olympic 5000m medals (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then moved to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final