Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce wins 100m; U.S. runner loses 10,000m bronze with early celebration

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Molly Huddle raised arms in the air before they crossed the finish line in separate races at the World Championships on Monday night.

Only one of them won a medal.

Fraser-Pryce becoming the first woman to win three World titles in the 100m and Huddle prematurely celebrating and losing a bronze medal to a countrywoman in the 10,000m highlighted action at the Bird’s Nest.

In the 100m final, Fraser-Pryce clocked 10.76 seconds with yellow flowers on her forehead and long green hair running down her back. She raised her right arm and index finger with a few meters left and victory locked up. She wished she ran faster.

“I get tired of 10.7s, honestly,” Fraser-Pryce, who has run in the 10.7s in her career 11 times but never faster than 10.70, said with a laugh on the BBC. “Hopefully, my next race, I’ll get it together.”

She will share the podium with the Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers (silver in 10.81, national record) and American Tori Bowie (bronze in 10.86, full results here).

Fraser-Pryce, like countryman Usain Bolt, owns 2009, 2013 and 2015 World titles and 2008 and 2012 Olympic titles in the 100m. The biggest separator between Fraser-Pryce and Bolt (aside from the hair and Bolt’s 17-inch height advantage) are world records, of which Fraser-Pryce has none.

Bowie’s rise to a Worlds 100m medal came in the last 18 months. The soft-spoken Mississippian competed in the long jump at the 2014 World Indoor Championships and, by the end of 2014, was the world’s fastest woman in the 100m for that year.

“Of course, we all want the gold medal, but it’s a stepping stone,” Bowie, with a purple streak in her hair and in her first World Outdoor Championships, told Lewis Johnson on Universal Sports. “I’ll come back even better next year.”

Fraser-Pryce entered Worlds as the fastest woman this year (10.74) and became an even bigger favorite for the final after she sprinted a comfortable 10.82 to win her semifinal earlier Monday, easing up considerably for her final few strides.

Also in that semifinal, American English Gardner was sixth, missing the final despite coming into the meet as the second fastest woman in the world this year.

For the first time ever, fewer than two U.S. women made the Worlds 100m final.

World Track and Field Championships: Five men’s events to watch | Women’s events | Broadcast schedule

About 30 minutes before Fraser-Pryce’s early celebration, American Molly Huddle lost a bronze medal in the 10,000m after she raised both of her arms before the finish line, easing up in her final few strides.

Countrywoman Emily Infeld, running her third 10,000m ever, passed Huddle on her inside to nab the bronze by .09 of a second.

“It’s painful to watch,” Huddle told Johnson on Universal Sports. “Emily slipped on the inside as I eased up a little bit. She had this once-in-a-lifetime moment. I feel like it kind of slipped through my fingers. … The Olympics are typically a hard race, not a tactical one, so this probably won’t ever come around again.”

Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot won the race in 31:41.31, after sweeping the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2011 Worlds and missing 2013 due to pregnancy. She was followed by Ethiopian Gelete Burka for silver (31:41.77) and Infeld for bronze (31:43.49) in her Worlds debut.

“I just tried to run all the way through the line,” Infeld told Johnson on Universal Sports, adding to media later, “I don’t think [Huddle] knew I was there. I hate to take a medal away from a teammate and fellow American. … I don’t mean to snipe someone or do that. I feel like that’s kind of like a [expletive] way to get it, so I feel kind of bad now.”

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Evan Jager finished sixth in the 3000m steeplechase despite coming in as a hope to win the first U.S. medal ever in the event. Kenyans swept places one through four, led by dancing two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi, who won his fourth straight World title.

French Olympic champion and world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie won a non-gold medal at Worlds for the fourth straight time, this time sharing bronze with two other athletes. Canadian Shawn Barber upset Lavillenie for gold with a 5.90-meter clearance.

Colombian Caterine Ibarguen repeated as World triple jump champion with a 14.90-meter leap while wearing long pink socks. No U.S. woman has ever earned an Olympic or Worlds triple jump medal, and none were in Monday’s 12-woman final.

In the 400m semifinals, Grenada Olympic champion Kirani James and defending World champion LaShawn Merritt advanced to Wednesday’s eight-man final.

Czech defending World champion Zuzana Hejnova was the fastest qualifier into Wednesday’s 400m hurdles final. NCAA champion Shamier Little, the fastest woman in the world this year, was the slowest of the eight qualifiers into the final.

After her semifinal, Little watched the third and last semifinal clutching a railing, hoping the third-place finisher wouldn’t beat her time and knock her out of the final. She was in tears rolling on the track and, later after making the final, speaking with Johnson on Universal Sports.

Little, 20, wears Malcolm X-style glasses and describes herself in her Twitter bio as being athazagoraphobic and a kleptomaniac.

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott failed to qualify for Wednesday’s javelin final. Walcott has dealt with a reported ankle injury this summer.

World Championships: Gatlin in tears after making ‘Bolt-forced error’ in 100m final

LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

Delta LA 2028
LA 2028
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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record was the product of pain, rain

Eliud Kipchoge
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When Eliud Kipchoge broke the marathon world record in Berlin on Sunday, he began his celebration near the finish line by doing the same thing he did upon breaking the record in Berlin four years earlier.

He hugged longtime coach Patrick Sang.

The embrace was brief. Not much was said. They shook hands, Kipchoge appeared to stop his watch and Sang wiped his pupil’s sweaty face off with a towel. Kipchoge continued on his congratulatory tour.

“It felt good,” Sang said by phone from his native Kenya on Thursday. “I told him, ‘I’m proud of you and what you have achieved today.'”

Later, they met again and reflected together on the 2:01:09 performance, chopping 30 seconds off his world record in 2018 in the German capital.

“I mentioned to him that probably it was slightly a little bit too fast in the beginning, in the first half,” Sang said of Kipchoge going out in 59 minutes, 51 seconds for the first 13.1 miles (a sub-two-hour pace he did not maintain in the final miles). “But he said he felt good.

“Besides that, I think it was just to appreciate the effort that he put in in training. Sometimes, if you don’t acknowledge that, then it looks like you’re only looking at the performance. We looked at the sacrifice.”

Sang thought about the abnormally wet season in southwestern Kenya, where Kipchoge logs his daily miles more than a mile above sea level.

“Sometimes he had to run in the rain,” said Sang, the 1992 Olympic 3000m steeplechase silver medalist. “Those are small things you reflect and say, it’s worth sacrificing sometimes. Taking the pain training, and it pays off.”

When Sang analyzes his athletes, he looks beyond times. He studies their faces.

The way Kipchoge carried himself in the months leading into Berlin — running at 6 a.m. “rain or shine,” Sang said — reminded the coach of the runner’s sunny disposition in the summer of 2019. On Oct. 12 of that year, Kipchoge clocked 1:59:40 in the Austrian capital in a non-record-eligible event (rather than a traditional race) to become the first person to cover 26.2 miles on foot in less than two hours.

Sang said he does not discuss time goals with his students — “Putting specific targets puts pressure on the athlete, and you can easily go the wrong direction,” he said.

In looking back on the race, there is some wonder whether Kipchoge’s plan was to see how long he could keep a pace of sub-two hours. Sang refused to speculate, but he was not surprised to see Kipchoge hit the halfway point 61 seconds faster than the pacers’ prescribed 60:50 at 13.1 miles.

“Having gone two hours in Monza [2:00:25 in a sub-two-hour attempt in 2017], having run the unofficial 1:59 and so many times 2:01, 2:02, 2:03, the potential was written all over,” Sang said. “So I mean, to think any differently would be really under underrating the potential. Of course, then adding on top of that the aspect of the mental strength. He has a unique one.”

Kipchoge slowed in the second half, but not significantly. He started out averaging about 2 minutes, 50 seconds per kilometer (equivalent to 13.2 miles per hour). He came down to 2:57 per kilometer near the end.

Regret is not in Kipchoge’s nature. We may never know the extent of his sub-two thoughts on Sunday. Sang noted that Kipchoge, whose marathon career began a decade ago after he failed to make the London Olympic team on the track, does not dwell on the past.

“If you talk to him now, he probably is telling you about tomorrow,” Sang joked.

The future is what is intriguing about Kipchoge. Approaching 38 years old, he continues to improve beyond peak age for almost every elite marathoner. Can Kipchoge go even faster? It would likely require a return next year to Berlin, whose pancake-flat roads produced the last eight men’s marathon world records. But Kipchoge also wants to run, and win, another prestigious fall marathon in New York City.

Sang can see the appeal of both options in 2023 and leaves the decision to Kipchoge and his management team.

‘If we can find the motivation for him, or he finds it within himself, that he believes he can still run for some time, for a cause, for a reason … I think the guy can still even do better than what he did in Berlin,” Sang said. “We are learning a lot about the possibilities of good performance at an advanced age. It’s an inspiration and should be an inspiration for anybody at any level.”

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