Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix wins 400m, breaks U.S. record for Worlds medals; Rio preview?

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Allyson Felix won her record-breaking ninth World Championships gold medal and 11th overall, but first in the 400m, taking the one-lap race in Beijing on Thursday night.

It may set her up for a daunting Rio Olympic double.

At the Bird’s Nest, Felix clocked a personal-best 49.26 seconds to break her tie with Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson for the most Worlds gold medals won by an American. She also broke her tie with Lewis and LaShawn Merritt for the most Worlds medals by an American. She also became the first woman to win World titles in the 200m (she has three) and the 400m.

Felix took gold over the Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller (49.67) and Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson (49.99).

“I never really thought I’d see this day,” Felix told Lewis Johnson on Universal Sports.

Felix, the Olympic 200m champion, had the option of racing the 200m, the 400m or both in Beijing. She chose the 400m solely, partly because she deemed the 200m-400m double wasn’t doable given the 200m semifinals and 400m final were about an hour apart Thursday.

She chose the 400m over her longtime trademark 200m because she wanted to challenge herself over the longer distance.

The challenge could have been greater. Neither Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross nor the world’s fastest woman in the event before Thursday, Francena McCorory, made the team in the event at the U.S. Championships in June.

Felix ran the 200m and 400m at the 2011 World Championships, with one day off between events, and won silver in the 400m and then bronze in the 200m. For the 2012 Olympics, Felix chose the 100m to complement her 200m, finishing fifth in the 100m before capturing her first individual Olympic gold in the 200m.

Now that the three-time Olympian Felix has her individual Olympic title, she has more freedom to explore in 2016.

Felix has said her coach would voice his opinion to officials about the Rio Olympic track and field schedule, where the 200m first round and 400m final are a little more than an hour apart.

“If I’m fit enough to do it, I would [run the 200m and 400m at the Olympics],” Felix told Johnson on Universal Sports, later telling media in Beijing, “It has to be one of those perfect storm type of things.”

Felix said if she could run only one event at the Rio Olympics, she would choose the 200m.

If the Rio schedule could be changed to allow one day off between the 200m and 400m (as it was for Johnson to race the 200m and 400m in Atlanta 1996), Felix might be more inclined to attempt the 200m-400m double at the Olympics.

“I’ve put in my time,” Felix said, according to The New York Times. “But that’s all on the people in charge of the scheduling, and I understand that there are a lot of things that go into that. There are also some other great people who can do that double, as well. It’s a pretty common double, so I think for us and for the future, it would be a good thing for the sport.”

Two women have won the 200m and 400m at one Olympics (when there was at least one day off between events) — American Valerie Brisco-Hooks in 1984 and France’s Marie-Jose Perec in 1996.

Felix could earn two more medals in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays this weekend.

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Justin Gatlin, Noah Lyles headline U.S. roster for IAAF World Relays

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Justin Gatlin and Noah Lyles haven’t been in the same race since the 2016 Olympic Trials, but they could exchange a baton at the IAAF World Relays next month.

Gatlin, the reigning world 100m champion, and Lyles, undefeated at 200m outdoors in this Olympic cycle, headline the U.S. roster at World Relays in Yokohama, Japan, from May 11-12.

It’s the fourth edition of the meet that was held in the Bahamas in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Competition includes men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m, a mixed-gender 4x400m (making its Olympic debut in 2020), a shuttle hurdle relay and a 2x2x400m.

The U.S. has topped the medal standings at every World Relays, most memorably beating a Usain Bolt-anchored Jamaican 4x100m in 2015.

This U.S. team also includes world 100m champion Tori Bowie, U.S. 100m champion Aleia Hobbs and Lyles’ younger brother, Josephus.

The full U.S. roster:

Devon Allen
Joanna Atkina
Olivia Baker
Jessica Beard
Chris Belcher
Jasmine Blocker
Tori Bowie
Donavan Brazier
Mikiah Brisco
Ce’Aira Brown
Dezerea Bryant
Cameron Burrell
Michael Cherry
Christina Clemons (Manning)
Shania Collins
Freddie Crittenden
Paul Dedewo
Ryan Fontenot
Justin Gatlin
Queen Harrison
Aleia Hobbs
Ashley Henderson
Je’Von Hutchinson
Kyra Jefferson
Fred Kerley
My’lik Kerley
Jordan Lavender
Josephus Lyles
Noah Lyles
Remontay McClain
Sharika Nelvis
Vernon Norwood
Courtney Okolo
Jenna Prandini
Bryce Robinson
Mike Rodgers
Jaide Stepter
Nathan Strother
Gabby Thomas
Brionna Thomas
Ameer Webb
Shakima Wimbley
Dontavius Wright
Isiah Young

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How to watch 2019 London Marathon

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The London Marathon airs live on NBCSN and streams commercial free for NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” subscribers on Sunday at 4 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
4:05 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:10 – World Para Athletics Marathon Championships Ambulant Athletes
4:25 – Elite Women’s Race
5:10 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The London Marathon is known for the deepest fields of all the annual major marathons. This year is no exception.

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge will race his first 26.2-miler since shattering the world record by 78 seconds in Berlin on Sept. 16 (2:01:39).

Kipchoge, on a modern-era record win streak of nine elite marathons, won his last three London starts, including setting the course record of 2:03:05 in 2016. Another world record on Sunday is a monumental ask, given Berlin is traditionally a faster course than London.

Kipchoge’s competition includes Britain’s four-time Olympic track champion Mo Farah and fellow Kenyans and past London winners Daniel Wanjiru and Wilson Kipsang.

Yet another Kenyan, Mary Keitany, also eyes a fourth London title. The 5-foot-2 soft speaker bagged either the London or New York City Marathons seven of the last eight years, with the outlier being 2013, when she gave birth to her second child.

Keitany’s greatest feat came in London in 2017, when she won in 2:17:01, erasing Paula Radcliffe‘s world record in a women’s only race by 41 seconds.

But last year, Keitany went out at world-record pace and was passed by yet another Kenyan mom, Vivian Cheruiyot, in the 23rd mile in London. Cheruiyot, a four-time Olympic track medalist, returns to defend her title Sunday.

The top two U.S. runners are Molly Huddle, in her London debut, and Emily Sisson, in her marathon debut. Both are jockeying for position among the deepest group of American female marathoners in history with the Olympic Trials looming in 10 months.

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