Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt anchors Jamaica to 4x100m relay gold after U.S. mishap

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Usain Bolt completed a triple gold World Championships performance, anchoring the Jamaican 4x100m relay team to victory over the disqualified U.S. in Beijing on Saturday.

Also Saturday, Ashton Eaton broke his world record in the decathlon by six points. More on Eaton’s feat here.

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will have World Track and Field Championships coverage Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

The U.S. earned two medals Saturday, gold from Eaton and silver behind Jamaica in the women’s 4x100m relay. The U.S. leads the medal standings with 16 total and trails Jamaica and Kenya in golds (six to five) with one day of competition left at the Bird’s Nest.

U.S. track and field has won at least 22 medals at each of the last eight Olympics or World Championships, but it’s unlikely to reach that mark Sunday, even with likely medals in both 4x400m relays.

Bolt, who won the 100m on Sunday and 200m on Thursday, both over American Justin Gatlin, received the baton for the final leg of the 4x100m relay and cruised to win while the U.S. fumbled its last exchange, as it did at the 2013 World Championships.

“We were talking about it,” Bolt said of the American disqualification on Eurosport, “and it’s called pressure.”

Tyson Gay‘s handoff to American anchor Mike Rodgers came too late and out of the zone. The Americans were disqualified several minutes after the race. Gay had pulled even with Rodgers in his lane before Rodgers finally got out with the baton.

“I don’t think the pressure got to me,” Rodgers told media in Beijing. “I was very cool, calm and collected.”

By contrast, Nickel Ashmeade‘s handoff to Bolt was clean, and Bolt ended up winning it for Jamaica by .41 over the U.S., before the disqualification became official. China moved up to silver and Canada bronze.

“I saw the mess after 300 meters and was happy we were not in it,” Bolt said, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. led Jamaica early in the relay, after Gatlin’s second leg, and would have been about even with Bolt had the Gay-Rodgers exchange gone smoothly.

Gatlin did not anchor the U.S. because he is more used to running the second leg, as he did at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas on May 2, when the U.S. defeated a Jamaican team with Bolt anchoring.

In that meet, Rodgers was the leadoff man with Ryan Bailey anchoring for the U.S., but Bailey did not make the U.S. team for Worlds. Trayvon Bromell, the 20-year-old co-World 100m bronze medalist, was inserted into the leadoff spot with Rodgers moving to anchor.

Bolt has won 17 straight Olympic and World Championships races he’s finished, dating to the 2008 Olympics. Bolt’s only loss in that span was a false-start disqualification in the 2011 World Championships 100m.

The U.S. men haven’t won an Olympic or Worlds 4x100m relay since the 2007 World Championships, which was Bolt’s last defeat in a race he finished at an Olympics or Worlds.

Full Saturday results are available here.

Earlier Saturday, Olympic and World 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce anchored Jamaica to 4x100m gold and the second fastest women’s 4x100m relay ever. They won in 41.07 seconds, shy of the world record 40.82 put up by the U.S. to win the 2012 Olympics.

The U.S. was .61 back for silver, missing World 100m bronze medalist Tori Bowie, who was not put on the team because she missed a relay training camp earlier this summer. Bowie’s presence likely wouldn’t have made a difference given the margin of victory.

Allyson Felix was on the U.S. quartet to earn her 12th career World Championships medal, extending her American record. She could earn a 13th in the 4x400m relay Sunday.

In the men’s 5000m, Mo Farah won his fifth career World Championship, passing Kenyan Caleb Ndiku coming into the final straightaway. Farah clocked 13:50.38. Ndiku took silver in 13:51.75, followed by Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet for bronze in 13:51.86.

Farah, who said he overcame a hamstring injury, swept the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2012 Olympics, 2013 Worlds and 2015 Worlds.

Russian Maria Kuchina captured the high jump for her first global outdoor championship medal, clearing a personal best 2.01 meters. Two-time World champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia earned silver, with Russian Olympic champion Anna Chicherova capturing bronze.

Belarus’ Maryna Arzamasova also bagged her first global championship medal, gold in the 800m in 1:58.03. She upset 2013 World champion Eunice Sum of Kenya, who ended up with bronze in 1:58.18. Canadian Melissa Bishop finished between them in 1:58.12.

Poland discus thrower Piotr Malachowski won his first global title following one Olympic silver and two Worlds silvers. He threw 67.40 meters in the absence of injured German Robert Harting, the 2009, 2011 and 2013 World champion and 2012 Olympic champion.

World Championships: Segway cameraman apologizes, gives present to Usain Bolt

Jordan Wilimovsky qualifies for Tokyo Olympics in open-water swimming

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Open-water swimmer Jordan Wilimovsky is the first male athlete on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team.

Wilimovsky, who placed fourth and fifth in two distance events at the 2016 Rio Games, joined fellow open-water swimmers Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell in qualifying for Tokyo via the world championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Wilimovsky, 25, placed fifth in the 10km event on Tuesday. Anderson and Twichell were second and sixth in the women’s 10km on Sunday. Top-10 finishers at worlds qualified for Tokyo.

German Florian Wellbrock won by two tenths of a second over French Olympic bronze medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier after 1 hour, 47 minutes in the water. Wilimovsky led with 600 meters left. Olympic 1500m freestyle champion Gregorio Paltrinieri also qualified for Tokyo in the open-water 10km by finishing sixth.

The other American, David Heron, was 25th, missing the Olympic team, but he can try again in the 1500m free in the pool at the Olympic trials next June.

Wilimovsky missed a medal in the Rio Olympic 1500m in the pool by 4.17 seconds, taking fourth. Three days later, he was fifth in the open-water 10km, 1.2 seconds out of bronze.

Wilimovsky, a Malibu native who redshirted at Northwestern to train for Rio, earned gold and silver in the 10km at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships.

A U.S. man has never earned an Olympic open-water medal. The event debuted at Beijing 2008.

MORE: World Diving Championships TV Schedule

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Ted Ligety scales back race schedule

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Two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety is scaling back his race schedule as he enters the final portion of his decorated Alpine skiing career.

Ligety, a 34-year-old who has endured many injuries since his last World Cup win in 2015, said he will race strictly giant slaloms this year. The World Cup season starts in late October.

“So it’ll be a little bit easier schedule on my body,” Ligety said in a KPCW radio interview in his native Park City, Utah. “I’ll be able to be home a little bit more as well, and then we see. I mean, I would like to keep going as long as I feel like I can win races and feel healthy. That’s really the biggest part, and nowadays I have a 2-year-old son, and there’s more factors than there was when I was 25 years old.”

Ligety, nicknamed “Mr. GS” for his giant slalom prowess, has a 2014 Olympic gold medal and three world titles in that event.

He also owns an Olympic combined title from 2006 and world titles in the super-G and combined from 2013, but he hasn’t won a race in one of those disciplines since January 2014. And since then, he has undergone back and knee surgeries and dealt with hip problems.

“There’s a lot of hard miles on my body up to this point, but I’m still enjoying it,” said Ligety, whose 321 World Cup starts are the most among active Olympic medalists now that Lindsey Vonn and Aksel Lund Svindal have retired. “Right now, I feel really healthy and trying to get to a point where I feel I can win races. That’s the goal right now.”

Ligety, a four-time Olympian, has not publicly committed to a 2022 Olympic run.

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