Usain Bolt

Ten memorable quotes from World Track and Field Championships

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From kidney failure to goat blood, here are 10 memorable quotes from the World Track and Field Championships:

  • “My parents wanted me to be a great university student, but I wanted to become a good athlete.” — Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, after becoming the first athlete from his country to win an Olympic or World Track and Field Championships gold medal and the first teenager to win an Olympic or World Championships marathon. (IAAF)
  • “I gave the race away the last five meters.”Justin Gatlin on losing to Usain Bolt by .01 in the 100m final. (USATF)
  • “She had this once-in-a-lifetime moment. I feel like it kind of slipped through my fingers.”Molly Huddle on celebrating before the finish and losing a bronze medal to countrywoman Emily Infeld. (Universal Sports)
    “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.” — Infeld (LetsRun)
  • “A new queen Dibaba is arriving.” — Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba after winning the 1500m, joining her two sisters as World medalists. (New York Times)
  • “I’ve put in my time.”Allyson Felix, before winning her first World Championship in the 400m following three 200m World titles, on if the Rio Olympic track and field schedule should be changed to accommodate her running the 200m and 400m at the Games, as it was for Michael Johnson in 1996. (New York Times)
  • “The rumor I’m trying to start right now is that Justin Gatlin paid him off.” Usain Bolt on being run over by a cameraman on a Segway.
    “I want my money back. He didn’t complete the job.”Justin Gatlin in response (press conference).
  • “This bronze medal is going to shine brighter than my gold.” — Olympic champion Aries Merritt on finishing third in the 110m hurdles with kidney function less than 20 percent and four days before he would receive a kidney transplant from his sister. (LetsRun)
  • “It was unfortunate that she had to struggle, and I had to benefit from that. But her day will come.” — Ashton Eaton, after breaking his decathlon world record, on his wife, Canadian Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who earlier took silver in the heptathlon. (IAAF)
  • “I’m going to cut the goat … and drink the blood.” — Kenyan Maasai warrior Elijah Manangoi on his celebration after taking silver in the 1500m. (LetsRun)
  • “We came here to kick ass. We kicked ass.” — Canadian coach Peter Eriksson after the nation won eight medals, its best-ever World Championships total. (CBC)

U.S. finishes World Championships with fewest medals since 2003

Major League Baseball sponsors U.S. Olympic softball team

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NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball is using its financial muscle to support the U.S. women’s softball team, which already is assured a spot in the Tokyo Olympics while the American men’s baseball team struggles to qualify.

MLB announced an agreement Thursday to become presenting sponsor of the women’s “Stand Beside Her” tour, a slate of exhibition games leading up to the Olympic tournament from July 22-28.

“We’re both bat and ball sports. Even though we’re not the same sport, there are so many similarities that you just can’t ignore,” said Kim Ng, MLB’s senior vice president for baseball operations. “It was important for us to make sure that they have this acknowledgment and recognition of their ability and their talent.”

Softball began as an Olympic sport for the 1996 Atlanta Games. The U.S. won gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004 with players that included Dot Richardson, Jennie Finch and Jessica Mendoza, then lost to Japan in the 2008 gold-medal game.

Baseball and softball were dropped for the next two Olympics, then restored for this year, when the U.S. and Japan will be joined by Australia, Canada, Italy and Mexico for games in Fukushima and Yokohama but not Tokyo. The sports are likely to be dropped for 2024 in Paris but could return four years later in Los Angeles.

The U.S. men’s baseball team stumbled in its first attempt to qualify, wasting a ninth-inning lead against Mexico in the final game of the Premier12 tournament in November and losing in the 10th. The U.S. has two more chances to join Israel, Japan, Mexico and South Korea in the Olympic field: an Americas tournament in Arizona from March 22-26 and a final tournament in Taiwan from April 1-5.

MLB is not allowing players on 40-man big league rosters to compete in qualifying, and few top pitching prospects were at the November tournament.

Softball has no such issues. The Olympics are the sport’s highest-profile event.

“The platform for us is 10 times bigger,” American outfielder Haylie McCleney said. “For us, it’s a great opportunity for people that have never watched softball before, people that have only followed it at the collegiate level, to really see how fun our game is to watch, how pure it is. If people are baseball fans, I guarantee they’re going to love softball because it’s pretty much just a faster game – it’s shorter, it’s quicker, it’s more entertaining to watch, in my opinion.”

The 2008 gold-medal softball game took 1 hours, 45 minutes — less than half the 3:45 average for this year’s World Series.

As part of the deal with MLB, the softball team’s official training facility will be at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida, the old Dodgertown spring training camp.

MLB Network will include programming from the tour, which currently starts Feb. 4 in Tampa and has about three dozen stops.

The U.S. women’s soccer team has attracted huge television audiences. MLB sees softball as an opportunity for the sport’s growth.

“These are world-class athletes,” Ng said. “Because we have not been in the Olympics for the last 12 years, they just haven’t had that stage. So it’s really important at this point that we show as much support as we can for them.”

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

Rafael Nadal advances at Australian Open; American back on Slam stage

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal joined Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open third round, sweeping Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-1 on Thursday.

Nadal, whose lone Australian Open title came in 2009, gets countryman Pablo Carreno Busta in Saturday’s third round. He could face No. 23 Nick Kyrgios of Australia in round four, but neither Federer nor Djokovic until the final.

No. 4 Daniil Medvedeva and No. 2 Karolina Pliskova and No. 4 Simona Halep were also winners Thursday. Friday’s third-round action is headlined by defending champion Naomi Osaka facing 15-year-old U.S. phenom Coco Gauff.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

The only top-20 seed to lose Thursday was No. 20 Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic. American CiCi Bellis bounced her 6-4, 6-4.

This was a big deal for Bellis: Two full years and four right arm operations have come and gone since she was last healthy enough to participate in a Grand Slam tournament.

Bellis was something of a teen prodigy. In her very first tour-level match, at age 15 at the 2014 U.S. Open, she stunned 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, an Australian Open runner-up, to become the youngest American to win a match at Flushing Meadows in 28 years.

She reached No. 35 in the rankings at 17, when she won WTA Newcomer of the Year honors.

Then came the series of health problems, including for torn tendons in her wrist, to shorten a bone in her arm and for bone spurs in her elbow. All the time away from the tour has her at No. 600 in the rankings currently, but she was able to get into the draw in Australia via the protected ranking rule.

In other action, U.S. Open runner-up Medvedev  found himself seated in the nosebleed section at Margaret Court Arena, even though he was playing his second-round match there.

That’s because the No. 4-seeded Russian found himself dealing with something he said happens to him a couple of times each year: a nosebleed.

Medvedev blotted his nose with a towel and then was treated by a trainer while his 7-5, 6-1, 6-3 over Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez was delayed for more than five minutes late in the second set.

“Can happen to me sometimes. Doesn’t usually happen during the match, so I had to stop (playing). Usually takes like four minutes — three, four minutes. … But it’s nothing,” Medvedev said.

MORE: Another top U.S. tennis player cools on Olympics

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