Usain Bolt, Mo Farah

Top ten storylines from World Track and Field Championships

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The top ten storylines from the World Track and Field Championships, the sport’s most prestigious competition outside of the Olympics:

10. American learns valuable lesson

Molly Huddle made the mistake of celebrating too early in the 10,000m. As she approached the finish line, she eased up and raised both of her arms. This allowed fellow American Emily Infeld to pass her on the inside and claim the bronze medal by .09 of a second (video here).

“I feel like it kind of slipped through my fingers,” Huddle told Universal Sports’ Lewis Johnson afterwards.

9. Emergence of Dafne Schippers

A lot has changed for Schippers of the Netherlands in the last two years.

At the 2013 Worlds, she was the bronze medalist in the heptathlon. This year, she established herself as a sprinting sensation. She won the 200m in 21.63 seconds, becoming the third fastest woman ever in the event (video here). She also claimed the silver medal in the 100m.

When asked about her future, Schippers told BBC Radio, “Now I’m a sprinter. I’m sure.”

8. Allyson Felix makes it look easy

Felix, the Olympic 200m champion, decided to focus on the 400m in Beijing. She easily won the one-lap race, clocking a personal best 49.26 seconds (video here). She has now won more Worlds gold medals than any other American.

Felix also claimed silver medals in the 4x100m and 4x400m, giving her 13 career Worlds medals.

7. Britain’s “Super Saturday” stars overcome adversity

August 4, 2012 is known as “Super Saturday” in Great Britain, as the nation won six Olympic gold medals in a single day, including three in track and field. All three of those track and field athletes overcame adversity to win gold medals at the 2015 Worlds.

Jessica Ennis-Hill, competing in her first global championship since 2012 after giving birth to her baby son, won the heptathlon title.

Mo Farah swept the 5000m and 10,000m, despite dealing with a sore hamstring and the distraction of having his coach, Alberto Salazar, accused of violating medical and anti-doping rules with his athletes.

Greg Rutherford leaped 8.41m to claim his first World Championship. Critics had dismissed his 2012 Olympic title as a fluke, citing that his victory jump of 8.31m was the shortest since 1972.

6. Sprinting’s future superstars

The 100m final featured the much-anticipated showdown between Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin, but it also provided a glimpse of the next generation of sprinters.

American Trayvon Bromell and Canadian Andre De Grasse tied for bronze at 9.92 seconds. Both are only 20 years old. Bromell won the 2014 NCAA 100m title for Baylor, while De Grasse won the 2015 NCAA 100m title for USC.

World Championships: Top 10 performances | Ten memorable quotes

5. Well-rounded success for Kenya

Kenya is known for middle-distance running, but the nation triumphed in other events in Beijing.

Nicholas Bett won the 400m hurdles title to become the first Kenyan athlete to win a Worlds race shorter than 800m.

Julius Yego, who learned to throw the javelin by watching YouTube videos, became the first Kenyan to win a Worlds medal in a field event.

4. Ashton Eaton is back

Eaton did not show any rust in his first decathlon since 2013, easily winning the gold medal.

He needed to run 4:18.25 or better in the final event, the 1500m, to break his own world record. He did just that, clocking 4:17.52 (video here).

3. Aries Merritt’s inspirational performance

Despite racing with kidney function at less than 20 percent, Merritt claimed the 110m hurdles bronze medal (video here). The 2012 Olympic champion is scheduled to have a kidney transplant on Tuesday.

“This bronze medal is going to shine brighter than my gold,” Merritt told media in Beijing.

2. Mixed results for Team USA

Track and Field News predicted that the U.S. would finish with 31 medals. The U.S. topped the medal table with 18 total medals, its smallest medal haul at a World Championships since 2003.

The U.S. claimed six gold medals. Only Jamaica and Kenya went home with more.

1. Usain Bolt dominates

Bolt proved that he is still the world’s fastest man, conquering Gatlin in the 100m and 200m. He also helped Jamaica claim gold in the 4x100m.

The only thing that could take Bolt down? A Segway.

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

Bernard Lagat commits to Olympic marathon trials, eyes age record

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Bernard Lagat, a 44-year-old, five-time Olympian, reportedly said he will race the Olympic marathon trials on Feb. 29 in a bid to break his own record as the oldest U.S. Olympic runner.

“I feel like I can still improve,” Lagat said, according to Runner’s World. “I’m going to give it my best.”

Lagat, a two-time Olympic 1500m medalist, moved to the marathon after becoming the oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history at the Rio Games, placing fifth in the 5000m.

He clocked 2:17:20 in his 26.2-mile debut at the 2018 New York City Marathon. He lowered it to 2:12:10 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia on July 7 but did not previously commit to entering the trials.

If Lagat finishes in the top three at the marathon trials, he is in line to become the third-oldest U.S. Olympic track and field athlete in history. The oldest are race walker John Deni (49 years old in 1952) and hammer thrower Matt McGrath (48 years old in 1924), according to the OlyMADMen.

Lagat ranks outside the top 20 among U.S. marathoners in this Olympic cycle. The fastest are Galen Rupp (2:06:07), Leonard Korir (2:07:56, from Sunday’s Amsterdam Marathon) and Scott Fauble (2:09:09).

No American has competed in six Olympics in track and field. Lagat’s first two Olympic appearances were for Kenya.

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MORE: Olympic marathon moved from Tokyo to another Olympic host city

Natalie Geisenberger, Olympic luge champion, will not race this season

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For the first time in eight years, there will be a new World Cup women’s luge champion.

Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger — the seven-time defending champion and two-time defending Olympic singles gold medalist — announced that she isn’t sliding this season because she and her husband are expecting their first child in April.

“Our happiness is on the way,” Geisenberger said on her Facebook page.

Geisenberger plans to return next season and still has hopes to compete at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, where she could match fellow German great Georg Hackl’s feat of winning three consecutive singles golds.

With Geisenberger not sliding this season, the top returning women from last year’s World Cup standings now are Julia Taubitz of Germany and Summer Britcher of the U.S. — second and third, respectively, in 2018-19.

Geisenberger has a luge record-tying four Olympic golds in all, being part of Germany’s victories in the team relays in Sochi in 2014 and Pyeongchang in 2018 as well.

Her 49 World Cup singles wins are another record, and she’s one of two sliders to win seven consecutive World Cup titles — Austria’s Markus Prock took the men’s championships each year from 1990-91 through 1996-97.

Geisenberger’s break from sliding only adds to how the World Cup standings — and the German roster — will look very different this season. Dajana Eitberger, who was fourth in last season’s World Cup standings, is also pregnant and expecting a baby in February. And Tatjana Huefner, who was sixth overall last season, has retired.

Huefner won five consecutive World Cup titles before Geisenberger took over and began her seven-year streak of championships. Geisenberger earned medals 11 times in 12 singles races last year — six golds, four silvers and one bronze.

“We are so happy for you even though we will miss you this season!” two-time Olympic singles gold medalist Felix Loch of Germany wrote in a message to Geisenberger on Instagram.

Geisenberger has been in the top three of the World Cup standings in 12 consecutive seasons. She was third in 2007-08, finished second in each of the next four seasons, and then began her title streak in 2012-13.

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