Meb Keflezighi to run New York City Marathon three months before Olympic trials

Meb Keflezighi
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Meb Keflezighi will run his 10th New York City Marathon on Nov. 1, which is 104 days before he plans to run the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials marathon in Los Angeles on Feb. 13.

Keflezighi is the last American to win each of an Olympic marathon medal (silver, 2004), the New York City Marathon (2009) and the Boston Marathon (2014).

His competition in New York will include the three men who finished ahead of him in the race last year — Kenyan Wilson Kipsang and Ethiopians Lelisa Desisa and Gebre Gebremariam (more on the elite field here).

The turnaround from New York to the Olympic trials would be Keflezighi’s third shortest span between competitive marathons, according to the track and field statistics website Tilastopaja.

In 69 days, Keflezighi finished sixth in the 2011 New York City Marathon and won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

In 70 days, Keflezighi finished second in both the 2004 Olympic marathon and the 2004 New York City Marathon.

Keflezighi, who turns 41 in 2016, noted that he’s older now but also wiser.

“Which one would you like to have, the youth or the wisdom?” he told Sports Illustrated on Sunday. “So that’s the one thing I have to deal with. … I’m always year-round training. This is no different.”

Keflezighi, who turns 41 in 2016, will try along with Bernard Lagat next year to become the oldest U.S. Olympic runner of all time, according to sports-reference.com. Keflezighi (UCLA) and Lagat (Washington State) competed against each other in college in the 1990s. Lagat is a 1500m and 5000m runner whose trials are in July in Eugene, Ore.

Keflezighi could well be the favorite at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, since his 2014 Boston Marathon winning time is the fastest by an American over 26.2 miles on any course in the last two years.

The top three at trials (live on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra) make the U.S. Olympic team.

His top challenger at trials could be three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, who finished ahead of Keflezighi at the Boston Marathon on April 20. Ritzenhein hasn’t announced which fall marathon he will contest, if he decides to enter one in advance of the Olympic trials.

Two-time Olympian Ryan Hall has struggled since finishing second to Keflezighi at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, completing one marathon since, a 20th-place finish in the 2014 Boston Marathon.

In total, three of the seven Americans who have run sub-2:12 marathons since the London Olympics have signed up for fall marathons — Keflezighi, Nick Arciniaga (also New York) and Fernando Cabada (Chicago Marathon on Oct. 11).

Keflezighi also told Sports Illustrated on Sunday that he planned to run at least one more New York City Marathon after this year’s edition.

MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Meb Keflezighi hopes to be an example for Ryan Hall as trials approach

Oleksandr Abramenko, Ukraine’s top Winter Olympian, tears knee, career in question

Oleksandr Abramenko
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Aerials skier Oleksandr Abramenko, who won both of Ukraine’s medals over the last two Winter Olympics, is out for the season after a knee ligament tear and said he might not return to competition at all, according to Ukrainian media.

Abramenko, 34, won gold at the 2018 Olympics — Ukraine’s second-ever individual Winter Olympic title after figure skater Oksana Baiul in 1994 — and silver last year.

He competed once this season, placing 10th at a World Cup in Finland on Dec. 4, and then flew with the Ukrainian national team to stay in Utah ahead of World Cups in Canada in January and at the 2002 Olympic venue in Park City this weekend. The area also hosted many Ukraine winter sports athletes this past summer.

Abramenko missed the competition in Canada two weeks ago due to injury and then wasn’t on the start list for today’s aerials event in Park City. He is set to miss the world championships later this month in Georgia (the country, not the state).

Abramenko said he needs surgery, followed by a nine-month rehabilitation process, similar to an operation on his other knee six years ago, according to Ukraine’s public broadcaster. He said he will see how the recovery goes and determine whether to return to the sport at age 35, according to the report.

Abramenko is already the oldest Olympic men’s aerials medalist and come the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games will be older than all but one male aerialist in Olympic history, according to Olympedia.org.

At last year’s Olympics, Abramenko, Ukraine’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, was hugged after the aerials final by Russian Ilya Burov, who finished one spot behind Abramenko for a bronze medal. A week later, Russia invaded Ukraine.

A week after that, Abramenko posed for a photo sitting on a mattress in a Kyiv parking garage with his wife and 2-year-old son published by The New York Times.

“We spend the night in the underground parking in the car, because the air attack siren is constantly on,” Abramenko texted, according to the newspaper. “It’s scary to sleep in the apartment, I myself saw from the window how the air defense systems worked on enemy missiles, and strong explosions were heard.”

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Freestyle skiers in World Cup action on NBC Sports, Peacock

Ski Halfpipe
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Olympic gold medalists David Wise and Alex Hall headline World Cup freestyle skiing and snowboarding stops in the U.S. this weekend, airing on NBC Sports and Peacock.

Wise, who last Sunday won his fifth X Games Aspen ski halfpipe title, led the qualifiers into the final at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix in California.

He’s joined in the 10-man final by U.S. Olympic teammates Aaron Blunck and Birk Irving. The women’s ski halfpipe final includes the top three from last week’s X Games — Brit Zoe Atkin, Canadian Rachael Karker and American Svea Irving. Olympic champion Eileen Gu of China is out after suffering a knee injury in an X Games training crash.

The ski slopestyle finals include the reigning men’s and women’s Olympic gold medalists — Hall, plus Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland.

The marquee snowboarders in Mammoth finals are Olympic big air silver medalist Julia Marino (slopestyle) and X Games silver medalist Maddie Mastro (halfpipe). Two-time Olympic champion Chloe Kim is taking the season off, and another double Olympic champion, Jamie Anderson, is pregnant.

Aerials and moguls skiers are competing in their lone U.S. World Cup stop in Park City, Utah.

The moguls fields including Olympic gold medalists Walter Wallberg of Sweden, Mikael Kingsbury of the U.S., Perrine Laffont of France and Jakara Anthony of Australia. Olympic silver medalist Jaelin Kauf is the standout American.

The aerials include every member of the U.S. team that took gold at last year’s Olympics — Ashley Caldwell, Chris Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld.

Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding World Cup Broadcast Schedule

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Saturday Moguls 11 a.m. CNBC, Peacock
Ski Halfpipe 3 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Sunday Ski Slopestyle 12 p.m. CNBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Aerials, Dual Moguls 2 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Snowboard Halfpipe 2 p.m. CNBC, Peacock

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

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