U.S. men’s soccer loses Rio Olympic qualifier

Gedion Zelalem
AP
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The U.S. men’s under-23 soccer team lost to Honduras 2-0 with a Rio Olympic berth at stake in Sandy, Utah, on Saturday afternoon.

To qualify for Rio, the U.S. must now beat Canada on Tuesday and then beat Colombia in March in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. failed to qualify for the 2004 and 2012 Olympic tournaments and hasn’t won a men’s soccer medal since 1904, when the Olympic tournament included three teams.

The U.S. looked strong in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament going into the Honduras match.

It went 3-0 in group play, outscoring opponents 13-2, despite all three 2014 World Cup players who met the U-23 age requirement being omitted from the roster — John Brooks, Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin. Brooks and Yedlin were saved for a senior national team match against Mexico on Saturday with a 2017 Confederations Cup berth at stake, though Brooks is now out due to injury.

Honduras, which qualified for its third straight Olympics, went 2-1 in its group, the loss to Mexico.

Mexico beat Canada 2-0 later Saturday to qualify for Rio. Mexico is the defending Olympic champion.

At the Olympics, Honduras fell in the group stage in 2008 and to Brazil in the quarterfinals in 2012.

The 2016 Olympic men’s soccer tournament field:

Brazil — possibly with Neymar
Argentina — 2008 Olympic champion when it had Lionel Messi
Denmark
Germany — possibly with Philipp Lahm, but unlikely for Mesut Özil
Portugal — possibly with 2004 Olympian Cristiano Ronaldo
Sweden — possibly with Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Fiji
Honduras
Mexico
U.S., Canada or Colombia
Three Asian nations determined in January
Three African nations determined in December

MORE SOCCER: FIFA says clubs don’t have to release players for Rio Olympics

Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
Getty
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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