Wilson Kipsang wouldn’t have raced Kenya Olympic marathon trials

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NEW YORK — If Kenya went ahead with an Olympic marathon trials in February, its most consistent runner over the last few years planned to skip them.

Wilson Kipsang, the former world-record holder who will defend his New York City Marathon title on Sunday, said he would have chosen to race a spring marathon, presumably with much more money at stake, rather than an Olympic trials.

“It wouldn’t have been convenient,” Kipsang said Thursday.

Fortunately, Kenya’s track and field federation quickly scrapped its Olympic trials plan first announced two weeks ago. The world’s dominant marathon nation will choose its three-man and three-woman team by other means.

Kipsang, 33, is arguably the top choice if it’s a subjective system, with an Olympic bronze medal and Berlin, London and New York City Marathon victories in the last three years, plus holding the world record for one year. Though with Athletics Kenya, anything goes.

For the 2012 Olympics, it passed over Wesley Korir, the reigning Boston Marathon winner, Patrick Makau, who broke the world record at the 2011 Berlin Marathon, and Geoffrey Mutai, who broke the course record at the 2011 New York City Marathon.

Kipsang suggested the Olympic team should be chosen in February even without the trials.

“So that when you’re running in April [in a spring marathon], you know I’m on the team,” he said. “So you know how to run in the next race and try to prepare. But if you are confirmed late, it’s not really very good because, to prepare mentally, time will catch up.”

Kipsang is the favorite in the five-borough race Sunday, but he was defeated in his previous two marathons.

Kipsang finished second to countryman Eliud Kipchoge in the London Marathon in April and then dropped out of the World Championships marathon in Beijing in August, saying then, “the heat got the better of me,” but on Thursday that he considered it a training run.

Is Kipsang then worried Athletics Kenya could pass him over for the Olympics?

“Somebody like me I don’t have much pressure,” he said. “Whether I’m with the team or not, I will still have races to run.”

MORE MARATHON: Meb: I didnt want to put all my eggs in Olympic trials basket

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever

Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi

Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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