Stanley Biwott, Mary Keitany
AP

Kenyans sweep New York City Marathon for third straight year

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NEW YORK — Kenyans Stanley Biwott and Mary Keitany won the New York City Marathon on Sunday, marking the third straight year the distance-running power swept the 26.2-mile race.

Biwott, 29, notched the biggest victory of his career in his second New York appearance. He clocked 2 hours, 10 minutes, 34 seconds, and outlasted countryman Geoffrey Kamworor by 14 seconds, pulling away in the final two miles in Central Park.

Pre-race favorite and defending champion Wilson Kipsang of Kenya was fourth out of an unofficial 50,229 total starters.

Meb Keflezighi, the 2009 winner, placed seventh in 2:13:32 for his eighth top-10 in 10 New York appearances. Keflezighi, at 40 seeking next year to become the oldest U.S. Olympic runner of all time, broke the U.S. masters marathon record of 2:13:52.

Biwott, who worked on a dairy farm until 2006 and still owns 10 cows, finished fifth in his previous New York start in 2013. He won the 2012 Paris Marathon.

Keitany, 33, became the first woman to win back-to-back New York marathons since world-record holder Paula Radcliffe in 2007 and 2008.

She clocked 2:24:25, prevailing by 67 seconds over Ethiopian Asefelech Mergia. The top U.S. woman was Laura Thweatt, seventh in 2:28:23, the seventh-fastest time in New York history by an American woman.

In 2014, Keitany prevailed in New York by three seconds, tying the closest women’s finish ever, in her first marathon since giving birth to her second child. She placed fourth at the London Olympics and missed all of 2013 due to childbirth.

The fastest American woman coming into the race, 18-year-old Alana Hadley, dropped out a little past the halfway point. Hadley is too young to be eligible for the 2016 Olympic marathon.

The U.S. Olympic marathon trials are Feb. 13, live on NBC. The top three men’s and women’s finishers earn Rio spots.

“If I’m going to make the Olympic team, I better run a lot faster,” said Keflezighi, who has 104 days to recover before the trials in Los Angeles.

Keflezighi, a four-time Olympian and 2004 marathon silver medalist, won the 2012 Olympic trials in 2:09:08. The third-place finisher at the 2012 trials clocked 2:09:47 and fourth place was 2:09:55.

Even though Keflezighi’s 2:13:32 from Sunday is much slower than that, New York is known as a slower course. Keflezighi ran 2:13:18 in New York last year, in tougher weather conditions. He clocked a personal-best 2:08:37 to win Boston last year, which ranks him No. 2 among Americans across all marathons since he finished fourth at the London Olympics.

Thweatt, whose marathon debut time made her the seventh-fastest U.S. woman since the start of 2013, said she does not plan to race the marathon trials but focus on the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in July.

Tatyana McFadden, an 11-time Paralympic medalist, shattered the women’s wheelchair course record by 7 minutes, 20 seconds. McFadden clocked 1:43:04 for 26.2 miles, completing a sweep of Boston, Chicago, London and New York City marathons for a third straight year.

MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Kenya marathon runner-up arrested for cheating in race

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For Mike Eruzione, Al Michaels, it’s no miracle that 1980 Olympics endure

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Mike Eruzione has been reminded on a daily basis about the Miracle on Ice for nearly four decades. While playing celebrity golf tournaments. At speaking engagements. Or that time he auctioned his jersey and stick from the Soviet game to a 9-year-old boy named Seven.

Eruzione, now 65, likes to open conversations with one anecdote about meeting strangers, which he repeated in a call with reporters last week.

“The stories I hear, 40 years later, it’s depending on their age — I remember where I was when Kennedy was assassinated, I remember where I was on 9/11. I remember where I was when the Challenger blew up. And I remember where I was when we won,” Eruzione said. “And I always say, ‘We? I didn’t know you were on the team.’

“But people felt a part of it. … It’s nice to know that people remember and share some great stories about what we did so long ago.”

The captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team owns a last name that means “eruption” in Italian. Eruzione scored the decisive goal in the U.S.’ 4-3 win over the Soviet Union en route to a shock gold medal during the Cold War in Lake Placid, N.Y.

NBCSN airs a 30-minute special marking the 40th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice on Wednesday at 11:30 p.m. ET. It will feature a conversation between Olympic primetime host Mike Tirico and Al Michaels, the play-by-play voice of the game dubbed by Sports Illustrated the greatest sports moment of the 20th century.

Eruzione has grandchildren now. Three of them skate at the Mike Eruzione Center in his hometown of Winthrop, Mass.

“They don’t even know who Mike Eruzione is,” Eruzione said of the 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds, “but they know about the Miracle.”

All credit to the U.S. Olympic team of 20 players between ages 19 and 25, back when the NHL did not participate in the Olympics. The Soviets were essentially a team of professionals. The nation won the previous four Olympics and throttled the U.S. 10-3 in a pre-Olympic exhibition at Madison Square Garden.

Enter Michaels, calling hockey at the Lake Placid Winter Games alongside Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden. Michaels, then 35, said he was assigned the sport because he had the most hockey experience on the ABC Olympic talent roster — one game. He called the 1972 Olympic hockey final by himself.

Feb. 22, 1980: As the U.S. led the Soviet Union 4-3 and the final seconds ticked down, one word came to mind: miraculous.

“It got morphed into a question and quick answer, and away we went,” Michaels said.

Eruzione said he didn’t learn of Michaels’ call — “Do you believe in Miracles? Yes!” — until two weeks after the Olympics. He didn’t watch the game broadcast until years later.

“I never thought it was a miracle, but it was a catchy phrase and it sounded right,” Eruzione said, noting he preferred Michaels’ call in the final comeback win over Finland to clinch the gold: “This impossible dream comes true.”

Team members since gathered often — to light the 2002 Olympic cauldron in Salt Lake City, for fantasy camps in Lake Placid and for coach Herb Brooks‘ 2003 funeral. Eighteen of the 20 players are scheduled to reunite this weekend in Las Vegas.

Absent will be Mark Pavelich, who was jailed last year on assault charges and ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial. And Bob Suter, who died in 2014 of a heart attack at age 57.

It was Suter’s death that motivated Eruzione and others to commemorate the 35th anniversary together in Lake Placid. It was believed to be the first time all living players were together in Lake Placid since the 1980 Winter Games.

Eruzione said that the 2004 film “Miracle” introduced the team to a new generation. Now at many of his speeches, the majority of Eruzione’s audience was born after 1980.

“I’ll say, how many people watched the movie ‘Miracle,’ and almost everybody raises their hand,” he said. “So I think what the movie did for us as a team was kind of rejuvenated our team as far as people knowing who we were and what we are and what we were about.”

NFL coaches set up “Miracle” viewings for their teams before games. Michael Phelps watched it for motivation at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Phelps told relay teammates, “This is our time,” before they beat rival Australia. An ode to Brooks’ pregame speech before the Soviet game.

Michaels, whose 13-year-old grandson won an October hockey tournament in Lake Placid, said he watched “Miracle” last week for the first time in about a decade. He helped do voiceovers in production more than 15 years ago, though the original Lake Placid audio was used for his signature call.

“The great thing is, in a way, when you watch it back or you watch highlights back, you almost become like in the third person, like somebody else is doing this and announcing this game,” Michaels said. “I exult the way I think most of the country did and do when they see highlights of it. So it’s kind of an out-of-body experience in a way, but it’s a beautiful thing.”

After Eruzione shared his tale of strangers’ memories, Michaels added one of his own.

“One of my favorite stories is Mike Eruzione calling me maybe eight to 10 years ago and saying, ‘The greatest thing about this is every time I come home and maybe I’m a little down, I need a little pick-me-up, I’ll put the tape in,'” Michaels said. “‘Every time I shoot, the puck goes in. It will forever.'”

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MORE: Miracle on Ice reunion to include all but 2 players

Heather Bergsma, world champion speed skater, retires

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Heather Bergsma, a world champion and Olympic medalist speed skater, decided to retire during what has been a two-year break from the sport, according to U.S. Speedskating.

“I don’t have any regrets,” Bergsma said, according to TeamUSA.org. “I’m completely satisfied with how everything went.”

Bergsma, 30, now lives in the Netherlands with her husband, Jorrit, a Dutch Olympic champion speed skater, and son, Brent, who was born in October 2018.

Bergsma converted from inline skating to make the last three Olympic teams. She was the U.S.’ best skater in the 2014 and 2018 Olympic cycles and finished her career with a team pursuit bronze medal in PyeongChang, the first podium finish for U.S. women’s speed skating since the 2002 Olympics.

When Bergsma announced a two-year break from the sport in April 2018, she said she would “see if I have that drive again.”

Bergsma retires as the only U.S. speed skater to earn world titles in three different individual events — the 500m, 1000m and 1500m, between 2015 and 2017 — since the world single distance championships debuted in 1996.

Her best individual Olympic finish was sixth in her first Olympic race — the 500m at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

She also broke the 1000m and 1500m world records on consecutive Saturdays in November 2015. Other skaters since lowered those records.

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