Carlos Balderas
Jose Balderas

First boxer named to 2016 U.S. Olympic team

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Lightweight Carlos Balderas became the first member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic boxing team, it was announced Monday.

“We’ve been climbing up the ranks, and it’s a wonderful feeling because I remember when I told my dad [that I was going to the Olympics], and my dad got emotional,” Balderas said, according to USA Boxing. “My dad teared up. As a kid, you are set to so many standards and you’re told that you’re not good enough for this. You’re only capable of a certain amount of things, and I’ve proved to a lot of people that with God, anything is possible.”

Balderas, 19, qualified via his finish in the World Series of Boxing this past season and the finishes of those ranked ahead of him at the World Championships in October. Balderas lost in the Pan American Games quarterfinals in July.

U.S. men’s boxers were shut out of the medals at London 2012 for the first time at an Olympics (excluding the boycotted Moscow 1980 Games). Boxing debuted at the St. Louis 1904 Olympics.

Balderas first saw a boxing gym at age 7, for punishment.

“I was getting in to the fights and getting into trouble, and so they took me to the boxing gym so another kid could whoop on me and straighten me out,” Balderas said, according to USA Boxing. “The other kid actually had some experience, and it was my first time in a boxing gym, but it actually went the other way around. They asked if I had boxed before, and I told them that I hadn’t, and we realized that I just a natural-born fighter.”

The U.S. Olympic men’s boxing trials are Dec. 7-12 in Reno, Nev. The winners there must qualify the U.S. spots in the Olympics at international qualifiers next year.

The three women’s trials winners — Olympic champion Claressa ShieldsMikaela Mayer and Ginny Fuchs — must also qualify the U.S. spots before the August Olympics next year.

MORE BOXING: Marlen Esparza posts tearful videos after losing at trials


Athletes qualified for 2016 U.S. Olympic team
Haley Anderson (Swimming) — @SwimHaley
Carlos Balderas (Boxing)
Morgan Craft (Shooting) — @morgancraft25
Glenn Eller (Shooting) — @wgeller3
Matthew Emmons (Shooting) — @mattemmonsusa
Vincent Hancock (Shooting) — @vincent_hancock
Gwen Jorgensen (Triathlon) – @gwenjorgensen
Michael McPhail (Shooting) —
Sean Ryan (Swimming) — @seanryan92
Keith Sanderson (Shooting)
Nathan Schrimsher (Modern Pentathlon) — @pentnate5
Sarah True (Triathlon) — @sgroffy
Jordan Wilimovsky (Swimming) — @j_wilimovsky
Jennifer Wu (Table Tennis)

Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

MORE: Eliud Kipchoge opines on shoe technology debate

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

AP
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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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MORE: Top U.S. bobsled driver pregnant, to miss season