Jesse Owens
AP

Jesse Owens’ daughter cried watching ‘Race’ film ending

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Marlene Owens Rankin said she was brought to tears watching the final scene of “Race,” the film about her father, 1936 Olympic hero Jesse Owens.

“It’s just being a spectator of your own life,” Rankin, the second of Owens’ three daughters who was born in 1937, said in a phone interview last week. “There were experiences that he had that were very demeaning and hard for him. It’s just hard to watch something where someone you love is suffering.”

“Race,” which chronicles Owens’ four gold-medal performance in front of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany as well as the prejudice he faced in the U.S., hits theaters Feb. 19. Watch a trailer here.

Owens’ three daughters were first contacted about the film five years ago and had script approval.

“We encourage school-age children to learn and know the story,” Rankin said. “There are a number of important messages that could benefit them.”

Beverly Owens Prather, the youngest daughter of Jesse and wife Ruth Owens born in 1940, agreed that the film’s ending after the Berlin Games was the hardest part to watch.

“I could accept the ending, but just to see it happen was just kind of touching,” she said.

Rankin, Prather and Owens’ oldest daughter, Gloria Owens Hemphill, all visited Berlin during filming. They first flew to the German capital more than three decades ago, when a street outside the renovated Olympic Stadium was named after Owens.

“It’s just so impressive,” Prather said of touring the Berlin stadium, where there is a lounge dedicated to Owens. “It makes you feel so good.”

Rankin and Prather also lauded the performance of Stephan James, who played Owens in “Race.”

“Outstanding,” Prather said. “The time that he took and the steps that he took to learn about daddy on his own were just remarkable.”

Q&A: Stephan James discusses playing Owens in ‘Race’

Bernard Lagat commits to Olympic marathon trials, eyes age record

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Bernard Lagat, a 44-year-old, five-time Olympian, reportedly said he will race the Olympic marathon trials on Feb. 29 in a bid to break his own record as the oldest U.S. Olympic runner.

“I feel like I can still improve,” Lagat said, according to Runner’s World. “I’m going to give it my best.”

Lagat, a two-time Olympic 1500m medalist, moved to the marathon after becoming the oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history at the Rio Games, placing fifth in the 5000m.

He clocked 2:17:20 in his 26.2-mile debut at the 2018 New York City Marathon. He lowered it to 2:12:10 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia on July 7 but did not previously commit to entering the trials.

If Lagat finishes in the top three at the marathon trials, he is in line to become the third-oldest U.S. Olympic track and field athlete in history. The oldest are race walker John Deni (49 years old in 1952) and hammer thrower Matt McGrath (48 years old in 1924), according to the OlyMADMen.

Lagat ranks outside the top 20 among U.S. marathoners in this Olympic cycle. The fastest are Galen Rupp (2:06:07), Leonard Korir (2:07:56, from Sunday’s Amsterdam Marathon) and Scott Fauble (2:09:09).

No American has competed in six Olympics in track and field. Lagat’s first two Olympic appearances were for Kenya.

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MORE: Olympic marathon moved from Tokyo to another Olympic host city

Natalie Geisenberger, Olympic luge champion, will not race this season

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For the first time in eight years, there will be a new World Cup women’s luge champion.

Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger — the seven-time defending champion and two-time defending Olympic singles gold medalist — announced that she isn’t sliding this season because she and her husband are expecting their first child in April.

“Our happiness is on the way,” Geisenberger said on her Facebook page.

Geisenberger plans to return next season and still has hopes to compete at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, where she could match fellow German great Georg Hackl’s feat of winning three consecutive singles golds.

With Geisenberger not sliding this season, the top returning women from last year’s World Cup standings now are Julia Taubitz of Germany and Summer Britcher of the U.S. — second and third, respectively, in 2018-19.

Geisenberger has a luge record-tying four Olympic golds in all, being part of Germany’s victories in the team relays in Sochi in 2014 and Pyeongchang in 2018 as well.

Her 49 World Cup singles wins are another record, and she’s one of two sliders to win seven consecutive World Cup titles — Austria’s Markus Prock took the men’s championships each year from 1990-91 through 1996-97.

Geisenberger’s break from sliding only adds to how the World Cup standings — and the German roster — will look very different this season. Dajana Eitberger, who was fourth in last season’s World Cup standings, is also pregnant and expecting a baby in February. And Tatjana Huefner, who was sixth overall last season, has retired.

Huefner won five consecutive World Cup titles before Geisenberger took over and began her seven-year streak of championships. Geisenberger earned medals 11 times in 12 singles races last year — six golds, four silvers and one bronze.

“We are so happy for you even though we will miss you this season!” two-time Olympic singles gold medalist Felix Loch of Germany wrote in a message to Geisenberger on Instagram.

Geisenberger has been in the top three of the World Cup standings in 12 consecutive seasons. She was third in 2007-08, finished second in each of the next four seasons, and then began her title streak in 2012-13.

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MORE: U.S. luge star adds doubles after Olympic singles medal