Brazil lowers Olympic medal target to reach top 10 in Rio

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The Brazil Olympic Committee’s goal is for the host nation to finish in the top 10 of the overall medal standings in Rio, so it hopes to earn 23 or 24 medals, an official said Tuesday.

That’s a lower estimate than in July 2014, when the same Brazilian Olympic official cited a goal of 27 to 30 medals. The goal of finishing in the top 10 of the medal standings remains the same.

In 2012, the 10th-place nation earned 28 medals. In 2008, the 10th-place nation earned 27 medals.

But Marcus Vinicius Freire, the executive director of sport for the Brazilian Olympic Committee, believes 23 or 24 medals could get Brazil into the top 10 in August.

“The number of medals for us is wherever the top 10 are,” Freire told Brazilian media, according to a translation. “There is a tendency for a larger distribution of medals [than previous years] for the first eight [nations], who win a little more and taking [from] the bottom two. So 10th place would be 23, 24 [in Rio].”

Freire may believe world powers such as the U.S. and China will take a greater share of the medals than in 2012 or 2008, but recent history shows that 23 or 24 medals would not place in the top 10.

It hasn’t happened since Atlanta 1996, when there were 35 fewer medal events than there will be in Rio in August.

Brazil earned at least 10 medals at the last five Summer Olympics after never winning more than eight before that. It reached its peak at London 2012 with 17 medals.

An increase of six or seven medals from four years ago would be a similar percentage increase as Great Britain from 2008 to 2012. The British earned 47 medals in 2008 and then 65 when they hosted in 2012.

MORE: Brazil Olympic legend set to retire this month

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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