Jenn Suhr
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Jenn Suhr, Renaud Lavillenie win World Indoor pole vault titles

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — France’s Renaud Lavillenie attempted to break his own world record in the pole vault, but settled for the gold medal in the event Thursday night at the World Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Lavillenie bested American Sam Kendricks for the championship, clearing 19 feet, 9 inches. He then set the bar at 20-2¾, in the bid to surpass his record, indoor and outdoor, of 20-2½ inches, set in 2014 at an event in the Ukraine. He missed all three attempts.

Kendricks, the reigning outdoor national champion who won the U.S. indoor title last week with a personal-best vault of 19-4¼, missed at that height for the silver medal. Poland’s Piotr Lisek took the bronze, finishing with a vault of 18-10¼.

World indoor record holder and reigning Olympic gold medalist Jenn Suhr made all four of her vaults and easily cleared a meet record 16-0¾ for the gold. Fellow American Sandi Morris won the silver and Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece won the bronze.

The men’s and women’s pole vault was the only competition following opening ceremonies at the Oregon Convention Center venue on Thursday night. The meet runs through Sunday.

Lavillenie, who won the indoors in 2012 before going on to win the gold medal at the London Olympics that summer, passed on five of six heights but hit the height to beat Kendricks and pumped his fists.

His second attempt at the world record was a bit scary when he landed between the pads. But he laughed when he rose.

“It’s not so often that I do something like that. It happens,” he said afterward. “Pole vault is very dangerous and intense.”

The men’s field also included Canadian Shawn Barber, who won the gold medal at the World Outdoor Championships in Beijing last year. Barber and Lavillenie battled last month in France with Lavillenie coming out on top. This time, Barber finished in fourth.

Lavillenie earlier cleared the year’s world-best height of 19-9¼.

The competition featured the first pole vault field, indoor or outdoor, where four women cleared 15-9.

At last week’s U.S. Indoor Championships, Morris bested Suhr with a vault of 16-2¾ inches. Morris couldn’t clear that height on her final leap.

Just last month Suhr broke her own indoor world record in her home state, clearing 16-6 at the Brockport Golden Eagle Multi and Invitational at SUNY Brockport.

The crowd was excited when it was announced that Suhr might attempt a world record, but she ultimately decided against it because of a sore calf.

Outdoor world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva, a two-time gold medalist, was not in the field because the Russian federation is suspended from competition because of doping and corruption allegations. The IAAF, the sport’s governing body, is expected to decide in May whether Russia can compete in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Isinbayeva has been working her way back to the sport after a long layoff because of the birth of her daughter. An apparent Achilles injury last month further slowed her comeback.

Also missing is defending indoor champion Yarisley Silva of Cuba, who withdrew after her fiance, high jumper Sergio Mestre, was hospitalized following a training accident.

Australia’s Alana Boyd hurt her ankle during warmups and was taken to a local hospital for X-Rays. Preliminary tests indicated she had a sprained left ankle.

MORE: World Indoors broadcast schedule

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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