Gwen Jorgensen
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Gwen Jorgensen’s record winning streak snapped

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When Gwen Jorgensen‘s run was over, her run was over.

Jorgensen’s record winning streak of 13 top-level international triathlons was snapped emphatically in Gold Coast, Australia, on Saturday.

The favorite in Rio to become the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion lost for the first time since April 26, 2014.

Jorgensen finished second in her first World Series race since Sept. 18, a distant 41 seconds behind Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins after nearly two hours of racing Down Under.

“Helen was really strong today,” Jorgensen said in exhaustion shortly afterward. “She was the better athlete.”

Jorgensen had always been the better athlete — far and away, in some cases — for nearly the last two years.

But on Saturday, she found herself in unfamiliar territory after the 1500m swim and 40km bike going into the final 10km run.

Jorgensen was 1 minute, 32 seconds behind a leading group of Jenkins, New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt and Bermuda’s Flora Duffy.

During her streak, Jorgensen had been known to erase deficits of one minute, or slightly more, on the run, her strongest of the three triathlon disciplines. But never had she faced a gap that wide.

It was too much.

“I missed that [breakaway bike] pack,” Jorgensen said. “I wasn’t up far enough, made a mistake and wasn’t strong enough, and that was the race.”

Jenkins broke free from the three-woman lead group almost immediately on the run and gave up just five seconds to Jorgensen in the first 5km.

Jorgensen caught Duffy and Hewitt on the last of four 2.5km laps, outsprinting Hewitt to the finish line by two seconds. She made up 46 seconds on Jenkins on the final 5km but was never within striking distance of the Brit.

“I can’t quite believe it,” Jenkins said. “But the whole time I’m waiting for Gwen. You can never underestimate how quick Gwen’s running.”

Jenkins, the 2011 World champion, won her first World Series race since May 11, 2012.

She went nearly 18 months between races after a disappointing fifth-place finish at the London Olympics. Jenkins, 32, contemplated retirement while sidelined by injury. She’s been hampered by back, ankle, knee and foot problems the last four years.

Jenkins’ victory could prove vital for her Rio Olympic team hopes.

Two of Great Britain’s three Olympic team members had already been named — Non Stanford and Vicky Holland — and another Brit, Jodie Stimpson, had won the season-opening race in Abu Dhabi on March 5 (which Jorgensen skipped).

As for Jorgensen, shedding the winning streak before the Olympics may actually be a positive. It’s a traditional debate in sports whether that kind of streak, and the pressure that rides with it, can be a burden going into a championship.

“She doesn’t need to prove herself now,” 2008 Olympic champion Emma Frodeno said on the Gold Coast broadcast. “She’s still thinking about August. … This could be the best thing that could happen to her, unfortunately for the other athletes.”

Jorgensen’s streak of 13 straight top-level triathlons, and 12 straight in World Series competition, ends as the longest in history.

Pre-World Series, Australian Emma Carney and Portugal’s Vanessa Fernandes were unbeaten across 12 straight International Triathlon Union World Cup races, but they lost separate World Championships races during those streaks.

The World Series continues in two weeks in Cape Town, South Africa.

MORE: Jorgensen: I debated quitting triathlon in 2014

Chad le Clos seeks Sun Yang’s Olympic gold medal for doping case

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NAPLES, Italy (AP) — Chad le Clos believes he has a claim on Sun Yang’s gold medal from the Rio Olympics, with a verdict imminent on the Chinese swimmer’s latest doping case.

“He should be banned. It’s as simple as that,” Le Clos said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. “Anyone who tests positive should be banned. I should get my gold medal back from Rio.

“Not for the moment. I lost that. I don’t really care about that,” Le Clos added on Wednesday. “It’s just for my record. If I break my leg and I can’t swim again I want my record to say, ‘Two individual golds, two individual silvers.’ Because that’s what it should be.”

Le Clos’ Olympic record currently contains one gold medal and three silvers — including a second-place finish to Sun in the Rio Olympic 200m free

Odds are, though, that Sun won’t lose any Olympic titles when the Court of Arbitration for Sport issues its ruling over his alleged refusal to provide blood and urine in September 2018 in a visit by sample collectors to his home in China. During the late-night confrontation, a security guard used a hammer to smash a container holding Sun’s blood as the swimmer lit the scene with his mobile phone.

The World Anti-Doping Agency appealed after swimming federation FINA merely warned Sun and cited doubts about credentials shown by three sample collection officials.

A three-time Olympic champion, Sun could be banished from the sport for up to eight years but any ban likely won’t be backdated before September 2018 — meaning all of his Olympic medals seem safe.

But there’s also the fact that international swimming authorities worked to protect Sun from being banned, according to a Swiss supreme court document.

FINA has faced criticisms in the past for favoring Sun during his career. It did not announce Sun’s three-month ban for doping imposed by Chinese authorities until after it ended in 2014.

“I just hope the system and whatever we have is really accurate,” said Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú, who won three golds in Rio. “I just hope the decisions they are making is fair and is for the sport and not for other reasons.”

The medals that Sun risks losing most are the two golds that he won at last year’s world championships in the 200m and 400m frees. At the event in Gwangju, South Korea, fellow medalists Mack Horton of Australia and Duncan Scott of Britain refused to stand with him on the podium.

Sun has denied any wrongdoing. Any ban imposed in the coming days would likely prevent him from competing at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I have nothing against anybody. It’s not personal,” Le Clos said. “It’s just how the world should be. If you cheat or if you do something wrong, like if you false start, you get disqualified. It’s simple as that.”

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U.S. Olympic luger Emily Sweeney looks forward from depression bout

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Luge’s World Cup campaign ends this weekend in Germany, where most of the best 100 sliders in the sport will be looking to close their international seasons on a high note.

Emily Sweeney won’t be among them.

Her season ended a couple weeks ago, on her terms.

The U.S. veteran is officially two years into her recovery from a crash at the PyeongChang Olympics that she walked away from — even with a broken neck and broken back — and two years away, she hopes, from being a medal contender at the Beijing Games.

She decided to listen to her body and step away from the frantic end of the season, heading home instead to meet her sister’s new baby and formulate a plan for her offseason.

Here’s what she has learned: Fractures heal, but everything else takes time. So while her body still betrays her from time to time on the track, an additional focus on the mental game is what Sweeney hopes will get her to the medal podium in Beijing in 2022.

“I am very comfortable about thinking about my weaknesses because I failed so much early on,” Sweeney said. “I didn’t make two Olympic teams right in a row. I constantly had to look at myself and say ‘What’s wrong? What am I not like?’ I had to be creative with my training and with the whole process. And so, I think I’m pretty comfortable with challenges.”

That’s why, this season, when she felt like her body couldn’t do it anymore she simply went home. The decision was not easy: Her team is still competing, she has plenty of friends on the circuit and her longtime boyfriend — Italian star Dominik Fischnaller — is a serious contender to win the men’s World Cup overall title.

But a setback right now could throw a serious wrench into her Olympic plans. The problem was pressure, not in the sense of what’s comes with the prospects of winning or losing in competition, but the massive gravitational force that sliders feel and fight through when they are on the ice at speeds often topping 80mph. It takes tremendous strength, and Sweeney’s neck still isn’t always up to the challenge. So, with wear and tear of the season taking a toll, she headed home.

“It’s not a question of if I’m good enough,” said Sweeney, who won a medal at last season’s world championships — cementing her status as one of the fastest women on ice. “I see it in my splits. I would have first-place splits, then get to the pressure and I ended up 15th. I just couldn’t keep going through this cycle of pushing it, pushing it, pushing it and then losing all my speed as soon as I can’t hold my head up anymore.”

So she’s working on her body and her mind.

Sweeney is one of the most-upbeat sliders on the luge circuit; always smiling, always happy, and most of the time her good mood is genuine. After the crash, however, the good mood wasn’t always there, and it took Sweeney some time to realize that there was more wrong than just the fractures in her neck and back.

“I went into a depression,” Sweeney said. “It’s weird saying that. But it feels foreign to me to say I broke my neck and my back two years ago. And it feels dramatic to say, which I guess I need to just get more comfortable with that. But I think that just the way I was raised was like, ‘All right, brush it off and move on.’ And that’s why I think I appear a lot of times like it’s just sunshine and rainbows, but this one forced me to stop. But you have to. And the alternative is to stay at that low and that just becomes miserable.”

From therapy came a plan: Do one thing a day to feel better toward the ultimate goal of medaling in 2022.

Most days, she succeeds. When Sweeney is right, especially in sprint events, few women in the world have a chance of catching her. Her sliding career is peaking. Her mental game, she thinks, is catching up.

And now she’s got two years to put the whole package together.

“Being an Olympian was my dream since I was 7 years old,” Sweeney said. “And then I became an Olympian, and I said, ‘Well, that’s not enough. I want a medal.’”

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