Meryl Davis, Charlie White
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Where Meryl Davis, Charlie White stand on possible comeback

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NEW YORK — Meryl Davis and Charlie White are still open to returning to ice dance competition but don’t need to compete next season if they want to make a run for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

“We would probably want to decide at some point during the [2016-17] season, so that we can be basically competitively ready, even if it’s halfway through the season or towards the end of the season,” White said at a Figure Skating in Harlem event on Monday. “Whether we get to any competitions doesn’t, I think, make as big of a difference. As long as we could have been competing. I would say that would probably make the most sense.”

Davis and White have not competed since becoming the first U.S. couple to win an Olympic ice dance title in Sochi.

Meanwhile, their longtime Canadian rivals and former training partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have announced a comeback for the 2016-17 season that begins in late summer/early fall.

Virtue and Moir also have not competed since the Olympics, where they took silver behind the Americans.

Virtue and Moir reportedly mandated last May that they needed to decide before the 2016-17 season if they were coming back, giving them buffer time before the Olympic season.

The return of Virtue of Moir and the evolution and competitiveness of the ice dance field, both internationally and domestically, has no bearing on Davis and White’s plans.

“Whether we come back or not, it’s unrelated to what is definitely a very strong dance field,” White said. “Whether it’s strong or weak, having accomplished what we’ve accomplished and our relationship with the sport, it’s about whether we feel fulfilled with what we’ve accomplished. We’re still figuring that out.”

Davis and White still spend many days together on the ice. They practice and perform for non-competition shows, such as Stars on Ice tours in the U.S. and Japan.

“[Shows are] different enough that we would definitely need a lot of preparation to get back into competition mode,” Davis said. “Despite a lot of preparation that would be needed, we’re still on the ice almost every day and still in fighting shape.”

They just returned from a swing of shows in Japan, begin U.S. stops on Friday in Hershey, Pa., and could do three different tours in Japan again this summer.

“This whole idea of whether or not you come back is completely new to us,” said Davis, pointing out that the longest they were previously out of competition mode was two months in 2004-05 when White broke an ankle. “It’s definitely possible, but we have no idea.”

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Brigid Kosgei, Eliud Kipchoge herald new era of fast marathons

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Eliud Kipchoge‘s success in breaking the two-hour mark (final time: 1:59:40) for the marathon on Saturday was expected. He had come close before, and like Alex Honnold‘s unprecedented climb of El Capitan documented in the film Free Solo, the feat required meticulous planning — the ideal mix of pace-setters, course conditions and weather — to steer a once-in-a-lifetime talent to a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment.

Brigid Kosgei‘s world record at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday was a far greater surprise. Kosgei had run fast times before, but her time of 2:14:04 took more than four minutes off her personal best earlier this year in London, which is typically a faster race than Chicago.

MORE: Chicago Marathon results

The two feats had some common threads. Both runners are Kenyan, no surprise in an event in which the top 100 men’s performances of all time are almost exclusively Kenyan and Ethiopian and the top of the women’s all-time list is similarly homogeneous aside from the presence of British runner Paula Radcliffe, whose time of 2:15:25 had stood as the world record for 16 1/2 years until Sunday. Radcliffe was present in Chicago to greet Kosgei when her record fell.

Kipchoge and Kosgei also wore the same shoes, Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, thanks to Kosgei’s last-minute decision to switch. Earlier versions of those shoes, like the high-tech swimsuits that were eventually banned from competition or golf equipment whose advertising revels in their alleged illegality,

Both marathoners also had pace-setters running with them. Kipchoge’s effort took the concept to an extreme, with an all-star cast running pieces of the course in front of him, and will not be considered an official world record because it didn’t happen under race conditions. (The Atlantic ran a piece on the Kipchoge run with the headline “The Greatest, Fakest World Record,” though the piece itself was more inquisitive than judgmental.)

MORE: Kipchoge shakes off nerves to break barrier

Kosgei was running in an actual race and has already had her time touted as a world record by the international organizer IAAF, but because she was running in a mixed-gender race, she was able to run behind two hired guns, Geoffrey Pyego and Daniel Limo. They were easily distinguished from men’s race contenders by the singlets with the word “PACE” written in the space where a number or name would usually go.

But in general, marathoners are simply getting faster and faster. Perhaps it’s scientific, with specifically engineered shoes, pace-setters and refined training methods, or perhaps all the tinkering and lab experiments are simply a sign of increased focus on the race that traces its history to the myth of the Greek soldier Pheidippides running such a great distance to herald a momentous military victory before falling over dead.

Of the top 20 women’s times on the IAAF list, only five were run before 2012 — one by Catherine Ndereba, four by Radcliffe. Three were run in 2017, then six in 2018 (three in Berlin) and four this year. All 20 of the fastest men’s times have been posted this decade, eight of them in 2019 alone. Kipchoge, in addition to his unofficial best from this weekend, has the official record of 2:01:39 from the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

The all-time list also reminds us that, for all the controversy over the context of Kipchoge’s run, marathons aren’t really standard, anyway. Some courses are more difficult than others. Some races, like the Boston Marathon, aren’t eligible for record consideration for a variety of technical reasons. (Boston’s hilly course doesn’t lend itself to fast times, anyway — the men’s course record of 2:03:02, set by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011, would rank seventh all-time, but no other time would crack the top 100. The women’s course record is nowhere near the best ever.) London, Berlin and Dubai are the places to go for assaults on the record book.

No matter where the race takes place or how it was run, fast times in the marathon capture the imagination.

Purists may cling to romantic notions of long-haired, bearded runners pounding the Boston or New York pavement in shoes that didn’t even have a basic level of air cushioning. But the modern marathon era is built for speed.

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Danielle Perkins is first U.S. boxer to win world title in 3 years

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Danielle Perkins became the U.S.’ first world champion boxer in this Olympic cycle, taking the heavyweight crown in Russia on Sunday.

Perkins, a 37-year-old who played college basketball at George Mason and St. John’s, improved from bronze in 2018 to earn her first world title, blanking defending world champion Yang Xiaoli of China 5-0 in Sunday’s final.

Video of the bout is here.

Perkins was slated to fight Yang in the 2018 World semifinals but withdrew due to medical reasons, according to USA Boxing.

The heavyweight division is 81+kg, but the heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

The last American to earn a world title was Claressa Shields in 2016, before she repeated as Olympic champion in Rio and moved to the professional ranks.

The Olympic trials are in December in Louisiana, after which winners will fight internationally in early 2020 in bids to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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