Eliud Kipchoge just misses world record at London Marathon (video)

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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge won the London Marathon in 2:03:05, missing the world record for 26.2 miles by eight seconds.

Countryman Dennis Kimetto‘s record of 2:02:57 was set at the 2014 Berlin Marathon. Kipchoge is now No. 2 all time.

Kipchoge prevailed by 46 seconds over countryman Stanley Biwott, the 2015 New York City Marathon champion. Full results are here.

“I am frustrated I missed the world record, but I am happy to break the course record,” Kipchoge said in a press release. “I realized I had broken the 30km record [on marathon world-record pace through 18 miles], but I lost a few seconds before 35km. I tried to get it back at the end, but I just couldn’t do it.”

Kipchoge won his fifth straight marathon and second straight London title, all but sewing up a place on the Kenyan Olympic team of three men’s marathoners. The team hasn’t been announced yet, and there was no defined qualifying criteria.

In Kipchoge’s previous marathon in Berlin on Sept. 27, wayward insoles may have cost him the world record.

At Athens 2004, Kipchoge was 19 years old when he finished behind legends Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele in the Olympic 5000m. A year earlier, he beat both of them at the World Championships in Paris.

Bekele, an Olympic champion and world-record holder on the track in the 5000m and 10,000m, finished third in his fourth career marathon Sunday.

It looks like one of the last two men to break the marathon world record — Kimetto and Wilson Kipsang — will be left off the Kenyan Olympic team. Kipsang finished fifth after falling on Sunday; Kimetto ninth.

Since the London Olympics, Kimetto made his marathon debut in September 2012, broke the world record in September 2014 and is now no longer among the three best Kenyans in the event.

Six days after Ethiopians swept the Boston Marathon men’s and women’s titles, rival Kenya returned the favor at the other major spring marathon in London.

Jemima Sumgong won the women’s race in 2:28:58, beating 2015 London champion Tigist Tufa of Ethiopia by five seconds.

Sumgong, 31, captured her first major marathon title after finishing second at Boston 2012 and New York City 2014. Kenyans have won five of the last six women’s London Marathons.

Sumgong recovered from an earlier fall, where two-time London winner Mary Keitany also hit the pavement. Keitany finished ninth in 2:28:30.

“The fall really affected me, and I was unsure if I could continue,” Sumgong said in the press release. “I have a cut on my head and on my shoulder, they are bleeding, but I don’t feel any pain yet. I did feel it in my legs, so I am so surprised I won.”

London marked the final World Marathon Major before the Rio Olympics. No member of the U.S. Olympic marathon team took part in the spring marathons after qualifying for Rio in Los Angeles on Feb. 13.

MORE: Boston Marathon winners not assured Olympic spots

Elena Fanchini, medal-winning Alpine skier, dies at 37

Elena Fanchini
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Italian skier Elena Fanchini, whose career was cut short by a tumor, has died. She was 37.

Fanchini passed away Wednesday at her home in Solato, near Brescia, the Italian Winter Sports Federation announced.

Fanchini died on the same day that fellow Italian Marta Bassino won the super-G at the world championships in Meribel, France; and two days after Federica Brignone — another former teammate — claimed gold in combined.

Sofia Goggia, who is the favorite for Saturday’s downhill, dedicated her win in Cortina d’Ampezzo last month to Fanchini.

Fanchini last raced in December 2017. She was cleared to return to train nearly a year later but never made it fully back, and her condition grew worse in recent months.

Fanchini won a silver medal in downhill at the 2005 World Championships and also won two World Cup races in her career — both in downhill.

She missed the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics because of her condition.

Fanchini’s younger sisters Nadia and Sabrina were also World Cup racers.

USA Boxing to skip world championships

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USA Boxing will not send boxers to this year’s men’s and women’s world championships, citing “the ongoing failures” of the IBA, the sport’s international governing body, that put boxing’s place on the Olympic program at risk.

The Washington Post first reported the decision.

In a letter to its members, USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee listed many factors that led to the decision, including IBA governance issues, financial irregularities and transparency and that Russian and Belarusian boxers are allowed to compete with their flags.

IBA lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers in October and said it would allow their flags and anthems to return, too.

The IOC has not shifted from its recommendation to international sports federations last February that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred, though the IOC and Olympic sports officials have been exploring whether those athletes could return without national symbols.

USA Boxing said that Russian boxers have competed at an IBA event in Morocco this month with their flags and are expected to compete at this year’s world championships under their flags.

“While sport is intended to be politically neutral, many boxers, coaches and other representatives of the Ukrainian boxing community were killed as a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, including coach Mykhaylo Korenovsky who was killed when a Russian missile hit an apartment block in January 2023,” according to the USA Boxing letter. “Ukraine’s sports infrastructure, including numerous boxing gyms, has been devastated by Russian aggression.”

McAtee added later that USA Boxing would still not send athletes to worlds even if Russians and Belarusians were competing as neutrals and without their flags.

“USA Boxing’s decision is based on the ‘totality of all of the factors,'” he said in an emailed response. “Third party oversite and fairness in the field of play is the most important factor.”

A message has been sent to the IBA seeking comment on USA Boxing’s decision.

The women’s world championships are in March in India. The men’s world championships are in May in Uzbekistan. They do not count toward 2024 Olympic qualifying.

In December, the IOC said recent IBA decisions could lead to “the cancellation of boxing” for the 2024 Paris Games.

Some of the already reported governance issues led to the IOC stripping IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition in 2019. AIBA had suspended all 36 referees and judges used at the 2016 Rio Olympics pending an investigation into a possible judging scandal, one that found that some medal bouts were fixed by “complicit and compliant” referees and judges.

The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

Boxing was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games announced in December 2021, though it could still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” IOC President Thomas Bach said then.

This past June, the IOC said IBA would not run qualifying competitions for the 2024 Paris Games.

In September, the IOC said it was “extremely concerned” about the Olympic future of boxing after an IBA extraordinary congress overwhelmingly backed Russian Umar Kremlev to remain as its president rather than hold an election.

Kremlev was re-elected in May after an opponent, Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands, was barred from running against him. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in June that van der Vorst should have been eligible to run against Kremlev, but the IBA group still decided not to hold a new election.

Last May, Rashida Ellis became the first U.S. woman to win a world boxing title at an Olympic weight since Claressa Shields in 2016, taking the 60kg lightweight crown in Istanbul. In Tokyo, Ellis lost 3-0 in her opening bout in her Olympic debut.

At the last men’s worlds in 2021, Robby Gonzales and Jahmal Harvey became the first U.S. men to win an Olympic or world title since 2007, ending the longest American men’s drought since World War II.

The Associated Press and NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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