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

Alex Zanardi, auto racer turned Paralympic champion, has 5-hour surgery to rebuild face after crash

Alex Zanardi
AP
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SIENA, Italy (AP) — Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi underwent a five-hour surgery Monday to reconstruct his face following a crash on his handbike last month.

It was the third major operation that Zanardi has had since he crashed into an oncoming truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19 during a relay event.

Dr. Paolo Gennaro of Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena said the operation required three-dimensional digital and computerized technology that was “made to measure” for Zanardi.

“The complexity of the case was fairly unique, although this is a type of fracture that we deal with routinely,” Gennaro said in a hospital statement.

After the surgery, Zanardi was returned to the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma.

“His condition remains stable in terms of his cardio-respiratory status and grave in terms of his neurological status,” the hospital medical bulletin read.

The 53-year-old Zanardi, who lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago, has been on a ventilator since the crash.

Zanardi suffered serious facial and cranial trauma, and doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

Zanardi won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.

Last month, Pope Francis penned a handwritten letter of encouragement assuring Zanardi and his family of his prayers. The pope praised Zanardi as an example of strength amid adversity.

Shawn Johnson East shares struggles with body image, prescription drugs

Shawn Johnson
Getty Images
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Shawn Johnson East, a 2008 Olympic gymnastics champion, detailed past struggles with body image and prescription drugs and reflected on her eating disorder as an elite athlete, to show there is hope to others in difficult situations.

“It all started with pregnancy and having my daughter,” East, who had daughter Drew in October, said on TODAY on Monday. “I had so many people asking me questions about how did pregnancy affect you mentally and how did you get your body back after having your daughter. I couldn’t answer that without giving a greater and a larger story.”

East first went public about her undiagnosed teenage eating disorders in 2015, three years after retiring from the sport. She said she limited herself to 700 calories per day and didn’t tell her parents.

In a June YouTube video, Johnson said she also binged and purged, including while dating future husband Andrew in the mid-2010s. And that she had depression and anxiety in 2011, when she returned to competition for the first time since the Beijing Games.

“I thought it would fix all of my problems,” East said of returning to gymnastics for a 2012 Olympic bid.

When East won “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009, she “hit a very low spot” going through puberty on national TV. She said she gained 15 pounds after the 2008 Olympics and started taking medications and drugs “to look like I did at the Olympics.” It included fad diets, diuretics and a three-week stretch of eating nothing but raw vegetables.

“Most pain of my entire life because I couldn’t digest anything,” she said.

At some point in 2011, East began feeling burned out. She was back to eating too few calories and overtraining. An unnamed USA Gymnastics doctor prescribed her Adderall “to lose more weight, have more energy and be more successful in gymnastics.” She took “heavy doses.”

“It helped my performances, but there were massive consequences to it,” she said. “I continued to compete into 2012, where I just started to get depressed.

“I was overdosing on Adderall. I was overdosing on any medication that wouldn’t be caught by USADA.”

Adderall was a banned substance in competition without a therapeutic use exemption, but was legal outside of competition.

“I was so controlled by other people’s opinions that I wouldn’t live up to that Olympic standard that I did anything to get it back and I could never have it back,” East said. “I didn’t learn that until later on.”

East’s mental hurdles re-emerged when she had a miscarriage in 2017. She blamed herself, believing her unhealthy lifestyle in the past was a contributor.

“Our natural inclination is to say, what did I do? And what did I do wrong?” she said. “It haunted me. I felt like I had sacrificed everything for an Olympic medal to not actually get the dream I had wanted my entire life [to have a child].”

With the help of a nutritionist and therapist and her husband, she conquered the demons through her 2019 pregnancy and childbirth.

“Having gone through a whole pregnancy and knowing that I felt confident through the whole thing, I feel like I’ve climbed Everest,” she said.

MORE: Why Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson went 8 years without talking

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