Sanya Richards-Ross
Getty Images

Sanya Richards-Ross to retire after Rio Olympics

1 Comment

Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross plans to make the Rio Olympics her final meet, according to her social media.

The announcement was not a surprise from Richards-Ross, 31 and a three-time Olympian.

Richards-Ross previously said she could see Rio being her final Olympics and that she (very briefly) considered retiring during this injury-plagued Olympic cycle.

Richards-Ross will be older in August than any woman who owns an Olympic 400m medal, according to sports-reference.com.

One woman has won back-to-back Olympic 400m golds — France’s Marie-José Pérec in 1992 and 1996.

Richards-Ross must finish in the top three in the U.S. Olympic Trials 400m final on July 3 to clinch a berth in the individual 400m in Rio. She likely needs to be top six to earn a place on the Olympic 4x400m relay.

Richards-Ross shockingly failed to make the eight-woman final at the 2015 U.S. Championships but was still named to the 4x400m relay team for Worlds last August.

She entered the U.S. Championships as the second-fastest woman in the world in the event in 2015.

Now, World champion Allyson Felix is the Olympic 400m favorite. Countrywoman Francena McCorory finished 2015 as the second-fastest American, followed by Richards-Ross.

Two more Americans — Courtney Okolo and Quanera Hayes — have already posted 400m times in 2016 that were faster than Richards-Ross’ best all of last year.

MORE: ‘TODAY’ set for star-studded 100 days out show

David Taylor wins wrestling world title, at long last

United World Wrestling
Leave a comment

David Taylor, the formerly dominant NCAA wrestler known as the Magic Man, was stuck for five years.

Stuck finishing second or third in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Championships team trials in the U.S.’ toughest weight class owned by Jordan Burroughs. When Taylor moved up a division, he suffered the same fate in 2016 (Olympic Trials) and 2017.

At last, at 27 years old, Taylor made his first world team this summer. It helped that United World Wrestling expanded the number of weight classes from eight to 10, meaning Taylor didn’t have to go through Burroughs, Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox or four-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake at trials. But Taylor earned his place, going undefeated internationally this year.

Then in Budapest on Sunday, Taylor completed a breakthrough run through the 86kg bracket, becoming a world champion.

Taylor is the oldest first-time Olympic or world champion for USA Wrestling since 2006, when now-freestyle head coach Bill Zadick did so at 33. Taylor reached the top four years after ending an NCAA career at Penn State that included two Hodge Trophies, given to the college wrestler of the year.

Taylor had to work from start to finish in Budapest, upsetting Iran’s Olympic and world champion Hassan Yazdani in his first match Saturday. He then dumped Turkey’s top-seeded Fatih Erdin in the final, scoring a two-point takedown in the first 10 seconds and getting a 12-2 tech fall.

Also Sunday, the 2012 Olympic champ Burroughs rallied for a bronze medal, beating Cuban-born Italian nemesis Frank Chamizo via tiebreaker by scoring the last point with 26 seconds left. It’s the seventh Olympic or world medal for Burroughs in eight global tournaments, coming one day after he suffered just his seventh defeat in seven-plus years on the senior stage.

In the 61kg bracket, worlds rookie Joe Colon earned a bronze medal, two weeks after replacing U.S. champion Nahshon Garrett on the team. Garrett, who beat Colon in the world team trials final in June, is out with a torn pectoral.

Cox and Dake advanced to Monday’s gold-medal matches in the 92kg and 79kg divisions, respectively.

Logan Stieber, a 2016 World champion, lost his opening match at 65kg. Thomas Gilman, the 2017 World silver medalist at 57kg, lost his semifinal match and will go for bronze Monday.

Olympic champions Kyle Snyder and Helen Maroulis begin their world title defenses on Monday and Wednesday, respectively.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Wrestling worlds TV schedule

Ethiopian marathoner who made Olympic protest returns from exile

Getty Images
Leave a comment

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The Ethiopian marathon runner who made global headlines with an anti-government gesture at the Rio Olympics finish line returned from exile on Sunday after sports officials assured him he will not face prosecution.

Feyisa Lilesa’s return from the United States came several months after a reformist prime minister took office and announced sweeping political reforms. He received a warm welcome at the airport from the foreign minister and other senior officials.

Feyisa said the new government is “a result of the struggle by the people” and he hopes it will address concerns after years of repression in Africa’s second most populous nation.

The silver medalist crossed his wrists at the finish line in 2016 in solidarity with protesters in his home region, Oromia, who like many across Ethiopia were demanding wider freedoms.

Feyisa later said he feared he would be imprisoned or killed if he returned home. But he became a symbol of resistance for many youth until the pressure on the government led to a change of power, with 42-year-old Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed taking office in April.

Abiy is the country’s first leader from the Oromo ethnic group since the ruling coalition came to power 27 years ago.

Ethiopia’s government did not immediately comment Sunday on the runner’s return.

Asked by The Associated Press if he has any political ambitions, Feyisa said: “I don’t have any ambition in politics! Actually I didn’t get close to politics, politics gets close to me.”

Feyisa broke down in tears while speaking about youth who lost their lives during the years of protests. “I will continue to remember those who lost their lives for the cause. Many people lost their lives for it.”

Turning his attention to running, he said his next race will be the Dubai Marathon in January.

“My training while I was in exile was not good, so it has affected my performance,” Feyisa said. He missed two races in recent weeks as he prepared to return to Ethiopia. “I will resume my regular training after a week.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Mo Farah talks Kipchoge after Chicago Marathon win