Justin Gatlin
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Justin Gatlin ‘like Mike Tyson’ in Shanghai win; Diamond League recap

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Justin Gatlin said his coach is training him “like Mike Tyson” in the Olympic year. Gatlin continued to knock out all non-Usain Bolt opponents in his first Diamond League race of 2016 on Saturday.

The World silver medalist won a 100m in 9.94 seconds in Shanghai (video), topping a field that didn’t include Bolt or World bronze medalists Trayvon Bromell or Andre De Grasse.

Gatlin was slowed by a severely rolled ankle in the fall but looked smooth — if not especially fast — to move to 30-2 in outdoor 100m and 200m events since the start of 2014, according to Tilastopaja.org.

Those two defeats were stinging, runner-ups to Bolt in the 100m and 200m at the World Championships last August.

It took Gatlin plenty of time to get over those losses, but he sounded ultra confident after prevailing in Shanghai on Saturday.

“[My coach] is training me like Mike Tyson to knock out the opposition and keep swinging,” Gatlin said, according to the IAAF.

Gatlin’s time of 9.94 paled in comparison to his 9.74 in his Diamond League opener last year, run with a .9 m/s tailwind.

Bolt, who had an ankle injury of his own in the winter, will race for the first time since Worlds later Saturday in a 100m in the Cayman Islands.

Full Shanghai results

In other Shanghai events, Olympic and World champion and world-record holder David Rudisha was passed for the lead in the final straightaway of the 800m and faded to fifth (video).

Rudisha was not set when the starter’s gun went off and dawdled his first few strides, raising his arms and looking from side to side in confusion as an official had to back out of the lane to his outside about 10 meters ahead of him.

An upset Rudisha estimated he lost two seconds due to the premature start, according to the IAAF.

“There were high jumpers in the lane, and they start,” Rudisha said.

Fellow Kenyans swept the top three, while U.S. champion Nick Symmonds was 10th of 11 finishers in his first race since August, running with tape over a temporary T-Mobile tattoo on his right shoulder due to IAAF sponsor regulations.

Olympic champion Aries Merritt was disqualified from the 110m hurdles for having too quick of a reaction time, an unwelcome obstacle in his comeback from a Sept. 1 kidney transplant. Jamaican Omar McLeod won in 12.98 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year.

The Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller took the 400m. Miller ran an unimpressive 50.45 but remains the fastest woman in the world this year (49.69 from April 16) and the top rival to World champion Allyson Felix.

The 2011 World champion Jenny Simpson finished sixth in the 1500m, 7.74 seconds behind Kenyan winner Faith Kipyegon.

Sam Kendricks became the first U.S. man to win a Diamond League pole vault competition, clearing a personal-best 5.88 meters to upset Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France. Kendricks, 23, was the top American at 2015 Worlds in ninth place.

World champion Joe Kovacs was upset in the shot put by fellow American Kurt Roberts. Kovacs’ top throw was 20.82 meters. Roberts launched 21.40, which was .07 off his personal best.

Roberts is now in the mix for one of three spots on the Olympic team with Kovacs and Olympic medalists Reese Hoffa and Christian Cantwell, among others.

The Diamond League continues with a meet in Rabat, Morocco, on May 22.

VIDEO: Boy asks Usain Bolt what is 1 plus 2

Nathan Chen calls 3 quads at Skate America ‘a given’

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When Nathan Chen won Skate America in 2017, he competed two quadruple jumps in the short program and one downgraded quad in the free skate.

When Chen won the event in 2018, he did one under-rotated quad (which was also given an edge call) in the short and three in the free.

For Skate America this weekend (Oct. 18-20, streaming live on the NBC Sports “Figure Skating Pass”), two-time and reigning world champion Chen told reporters on Monday’s media teleconference that three quads in the free skate was “a given.”

“Honestly, I don’t really know exactly,” Chen said, after admitting he gets asked this question a lot and usually ends up giving a “vague” answer. “I have ideas. I want to push three. I want to push four… As of now, I think three is a given. But beyond that, we’ll see.”

Chen completed six quads to win the free skate at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where he ultimately finished fifth.

He’ll skate to La Boheme for the short program in Las Vegas, choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne, and selections from “Rocket Man” for the free skate, choreographed by Marie-France Dubreuil. Bourne is a former ice dancer and choreographs programs for many singles skaters as well as pair teams. Dubreuil is a noted former ice dancer and current dance coach, training the top teams in the world at her school in Montreal.

Chen explained that both of the choices were the choreographers’ picks, and he had to sit on the music for a day or two before committing to skating to it. Ultimately, he likes when choreographers are able to find something that they think suits him.

“I love to listen to Elton John,” Chen said. “I don’t necessarily feel as though I’m an embodiment of his character, per se. But I do feel that no matter how you listen to music there are always many ways to interpret it. The way that we’re approaching it is not necessarily that I’m trying to be Elton John but mostly that we’re trying to interpret his music and share his music.”

And compared to last season, when he was a freshman at Yale University, classes this time around are “a lot harder,” the sophomore said. In general though, he’s a lot more comfortable trying to balance both skating and his studies.

“Skating is always tough, always a challenge,” he said. “But I would say, relative to last season, skating might be a little bit on the easier side. I think classes are definitely a lot harder… You have to really grind for a long period of time or else you don’t do well.”

Luckily for Chen, Skate America is aligned with Yale’s scheduled fall break.

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Check out a free trial of the Figure Skating Pass during Skate America from Oct. 18-20. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Simone Biles reveals one thing she cannot do: Wear all her medals at once

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Three days after raising the record for world championship medals to 25, Simone Biles said her career total is a bit too much to wear at once.

“I’ve worn all five of them (from one world championship) for one time, but they’re pretty heavy, so I can’t imagine 25,” Biles said Wednesday on the “Today” show.

MORE: Mother and daughter share world championship experience

Last week, Biles became the first gymnast to win five gold medals at the world championships. She and her teammates ran away with the team gold, and she won the all-around by a staggering 2.1 points. She then won the vault, balance beam and floor exercise. Only a fifth-place finish in the uneven bars kept her from a sweep.

One event that stood out for her was the ever-challenging balance beam.

“Out of all of my performances this past week, the beam performance was one of my favorites, because I did it exactly like practice, and that’s what I’ve been training to do,” Biles said. “So it definitely helped my confidence.”

GYM WORLDS: Finals Results

Biles had her breakout performance at age 18, her first year in senior competition, in the 2013 world championships with a four-medal performance, including gold in the all-around and floor exercise. In 2014, she won those events again, along with the team event and the balance beam, and added a fifth medal on the vault. She matched that performance in 2015, then switched the vault and beam in her four-gold, five-medal performance in the 2016 Olympics.

After a post-Olympic break, she returned for the 2018 world championships to win medals in all six events, including four golds and a silver on the uneven bars, historically her least successful event.

She didn’t win six medals this year, but she took five golds for the first time. This year’s championships are also special because they’re almost certainly her last, with next year’s Olympics expected to be her last major competition.

Given all that, she’ll make more of an effort to go back and watch what she did.

“Most of the time I don’t want to see it, but this world championships was one of the best out of all five of them, so I definitely wanted to see my performances, so afterward, I would go and try to find it with my coach,” Biles said.

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