Mo Farah
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Mo Farah honors Ali after Birmingham win; track and field’s longest streak ends

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BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — With the Rio Olympics two months away, another gold medal looks like a long shot for Sally Pearson.

Up-and-coming American Keni Harrison couldn’t be more ready.

In a loaded field for the women’s 100m hurdles at the Diamond League event in Birmingham on Sunday, Pearson trailed home in seventh place in her first competitive race in a year following a serious wrist injury. The Australian described her time of 13.25 seconds — almost a second slower than her personal best — as “disgusting” but was “really happy I could cross the finish line with a smile on my face.”

Harrison won the race in 12.46 seconds despite hitting some hurdles along the way, showing her stunning victory in Eugene last week — in 12.24, the second-fastest time ever — was no one-off. She beat compatriot Brianna Rollins (12.57) in an American 1-2-3-4.

At age 23 and in her first full season as a professional, Harrison is one of the United States’ best track talents heading into Rio, coming within 0.03 seconds of the long-standing world record last week.

“To be doing as well as I am, I’m just really blessed,” Harrison said.

Pearson hadn’t raced since suffering what doctors said was a “bone explosion” in her wrist in a heavy fall in Rome, a year and a day ago. She was also running with strapping around her left hamstring to protect an ailment.

“I’m actually really excited, which I wouldn’t normally be because all I’d be looking at would be the result,” Pearson said.

Full Birmingham results are here.

Home favorite Mo Farah got the biggest cheer of the day after breaking the British record to win the 3000m in 7 minutes, 32.62 seconds. Farah, who now holds his country’s best times from 1500m through 10,000m, bookended his performance with some shadow boxing in honor of his sporting hero Muhammad Ali, the boxing great who died Saturday at age 74.

The longest winning streak in track and field ended. Colombian Caterine Ibargüen was beaten in the triple jump by Kazakh Olga Rypakova. The former had won 34 straight competitions since taking silver at the London Olympics.

Among the other winners at the Alexander Stadium on a sunny day in central England were Olympic champion Kirani James, who ran the 400m in 44.23 — one of six meet records on the day, according to organizers. Kim Collins, the 40-year-old sprinter, clocked 10.11 to win a men’s 100m field lacking the top names, and Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop won the men’s 1500m in a world-leading 3.29.35.

David Rudisha, the Olympic 800m champion from Kenya, won the rarely run 600m in 1.13.10.

Olympic long-jump champion Greg Rutherford‘s year-long unbeaten record ended when he finished fifth, behind Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (8.42 meters).

Rutherford tweeted that he was struggling with “bad whiplash” after hurting his neck in winning in Rome midweek.

Canadian Andre De Grasse won the 200m in 20.16 seconds into a headwind against a field that did not include any of the reigning Olympic or World medalists. De Grasse shared the 2015 World 100m bronze with American Trayvon Bromell, who had been entered in Birmingham but pulled out after he appeared to have problems at a meet in Rome on Thursday.

MORE: Sanya Richards-Ross carried off track with injury

World Cup Alpine season opener gets green light

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After checking the snow on the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, FIS officials announced Thursday that the traditional World Cup season opener is set to go ahead as planned Oct. 26-27 with men’s and women’s giant slalom races.

Current conditions at Soelden show a solid 30 inches of snow at the summit. The race finishes at an altitude of 2,670 meters (8,760 feet), far above the currently snowless village.

The first races of the season are never guaranteed to have enough snow, though last year’s men’s race at Soelden had the opposite problem, being canceled when a storm blew through with heavy snowfall and high winds. 

France’s Tessa Worley won the women’s race last year ahead of Italy’s Frederica Brignone and U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who would go on to dominate the rest of the World Cup season.

The Soelden weekend is followed by three dormant weeks until the season resumes Nov. 23-24 in Levi, Finland. The World Cup circuits then switch to North America. The men will run speed events Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Lake Louise, Alberta, then head to Beaver Creek, Colo., for more speed events and a giant slalom Dec. 6-8. The women run slalom and giant slalom Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Killington, Vt., and head to Lake Louise the next weekend.

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Olympic marathon and race walk move from Tokyo to Sapporo draws some pushback

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In the wake of a dropout-plagued set of world championship endurance races in Qatar, moving the 2020 Olympic marathons and race walks from Tokyo to the cooler venue of Sapporo is a quick fix for one problem, pending the potential for untimely heat waves.

But the move has drawn some opposition for a variety of reasons.

First, many organizers and politicians appear to have been caught by surprise. Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, was “taken aback” and Sapporo’s mayor, Katsuhiro Akimoto, learned about the move from the media, Kyodo News reported. Koike even sarcastically suggested that the races could move all the way northward to islands disputed by Russia and Japan.

South African sports scientist Ross Tucker suggested that running in heat and humidity poses an interesting challenge for athletes, some of whom may be able to catch up with faster runners by preparing for the conditions.

British marathoner Mara Yamauchi made a similar point, saying the move was unfair to those who already were preparing for the heat, humidity and other conditions.

Belgian marathoner Koen Naert said he will make the best of the change but complained that some of his preparation and every runner’s logistical planning would no longer apply.

The angriest athlete may be Canadian walker Evan Dunfee, who placed fourth in the 2016 Olympic 50km race and nearly claimed bronze as a Canadian appeal was upheld but then rejected. He says runners and walkers can beat the conditions if they prepare, which many athletes did not do for the world championships in Qatar.

“So why do we cater to the ill prepared?” Dunfee asked on Twitter.

The move also takes athletes out of the main Olympic city and takes away the traditional, tough less frequent in modern years, finish in the Olympic stadium.

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