Gwen Jorgensen erases largest deficit in history to win Leeds triathlon

Gwen Jorgensen
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Gwen Jorgensen scored the largest come-from-behind victory in World Triathlon Series history Sunday, erasing a 100-second deficit going into the 10km run and winning by 51 seconds in Leeds, Great Britain.

“It’s great to come into these races, get exposed a little bit and see where I can improve,” Jorgensen said in a broadcast interview shortly after finishing.

The two-time reigning World champion was 92 seconds behind three women after the 1500m swim and 40km bike and dropped to 100 seconds back after the transition from the bike to the run.

Jorgensen, favored to become the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champ on Aug. 20 in Rio, easily erased the lead and beat Bermuda’s Flora Duffy by a comfortable 51 seconds for her 17th career World Series win.

“Starting the run with Gwen behind you is always a bit of a terrifying thing,” Duffy said.

It marked the exact same deficit to the same amount of triathletes that Jorgensen faced April 9, when she lost for the only time since April 2014.

A big difference Sunday was that the woman who beat Jorgensen on April 9, Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins, was not in the field in Leeds.

The ITU World Series continues in Stockholm in three weeks.

MORE: Jorgensen: I debated quitting triathlon in 2014

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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