Getty Images

Missy Franklin misses qualifying in 100m freestyle; Katie Ledecky advances

Leave a comment

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — For Missy Franklin, another miss at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

The star of the London Games struggled to an 11th-place showing in the semifinals of the 100-meter freestyle Thursday night, failing to even make it to the final.

That leaves Franklin with only one individual race in Rio and just one more chance to bulk up her program: the 200 backstroke.

No matter what, Franklin’s bubbly personality will be much less of a presence at these Summer Games than it was four years ago.

“That speed just doesn’t feel like it’s quite there this meet,” she said. “No idea why. It’s super disappointing, but I really feel like my endurance is there, so it gives me a lot of hope for my 200 back.”

Franklin is going to her second Summer Games, but she won’t be nearly as busy this time around.

As a high schooler in London, Franklin took part in seven events, winning four golds and a bronze. She finished fifth in the 100 free, but won’t be part of that race at all this time around.

At age 21, Franklin hasn’t been able to recapture the magic that carried her to such heights in 2012. Outside of a gutsy runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle, she’s shaping up as one of the biggest flops of these trials.

Franklin finished seventh in the 100 backstroke, a race she won in London, and that knocks her out of consideration for the 4×100 medley relay.

SWIM TRIALS: Video | Results | Broadcast Schedule

Her dismal showing in the 100 free surely removes any possibility of taking part in the 4×100 free relay.

At most, Franklin will have only three events on her Rio agenda.

Katie Ledecky, meanwhile, could add to her growing program. She advanced as the seventh seed from the 100m freestyle semis (54.04). Abbey Weitzeil was the top qualifier at 53.57 seconds.

Also advancing were 19-year-old Simone Manuel (53.64), Amanda Weir (53.72), Dana Vollmer (53.74), Lia Neal (53.87), Kelsi Worrell (54.00) and Allison Schmitt (54.07).

Franklin could only produce a time of 54.24, while Natalie Coughlin‘s Olympic hopes likely ended altogether. The 12-time Olympic medalist struggled to a 14th-place showing in 54.87.

Ledecky may end up scratching to rest for other events. The 100m is not one of her strongest events — she’s the World champion in the 200m, 400m and 800m — though she could still be eligible for the 4x100m relay in Rio even if she pulls out.

MORE: Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte cruise into 200m medley final at Trials

Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

MORE: Eliud Kipchoge opines on shoe technology debate

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

AP
Leave a comment

WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Top U.S. bobsled driver pregnant, to miss season