Katie Ledecky misses top spots in 100m freestyle final

Katie Ledecky
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Katie Ledecky’s hopes of swimming another relay event at the Rio Olympics took a big hit when she finished seventh in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

Ledecky was hoping for a top-six finish Friday night, which likely would have assured her of at least swimming in the preliminaries of the 4×100 free relay in Rio.

SWIM TRIALS: Video | Results | Broadcast Schedule

Nineteen-year-old Abbey Weitzeil claimed her first trip to the Olympics by touching first in 53.28 seconds, while another 19-year-old, Simone Manuel, took the second spot in 53.52. She, too, is an Olympic rookie.

The next four finishers are also likely to swim on the relay, and all are Olympic veterans. Amanda Weir is heading to the Summer Games for the third time after finishing third in 53.75, followed by Lia Neal (53.77), Allison Schmitt (53.87) and Dan Vollmer (53.92).

Ledecky was next at 53.99, an impressive showing given that sprinting isn’t her forte but not quite good enough. Still, she’s already earned spots on the Olympic team in the 200 and 400 free, and will be an overwhelming favorite in her final event of the trials: the 800 free Saturday night.

Since she’ll be in Rio, Ledecky would be available to join the 4×100 free relay if there’s any sort of issues, such as an injury or illness. She’ll be busy enough as it is, also competing in the 4×200 free relay.

MORE: Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte go 1-2 in last showdown before Rio Olympics

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

Lucas Braathen
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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

Sifan Hassan
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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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