Usain Bolt
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Usain Bolt out of Jamaican Olympic Trials (hamstring), still hopes for Rio

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Usain Bolt withdrew from the Jamaican Olympic Trials with a grade-one hamstring tear but still hopes to be named to the Olympic team, according to his social media.

“After feeling discomfort in my hamstring after the first round last night and then again in the semi-final tonight I was examined by the Chief Doctor of the National Championships and diagnosed with a Grade 1 tear,” Bolt’s social media said. “I have submitted a medical exemption to be excused from the 100m final and the remainder of the National Championships. I will seek treatment immediately and hope to show fitness at the London Anniversary Games on July 22 to earn selection for the Olympic Games in Rio.”

Bolt can still be named to Jamaica’s Olympic team, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.

The “selection policy allows for medical exemptions in cases where athletes can prove that an injury has prevented them from competing at the trials,” the newspaper said, adding that Bolt was unlikely to race the 200m later in the meet.

Bolt had won his 100m semifinal race earlier Friday night in 10.04 seconds (video here) to make the final at a meet where the top three would generally be in line to make the Olympic team individually.

Rival Yohan Blake won the Jamaican Trials 100m in Bolt’s absence in 9.95 seconds.

Asafa Powell, the world-record holder before Bolt, finished fourth, putting him in line to miss the three-man Jamaican Olympic team in the 100m. Powell could still be part of the 4x100m relay pool.

In the women’s final, world 200m silver medalist Elaine Thompson equaled the Jamaican record by winning in 10.70 seconds. Two-time Olympic 100m champ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, slowed by a toe injury this spring, was second in 10.93 to earn her spot in Rio.

ZACCARDI: Bolt not the only injured Olympic track and field star 

The first reports of Bolt’s withdrawal came about 30 minutes before the final was scheduled in Kingston.

Bolt has dealt with injuries in recent years, including a reported hamstring problem that necessitated a visit to a German doctor in May and a reported ankle injury last winter.

MORE: Sanya Richards-Ross misses Olympic team in 400m

Bernard Lagat reminded of Atlanta Games at U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

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ATLANTA — As 45-year-old Bernard Lagat sat inside a hotel overlooking Centennial Olympic Park, he spoke one sentence that prefaced the start of his Olympic journey more than two decades ago.

“We are doing this in a special place,” he said of the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, which finish at the park on Saturday (12 p.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Lagat is an underdog, but has a chance to make a sixth Olympic team by placing in the top three. He can break his own record as the oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history.

Lagat was reminded this week of the Atlanta Olympics that got away.

In 1996, the Kenyan-born runner was coming off his freshman year at Jomo Kenyatta University Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi. He studied mathematics and computer science.

Lagat debuted at the Kenyan Olympic Trials. He remembered finishing seventh in the 1500m, having exhausted himself by clocking a 3:37 semifinal.

“They had fancy shoes, nice clothing,” he said of the pros. “Me, I was like hand-me-down spikes.”

Lagat’s coach at the time, Nganga Ngata, arranged for him to transfer to Washington State later that summer. But first, Lagat watched on TV the Olympic 1500m final — famous for then-world-record holder Noureddine Morceli and current world-record holder Hicham El Guerrouj making contact at the bell; El Guerrouj fell, Morceli won.

Days later, Lagat headed to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. He was to fly to the United States for the first time, embarking on a journey that would lead to U.S. Olympic teams in 2008, 2012 and 2016 after he represented Kenya in 2000 and 2004.

Before a 21-year-old Lagat boarded his flight, he encountered a reception. The Kenyan Olympic team was arriving back from Atlanta after collecting eight medals, including in every men’s distance-running event.

“They had all these celebrations, traditional milk and the gourds,” Lagat said. “Oh, it was amazing. … That fire, seeing them coming home with medals, and I thought, I want to be like those guys.”

Lagat went on to earn eight combined Olympic and world championships medals between the 1500m and 5000m. Lagat qualified for one last Olympics on the track in 2016, going from sixth place at the bell to win the trials 5000m. He was fifth in Rio.

Then he turned to the marathon. Lagat has raced two of them. He clocked 2:17:20 in New York City in 2018, saying he was “running blind” with inexperience. He ran 2:12:10 at the 2019 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia, ranking him outside the 20 fastest Americans in this Olympic cycle.

Lagat went back to Kenya last month to train for the trials with the likes of world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge. Lagat soaked up so much that he likened it to a six-week school term.

At one point, Lagat was part of a 30km training run with Kipchoge. By the end he rounded a bend and saw the Olympic favorite just 60 seconds ahead.

“You think about Eliud being 60 seconds ahead of you in a 30K?” an incredulous Lagat said. “I thought, I’m done. Now I can buy my flight and go back to USA. I’m ready.”

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Chris Lillis, after missing Olympics, back atop aerials podium

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U.S. men’s aerials skiers had gone four years between World Cup victories. Now, they’ve won back-to-back events.

Chris Lillis prevailed in Kazakhstan on Friday, six days after Justin Schoenefeld ended the U.S.’ longest men’s victory drought since aerials became an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Lillis, the 21-year-old brother of 2017 World champion Jon Lillis, landed a double full-full-full in the super final to score 121.27 points. Full results are here. He beat a field that included Schoenefeld (sixth place) and his older brother (14th) but lacked the world’s best from China and Russia.

“That was definitely one of the best jumps of my career,” Chris Lillis said. “Moving forward I’m feeling deadly.”

Chris has earned back-to-back World Cup podiums, his first top-three finishes since missing the PyeongChang Olympics with a torn ACL.

Also Friday, American Megan Nick finished second in the women’s event for her second runner-up this season. The last U.S. woman to win a World Cup was Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach