Molly Huddle wins 10,000m final, this time running hard through finish

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Molly Huddle ran hard through the finish line this time. Didn’t matter. Nobody was going to catch her anyway.

The long-distance runner who gave up the bronze medal at the world championships last year by celebrating too soon left no room for doubt at the U.S. Track and Field Trials on Saturday.

She outdistanced second-place finisher Emily Infeld by nearly five seconds, never coming close to the finish-line stumble in Beijing, when Huddle slowed and raised her hands a step before the tape. That day, the hard-charging Infeld shouldered her way past for the bronze medal. This day, Huddle, Infeld and third-place Marielle Hall made the Olympic team.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get over it,” said Huddle, who finished in 31 minutes, 41.62 seconds on a hot afternoon at Hayward Field. “But I’m trying to move past it and not dwell on it, not let it steal anymore from me by fixating on it.”

Huddle insisted she learned from the mistake, even if the lesson was a tough one. On Saturday, Huddle took the race out at a brisk pace so that not many runners would follow the lead. There were four for a while, then three and finally just Infeld and Huddle with a lap remaining. Just to be safe, Huddle cranked it up another gear to pull away from Infeld.

Still, Huddle couldn’t help but cast a quick glance at the scoreboard near the finish, just to make sure Infeld wasn’t gaining ground.

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She wasn’t. No celebration, though.

“I was just relieved,” Huddle said. “I didn’t want any disasters to happen.”

There were certainly a few chances for one, like when a discus rolled across the track during the middle of the race. No one was bothered by it.

Or when Kim Conley — a prerace favorite — was stepped on and lost a spike. She had to stop to put it back on, costing her valuable time. So much that she elected to call it a day early and save her strength for the 5,000 on Thursday.

“I tried to catch up, but the leaders were too far ahead,” said Conley, a 2012 Olympian.

For Huddle, this was business as usual.

“What happened last year, I’m mad at myself,” Huddle said. “But I was glad that another American placed. I would’ve felt worse if it weren’t one of my teammates.”

There’s no animosity between Huddle and Infeld. They’re friends, and remained so even after the episode last year.

“That would be a better story (if we weren’t friends), but that’s not true,” Huddle said.

What’s true is this: Infeld is heading to her first Olympics. For that, the 26-year-old from Ohio thanks LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“After watching the Cavs, I better step up my game,” Infeld said. “It’s such a special moment.”

MORE: Injuries bite biggest Olympic track and field stars as Trials begin

Joey Mantia extends U.S. medal streak at speed skating worlds; Dutch dominance returns

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Joey Mantia ensured the host U.S. finished with a medal at the world single distances championships. Ireen WüstKjeld Nuis and Jorrit Bergsma ensured the Netherlands finished atop the medal standings.

Mantia joined Shani Davis as the only U.S. men to earn individual medals at three different editions of the championships, taking bronze in the 1500m on the last day of the speed skating meet at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Mantia won the mass start at the last two worlds in 2017 and 2019 (and finished fifth on Sunday, after the 1500m bronze).

Mantia clocked a personal best 1:42.16 in the fifth of 12 pairs of the 1500m. It held up until Nuis (1:41.66) and countryman Thomas Krol (1:41.73) in the last two pairs.

Mantia’s medal extended the U.S. streak of making the podium at every world championships this millennium — 16 straight. The single bronze is the smallest medal output since 2000.

Full results are here.

Wüst and Nuis gave the Dutch a sweep of the men’s and women’s 1500m titles, two years after they did the same at the PyeongChang Olympics. Bergsma, an Olympic and world 10,000m champion, earned his first global medal of any color — gold — in the 16-lap mass start.

The Netherlands failed to earn any golds on the first two days of the four-day competition. The dominant Dutch, who topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, entered Sunday trailing Russia.

But Wüst began the day by clocking 1:50.92 to win the 1500m by .21 over Russian Yevgenia Lalenkova. American medal hope Brittany Bowe, the 2015 World champion who took bronze last year, finished 14th a day after taking eighth in her world-record 1000m distance.

Nuis and Krol went one-two in the men’s 1500m to tie Russia’s medal total. Then Irene Schouten took bronze in the women’s mass start to put the Netherlands ahead for good, followed by Bergsma’s capper.

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MORE: Shani Davis retires, takes new role in speed skating

Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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MORE: World Single Distances Championships broadcast schedule