Allyson Felix, LaShawn Merritt win 400m at U.S. Olympic Trials

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Allyson Felix and LaShawn Merritt earned their Olympic 400m berths with the fastest times in the world this year.

Felix qualified for her fourth Olympic team at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Sunday by winning the women’s 400m final. She won with a time of 49.68, improving her times of 50.31 in the semifinals and 51.96 in prelims.

Felix will become just the second ever U.S. athlete to compete in the 100m, 200m, and 400m in her Olympic career, joining Chandra Cheeseborough.

She will be joined on the U.S. Olympic women’s 400m team by Phyllis Francis and Natasha Hastings. Francis came in second with a time of 49.94 and Hastings finished third posting a time of 50.17.

Felix has never run the 400m at the Olympics, but did win gold at the 2012 London Games with the U.S. 4x400m relay. The six-time Olympic medalist is hoping to do the 200m-400m double in Rio and become the first woman to win the 200m and 400m at an Olympics since 1996.

Two months ago Felix hurt her right ankle while weight training and has been dealing with the injury during Trials.

“Two months ago I was barely walking,” Felix said. “To be at this moment is pretty unbelievable.”

Now with her spot in the 400m secured, Felix will look to qualify in the 200m to defend her title as Olympic champion. The first round of the women’s 200m at U.S. Olympic Trials is on July 8 with the final set for July 10.

Merritt won the men’s 400m final with a time of 43.97, the fastest time in the world this year, to book a ticket to his third Olympics.

Gil Roberts and David Verburg will join Merritt on the U.S. Olympic men’s 400m team, finishing second and third respectively.

Merritt won two gold medals in his Olympic debut at the 2008 Olympics. In 2010, he served a 21-month suspension for using a banned substance and then went into the 2012 Games with a bad hamstring and did not make it out of the qualifying round.

Like Felix, Merritt has the chance of competing in both the 200m and 400m at the Rio Olympics. He owns the world’s fastest time in 2016 at 200m and has said that he will decide whether or not to compete in the 200m at Trials after qualifying for the 400m.

MORE: Olympic 1500m champion cleared to race as she appeals doping ban

 

Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi’s USA Basketball career isn’t done just yet.

The five-time Olympic gold medalist will take part in a national team training camp in Minnesota next month. Taurasi told The Associated Press last summer that she would consider playing with USA Basketball if she was healthy enough. She injured her quad shortly after and didn’t participate in the FIBA World Cup that the Americans won in Australia.

While Taurasi will be at the camp, Brittney Griner won’t. She is still part of the pool that the 2024 Olympic team will be chosen from, but Griner hasn’t been out in public much since a prisoner swap in December brought her home from Russia after a 10-month ordeal that captivated world attention. Griner said she plans on playing in the WNBA this year.

Taurasi is a free agent right now, but is expected to return to the Phoenix Mercury — the only team she’s played for in her WNBA career. She turns 41 in June and would be 42 at the time of the Paris Olympics in 2024. The WNBA’s all-time leading scorer and her good friend Sue Bird hold the record with five Olympic gold medals. The pair helped the U.S. win a seventh consecutive gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Bird retired from playing at the end of last season.

Other players expected at the training camp that will run from Feb. 7-9 include former Olympic or World Cup gold medalists: Ariel Atkins and Elena Delle Donne of Washington; Napheesa Collier of Minnesota; Allisha Gray of Dallas; Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney of New York; Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young of Las Vegas; Kahleah Copper of Chicago and free agent Angel McCoughtry.

Natasha Howard, Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale of Dallas will also be at the camp as well as Phoenix’s Brianna Turner.

National team head coach Cheryl Reeve will run the three-day camp with Curt Miller of Los Angeles, Mike Thibault of Washington and James Wade of Chicago helping out.

Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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