Alysia Montaño falls, battles to finish Olympic Trials 800m

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The first thing Alysia Montano thought was, “Get up. Get up.”

By the time she finally did, everyone else was gone.

The 800-meter runner who has been victimized more than once by a cruel, unseemly side of her sport got the worst break of all at U.S. Track and Field Trials.

Cheated out of medal after medal by Russians who were later found to have been doping – including at the London Olympics four years ago – Montano saw her chance at an Olympic victory come up painfully short when she tripped over a competitor’s feet while lining up her last charge in Monday night’s final.

“It doesn’t really settle in in that moment where you’re thinking, ‘This is it,'” Montano said about the moment when she hooked shoes with Brenda Martinez, who had made contact with the leader and eventual runner-up, Ajee Wilson. “And then, you get up and they’re really far away. Your heart breaks.”

Montano did get up. She jogged a bit, then stopped, fell to her knees and began to wail as she kicked her foot to the ground in disgust. She got up again and ran to the finish line, then collapsed to her knees, put her head on the ground, looked skyward, clutched her right hand to her heart and let out a primal wail.

“All of a sudden, they came around the corner and she wasn’t there,” said her husband, Louis, who was watching from the side with their daughter, Linnea, who turns 2 next month. “It was heartbreaking.”

Officials reviewed the tape and deemed the smash-up a result of incidental contact. They did not disqualify anyone. Asked if she would protest, Montano replied: “What good would that do me?”

If anyone would know, it would be her.

The woman who showed her devotion to the sport by running on this track two years ago while eight months pregnant made herself the poster child for all athletes who’ve been robbed over the past several years by what investigators say is a state-sponsored Russian system that encourages doping among its athletes.

ZACCARDI: After Trials chaos, it’s Caster for U.S. 800m runners

She finished fourth or fifth at 2011 and 2013 world championships, and at the London Olympics, behind Russians who were later found to have cheated. She may get those medals someday.

She will not get one this year and the fact that the sport’s governing body, the IAAF, has called for the Russian track team to be banned from the Rio Games comes as small consolation for her.

“Eight years of my life as a professional runner, and my entire professional career has been a farce, basically,” the 30-year-old said.

“Now, people are saying Russians aren’t running in the Olympics, but they’re missing the whole point. The IAAF is a corrupt institution and it’s still running the games.”

She tried to set all that anger aside coming into trials, knowing she would have no platform, no way to get her fair due, if she didn’t perform over three days of racing in Eugene this week.

She cruised into the final and, for 600 meters, everything looked fine. Boxed in on the rail in years past, she did what she’d been practicing all spring – moving out to Lane 3 to stay out of trouble and make her final push. She was vying for third place when the contact started.

“I saw tripping. Brenda start to trip and Alysia start to fall,” said Kate Grace, who picked an inside route and coasted by all the trouble for the victory.

And Montano saw some dreams slip away.

“There’s a lot of healing,” she said, “that has to happen beyond this race.”

Other happenings at Day 4 of Olympic Trials:

WANT FRIES WITH THAT?: Less than two years ago, Boris Berian was flipping burgers at a fast-food restaurant. In less than two months, he’ll be running at the Olympics. Berian finished second in the 800-meter final behind Clayton Murphy to secure his spot in Rio. It’s been a long journey for the 23-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Last month, he didn’t even know if he’d compete here because of a lawsuit filed by his former sponsor, Nike, over what kind of gear he wears. Nike dropped the lawsuit and Berian made it.

POLE VAULT POWER: Perhaps it was only fitting that Army reservist Sam Kendricks won the pole vault on the Fourth of July. The second lieutenant proudly waved his red, white and blue flag after setting a U.S. Track and Field Trials record by clearing 19 feet, 4 3/4 inches (5.91 meters) to make the Olympic team. It was a big day for the Armed Forces all around, with U.S. Air Force pole vaulter Cale Simmons taking second on the holiday. Logan Cunningham was third.

BROKEN DREAMS: Pole vaulter Joey Uhle‘s chances for an Olympic spot all but ended when his pole broke on his first attempt. The pole smacked him on the kneecap and, though he lined up to jump again, he wasn’t quite the same. “It messes with your mind a bit, throws you off your balance,” he said.

RUPP ROMP: Galen Rupp, Bernard Lagat and Lopez Lomong all made it through qualifying at 5,000 meters. If Rupp qualifies at 5K, he’ll have to decide between that distance and the marathon. He’s already qualified for the 10K and plans on competing in that event.

LUCKY 11th: They don’t give any medals for 11th place. Javelin thrower Sean Furey didn’t care. In his case, 11th was good enough to make the Olympics. Because Furey was one of only three throwers in the final who had reached the Olympic qualifying standard, he earned a spot on the team. So did fourth-place finisher Sam Crouser and, yes, the winner, Cyrus Hostetler.

MORE: Allyson Felix overcomes pain to win Olympic Trials 400m

Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final