Alysia Montaño falls, battles to finish Olympic Trials 800m

Leave a comment

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

2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

Leave a comment

If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

French Open Women's Draw French Open Women's Draw French Open Women's Draw French Open Women's Draw

2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

Leave a comment

Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

French Open Men's Draw French Open Men's Draw French Open Men's Draw French Open Men's Draw