Brazil’s Thiago Braz takes gold in pole vault, USA’s Kendrick bronze

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Four years after winning his first Olympic gold medal in the pole vault, France’s Renaud Lavillenie was closing in on a second consecutive gold medal after clearing 5.98 meters (19-7 ½) on his fourth attempt of the night without a miss.

But on his second attempt to clear 6.03 meters (19 feet, 9 ¼ inches) Brazil’s Thiago Braz da Silva did just that, and after Lavillenie missed at 6.08 meters Brazil had its second gold medalist of the Rio Olympics. Thiago Braz’s gold medal-winning attempt established a new Olympic record, surpassing the mark set by Lavillenie in London.

WATCH: Brazil’s da Silva shatters Olympic record, wins men’s pole vault

Taking the bronze was American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, who earned his first Olympic medal just under five months after he took silver in the pole vault and the World Indoor Championships in mid-march. After successfully clearing 5.85 meters (19-2 ¼) Kendricks, who attended Ole Miss, failed to clear 5.93 meters on each of his three attempts at that height.

Thiago Braz, who joins judoka Rafaela Silva as Brazil’s gold medalists thus far in Rio, has not finished better than 14th in either of his appearances at the World Championships (senior level: 14th in 2013, 19th in 2015). And at the World Indoors in March, he finished 16th.

His winning the gold medal, beating the defending Olympic champion and world record holder to do so, will likely stand as one of the biggest upsets of these Games.

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein

Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah

British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

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

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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