Team USA’s Eaton leads halfway through decathlon

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American decathlete Ashton Eaton arrived in Rio as the favorite to take gold in the competition, and through five events he’s well on his way to a second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the event.

Eaton amassed 4,621 points Wednesday, giving him a 121-point lead on Germany’s Kai Kazmirek (4,500 points) through five events. Eaton, the husband of Olympic heptathlon bronze medalist Brianne Thiesen-Eaton of Canada, finished the day with a competition-best time of 46.07 seconds in the 400. That time earned the reigning champion 1,005 points, with Kazmirek getting 971 points for his time of 46.75 in the 400. Eaton and Kazmirek were the only two competitors to run below 47 seconds.

WATCH: Eaton’s focus remains on preparing for the unknown

Eaton ranked first or second in three of the five events, taking first in the 400 and long jump and second in the 100. He ranked tenth and 14th in the shot put and high jump, respectively. As for Kazmirek, he ranked in the top ten of four event with the shot put (15th) being the lone exception. That consistency is why he’s Eaton’s closest competitor heading into the final day of competition.

WATCH: Eaton in first place after Day 1 of decathlon

Canada’s Damian Warren, who finished fifth in the decathlon four years ago, is currently third with an overall score of 4,489 points, and Kevin Mayer of France is fourth with 4,435 points. Of the five events completed Wednesday, Mayer established new personal records in four with the long jump being the lone exception.

American Jeremy Taiwo is fifth with 4,419 points and Zach Ziemek tenth with 4,270 points. Brazilian Luiz Alberto de Araujo is ninth with 4,281 points and Cuba’s Lionel Suarez, who took silver in London, is 15th through five events with a total of 4,176 points.

The decathlon concludes Thursday with the 110 hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin and 1500 meters left to be completed.

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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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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