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Five events to watch at Diamond League finals at Zurich

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Led by one of the greatest women’s sprint lineups of all time on Thursday, the track and field season culminates with two Diamond League finals meets in the next nine days.

Allyson Felix races for the first time since the Rio Olympics in Zurich on Thursday. She returns to her trademark event, the 200m, to face the reigning Olympic and world champions, plus her longtime rival.

Several other Olympic and world champions are in action with Diamond League season titles on the line. More on the Diamond League standings, event by event, is here. Full start lists are here.

Here are five events to watch Thursday:

Men’s Pole Vault — 12:45 pm. ET

The top five from the Olympics are in this field, which means a rematch between gold medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil and silver medalist Renaud Lavillenie. Remember, Lavillenie was booed in Rio, where he went in as the odds-on favorite. As Braz cleared his personal-best height and became a gold-medal threat, the home crowd got behind him and started audibly rooting against the Frenchman Lavillenie.

Lavillenie later compared the jeers to those Jesse Owens received at the 1936 Berlin Games, but he later apologized and rescinded the comment. The boos continued at the medal ceremony the next day, causing Lavillenie to weep.

Men’s Shot Put — 2:05 p.m. ET

The top seven from the Olympics compete here, led by U.S. gold and silver medalists Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs. Kovacs, the 2015 World champion, went into the Olympics ranked No. 1 in the world for the year. But Crouser unleashed the three best throws of his life for the upset in Rio.

Crouser and Kovacs went head to head in Paris last Saturday, but the winner was New Zealand Olympic bronze medalist Tom Walsh. Crouser was second, with Kovacs a concerning eighth.

Women’s 200m — 2:34 p.m. ET

The field includes three of the six fastest women of all time — 2012 Olympic champion Allyson Felix, 2015 World champion Dafne Schippers and 2016 Olympic champion Elaine Thompson. Plus, 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.

It’s the first race since Rio for Felix, who missed the U.S. Olympic team in the 200m by .01 at Trials, when she was slowed by an ankle injury. The Zurich field is certainly more formidable than what Felix faced in the 400m in Rio, where she lost to a diving Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas.

Women’s 800m — 3:02 p.m. ET

All eight from the Olympic final return, led by gold medalist Caster Semenya. As usual, all eyes will be on the South African in her first race since breaking her national record in Rio.

Semenya clocked 1:55.28 at the Olympics, where it was thought she could have challenged the 33-year-old world record of 1:53.28. Semenya has lowered her times consistently this year. She’s now ranked No. 11 all time in the 800m. Another .02 drop from her Olympic clocking will move her into the top 10.

Women’s 100m Hurdles — 3:12 p.m. ET

American Keni Harrison has been nearly as dominant as Semenya this year, except for at the U.S. Olympic Trials, where she finished sixth and shockingly missed the Rio team.

Harrison, one of 11 siblings, didn’t let the failure faze her. She broke the world record at her next meet July 22 and then returned after an Olympic break to easily win in Lausanne and Paris. She now owns eight of the nine fastest times in the world this year. Like in Lausanne and Paris, Harrison will not face any of the Rio Olympic medalists — Americans Brianna RollinsNia Ali and Kristi Castlin are sitting out.

MORE: Devon Allen weighs turning pro in track and field

Danielle Perkins is first U.S. boxer to win world title in 3 years

Danielle Perkins
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Danielle Perkins became the U.S.’ first world champion boxer in this Olympic cycle, taking the heavyweight crown in Russia on Sunday.

Perkins, a 37-year-old who played college basketball at George Mason and St. John’s, improved from bronze in 2018 to earn her first world title, blanking defending world champion Yang Xiaoli of China 5-0 in Sunday’s final.

Video of the bout is here.

Perkins was slated to fight Yang in the 2018 World semifinals but withdrew due to medical reasons, according to USA Boxing.

The heavyweight division is 81+kg, but the heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

The last American to earn a world title was Claressa Shields in 2016, before she repeated as Olympic champion in Rio and moved to the professional ranks.

The Olympic trials are in December in Louisiana, after which winners will fight internationally in early 2020 in bids to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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MORE: IOC strips Olympic status from boxing body AIBA

Brigid Kosgei shatters marathon world record in Chicago

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Kenyan Brigid Kosgei shattered a 16-year-old world record in the women’s marathon by 81 seconds, winning the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04 on Sunday.

Brit Paula Radcliffe had held the record of 2:15:25 set at the 2003 London Marathon. Kenyan Mary Keitany holds the female-only record of 2:17:01 from the 2017 London Marathon. Both Kosgei and Radcliffe, the only women to break 2:17, ran with men in their record races.

Radcliffe’s record was the longest-standing for the men’s or women’s marathon of the last 50 years.

Kosgei did it one day after Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a sub-two-hour marathon in a non-record-eligible event in Vienna. She won by a gaping 6 minutes, 47 seconds over Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh.

Kosgei, who won Chicago in 2018 and the London Marathon in April, came in highly favored. The 25-year-old tuned up with the fastest half-marathon ever by a woman (by 23 seconds) on Sept. 8 on a non-record-eligible course.

“2:10 is possible for a lady,” Kosgei said after Sunday’s record.

Jordan Hasay, the top U.S. woman in the field, stopped after feeling a sharp hamstring strain after two miles. Hasay, who was coached by Alberto Salazar before his ban in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency case, is one of several women in contention for the three Olympic spots at the Feb. 29 trials in Atlanta.

Kenyan Lawrence Cherono won the men’s race by one second over Ethiopian Dejene Debela in 2:05:45.

The U.S.’ top marathoner, Galen Rupp, dropped out around mile 23 after straining a calf around the sixth mile. Rupp, who was also coached by Salazar, was racing for the first time since the 2018 Chicago Marathon and Achilles surgery.

Mo Farah, the defending champion and four-time Olympic track gold medalist, finished eighth in 2:09:58. He also dropped from the leaders before the halfway point.

American Daniel Romanchuk and Swiss Manuela Schar won the wheelchair races.

Romanchuk, 21, repeated as champion. He has also won Boston London and New York City in the last year. Schar distanced decorated American Tatyana McFadden by 4:14, though McFadden did qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics with her runner-up finish (as did Romanchuk).

The fall major marathon season concludes with the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, featuring defending champions Mary Keitany and Lelisa Desisa and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden.

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MORE: Chicago Marathon results