Who were the fastest U.S. marathoners of 2016?

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New York City marked the end of the year’s major marathons. Though some fast times could still be posted, namely in Fukuoka in December, the American bests are likely all set.

It turned out to be a strong year for American marathoners placement-wise, thanks in large part to New York City, where the U.S. put a man and a woman on the podium in the same year for the first time since 1994.

The U.S.’ best finish in an annual World Marathon Major this year (Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York City), prior to New York City, was a seventh place from Serena Burla in Chicago.

The lack of success in city marathons can be chalked up to the Olympic year. Every elite U.S. marathoner chose the U.S. Olympic Trials in February over a spring marathon, and the six who made the Olympic team all skipped fall marathons.

At the Olympics, Galen Rupp took bronze for the first U.S. marathon medal since 2004. Combined with Jared Ward‘s sixth-place finish, the U.S. was the only nation to put two men in the top 10.

In the women’s race, the U.S. became the second nation ever to put three women in an Olympic marathon top nine — Shalane Flanagan was sixth, Desi Linden seventh and Amy Cragg ninth.

Simplified, the U.S. would have swept the golds if the Olympic marathons were team events.

Strictly looking at times, the U.S. was not particularly fast this year. Again, the Olympics are the reason.

The best Americans skipped the traditionally fast major marathons (London, Berlin, Chicago), and the Olympic Trials and the Rio Games were not fast races.

The fastest American man, Rupp, ran 2:10:05, which ranks him No. 108 in the world in 2016, according to the IAAF.

The top woman, Flanagan, ran 2:25:26, which ranks her No. 42 in the world this year.

The 10 fastest U.S. marathon times for men and women are below.

MORE: Meb Keflezighi sets final marathon

Name Time Race Result
Galen Rupp 2:10:05 Rio Olympics Third
Galen Rupp 2:11:12 Olympic Trials First
Bobby Curtis 2:11:20 Frankfurt Fourth
Abdi Abdirahman 2:11:23 New York City Third
Jared Ward 2:11:30 Rio Olympics Sixth
Shadrack Biwott 2:12:01 New York City Fifth
Meb Keflezighi 2:12:20 Olympic Trials Second
Jared Ward 2:13:00 Olympic Trials Third
Diego Estrada 2:13:56 Chicago Eighth
Luke Puskedra 2:14:12 Olympic Trials Fourth

 

Name Time Race Result
Shalane Flanagan 2:25:26 Rio Olympics Sixth
Desi Linden 2:26:08 Rio Olympics Seventh
Molly Huddle 2:28:13 New York City Third
Amy Cragg 2:28:20 Olympic Trials First
Amy Cragg 2:28:25 Rio Olympics Ninth
Desi Linden 2:28:54 Olympic Trials Second
Shalane Flanagan 2:29:19 Olympic Trials Third
Lindsay Flanagan 2:29:28 Frankfurt Fourth
Sara Hall 2:30:06 London 12th
Kara Goucher 2:30:24 Olympic Trials Fourth

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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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”