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U.S. sweeps world titles in BMX

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A pair of Americans, Corben Sharrah and Alise Post, captured gold medals Saturday night at the UCI BMX World Championships, ending a world title drought for both the U.S. men and women.

Sharrah, who entered the day ranked No. 1 in the men’s division, won all of his qualifying motos and all of his elimination heat races en route to the final. The field in the final also included 2016 Olympic champion Connor Fields, but it was France’s Sylvain Andre who ended up giving Sharrah the biggest challenge. Sharrah crossed the line about four-hundredths of a second ahead of Andre to claim his first world title.

Post’s final race was even closer. Like Sharrah, she had won all of her qualifying motos and elimination heats leading up to the final. But in the final, she had to work hard to fend off Australia’s Caroline Buchanan. It was close enough to force a photo finish, with Post officially edging out Buchanan by just eight-thousands of a second. Post has now won four world championship medals, but this was her first gold medal.

Sharrah’s world title is the first for an American man since 2009. Post’s victory ended an even longer drought on the women’s side, one dating back 20 years.

Adding to the moment was the fact that the victories came on home soil for the Americans. This year’s world championships were contested in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

2017 BMX Championships: Men’s Elite
Gold: Corben Sharrah (USA) — 32.913
Silver: Sylvain Andre (FRA) — 32.951
Bronze Joris Daudet (FRA) — 33.891

7. Connor Fields (USA) — 36.528

2017 BMX Championships: Women’s Elite
Gold: Alise Post (USA) — 33.235
Silver: Caroline Buchanan (AUS) — 33.243
Bronze: Mariana Pajon (COL)  — 33.989

 

Erin Hamlin to run New York City Marathon

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Erin Hamlin, the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist and Team USA flag bearer at the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony, will run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.

Hamlin, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist who retired after her fourth Olympics in PyeongChang at age 31, is running to fundraise for the Women’s Sports Foundation. So is Marlen Esparza, who in 2012 became the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing medalist (flyweight bronze).

Hamlin has no marathon experience, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

“Being challenged in sport is something I am very familiar with,” Hamlin said in a mass email Wednesday, according to TeamUSA.org. “Long distance running is something I most certainly am not!! It will be difficult, mentally and physically daunting, but a way to test my abilities in a sport so far out of my comfort zone.”

Many Olympians in non-running sports have raced the New York City Marathon.

Bill Demong, the 2010 U.S. Olympic Closing Ceremony flag bearer and only U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion, ran the 2014 NYC Marathon in 2:33:05, crushing eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno‘s 3:25:14 from 2011.

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Softball set to return to Olympics as first event on Tokyo 2020 schedule

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Softball, returning to the Olympics after a 12-year absence, is scheduled to kick off the 2020 Tokyo Games, two days before the Opening Ceremony.

The preliminary master schedule for the Tokyo Olympics was published Wednesday, with the first softball game scheduled for 10 a.m. local time on the Wednesday before the Opening Ceremony.

The first game is scheduled to be held in Fukushima, the site of 2011 nuclear plant meltdowns caused by an earthquake and tsunami 155 miles north of Tokyo. The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organizers have been eager to use the Games as a symbol of recovery from the 2011 disaster

Traditionally, soccer has been the first sport to have action at a Summer Olympics, one or two days before the Opening Ceremony. While soccer is again scheduled to have matches that same Wednesday, they start later than 10 a.m.

The Tokyo 2020 schedule is subject to change and certainly not a final version — swimming, diving and synchronized swimming schedules are still to be determined, but those sports do not typically start before the Opening Ceremony.

Softball was added in 1991 to the Olympic program to debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The U.S. won the first three gold medals before softball and baseball were narrowly voted off the Olympic program in 2005/06 (a 52-52 IOC vote for softball, with a majority needed to stay in the Olympics), with the 2008 Beijing Games being the last edition. Japan won the last Olympic softball gold medal 10 years ago.

Then on Aug. 3, 2016, baseball and softball were among five sports added for the 2020 Tokyo Games only, at the request of Tokyo Olympic organizers. Baseball and softball are not guaranteed to remain on the Olympic program in Paris in 2024.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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