Usain Bolt ‘disrespected’ by promising sprinter

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Usain Bolt said a current or former promising sprinter “disrespected” him, but he has not said which one.

Bolt was asked Tuesday if he could name anybody who could fill his shoes as world’s fastest man after he retires following the world championships (Bolt begins racing Friday on NBC Sports and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA).

“I’m not going down that road,” Bolt said in London, which hosts worlds at the 2012 Olympic Stadium. “The last guy I said was going to be great disrespected me. So I’m not going to say who’s going to be great. I’m just going to leave it to whoever shows up and is willing to fill my shoes will fill my shoes.”

Bolt did not name the disrespectful sprinter. Media speculated Andre De Grasse, the 22-year-old Canadian who took silver and bronze behind Bolt in the sprints at the Rio Olympics. (Update: De Grasse is now out of worlds with a strained hamstring)

De Grasse’s coach reportedly claimed Bolt had meet organizers exclude De Grasse from his last 100m race in Monaco on July 21 to make it easier for Bolt to win. The following day, Bolt’s team, a meet official and even De Grasse denied it.

So is De Grasse the disrespectful sprinter? Maybe not. Recall that Bolt was asked last month about the next wave of sprinters, before De Grasse’s coach’s comments came out.

“I’ve learned not to call names, you know what I mean, because over the years I’ve noticed that some youngsters, really no matter how much you give them props, I’ve learned that they don’t show the respect to a lot of the athletes that have really helped them to pave the way throughout the years,” Bolt said. “So, for me, I stopped saying who’s going to be the next Usain or who’s going to shine.”

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It’s clear Bolt’s perceived lack of respect from a sprinter or sprinters is not a new feeling. Bolt was asked to describe his relationship with De Grasse on Tuesday.

“I don’t know,” Bolt said after having the reporter repeat the question. “Um, I see him around. I say hi. That’s it, I guess. I don’t know how to describe that because I don’t have his number or anything, so I just say hi.

“I don’t know where his career’s going to go in the future … but in the past he’s won a bronze medal, he won a silver medal, shows he has talent. We’ll see what happens in the future. It’s all about consistency.”

In June, De Grasse mentioned an aim to defeat Bolt at his last worlds. Bolt was asked about De Grasse later that week.

“All I have to say to De Grasse is take your time and work your way up to the top,” Bolt said.

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Mikaela Shiffrin barely denied in first bid to tie Alpine skiing World Cup wins record

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin was denied in her first bid to tie the Alpine skiing World Cup wins record by six hundredths of a second.

Shiffrin, trying to tie Ingemar Stenmark‘s 86 World Cup victories, led by 67 hundredths over German Lena Duerr after the first of two slalom runs in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, on Sunday.

The last racer to go in the second run, Shiffrin’s lead over Duerr dwindled as she neared the finish line. It was down to 15 hundredths at the last intermediate split with 10 seconds left of the course.

Shiffrin crossed the finish line, saw that she ended up six hundredths behind, opened her mouth, rocked her head and put her hand to her helmet. It was the closest slalom defeat of her career, which has included a record 52 World Cup slalom victories.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Duerr, 31, earned her second World Cup win, 10 years to the day after her first. Shiffrin won 82 World Cup races in that span.

“It took me a while,” Duerr said. “Crazy that today’s the day.”

Shiffrin’s next bid to tie Stenmark, the Swedish legend of the 1970s and ’80s, won’t be until March.

Next up are the world championships in France, starting Feb. 6, which are separate from the World Cup.

Shiffrin’s next planned World Cup races are either speed races in Kvitfjell, Norway, the first weekend of March or a giant slalom and slalom in Stenmark’s home nation of Sweden from March 10-11 ahead of her 28th birthday on March 13.

Shiffrin began last week tied with Lindsey Vonn for second place on the career wins list at 82. She then rattled off victories on Wednesday and Thursday in giant slaloms in Kronplatz, Italy, and Saturday in the first slalom in Spindleruv Mlyn, site of her World Cup debut in 2011 at age 15.

She has 11 wins in 23 starts this season, her best campaign since her record 17-win 2018-19 season.

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Novak Djokovic wins 10th Australian Open, ties Rafael Nadal for most men’s Slam titles

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic was simply too good at the most crucial moments and claimed his 10th Australian Open championship and 22nd Grand Slam title overall by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) in the final at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night.

The victory allows Djokovic to return to No. 1 in the ATP rankings.

The 35-year-old from Serbia did not compete in the Australian Open a year ago after being deported from the country because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Government restrictions have eased since, and he was able to get a visa this time despite still not having gotten the shots against the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Now Djokovic has run his winning streak at the hard-court tournament to 28 matches.

His 10th trophy in Australia adds to the record he already held. His 22 major championships — which include seven from Wimbledon, three from the U.S. Open and two from the French Open — are tied with Rafael Nadal for the most by a man in the history of tennis.

He was superior throughout against Tsitsipas, but especially so in the two tiebreakers.

Djokovic took a 4-1 lead in the first and after it was 4-all, pulled off the last three points. He led 5-0 in the closing tiebreaker and, when it finished, he pointed to his temple then climbed into the stands, pumped his fist and jumped with his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, and other members of the entourage, before collapsing, crying.

Djokovic returned to the court, sat on his sideline bench, buried his face in a white towel and let some more tears flow.

Margaret Court, with 24, Serena Williams, with 23, and Steffi Graf, with 22, have the most championships among women.

This was also the 93rd ATP tour-level title for Djokovic, allowing him to break a tie with Nadal for the fourth-most. Jimmy Connors holds that mark, at 109.

Djokovic was participating in his 33rd major final, Tsitsipas in his second — and the 24-year-old from Greece’s other one also ended in a loss to Djokovic, at the 2021 French Open.

A win for Tsitsipas would have allowed him to get to No. 1 for the first time, supplanting Carlos Alcaraz, who got there after winning the U.S. Open last September but sat out the Australian Open because of a leg injury.

Little doubt this is of no solace to Tsitsipas, but there is no shame in failing to defeat Djokovic in Melbourne. Challenging his dominion on those blue hard courts is every bit the monumental task that taking on Nadal on the red clay at Roland Garros is.

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