Wayde van Niekerk sees different double in his future, or none at all

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Wayde van Niekerk, tired after six races in six days, doesn’t see another 200m-400m double in his future.

“The only doubles I think I would consider now is the 100m and 200m,” Van Niekerk said after taking world 400m gold on Tuesday and 200m silver on Thursday in London.

Van Niekerk was beaten by .02 in the half-lap race by Turkish surprise Ramil Guliyev, keeping the South African from becoming the second athlete to sweep the 200m and 400m at a worlds.

Now, it appears Van Niekerk will no longer bid to match Michael Johnson‘s feat from the 1995 Worlds. Though the next global meet is not until 2019, giving the 25-year-old plenty of time to change his mind.

“I’d love to do a bit of a 100m and 200m at Commonwealth [Games] next year, but obviously, I’m going to have to do some 400m as well at the Diamond Leagues and World Challenges and so on,” he said. “But, I think, we haven’t really thought that far. We were focusing on the [200m-400m] double this week. And, I think, after the season we will sit back with coach and decide what we are going to invest our time in.

“If I have to refer to the 400m, I’d love to have that as an individual event. So I’d love to improve my world record again.”

The Commonwealth Games do not include the U.S. or Turkey, where the world 100m and 200m champions reside. And with Usain Bolt retiring, none of the world 100m medalists will be there. His biggest competition could be Andre De Grasse of Canada and Isaac Makwala of Botswana.

Van Niekerk is the only man in history to run sub-44 for the 400m, sub-20 for the 200m and sub-10 for the 100m.

“I’d love to improve all three events, but I will definitely not double up again,” Van Niekerk said on CNN on Friday, after being asked by Olympic and world triple jump champion Christian Taylor about his plans for the 2019 Worlds.

He was well off his best times in London, winning the 400m in 43.98 seconds, albeit decelerating near the finish with the race easily won. In Rio, Van Niekerk clocked the world record 43.03.

And in the 200m, Van Niekerk was overtaken by Guliyev in the final straightaway. He recorded 20.11, well off the 19.84 he ran on June 10.

“Mentally, I was ready,” Van Niekerk said. “Physically, it was a really tough challenge. … But we all knew this was going to happen. We all knew this was how the body was going to feel. I think I’ve fought successfully.

“It was the best I could give in this competition. This is just the beginning of what I can achieve as an athlete.”

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Bernard Lagat commits to Olympic marathon trials, eyes age record

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Bernard Lagat, a 44-year-old, five-time Olympian, reportedly said he will race the Olympic marathon trials on Feb. 29 in a bid to break his own record as the oldest U.S. Olympic runner.

“I feel like I can still improve,” Lagat said, according to Runner’s World. “I’m going to give it my best.”

Lagat, a two-time Olympic 1500m medalist, moved to the marathon after becoming the oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history at the Rio Games, placing fifth in the 5000m.

He clocked 2:17:20 in his 26.2-mile debut at the 2018 New York City Marathon. He lowered it to 2:12:10 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia on July 7 but did not previously commit to entering the trials.

If Lagat finishes in the top three at the marathon trials, he is in line to become the third-oldest U.S. Olympic track and field athlete in history. The oldest are race walker John Deni (49 years old in 1952) and hammer thrower Matt McGrath (48 years old in 1924), according to the OlyMADMen.

Lagat ranks outside the top 20 among U.S. marathoners in this Olympic cycle. The fastest are Galen Rupp (2:06:07), Leonard Korir (2:07:56, from Sunday’s Amsterdam Marathon) and Scott Fauble (2:09:09).

No American has competed in six Olympics in track and field. Lagat’s first two Olympic appearances were for Kenya.

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Natalie Geisenberger, Olympic luge champion, will not race this season

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For the first time in eight years, there will be a new World Cup women’s luge champion.

Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger — the seven-time defending champion and two-time defending Olympic singles gold medalist — announced that she isn’t sliding this season because she and her husband are expecting their first child in April.

“Our happiness is on the way,” Geisenberger said on her Facebook page.

Geisenberger plans to return next season and still has hopes to compete at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, where she could match fellow German great Georg Hackl’s feat of winning three consecutive singles golds.

With Geisenberger not sliding this season, the top returning women from last year’s World Cup standings now are Julia Taubitz of Germany and Summer Britcher of the U.S. — second and third, respectively, in 2018-19.

Geisenberger has a luge record-tying four Olympic golds in all, being part of Germany’s victories in the team relays in Sochi in 2014 and Pyeongchang in 2018 as well.

Her 49 World Cup singles wins are another record, and she’s one of two sliders to win seven consecutive World Cup titles — Austria’s Markus Prock took the men’s championships each year from 1990-91 through 1996-97.

Geisenberger’s break from sliding only adds to how the World Cup standings — and the German roster — will look very different this season. Dajana Eitberger, who was fourth in last season’s World Cup standings, is also pregnant and expecting a baby in February. And Tatjana Huefner, who was sixth overall last season, has retired.

Huefner won five consecutive World Cup titles before Geisenberger took over and began her seven-year streak of championships. Geisenberger earned medals 11 times in 12 singles races last year — six golds, four silvers and one bronze.

“We are so happy for you even though we will miss you this season!” two-time Olympic singles gold medalist Felix Loch of Germany wrote in a message to Geisenberger on Instagram.

Geisenberger has been in the top three of the World Cup standings in 12 consecutive seasons. She was third in 2007-08, finished second in each of the next four seasons, and then began her title streak in 2012-13.

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