Mo Farah loses final track championship race (video)

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LONDON (AP) — It was the familiar “Mobot” celebration on an unfamiliar face.

Muktar Edris put an end to Mo Farah’s dominance in the distance races at the world championships on Saturday, and he crossed the line doing the move that Farah made famous at the Olympics five years ago.

Edris out-kicked Farah down the stretch, beating the British runner at his own game in the final seconds of the 5000m.

“Mo has many victories but now I have one. I am the new champion for Ethiopia,” Edris said. “That’s why I did the ‘Mobot.’ I am the next champion.”

Farah won the long-distance double at the 2012 London Olympics. As he crossed the finish line in those races, he raised his arms and put his hands on the top of his head, creating a sort of “M″ shape.

He’s been using that pose ever since as he continued to rule the track by again winning the 5000m and 10,000m in Rio.

He didn’t have enough in his legs to get his arms up over his head this time, settling for silver and falling down on the track in exhaustion after crossing the line.

“I gave it all,” said Farah, who was running on the track at a major championship for the last time. “I didn’t have a single bit left at the end.”

Farah, now 34 years old and a six-time world champion, knew the opposition would be gunning for him. And they did.

They boxed Farah in. They changed the pace of the race. They made him work hard knowing that his 10,000-meter victory on the opening day of the championships would take something out of his punishing finish.

“Tactically, I was trying to cover every move,” Farah said. “They had the game plan. One of them was going to sacrifice themselves. That’s what they did tonight, and the better man won.”

Edris won in 13 minutes, 33.79 seconds, finishing .43 seconds ahead of Farah. Paul Chelimo of the United States took bronze.

“I was highly prepared for this race and I knew I was going to beat Mo Farah,” Edris said. “After the 10km, he was maybe tired so he did not have enough for the last kick. I was stronger.”

It wasn’t the medal Farah was after, but there will likely be more chances for gold.

Unlike Usain Bolt, who is retiring from the sport following this year’s worlds, Farah is just switching disciplines and will soon start competing in marathons.

That means Farah could still be taking his familiar spot at the top of the podium at the Olympics or the worlds sometime in the near future, and maybe even employing the “Mobot” once again.

Until then, though, he’ll have some fond memories of the track.

“It’s been amazing,” Farah said. “It’s been a long journey but it’s been incredible.”

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VIDEO: Hurdler stretchered off after head-first crash

Chock, Bates charge to second U.S. title; Hubbell, Donohue charge the wrong way

Madison Hubbell, Zach Donohue
AP
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Evan Bates, who had just won his second U.S. ice dance title with partner Madison Chock, put it best.

“Ice dance is a strange sport in some ways,” he said.

Chock and Bates have had their share of unusual mishaps in their near 10-year career, but on Saturday night at the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, everything was smooth sailing.

The couple’s exotic “Egyptian Snake Dance” free dance went off without a hitch, gaining the highest possible levels for nearly all of its elements and impressing judges with its intricacy, synchronization and striking lifts. It earned 134.23 points, giving the Montreal-based team the win with 221.86.

“It was (our coach Marie-France Dubreuil’s) idea for me to be a snake, and Evan a traveler who finds me,” Chock said of the routine. “It was just such a fun process, cool new characters for us to dive into, and we’ve really been enjoying it. It shows when we skate.”

Greensboro has been lucky for the skaters, who teamed up in 2011; they won their first U.S. title here in 2015. The five-year title gap is the longest in history for U.S. ice dance champions.

“It feels longer than five years,” Chock said with a breezy laugh. “It feels so much has changed, and in us as people as well (as dancers). We’re in a very good place, we could not be happier with the way the season has been going.”

If Chock’s humor was lighthearted, Madison Hubbell’s can only be described grim.

Hubbell and her partner, Zach Donohue, trailed their long-time rivals and Montreal training partners by about 1.3 points following Friday’s rhythm dance. A stellar outing of their Star is Born free dance might have won a third consecutive U.S. title; instead, it became a living nightmare.

“Out of the first element, the dance spin, we got turned around somehow and came out the wrong direction,” Hubbell said. “The next four elements, which are pretty valuable elements, all were facing the wrong direction.”

(Video available here for NBC Sports Gold subscribers; Hubbell and Donohue skate at the 1:06:50 mark.)

Not until their fifth element, a step sequence, did the skaters get back on track. In between, there was a world of hurt, likely unnoticed by many members of the audience but readily apparent to the judges, who had seen the free dance in  practice.

“Our twizzle sequence, it’s a high-scoring element, is supposed to charge right at the judges, and today it charged away from them,” Hubbell said. “In the rotational life, there’s a large leg flare that looks very cool going the opposite direction, and today I just opened my crotch right in front of the judges.”

The score was far from disastrous; Hubbell and Donohue’s 130.88 points for their “wrong-way” free dance gave them 217.19 overall. But it was a missed opportunity to show judges, and fans, the improvements they had made to A Star Is Born since the Grand Prix Final in December.

“It was probably one of the hardest performances, and not the most enjoyable,” Hubbell said. “It was a really thoughtful focus on the elements, and somehow putting one portion of the brain aside to fix things as best we could.”

The silver medal was Hubbell and Donohue’s first. They also won bronze medals in 2012, and 2015-17.

Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, whose rhythm dance to Saturday Night Fever stole the show on Friday, felt their Flamenco-style free dance didn’t pack the same punch.

“Yesterday was such a high for us, in terms of (audience) reaction and performance, that tonight didn’t have the same euphoria when we finished,” Hawayek said. “Both Jean-Luc and I see the potential for it being much higher than what we were able to put out today.”

Despite the disappointment, the third team in the Montreal troika earned 118.57 points and won a second consecutive bronze medal with 201.16.

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NATIONALS: TV/Live Stream Schedule | Full Results

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

Coco Gauff eliminated from Australian Open by Sofia Kenin

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Coco Gauff‘s run at the Australian Open ended in the round of 16, foiled by fellow American Sofia Kenin on Sunday.

Kenin ousted the 15-year-old phenom 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-0 to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Gauff, too, was bidding for her first major quarterfinal after a sterling seven months ignited by her march to the Wimbledon fourth round.

Gauff, ranked No. 684 this time last year, will near the top 50 after the Australian Open. She beat Venus Williams in the first round at Wimbledon and the Australian Open and took out defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka in the third round on Friday.

Gauff’s play catapulted her to fifth in U.S. Olympic singles qualifying, but she has half the points as fourth-place Madison Keys, and a country can’t qualify more than four players in singles. The Olympic field will be determined by the WTA rankings after the French Open in June.

The 14th seed Kenin, who beat Serena Williams in the 2019 French Open third round, ranks second behind Williams in U.S. Olympic qualifying. She will face No. 27 Wang Qiang or Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals.

Kenin and Alison Riske are the two remaining U.S. women in the draw.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

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