Redemption for Olympic champions in Diamond League final

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2016 Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Shaunae Miller-Uibo both failed to earn a medal in their signature event at August’s world track and field world championships.

But they both returned to the top of the podium Friday in the second of two Diamond League finals in Brussels.

Thompson won the 100m title, crossing the finish line .01 seconds ahead of Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast.

Thompson, the 2016 Olympic 100m and 200m champion, did not earn a medal of any color at August’s world championships, despite having run the year’s fastest 100m time (10.71 seconds) in June. The Jamaican sprinter joked that she watched the 100m race from Worlds, when she finished fifth, “over 1,000 times” trying to figure out what went wrong.

Three of the four women who finished ahead of Thompson at Worlds were not in the field in Brussels. Ta Lou was the silver medalist.

Miller-Uibo claimed the 400m title by clocking the year’s fastest time, 49.46 seconds.

At Worlds, she came off the final turn in the lead, but faded late to finish fourth behind Phyllis Francis, Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser and Allyson Felix.

Neither Francis nor Felix raced in Brussels. Naser finished second, breaking the national record in 49.88 seconds.

Miller-Uibo also won the 200m title last Thursday in the first Diamond League final. By winning both races, she earned a combined $100,000 in prize money.

Full Brussels results are here.

Four U.S. athletes earned a Diamond Trophy in Brussels, in addition to pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, who received his last Thursday in the first Diamond League final meet in Zurich.

2016 Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad edged two-time world champion Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic by .04 seconds to claim the 400m hurdles title.

Noah Lyles chased down fellow American Ameer Webb from the outside lane to win the 200m title by just .01 seconds. It was the first race for the 20-year-old Lyles since June.

Christian Taylor and Will Claye claimed the top two spots in the triple jump. Taylor, a two-time Olympic champion, has won the Diamond League triple jump title for six consecutive years.

Competing Friday night in a scenic venue in the center of Brussels, Darrell Hill held off compatriot Ryan Crouser, the Olympic champion, for the shot put title.

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Regan Smith swims another historic backstroke time at Pro Series meet

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Regan Smith, who last summer broke both backstroke world records, put up the fastest 100m back in history outside of a major international meet or trials competition on Saturday.

Smith, a 17-year-old Minnesota high school senior, clocked 58.26 seconds to win at a Pro Series meet in Knoxville, Tenn. It tied for the 12th-fastest time in history. None of the other fastest dozen came in January, six months out from when swimmers peak for the world’s biggest events like the Olympics.

Making it more impressive: Smith did it 27 minutes after finishing second in the 200m butterfly, which she’s also expected to contest at June’s Olympic trials in Omaha.

“It actually wasn’t as bad, as I was nervous it was going to be,” Smith, whose world record is 57.57, said of the double on NBCSN. Smith entered two events per day at the three-day Knoxville meet, in part to prepare for the trials, where she is slated to race six straight days in a bid to make the Olympic team in enough events to swim eight straight days in Tokyo.

On Saturday, Smith held off fellow 17-year-old Phoebe Bacon by six tenths. Bacon beat Smith at the U.S. Open in December, posting the second-fastest time among Americans in the event for 2019.

The teen emergence puts pressure on Kathleen Baker, the Rio Olympic silver medalist who had the world record before Smith took it at worlds.

Full Knoxville results are here. USASwimming.org live streams the last night of finals Sunday at 6:30 ET.

In other events Saturday, world silver medalist Hali Flickinger overcame Smith in the 200m fly, winning in 2:08.34. Smith, third-fastest among Americans last season, was .39 behind. The second-fastest American last year, Katie Drabot, was not in the field. The top two at trials make the Olympic team.

Erika Brown beat world champion Simone Manuel in a freestyle sprint for a second straight meet, taking the 50m free in 24.57 seconds.

Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, edged Manuel by .06 and took .01 off her personal best. Brown ranked third among Americans last year behind Manuel (24.05) and Abbey Weitzeil (24.47).

Brown also defeated Manuel in the 100m free at the U.S. Open in December, moving to fourth-fastest in the U.S. last year in that event. The top six in the 100m free at trials are in line to make the Olympic team, given relay spots.

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Mikaela Shiffrin nearly makes it three-way tie for World Cup win

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Mikaela Shiffrin came .01 shy of making it a three-way tie for a World Cup giant slalom win on Saturday, confirming GS has been the most up-for-grabs discipline for either gender in recent years.

Shiffrin, beaten in her last two slaloms, had the fastest second run to place third behind co-winners Italian Federica Brignone and Slovakian Petra Vlhova in Sestriere, Italy. The reigning Olympic and World Cup champion in the GS rallied from fourth place and .42 behind after the first run.

Shiffrin still leads the World Cup overall standings by 233 points over Vlhova. The American last won Dec. 29. Though she made the podium in three of her four races since, Shiffrin expressed a lack of confidence heading into this weekend’s races at the 2006 Olympic venue.

“The most exciting thing for me is that people have stopped asking me, like, are you unbeatable?” said Shiffrin, who won a record 17 World Cup races last season and has four victories nearly halfway through this season, tied with Vlhova for most on tour. “I feel really good in GS. It’s just been a long time since [the last GS on Dec. 28].”

Vlhova earned her third victory this month after beating Shiffrin those last two slaloms. Brignone leads the GS season standings by 61 points over Shiffrin, seeking to become the sixth different woman to win that discipline title in the last six years. There are four more GS races left this season.

It’s the second straight season with a World Cup GS tie. Last Feb. 1, Shiffrin and Vlhova tied in Maribor, Slovenia.

It’s the first time the top three finishers were separated by such a small margin since the last three-way tie for a win in 2006, when Lindsey VonnMichaela Dorfmeister and Nadia Styger had the same super-G time, and fourth-place Kelly VanderBeek was .01 behind.

“Last season, I had the lucky side of the hundredths many times, so sometimes I’m not going to be on the lucky side, too,” said Shiffrin, who had three victories by .16 or tighter last season.

World Cup racing continues with a parallel giant slalom on Sunday at 5:45 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBC Sports Gold.

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