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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Leanne Smith leads U.S. gold medalists at para swim worlds

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Leanne Smith has never competed at a Paralympics. Came into this week’s world championships with zero world medals. But she leaves London with three individual golds, most for any American, one year before the Tokyo Games.

Smith, 21, won the 150m individual medley, 50m breaststroke and 100m freestyle in her classification, all in American record times. The last two titles came on the final day of the seven-day meet on Sunday.

Smith, diagnosed with a rare neurological muscle disease called dystonia in January 2012, began swimming in 2013. By 2017, she broke a world record and then debuted at the world championships with a best individual finish of sixth.

The U.S. finished with 35 total medals and 14 golds, ranking sixth in the overall standings. Ukraine, usually strong at the Paralympics, led the way with 55 medals. Full results are here.

Jessica Long, the second-most-decorated U.S. Paralympian in history with 23 medals, earned six this week — five silvers and a bronze — to give her 52 career world championships medals.

Two-time Paralympian Mallory Weggemann earned two golds this week, giving her 15 world titles in three appearances (her others being in 2009 and 2010).

She won 50m titles in the butterfly and freestyle. Weggemann won a 2012 Paralympic 50m free title but was fortunate just to make it back for Rio after a 2014 accident that she said was harder to come back from than her teenage paralysis. She left Rio with no medals but a resolve to return for a third Games in Tokyo.

“I’m two seconds away from bursting into tears,” Weggemann said after winning the first of her two golds in the 50m fly, according to U.S. Paralympics. “I had a really rough go these past three years since Rio, so to finally be back after busting my butt to be here, and to be here in London of all places, is absolutely incredible.”

Fellow Rio Paralympians McKenzie Coan and Robert Griswold added two golds a piece.

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Heimana Reynolds wins skateboard world title, nears an Olympic goal from age 10

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In February 2009, a 10-year-old Heimana Reynolds was profiled by his local NBC TV station on Oahu.

“My goal is to become a professional skateboarder and compete in the X Games and the Olympics,” he said, according to the report.

Skateboarding would not be added to the Olympics for another seven years. But here Reynolds is, age 21, having just won the world title in park, one of two skateboarding events that debut at the Games in Tokyo.

Reynolds, who wasn’t named to the four-man U.S. national team in March, consolidated his lead in the Olympic qualification rankings by prevailing over a pair of Brazilians in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A shirtless Reynolds scored 88 points in the final, beating Luis Francisco (85.50) and Pedro Quintas (85).

No more than three Americans can make the Olympic team in the event, which will make it difficult if three-time Olympic halfpipe snowboarding champion Shaun White decides to continue his skateboarding pursuit. White was the sixth-best American, bowing out in the semifinals in 13th place on Saturday in just his second contest since returning to competitive skating last year.

Back to Reynolds. He grew up on the North Shore and attended the Punahou School, where Barack Obama is the most famous alum. His first name is Tahitian, reportedly referring to the power of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Reynolds, the son of a surfer, proved a natural on land. After pre-teen media profiles, he blossomed into a world silver medalist last year. He won an Olympic qualifier in China in July to take the top spot in the Olympic rankings despite a best career X Games finish of sixth.

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