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Julia Mancuso narrows focus in comeback

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PARK CITY, Utah — Julia Mancuso‘s Olympic gold medal came in giant slalom, but she may have raced her last GS.

The four-time Olympic medalist plans to compete in December for the first time since March 2015. Hip surgery kept her out the last two seasons.

She will skip the first three World Cup stops in October and November — a giant slalom in Soelden, Austria; a slalom in Levi, Finland; and a giant slalom and slalom in Killington Vt.

Mancuso, who is in her final Olympic run-up and maybe her final season, will debut with speed races (downhill, super-G) in Lake Louise, Alberta, the first weekend in December.

The 33-year-old from Squaw Valley, Calif., needs that extra preparation time. She’s not ready to race full courses with timing yet.

“I’m definitely far off the pace, but every day gets better,” she said at a U.S. Olympic Committee media summit in Park City, site of her first Olympics in 2002 at age 17. “I’m still getting comfortable.

“The good thing is, when you’re far behind it’s easy to get close really fast.”

Mancuso nearly returned last season. She was a World Cup forerunner and was named to the world championships team but never officially raced.

She originally had designs on returning to not only the speed events, but also giant slalom. That’s now in question.

“I wanted to do it, but I started training [giant slalom], and it’s really hard on my body,” said Mancuso, who surprised to win the 2006 Olympic GS without having won a prior World Cup or world championships race. “So I’m not sure if I’ll be able to.”

Mancuso’s recent success has come in downhill, super-G and the super combined, including her six Olympic and world medals since 2007.

Her last World Cup giant slalom podium came in 2011.

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Danielle Perkins is first U.S. boxer to win world title in 3 years

Danielle Perkins
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Danielle Perkins became the U.S.’ first world champion boxer in this Olympic cycle, taking the heavyweight crown in Russia on Sunday.

Perkins, a 37-year-old who played college basketball at George Mason and St. John’s, improved from bronze in 2018 to earn her first world title, blanking defending world champion Yang Xiaoli of China 5-0 in Sunday’s final.

Video of the bout is here.

Perkins was slated to fight Yang in the 2018 World semifinals but withdrew due to medical reasons, according to USA Boxing.

The heavyweight division is 81+kg, but the heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

The last American to earn a world title was Claressa Shields in 2016, before she repeated as Olympic champion in Rio and moved to the professional ranks.

The Olympic trials are in December in Louisiana, after which winners will fight internationally in early 2020 in bids to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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Brigid Kosgei shatters marathon world record in Chicago

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Kenyan Brigid Kosgei shattered a 16-year-old world record in the women’s marathon by 81 seconds, winning the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04 on Sunday.

Brit Paula Radcliffe had held the record of 2:15:25 set at the 2003 London Marathon. Kenyan Mary Keitany holds the female-only record of 2:17:01 from the 2017 London Marathon. Both Kosgei and Radcliffe, the only women to break 2:17, ran with men in their record races.

Radcliffe’s record was the longest-standing for the men’s or women’s marathon of the last 50 years.

Kosgei did it one day after Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a sub-two-hour marathon in a non-record-eligible event in Vienna. She won by a gaping 6 minutes, 47 seconds over Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh.

Kosgei, who won Chicago in 2018 and the London Marathon in April, came in highly favored. The 25-year-old tuned up with the fastest half-marathon ever by a woman (by 23 seconds) on Sept. 8 on a non-record-eligible course.

“2:10 is possible for a lady,” Kosgei said after Sunday’s record.

Jordan Hasay, the top U.S. woman in the field, stopped after feeling a sharp hamstring strain after two miles. Hasay, who was coached by Alberto Salazar before his ban in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency case, is one of several women in contention for the three Olympic spots at the Feb. 29 trials in Atlanta.

Kenyan Lawrence Cherono won the men’s race by one second over Ethiopian Dejene Debela in 2:05:45.

The U.S.’ top marathoner, Galen Rupp, dropped out around mile 23 after straining a calf around the sixth mile. Rupp, who was also coached by Salazar, was racing for the first time since the 2018 Chicago Marathon and Achilles surgery.

Mo Farah, the defending champion and four-time Olympic track gold medalist, finished eighth in 2:09:58. He also dropped from the leaders before the halfway point.

American Daniel Romanchuk and Swiss Manuela Schar won the wheelchair races.

Romanchuk, 21, repeated as champion. He has also won Boston London and New York City in the last year. Schar distanced decorated American Tatyana McFadden by 4:14, though McFadden did qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics with her runner-up finish (as did Romanchuk).

The fall major marathon season concludes with the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, featuring defending champions Mary Keitany and Lelisa Desisa and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden.

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