Ironman World Championship record falls; Olympic champ struggles

Leave a comment

German Patrick Lange broke the Ironman World Championships course record by two minutes, winning the 140-mile triathlon in 8 hours, 1 minute, 40 seconds in Hawaii on Saturday.

Lange, 31, prevailed by 2:27 over Canadian Lionel Sanders, whom Lange overtook with about three miles left of the marathon in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.

Swiss Daniela Ryf, who finished seventh and 40th in two Olympic triathlons, won her third straight women’s title in 8:50:47. It’s the second-fastest female time ever behind her 8:46:46 from last year.

Full results are here.

The world’s best endurance triathletes covered 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles biking and 26.2 miles running as the temperature neared 90 degrees. Racing began at 6:35 a.m.

Lange took the course record from Australian Craig Alexander, who clocked 8:03:56 in winning the last of his three titles in 2011.

He did so by crushing the run, just as he did en route to a third-place finish in 2016.

Lange was 11th after the bike, more than 10 minutes behind, but ran a 2:39:59 marathon, just off his run course record of 2:39:45 from last year.

He ran the final mile in 5:37.

Lange also ended the reign of countryman Jan Frodeno, the 2008 Olympic triathlon gold medalist.

Frodeno, eyeing an Ironman three-peat, struggled mightily on the run with what appeared to be a leg injury. Frodeno, fourth after the bike, was still on the run course with several miles left after the top 25 men finished.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Olympic triathlon champ ran 100 miles in one week, 7 months pregnant

Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!