PyeongChang late night roundup

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It wasn’t a great night for U.S. hockey, but the sun does always shine in the morning.

This morning it was brought courtesy of Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins. The pair broke a 42 year medal drought for the United States in cross-country by winning gold in the women’s relay sprint. The American duo were able to outmuscle competitors far more decorated than they, including 14-time Olympic medal Marit Bjoergen.

The men’s curling team also had a positive morning, capping off an improbable comeback by stomping Great Britain 10-4 in the final draw of round robin play. The U.S., who were at one point 2-4 in the competition, won three consecutive games to launch themselves into the medal rounds.

Continue reading below to catch up on the rest of the happenings around PyeongChang.


Cross-Country: Diggins, Randall, Bjoergen make history

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won the USA’s first-ever women’s cross-country medal (and second man or woman) tonight, winning the gold in the women’s relay sprint. They kept within the leading pack of skiers in each leg, and it was an emphatic final sprint by Diggins to clinch an historic gold for the U.S.

Speaking of history, Norway’s bronze medal in the women’s sprint relay brings Marit Bjoergen’s Winter Olympic medal count to 14 total, officially making her the most decorated Winter Olympian ever.

Full cross-country recap available here 

Speed Skating: U.S. win bronze in women’s pursuit

After they lost to the Netherlands in the semifinals on Monday, the U.S. were placed in the bronze medal meeting against Canada.

The Americans got off to a flying start, leading Canada by 1.55 seconds in just the first lap. They continued their pace to push that gap all the way up to 3.35 seconds at the halfway point before they started tiring.

Canada made a strong effort to capitalize on the Americans’ tired legs, and the U.S. nearly collided with each other in the final turn, but Team USA managed to win the bronze by .44 seconds.

Japan took the gold medal over Ireen Wurst and the Netherlands to win the gold, setting a new Olympic record in the process.

Curling: USA sneak into semifinals with win over Britain

Well, just look at that table run. The U.S. men’s curling team continue their improbable medal charge by defeating 2014 silver medalists Great Britain in eight ends.

That makes it three wins in a row now for the USA, who were once in big trouble at 2-4 in group play. Since then, they’ve picked up good wins over Canada, Switzerland, and Great Britain.

With the victory, the USA have jumped past Great Britain and Switzerland to land third in the table. Britain and Switzerland, meanwhile, must play a tie-breaker to decide which team will play against Sweden in the other semifinal.

Men’s Tournament

USA def. GBR 10-4

KOR def. JPN 10-4

NOR def. SWE 7-2

Full curling recap available here 

Hockey: Finland win bronze 

Finland won the bronze medal in the women’s tournament, defeating OAR 3-2. Finland looked to be in firm control of the match early on, building up to a 2-0 lead one minute into the second period. The Athletes from Russia managed to make a game of it, though, halving the lead just a minute later. This is Finland’s first Olympic medal since 2010.

On the men’s side, OAR cruised into the semifinals with a 6-1 trouncing of Norway. They go on to Face the Czech Republic, who defeated the United States in a shootout on Wednesday evening.

Women’s Tournament

FIN def. OAR 3-2

Men’s Tournament

OAR def. NOR 6-1

Bobsled: U.S. sitting in second, fourth leading into final run 

Two U.S. teams are in medal contention in the women’s bobsled after three runs. Elana Meyers-Taylor and Lauren Gibbs are currently behind first place Germany by .04 seconds. Jamie Greubel Poser and Aja Evans are sitting outside the medal positions in fourth, behind third-placed Canada by .05 seconds.

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Freestyle Skiing: Leman wins gold on wild day 

In a competition that featured some pretty scary crashes, Canada’s Brady Leman took the gold after leading the entire stretch of the final race. There were six crashes total in the men’s ski cross competition, including two in the opening seeding runs.

Full ski cross recap available here 

 

Kenenisa Bekele still eyes Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record, but a duel must wait

Kenenisa Bekele
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LONDON — Kenenisa Bekele made headlines last week by declaring “of course I am the best” long distance runner ever. But the Ethiopian was fifth-best at Sunday’s London Marathon, finishing 74 seconds behind Kenya’s Amos Kipruto.

Bekele, 40, clocked 2:05:53, the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. He was with the lead pack until being dropped in the 21st mile.

But Bekele estimated he could have run 90 to 120 seconds faster had he not missed parts of six weeks of training with hip and joint injuries.

“I expect better even if the preparation is short,” he said. “I know my talent and I know my capacity, but really I couldn’t achieve what I expect.”

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history behind Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who broke his own world record by clocking 2:01:09 at the Berlin Marathon last week.

“I am happy when I see Eliud Kipchoge run that time,” Bekele said. “It motivates all athletes who really expect to do the same thing.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Bekele’s best time was within two seconds of Kipchoge’s previous world record (2:01:39). He described breaking Kipchoge’s new mark as the “main goal” for the rest of his career.

“Yes, I hope, one day it will happen, of course,” Bekele said. “With good preparation, I don’t know when, but we will see one more time.”

Nobody has won more London Marathons than Kipchoge, a four-time champion who set the course record (2:02:37) in 2019. But the two-time Olympic marathon champion did not run this year in London, as elite marathoners typically choose to enter one race each spring and fall.

Bekele does not know which race he will enter in the spring. But it will not be against Kipchoge.

“I need to show something first,” Bekele said. “I need to run a fast time. I have to check myself. This is not enough.”

Kipchoge will try to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles at the Paris Games. Bekele, who will be 42 in 2024, has not committed to trying to qualify for the Ethiopian team.

“There’s a long time to go before Paris,” Bekele said. “At this moment I am not decided. I have to show something.”

So who is the greatest long distance runner ever?

Bekele can make a strong case on the track:

Bekele
Four Olympic medals (three gold)
Six World Championship medals (five gold)
Former 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder

Kipchoge
Two Olympic medals
Two World Championship medals (one gold)

But Kipchoge can make a strong case on the pavement:

Bekele
Second-fastest marathoner in history
Two World Marathon Major victories

Kipchoge
Four of the five best marathon times in history
Two-time Olympic marathon champion
12 World Marathon Major victories

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Yalemzerf Yehualaw, Amos Kipruto win London Marathon

Yalemzerf Yehualaw
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Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw became the youngest female runner to win the London Marathon, while Kenyan Amos Kipruto earned the biggest victory of his career in the men’s race.

Yehualaw, 23, clocked 2:17:26, prevailing by 41 seconds over 2021 London champ Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya.

Yehualaw tripped and fell over a speed bump around the 20-mile mark. She quickly rejoined the lead pack, then pulled away from Jepkosgei by running the 24th mile in a reported 4:43, which converts to 2:03:30 marathon pace; the women’s world record is 2:14:04.

Yehualaw and Jepkosgei were pre-race favorites after world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya withdrew Monday with a right hamstring injury.

On April 24, Yehualaw ran the fastest women’s debut marathon in history, a 2:17:23 to win in Hamburg, Germany.

She has joined the elite tier of female marathoners, a group led by Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir, the reigning Olympic, New York City and Boston champion. Another Ethiopian staked a claim last week when Tigist Assefa won Berlin in 2:15:37, shattering Yehualaw’s national record.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, finished Sunday’s race in 3:20:20 at age 65.

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Kipruto, 30, won the men’s race in 2:04:39. He broke free from the leading group in the 25th mile and crossed the finish line 33 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Leul Gebresilase, who said he had hamstring problems.

Kipruto, one of the pre-race favorites, had never won a major marathon but did finish second behind world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in Tokyo (2022) and Berlin (2018) and third at the world championships (2019) and Tokyo (2018).

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest marathoner in history, was fifth after being dropped in the 21st mile. His 2:05:53 was the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. Bekele ran his personal best at the 2019 Berlin Marathon — 2:01:41 — and has not run within four minutes of that time since.

The major marathon season continues next Sunday with the Chicago Marathon, headlined by a women’s field that includes Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich and American Emily Sisson.

London returns next year to its traditional April place after being pushed to October the last three years due to the pandemic.

MORE: Bekele looks ahead to Kipchoge chase after London Marathon

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