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Andre De Grasse’s return headlines Drake Relays on NBC Sports

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Andre De Grasse believes he could have entered the Drake Relays as the world champion in the 100m and 200m. Instead, he watched those finals last August. One from his hotel room. The other on replay on social media.

De Grasse, the Rio Olympic 100m bronze medalist and 200m silver medalist, will race for the first time in nine months at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday as part of NBC Sports’ weekend track and field coverage.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold will air live coverage of the Drake Relays and Penn Relays.

Friday
Penn Relays: 5-6 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold

Saturday
Penn Relays: 12:30-3 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold
Drake Relays: 3-5 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold

The Canadian De Grasse is the Drake Relays headliner, racing for the first time since suffering a grade 2 right hamstring strain four days before last year’s worlds in London.

De Grasse faces a Drake field that includes six other men who have broken 10 seconds, but of them only U.S. Olympian Mike Rodgers (9.85) has a better personal best than De Grasse’s 9.91 from the Rio Olympic final.

Rodgers, a decade older than De Grasse, hasn’t broken 10 seconds in his last 28 wind-legal races, according to Tilastopaja.org.

The field is not of much concern for De Grasse.

“I’m not looking for a specific time or anything,” he said Monday. “Just looking to get my legs under me, get the rust off, see what I can do and go from there.”

De Grasse said in a recent CBC interview that he’s been training for five months since the injury. He remembers the thoughts as he watched the world championships, starting with Usain Bolt‘s relegation to bronze in his last individual race won by Justin Gatlin‘s late surge.

“I knew that it could have been anybody’s race; [silver medalist Christian] Coleman could have won, Bolt could have won or Gatlin,” De Grasse said Monday. “When I watched it, I was surprised because usually Bolt would usually catch [up to win]. Coleman was out in front. You couldn’t really see where Gatlin was. Usually, Bolt would come back at the end. It looked like, for sure, that would happen. It looked like from my view that Coleman won. When I saw the replay, Gatlin kind of just snuck in there. … I was definitely surprised of the outcome. … I wish I could have been in it, but there’s going to be more opportunities for me.”

(De Grasse said he has not recently spoken with Bolt or “anybody in track in a while.” Last July, De Grasse’s coach was quoted saying that his sprinter was “booted out” of a race per Bolt’s wishes, which De Grasse later denied in a report, calling Bolt a legend.)

Gatlin’s winning time was 9.92 seconds into a .8 meters/second headwind. De Grasse failed to break 10 seconds in all five of his wind-legal 100m races last season, but he did run 9.69 with a mammoth 4.8 meters/second tailwind a month and a half before worlds.

Then came the world 200m final five days later. De Grasse said he had never heard of surprise winner Ramil Guliyev of Turkey. Guliyev won in 20.09, the slowest Olympic or world gold-medal time since 2003.

“I ran against all of those guys before and felt like I was capable of winning a race like that if I wasn’t injured,” De Grasse said. “To be honest, I had never heard of most of those guys in the 200m final except for I think a couple of guys, Wayde van Niekerk and [Nethaneel] Mitchell-Blake from Great Britain.”

De Grasse’s goals this season include breaking the Canadian 100m record of 9.84 (shared by Bruny Surin and Donovan Bailey, the latter’s time a then-world record at the 1996 Olympics). He would like to lower his 200m personal best of 19.80 from Rio.

He wants to win a Diamond League trophy for being the best man over 100m or 200m through the season. The 100m remains his preferred distance (“That’s the glory event.”).

De Grasse said he plans to race most of the Diamond League schedule, starting with the first two meets in Doha and Shanghai the next two weeks. De Grasse and Coleman are slated for a head-to-head at a Diamond League meet in London in July.

No matter what De Grasse does this season, he does not believe he can wrestle the mantle of world’s fastest man from Gatlin or Coleman.

“You can’t say off this year that you’re the fastest man in the world,” De Grasse said, noting it’s the only year in the quadrennium without a global championships. “You’ve got to wait until next year to do that.”

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MORE: Usain Bolt sets extended stay with Borussia Dortmund

2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships results

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Results from the 2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston …

Senior Women
All-around

  1. Simone Biles — 119.850
  2. Morgan Hurd — 113.300
  3. Riley McCusker — 112.750
  4. Grace McCallum — 111.650
  5. Shilese Jones — 109.850
  6. Jade Carey — 109.700
  7. Kara Eaker — 109.650
  8. Trinity Thomas — 109.600
  9. Alyona Shchennikova — 108.100
  10. Ragan Smith — 107.200
  11. Jordan Chiles — 106.850
  12. Shania Adams — 105.900
  13. Margzetta Frazier — 105.650
  14. Audrey Davis — 104.550
  15. Maddie Johnston — 102.250
  16. Sloane Blakely — 101.700
  17. Luisa Blanco — 101.000
  18. Olivia Dunne — 98.750

Vault

  1. Simone Biles — 31.125
  2. Shilese Jones — 29.050
  3. Grace McCallum — 29.000
  4. Morgan Hurd — 28.800
  5. Jordan Chiles — 28.750

Uneven bars

  1. Simone Biles — 29.400
  2. Riley McCusker — 29.300
  3. Morgan Hurd — 29.150
  4. Trinity Thomas — 27.900
  5. Alyona Shchennikova — 27.750

Balance beam

  1. Simone Biles — 30.100
  2. Kara Eaker — 28.650
  3. Riley McCusker — 28.500
  4. Morgan Hurd — 27.650
  5. Grace McCallum — 27.500

Floor exercise

  1. Simone Biles — 29.150
  2. Jade Carey — 28.300
  3. Morgan Hurd — 27.700
  4. Grace McCallum — 27.600
  5. Kara Eaker — 26.950

Senior Men
All-around

  1. Sam Mikulak — 172.900
  2. Yul Moldauer –168.150
  3. Allan Bower — 166.950
  4. Donothan Bailey — 166.800
  5. Alec Yoder — 166.550
  6. Akash Modi — 165.550
  7. Cameron Bock — 163.200
  8. Colin VanWicklen — 163.050
  9. Genki Suzuki — 162.800
  10. Kanji Oyama — 162.150
  11. Sean Melton — 161.300
  12. Robert Neff — 161.050
  13. Trevor Howard — 160.550
  14. Grant Breckenridge — 159.950
  15. Kiwan Watts — 159.500
  16. Tanner Justus — 158.650
  17. Anthony Stephenson — 158.300
  18. Alexei Vernyi — 157.800
  19. Shane Wiskus — 157.750
  20. Gage Dyer — 157.650
  21. Jacob Moore — 157.450
  22. Bennet Huang — 156.500
  23. Seth Delbridge — 153.500
  24. Jake Brodarzon — 150.600
  25. Kyte Crigger — 148.350
  26. Jalon Stephens — 109.850

Floor exercise

  1. Sam Mikulak — 29.100
  2. Yul Moldauer — 28.750
  3. Kanji Oyama — 28.650
  4. Allan Bower — 28.350
  5. Akash Modi — 28.300

Pommel horse

  1. Alec Yoder — 29.850
  2. Allan Bower — 29.200
  3. Ellis Mannon — 28.850
  4. Sam Mikulak — 28.600
  5. Donothan Bailey — 28.050

Still rings

  1. Trevor Howard — 29.200
  2. Alex Diab — 28.950
  3. Yul Moldauer — 28.650
  4. Sam Mikulak — 28.600
  5. Donnell Whittenburg — 28.550

Vault

  1. Anthony Stephenson — 29.550
  2. Yul Moldauer — 29.150
  3. Colin VanWicklen — 28.900
  4. Sean Melton — 28.700
  5. Donothan Bailey — 28.650

Parallel bars

  1. Sam Mikulak — 29.550
  2. Donothan Bailey — 28.350
  3. Yul Moldauer — 28.100
  4. Alec Yoder — 27.950
  5. Trevor Howard — 27.800

Horizontal bar

  1. Sam Mikulak — 28.400
  2. Donothan Bailey — 27.550
  3. Colin VanWicklen — 27.000
  4. Genki Suzuki — 26.950
  5. Akash Modi — 26.850

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GYM NATIONALS: Where Are The Final Five?

Sun Yang requests second national anthem after flags fall in Asian Games medal ceremony

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Sun Yang thought he’d seen it all in his glittering swimming career. That was until Sunday’s opening night of swimming finals at the Asian Games.

In an embarrassing technical blunder for games organizers, the flag hoist collapsed during the playing of the Chinese national anthem as Sun stood atop the podium after winning the 200m freestyle. Video is here.

Officials picked the flags up off the pool deck and hastily reattached them to the broken metal hoist but were unable to raise them again while the anthem was played for a second time, to the bemusement of Sun and spectators watching in the stands.

Diplomatically, Sun played down the incident when quizzed by reporters, saying he was just relieved to finally win the 200m free title which had eluded him in the two previous editions of the Asian Games.

Even though he is the reigning Olympic and world champion, Sun had never won the four-lap race at the Asian games, finishing runner-up to South Korea’s Park Tae-hwan in 2010 and second again to Japan’s Kosuke Hagino four years ago.

“I’ve waited eight years for this title,” Sun said. “It also gives me a golden grand slam of Olympic, world and Asian titles. It’s a perfect result, a dream. It’s unbelievable.”

Officials held the flags up in their hands for the subsequent medal ceremony before locating a replacement hoist for the remaining presentations. By the end of the night, China edged Japan 4-3 in the first seven finals decided.

Sun, who is trying to win the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees in Jakarta, cruised to victory in one minute 45.43 seconds.

He was outside his best, but with a busy program the 26-year-old did enough to win comfortably and celebrated in animated fashion, clenching his fists and punching the air in delight.

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