Justin Gatlin runs his slowest career Diamond League 100m (video)

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Justin Gatlin ran the slowest Diamond League 100m of his career, recording his worst 100m result in years, if ever, as one of several American stars handed defeat in Shanghai on Saturday.

Gatlin, the 36-year-old who beat Usain Bolt for the 2017 World 100m title, clocked 10.20 seconds for seventh place into a slight headwind in rainy conditions Saturday. Great Britain’s Reece Prescod won in 10.04.

Gatlin’s slowest previous 100m time in 28 Diamond League starts dating to 2011 was 10.14 into a stronger headwind in Doha last year. Gatlin had never finished seventh or worse in a 100m in his career, according to Tilastopaja.org.

“I got stuck in the little in the blocks tonight, and I just had too much ground and distance to make up,” Gatlin said, according to the IAAF.

Full Shanghai results are here.

In other events, world-record holder Kendra Harrison lost a Diamond League 100m hurdles for the first time since 2015, ending an 11-race win streak. She finished third in 12.56, trailing Olympic champion Brianna McNeal (12.50) and Sharika Nelvis (12.52).

In the pole vault, world champion Sam Kendricks of the U.S. shockingly failed to clear 5.61 meters, finishing ninth, his worst placement since the 2015 World Championships. World-record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France went on to win after clearing 5.81.

American Paul Chelimo fell at the finish line in a failed attempt to win his first international race in a deep 5000m. The Olympic silver medalist led for the entire final lap until Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew edged ahead in the final 20 meters. Balew prevailed in 13:09.64, .02 ahead of Chelimo, who looked over his shoulder several times before being passed.

In the long jump, world champion Luvo Manyonga of South Africa recorded a sixth and final jump of 8.56 meters to overtake Chinese 19-year-old Shi Yuhao. Olympic champion Jeff Henderson of the U.S. was fourth.

Olympic 400m champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo took the 200m in 22.06, beating a field that did not include Olympic gold and bronze medalists Elaine Thompson and Tori Bowie.

Jamaican Omar McLeod won in his first 110m hurdles race since adding the 2017 World title to his Olympic gold. He clocked 13.16 seconds, edging Olympic silver medalist Orlando Ortega of Spain by .01.

Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad held off Jamaican Janieve Russell by .01 in the 400m hurdles, clocking 53.77. The race lacked world champion Kori Carter and 18-year-old Sydney McLaughlin, the fastest in the world this year at 53.60.

Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas took the men’s 400m in 43.99, his second sub-44 clocking in the last week. Gardiner is the only man to break 44 seconds this year. Olympic and world triple jump champion Christian Taylor finished fifth in 45.24 as he focuses on the 400m with no world championships this year, hoping to break 45 seconds.

The Diamond League next moves to Eugene, Ore., for the Prefontaine Classic, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on May 25-26.

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David Boudia adjusts diving event, goal for world championships

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David Boudia earned diving medals at his last three world championships and the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, but that was on the platform. He competes on the global stage on the springboard for the first time at worlds this week.

“I don’t have a lot of high hopes,” Boudia, who is still learning the springboard after switching to it in the last year, said in a phone interview from South Korea, where he begins competition Wednesday (TV schedule here). “But I think my biggest goal is to walk away with an Olympic spot.”

An Olympic spot not necessarily for himself, but for the U.S.

Boudia, a 30-year-old father of three, and any other American will clinch 2020 Olympic quota spots by placing in the top 12 in their respective individual events this week. Those spots, and any others earned at later competitions in the next year, will be filled at trials in June in Indianapolis.

NBC Sports analyst Cynthia Potter believes Boudia, who left the sport to sell homes in 2017 and came back and suffered a concussion off the platform in 2018, can meet his goal of making Friday’s 12-man final in Gwangju.

“He would have to dive well, but not better than he’s been diving,” she said. “His springboard is really well-timed, rhythmic, and he’s for a long time known how to go into the water without making a splash.”

But challenging Rio Olympic gold and silver medalists Cao Yuan of China and Jack Laugher of Great Britain, plus defending world champion Xie Siyi of China would be very tough.

Boudia lacks their degrees of difficulty, for now. He hopes to switch out two of his six dives before his first competition of 2020, though he could insert one of them should he make the world final.

“I need a good six months, so from August to December is when we’re kind of really drilling the fundamentals of learning those new dives and getting them perfected,” he said.

Boudia rallied to beat Rio Olympic springboard diver Michael Hixon for the title in May at nationals, where the top two per event earned world berths. But Boudia competed there with about a month of competition dive practice, about half as long as he would prefer.

“Hix and I are going to have a lot of training to do if we want to be even close to cracking that top five,” at worlds, Boudia said in May, according to TeamUSA.org.

Boudia is the lone U.S. diver to earn an individual world medal in an Olympic diving event since 2009.

The U.S. produced breakthroughs at worlds so far. Sarah Bacon became the first American woman to earn a world title since 2005, taking the non-Olympic 1m springboard event. Murphy Bromberg and Katrina Young bagged bronze in synchronized platform, ending a decade-long medal drought in any synchro event.

But Boudia’s goal must be shared among the whole team — as many top-12 finishes individually and top three in synchro events to gobble up Tokyo 2020 quota spots. The U.S. failed to qualify full teams for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

“Getting in the top 12 in the four individual Olympic events is the big deal right now,” Potter said. “Whether you are on the awards stand or not, that would be icing on the cake for a lot of these divers.”

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Anita Wlodarczyk, one of track and field’s most dominant, sidelined

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Poland hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk, the only woman to win the last five combined Olympic and world titles in a track and field event, will not go for a fourth straight world championship this fall.

Wlodarczyk had season-ending, arthroscopic left knee surgery on Monday, according to Polish media citing her coach.

Wlodarczyk, 33, has the top 15 throws on the IAAF’s all-time list, and 27 of the top 29. Her world record of 82.98 meters (scribbled on her leg pre-op) is 11 and a half feet farther the second-best woman in history. She originally took silver at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 Worlds but was upgraded to gold after Russian Tatyana Lysenko was stripped for doping.

Wlodarczyk won a reported 42 straight finals between 2014 and 2017, then suffered three losses in 2018 and two so far this year in three lower-level meets before the operation.

Americans DeAnna Price and Brooke Anderson rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the world this year. A U.S. woman has never finished in the top five of an Olympic or world championships hammer throw, which debuted at worlds in 1999 and the Olympics in 2000.

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