Ronnie Baker beats injured Christian Coleman again in Rome (video)

Leave a comment

Christian Coleman, bothered by a right leg injury, eased up before finishing fourth in a 100m in Rome on Thursday. Countryman Ronnie Baker beat Coleman for the second time in a week.

Baker, a 24-year-old who has not made an Olympic or world outdoor championships team, clocked a personal-best 9.93 seconds into a slight headwind, the fastest wind-legal time in the world since August.

Coleman, who finished between Justin Gatlin and Usain Bolt at the 2017 Worlds and ran faster than the indoor 60m world record three times in the winter, crossed in 10.06. It’s the first time Coleman has finished outside the top two of an individual race since he was sixth at the Olympic trials, making the Rio roster in the relay only.

Bolt retired after worlds. The 36-year-old Gatlin was not in the Rome field.

Coleman, who met Pope Francis on Wednesday, said he had “a little injury” in his right hamstring, which was taped Thursday.

“I don’t want to use that as, like, an excuse or anything, but, yeah, it’s bothering me a little bit,” he told media in Rome.

Full Rome results are here.

Baker also beat Coleman at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday, running 9.78 with too much of a tailwind for record purposes. Coleman was second at Pre in 9.84.

In other events Thursday, world champion Emma Coburn fell coming out of the last water jump of the 3000m steeplechase. She dropped behind the lead pack and ended up fourth. Olympic silver medalist Hyvin Kiyeng led a Kenyan sweep in 9:04.96, with Coburn crossing in 9:08.13.

“I am still satisfied,” Coburn said, according to the IAAF, after her first outdoor race in eight months. “I fell and then there were a lot of bodies and a lot of chaos. I do not think that I can learn from this fall. I have done this a million times. It was just a bad luck day.”

Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba ran the world’s fastest 400m hurdles in nearly eight years, clocking an Asian record 47.48 seconds. The 22-year-old formerly competed for Mauritania.

Samba, seventh in his world champs debut last year, already had the fastest time in the world for the year at 47.57 on May 4, which was also the fastest time ever that early in a year. In Rome, he beat both world champion Karsten Warholm (second place, 47.82, Norwegian record) and Olympic champion Kerron Clement (49.48, sixth place).

Jamaican Fredrick Dacres beat a discus field that included the top seven finishers from the 2017 World Championships. Dacres, fourth at worlds, threw 68.51 meters. He owns the best throw in the world this year of 69.83.

U.S. Olympian Vashti Cunningham finished sixth in the high jump. Russian Maria Lasitskene won with a 1.97-meter clearance, her 40th straight victory dating to 2016, according to Tilastopaja.org

The Diamond League next moves to Oslo on June 7.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Ato Boldon recalls Usain Bolt’s first world record on 10th anniversary

Chad le Clos seeks Sun Yang’s Olympic gold medal for doping case

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NAPLES, Italy (AP) — Chad le Clos believes he has a claim on Sun Yang’s gold medal from the Rio Olympics, with a verdict imminent on the Chinese swimmer’s latest doping case.

“He should be banned. It’s as simple as that,” Le Clos said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. “Anyone who tests positive should be banned. I should get my gold medal back from Rio.

“Not for the moment. I lost that. I don’t really care about that,” Le Clos added on Wednesday. “It’s just for my record. If I break my leg and I can’t swim again I want my record to say, ‘Two individual golds, two individual silvers.’ Because that’s what it should be.”

Le Clos’ Olympic record currently contains one gold medal and three silvers — including a second-place finish to Sun in the Rio Olympic 200m free

Odds are, though, that Sun won’t lose any Olympic titles when the Court of Arbitration for Sport issues its ruling over his alleged refusal to provide blood and urine in September 2018 in a visit by sample collectors to his home in China. During the late-night confrontation, a security guard used a hammer to smash a container holding Sun’s blood as the swimmer lit the scene with his mobile phone.

The World Anti-Doping Agency appealed after swimming federation FINA merely warned Sun and cited doubts about credentials shown by three sample collection officials.

A three-time Olympic champion, Sun could be banished from the sport for up to eight years but any ban likely won’t be backdated before September 2018 — meaning all of his Olympic medals seem safe.

But there’s also the fact that international swimming authorities worked to protect Sun from being banned, according to a Swiss supreme court document.

FINA has faced criticisms in the past for favoring Sun during his career. It did not announce Sun’s three-month ban for doping imposed by Chinese authorities until after it ended in 2014.

“I just hope the system and whatever we have is really accurate,” said Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú, who won three golds in Rio. “I just hope the decisions they are making is fair and is for the sport and not for other reasons.”

The medals that Sun risks losing most are the two golds that he won at last year’s world championships in the 200m and 400m frees. At the event in Gwangju, South Korea, fellow medalists Mack Horton of Australia and Duncan Scott of Britain refused to stand with him on the podium.

Sun has denied any wrongdoing. Any ban imposed in the coming days would likely prevent him from competing at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I have nothing against anybody. It’s not personal,” Le Clos said. “It’s just how the world should be. If you cheat or if you do something wrong, like if you false start, you get disqualified. It’s simple as that.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2004 Olympic swimming champion banned one year

U.S. Olympic luger Emily Sweeney looks forward from depression bout

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Luge’s World Cup campaign ends this weekend in Germany, where most of the best 100 sliders in the sport will be looking to close their international seasons on a high note.

Emily Sweeney won’t be among them.

Her season ended a couple weeks ago, on her terms.

The U.S. veteran is officially two years into her recovery from a crash at the PyeongChang Olympics that she walked away from — even with a broken neck and broken back — and two years away, she hopes, from being a medal contender at the Beijing Games.

She decided to listen to her body and step away from the frantic end of the season, heading home instead to meet her sister’s new baby and formulate a plan for her offseason.

Here’s what she has learned: Fractures heal, but everything else takes time. So while her body still betrays her from time to time on the track, an additional focus on the mental game is what Sweeney hopes will get her to the medal podium in Beijing in 2022.

“I am very comfortable about thinking about my weaknesses because I failed so much early on,” Sweeney said. “I didn’t make two Olympic teams right in a row. I constantly had to look at myself and say ‘What’s wrong? What am I not like?’ I had to be creative with my training and with the whole process. And so, I think I’m pretty comfortable with challenges.”

That’s why, this season, when she felt like her body couldn’t do it anymore she simply went home. The decision was not easy: Her team is still competing, she has plenty of friends on the circuit and her longtime boyfriend — Italian star Dominik Fischnaller — is a serious contender to win the men’s World Cup overall title.

But a setback right now could throw a serious wrench into her Olympic plans. The problem was pressure, not in the sense of what’s comes with the prospects of winning or losing in competition, but the massive gravitational force that sliders feel and fight through when they are on the ice at speeds often topping 80mph. It takes tremendous strength, and Sweeney’s neck still isn’t always up to the challenge. So, with wear and tear of the season taking a toll, she headed home.

“It’s not a question of if I’m good enough,” said Sweeney, who won a medal at last season’s world championships — cementing her status as one of the fastest women on ice. “I see it in my splits. I would have first-place splits, then get to the pressure and I ended up 15th. I just couldn’t keep going through this cycle of pushing it, pushing it, pushing it and then losing all my speed as soon as I can’t hold my head up anymore.”

So she’s working on her body and her mind.

Sweeney is one of the most-upbeat sliders on the luge circuit; always smiling, always happy, and most of the time her good mood is genuine. After the crash, however, the good mood wasn’t always there, and it took Sweeney some time to realize that there was more wrong than just the fractures in her neck and back.

“I went into a depression,” Sweeney said. “It’s weird saying that. But it feels foreign to me to say I broke my neck and my back two years ago. And it feels dramatic to say, which I guess I need to just get more comfortable with that. But I think that just the way I was raised was like, ‘All right, brush it off and move on.’ And that’s why I think I appear a lot of times like it’s just sunshine and rainbows, but this one forced me to stop. But you have to. And the alternative is to stay at that low and that just becomes miserable.”

From therapy came a plan: Do one thing a day to feel better toward the ultimate goal of medaling in 2022.

Most days, she succeeds. When Sweeney is right, especially in sprint events, few women in the world have a chance of catching her. Her sliding career is peaking. Her mental game, she thinks, is catching up.

And now she’s got two years to put the whole package together.

“Being an Olympian was my dream since I was 7 years old,” Sweeney said. “And then I became an Olympian, and I said, ‘Well, that’s not enough. I want a medal.’”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Lugers boycott World Cup event