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

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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.

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Larry Nassar judge, Olympians back USOC oversight push in Congress

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DENVER (AP) — The judge who sentenced former sports doctor Larry Nassar to prison and a group of Olympians are backing an effort to create a commission to look into the operations of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Michigan Judge Rosemarie Aquilina joined the athletes and Colorado’s U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette in Denver on Monday to announce the planned introduction of the bipartisan bill Tuesday in the House. It mirrors one introduced in January by Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in the Senate, a standard practice in Congress. It would set up a panel of 16 people, half of them Olympians or Paralympians, with subpoena power.

Aquilina urged people to ask their congressional representatives to support the legislation and add their names as co-sponsors. Aquilina said she became involved because this wasn’t a partisan issue, but a “human thing. This is justice for everybody. Isn’t that what judges are supposed to be — about equal justice?”

“It’s troubling for me to hear that money and medals are valued more than the safety of athletes. We have to flip that script,” added Aquilina, who sentenced Nassar to what equates to life in prison. “How is it that the Olympics do not protect their athletes? That’s their company. That’s their bread and butter.”

The latest legislation to establish the commission comes six months after a congressional report in the wake of the Nassar sex-abuse case that recommended a review of the law that governs the USOC and how the USOC can use its authority to more actively protect athletes.

USOC spokesman Mark Jones said in a statement they will “continue to work constructively with both the House and the Senate to create healthy and safe environments for the American athletes we serve.”

Among the panel’s duties would be to evaluate how responsive the national governing bodies of each Olympic sports are to the athletes, and whether the U.S. Center for SafeSport has proper funding to effectively respond to any future reports of harassment and sexual assault. In addition, the panel would review the diversity of the USOC’s board members, its finances and whether it’s achieving its stated goals.

Gardner said he’s talked to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about serving on the panel. “That’s likely the kind of caliber that we need,” Gardner said.

Olympic champions Nancy Hogshead-Makar, BJ Bedford and Norm Bellingham, along with Paralympic gold medalist Sarah Will were among those in attendance.

“No amount of gold medals are worth putting the health and safety of our athletes at risk,” DeGette said. “When the very body that Congress created to care for our athletes becomes more concerned about winning and protecting a brand than the athletes themselves — it’s time for change.”

Rob Koehler said he believes this will be a big step forward for athletes. He’s the director general of a group called Global Athlete, which is designed to help athletes gain a more represented voice.

“It’s time to make sure there is independent oversight, that the government takes a brave leadership role, not only for the United States but as an example for other countries, that it’s no longer acceptable for sport to self-govern itself,” Koehler said. “It’s all about the athletes. We lose focus of that. This movement is about celebrating athletes’ victories, and the growth potential is there.”

MORE: ‘This is not Burger King’: Nassar request denied by Aquilina

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Luca Urlando breaks Michael Phelps butterfly record

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Luca Urlando, the grandson of an Italian Olympic hammer thrower, appears to be the U.S. successor to Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly.

Urlando, 17, broke Phelps’ national 17-18 age group record in Phelps’ trademark event on Friday night, clocking 1:53.84 at a Tyr Pro Series meet in Clovis, Calif. Phelps’ mark (1:53.93) was set in 2003, when it doubled as the world record. Urlando previously broke high school age group records held by Phelps and Caeleb Dressel in 25-yard pools.

Urlando is now the third-fastest American in history in the 200m butterfly behind Phelps and Tyler Clary. He also ranks third in the world this year behind Hungarians Kristof Milak and Tamas Kenderesi.

But Urlando will not be at July’s world championships as that team was decided in 2018.

Last summer, Urlando was the highest-ranking U.S. swimmer not to make the Pan Pacific Championships team, though it was initially announced that he did make it.

Had Urlando made Pan Pacs and then swum .17 faster there than he did at nationals, he would have made the team for July’s world championships. Urlando went to Junior Pan Pacs instead last summer and did not swim faster than at nationals.

Should Urlando make the Tokyo Games, he is in line to be the youngest U.S. Olympic male swimmer since 2000, when a 15-year-old Phelps made his Olympic debut.

His grandfather, Giampaolo Urlando, threw the hammer for Italy at the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Olympics with a best finish of seventh. He originally was fourth at Los Angeles 1984 before being disqualified for testosterone.

Luca’s father, Alessandro Urlando, holds the University of Georgia school record in the discus. Luca, a rising Sacramento high school senior, is committed to Georgia.

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