Kendall Ellis
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USC wins NCAA women’s track and field title in epic relay finish (video)

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USC capped a bonkers final NCAA Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field with a comeback for the ages, needing a win in the very last event to claim the women’s team title.

The Trojans’ Kendall Ellis was in fifth place going into the 4x400m anchor leg after a mangled handoff. Ellis, the fourth-fastest 400m runner in the world this year, made up a staggering deficit on Purdue’s Jahneya Mitchell in the last 100 meters to win by .07.

Ellis split 50.05 seconds, 2.03 seconds faster than Mitchell, to pull off the comeback. USC needed to win the relay to pass Georgia, which didn’t have a team in the 4x400m final, for the NCAA team title.

Notably, University of Kentucky freshman Sydney McLaughlin split 50.03 on the third leg, then announced she’s turning professional at age 18. McLaughlin won the NCAA title in the 400m hurdles earlier Saturday. She is the fastest woman in the world in the event this year by nine tenths of a second.

McLaughlin reached the Rio Olympic 400m hurdles semifinals as a 17-year-old, the youngest U.S. track and field athlete to make an Olympic team since 1980 and the youngest to compete in the Olympics since 1972.

The University of Oregon’s Hayward Field is to be demolished this summer and replaced by 2020.

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Adam Rippon’s Olympic medal is stained

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Olympians and Paralympians lose medals. They ding and dent them. Even melt them. Then there’s the unique case of figure skater Adam Rippon.

“Mine actually has barbecue sauce on it,” Rippon told Variety of his PyeongChang team event bronze medal, “because I did an interview, and somebody was cooking at the same time, and they’re like, ‘Come over here.’ I went over there, and I have, like, barbecue sauce on it.”

It may have occurred in PyeongChang, where Rippon appeared on a TODAY cooking segment and ate Korean fried chicken.

Rippon told the story while sitting next to Olympic champion Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who rightly asked if the stain was not on the medal, but on the ribbon.

“No, on the medal part,” Rippon answered, “but it’s in a groove. It’s stuck there forever.”

Shaun White‘s mom once took his medal to a dry cleaners. A Florida jeweler has repaired Summer and Winter Olympic medals. Rippon has the option of getting his finely cleaned.

“You know what, I’m going to keep it there,” he said.

“It adds character,” Shiffrin said.

“And flavor,” Rippon said. “It’s barbecue flavored.”

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future

Alex Naddour, Olympic bronze medalist, banned by USA Gymnastics

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Alex Naddour, the 2016 Olympic pommel horse bronze medalist, has been banned by USA Gymnastics.

Naddour’s suspension was on grounds relating to two USA Gymnastics bylaws, including one regarding allegations of sexual misconduct and the other on interim measures before complaints are resolved, but neither the gymnast nor USA Gymnastics said why he was suspended.

According to his Twitter, Naddour was trying to contact the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which responds to reports of sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements.

“I have no idea what is happening or why, we are trying to contact safe sport for any information,” was tweeted from Naddour’s account Wednesday night. Naddour did not return messages seeking comment.

“USA Gymnastics cannot comment publicly on membership matters unless an action taken involves a public result, such as being placed on the list of individuals whose membership is suspended or who is permanently ineligible for membership,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “The U.S. Center for SafeSport has the exclusive authority to handle sexual misconduct matters for the entire U.S. Olympic movement (including gymnastics).”

Naddour, 27, also competed at the last five world championships, in addition to being an alternate for the 2012 Olympic team. He is married to two-time 2003 World champion Hollie Vise, and they have two children.

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