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Adam Peaty breaks 100m breaststroke world record again

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — By improving his own world record in the 100m breaststroke again, Olympic champion Adam Peaty is within one-hundredth of a second of completing his “Project 56.”

The British swimmer won gold in 57.00 seconds at the European Championships on Saturday, shaving 0.13 off his previous best mark, which he swam at the Rio de Janeiro Games two years ago.

Peaty, who has the 14 fastest times in the discipline, is the only swimmer to beat the 58-second mark, and last autumn he announced his ambition to go under 57 as well.

“I don’t want to just win, I want to dominate. And that’s not an arrogant side, that’s the competitive side in me,” he said on Saturday.

With a reaction time at the start of just 0.47, Peaty looked sharp from the beginning of the race. He never had his lead under threat. He beat James Wilby by 1.54 for a British 1-2 finish. Anton Chupkov of Russia finished 1.96 behind in third.

“It’s a weird one because I wasn’t going after a world record. But after the heat yesterday I knew I was in good shape,” said Peaty, who was still far from a world record in that heat (57.89) and in the semifinals (58.04), but he announced he “would be on my full game” for the final.

“After the semi I was back in the 58s but it just shows what you can do if you have a positive mental attitude,” he said.

It’s Peaty’s ninth European long-course title, to add to his five world titles.

In the buildup, Peaty said he wasn’t focusing on setting world records or below-57 finishing times anymore after his disappointing showing at the Commonwealth Games.

On the Gold Coast in April, he won the 100m breaststroke in only 58.84, and suffered a first defeat since 2014 in the 50m breaststroke, where he was edged by South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh.

“When you go four years without losing, you kind of get complacent even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself,” he said, adding that a “spider web of support” — his girlfriend, family, and coaches — helped him to rediscover his joy in the sport.

“It’s not just my victory tonight. It’s their victory as well. I didn’t train too hard these last months. I got the balance right between training smart and training very hard.”

Just missing out on a time below 57 didn’t bother him.

“No, that gives me another level of motivation,” he said. “If I’d achieved that, people would be talking about ‘Project 55.’”

An hour after Peaty’s achievement, Kliment Kolesnikov set a world record in the 50m backstroke final. The Russian finished in 24 seconds to beat the previous best mark set by Britain’s Liam Tancock, who timed 24.04 at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.

Robert-Andrei Glinta of Romania won silver after trailing Kolesnikov by 0.55, and Shane Ryan of Ireland finished 0.64 behind for bronze.

It’s the 18-year-old Kolesnikov’s second gold medal of the European Championships after winning the 4x100m freestyle with the Russian team on Friday. He also won four European titles at the short-course championships in Copenhagen last year.

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Tokyo Paralympic medals unveiled with historic Braille design, indentations

Tokyo Paralympic Medals
Tokyo 2020
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The Tokyo Paralympic medals, which like the Olympic medals are created in part with metals from recycled cell phones and other small electronics, were unveiled on Sunday, one year out from the Opening Ceremony.

In a first for the Paralympics, each medal has one to three indentation(s) on its side to distinguish its color by touch — one for gold, two silver and three for bronze. Braille letters also spell out “Tokyo 2020” on each medal’s face.

For Rio, different amounts of tiny steel balls were put inside the medals based on their color, so that when shaken they would make distinct sounds. Visually impaired athletes could shake the medals next to their ears to determine the color.

More on the design from Tokyo 2020:

The design is centered around the motif of a traditional Japanese fan, depicting the Paralympic Games as the source of a fresh new wind refreshing the world as well as a shared experience connecting diverse hearts and minds. The kaname, or pivot point, holds all parts of the fan together; here it represents Para athletes bringing people together regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Motifs on the leaves of the fan depict the vitality of people’s hearts and symbolize Japan’s captivating and life-giving natural environment in the form of rocks, flowers, wood, leaves, and water. These are applied with a variety of techniques, producing a textured surface that makes the medals compelling to touch.

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Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Alysa Liu lands quad Lutz

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Alysa Liu, a 14-year-old who in January became the youngest U.S. women’s figure skating champion, on Saturday landed a quadruple Lutz, something no other U.S. woman has done in competition.

Liu landed the jump at the Aurora Games, a women’s sports festival in Albany, N.Y. It does not count officially, since it’s not a sanctioned competition.

Previously, Sasha Cohen landed a quadruple Salchow in practice in 2001, but never in competition. At least three Russian teens landed quads in junior competition in the last two years.

Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva became the first woman to land a clean, fully rotated quad in senior competition en route to silver at last season’s world championships.

Liu, who landed three triple Axels between two programs at January’s nationals, makes her junior international debut at a Grand Prix stop in Lake Placid, N.Y., next week.

She will not meet the age minimum for senior international competitions until the 2022 Olympic season. But she can continue to compete at senior nationals.

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