Sun Yang
AP

Sun Yang pulls a Katie Ledecky at Asian Games

Leave a comment

It became known as the Ledecky Slam three years ago. Sun Yang just matched it, not at the world championships, but at the Asian Games.

Sun, a 26-year-old Chinese swimmer, swept the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles at the multi-sport quadrennial event in Indonesia, capping it with his fourth gold on Friday.

It’s not much of a surprise. Sun won the 400m and 1500m at the 2012 London Olympics, then snatched the 200m free in Rio. He also owns nine world championships among the four distances.

Sun has never recorded the Slam at a world championships like Ledecky, though. Nobody has.

He swept the 400m, 800m and 1500m frees at the 2013 Worlds and took 200m silver, 400m gold and 800m gold in 2015 before controversially not showing for the 1500m free final, citing heart issues after a report of a warm-up pool altercation.

At 2017 Worlds, Sun was fifth in the 800m free and withdrew from the 1500m free before the heats, continuing a recent trend of his prowess moving toward the shorter distances.

His 1500m time Friday — 14:58.53 — was 27.51 seconds off his world record from the 2012 Olympics and puts him 15th in the world this year. Sun ranks No. 3 in the world in 2018 in the 200m, No. 1 in the 400m and No. 8 in the 800m.

That makes it unlikely that Sun could repeat the feat at the 2019 Worlds in South Korea or the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where the men’s 800m free makes its Olympic debut.

Also at the Asian Games, Japanese 18-year-old Rikako Ikee won the women’s 50m and 100m frees and 50m and 100m butterflies, in addition to a pair of relay golds. She’s setting up to be one of the 2020 Olympic host nation’s biggest stars.

Ikee proved versatile at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo two weeks ago, winning the 100m fly in a national record and taking second in the 200m free, one spot ahead of Ledecky.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Katie Ledecky closes Pan Pacs with 21-second win

Brigid Kosgei beaten as another world record smashed in Nike shoes

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh broke the half marathon world record by 20 seconds, beating new marathon world-record holder Brigid Kosgei in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.

Nike-sponsored runners lowered the men’s and women’s marathon and half marathon records since September 2018, each appearing to race in versions of the apparel giant’s scrutinized Vaporfly shoes.

Yeshaneh, a 28-year-old who finished 14th in the 2016 Olympic 5000m, clocked 1:04:31 for 13.1 miles to better Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei‘s world record from 2017.

Kosgei, a 26-year-old Kenyan, also came in under the old world record but 18 seconds behind Yeshaneh.

Kosgei took 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record on Oct. 13, clocking 2:14:04 to win the Chicago Marathon.

Nike Vaporfly shoes, including the prototypes worn by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge when he ran a sub-two-hour marathon, were deemed legal by World Athletics’ new shoe regulations last month, according to Nike.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Galen Rupp, after tumult, finds familiarity before Olympic trials

Olympic, world champion lugers pull out of World Cup event over safety

Getty Images
Leave a comment

U.S. Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer and other top lugers are skipping this weekend’s World Cup stop in Winterberg, Germany, citing unsafe track conditions and a growing frustration with the international federation over athlete concerns.

“This was brought to the attention of the FIL [International Luge Federation] and yet again we were told that everything is ok,” was posted on Mazdzer’s Instagram. “I realize that a boycott is a lose-lose situation and there are no winners. But I have no other option at this point. I feel personally that this track is not safe for doubles sleds or for athletes who do not have adequate numbers of runs.”

Mazdzer said by phone Friday that he noticed significant bumps on the track in his first training run earlier this week.

“I couldn’t drive because I’m being thrown everywhere,” he said. “When you’re going 130 kilometers an hour [80 miles per hour], you don’t really want the track to be bad.”

An FIL spokesperson said Friday that Mazdzer’s choice was “his individual decision” and declined further comment ahead of races scheduled Saturday and Sunday. Mazdzer said that he was told the race starts will be moved down.

USA Luge said in a Friday statement that it will not participate in the World Cup and would communicate its concern for athlete safety to the FIL.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Summer Britcher said she was boycotting via Instagram, calling it “a farce of a World Cup.” Top lugers said athletes suffered serious injuries in training runs.

“I love this sport, but after too many decisions too many times that disregard 1-the safety of the athletes, and 2- the integrity and fairness of our sport, I have grown a great disdain for the International Luge Federation, and those who make these decisions,” was posted on Britcher’s account. “I will not race this weekend. I do not believe the track is safe, I do not believe it has been prepared to a World Cup standard, and I do not believe that the International Federation and Winterberg World Cup organisers should get away from this with no consequences.”

Britcher’s post noted that her team notified coaches and the technical director that the track was unsafe after her first training run Wednesday.

“Our concerns, and the concerns of the rest of the athletes from other nations throughout the day were not taken seriously,” Britcher posted.

Britcher said that several coaches attempted to fix the track for several hours on Thursday after athletes refused to train.

Olympic champion David Gleirscher of Austria and World Cup standings leader Roman Repilov of Russia and the top doubles teams of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany also posted on Instagram that they’re skipping the Winterberg World Cup, the penultimate stop of the season, for safety reasons.

Mazdzer estimated a 20 percent crash rate in training, but that the track condition has improved since Wednesday. He still plans to race next week at the last World Cup in Königssee.

“There’s a lot of problems with Winterberg,” he said after detailing the situation between athletes and the FIL, “and it’s not just the track.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: World Bobsled, Skeleton Championships TV Schedule