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Eliud Kipchoge chases world record at Berlin Marathon; how to watch

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Eliud Kipchoge insists, again, it’s not his goal, but he takes another crack at the world record at the Berlin Marathon, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Sunday.

NBC Sports Gold coverage starts at 2:30 a.m. ET for subscribers, with NBCSN broadcast and streaming coverage at 3.

“I just want to run my personal best, which stands at 2:03:05,” Kipchoge said Tuesday, according to Reuters, his typical pre-race mindset. “If a world record also happens, that will be good enough.”

Kipchoge, the 33-year-old Olympic champion from Kenya, is expected to challenge the 26.2-mile record of 2:02:57, set by countryman Dennis Kimetto at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

“Eliud is going there to run for a world record,” countryman and pacer Sammy Kitwara said, according to Reuters. “He is hoping to run a world record of 2:02:40 or thereabouts.”

Kipchoge has come close to the world record in Berlin before.

In 2015, Kipchoge ran 2:04:00 to win with his soles flapping out from the backs of his shoes.

In 2017, Kipchoge won Berlin in 2:03:32, surely slowed by the weather — rain and humidity on the pancake-flat roads of the German capital.

In 2016, Kipchoge clocked his personal-best marathon of 2:03:05 in London, which makes him the third-fastest marathoner ever after Kimetto and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (2:03:03).

But Kipchoge may be best known for clocking 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour marathon attempt in May 2017 on a Formula 1 race track in Italy. The time wasn’t record-eligible, however, as Kipchoge had the benefit of pacers shuffling in and out and drinks being given to runners via mopeds.

Not counting the breaking-two attempt, Kipchoge has won eight straight marathons, which is the longest streak at the highest level of the event in at least 50 years. Other legends Abebe Bikila and Haile Gebrselassie‘s streaks topped out at six.

Though Kipchoge is a veteran, he may still be in his marathon prime at age 33 and in his 11th go at the distance.

Gebrselassie’s fastest marathon came at age 35 (in his ninth marathon); Bekele at 34 (in his fourth marathon) and Wilson Kipsang (the only man to break 2:04 four times) at 34 (in his 16th marathon).

Then there’s the course. The last six times the marathon world record was lowered, it happened in Berlin. Seven of the eight fastest times in history (on record-eligible courses) were recorded in Berlin in the last seven years.

Kipchoge would likely benefit from other fast runners pushing him. That could come in the form of Kipsang and Eritrean Zersenay Tadese, the half-marathon world-record holder, both in Sunday’s field.

Top U.S. marathoner Galen Rupp and four-time Olympic track champion Mo Farah are slated for the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7. Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor defends his New York City Marathon title Nov. 4.

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Sports execs oppose esports in Olympics, survey shows

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A global survey of sports industry executives shows 57 percent oppose Olympic status for video gaming.

Audit firm PwC says more than 400 sports industry professionals from 42 countries answered an online questionnaire for its annual survey. The findings were discussed Tuesday at the Olympic Museum, where the IOC hosted an esports conference in July on possible Olympic status for the booming games market.

The PwC survey asked “Is esports an Olympic sport?“: 28 percent said, “no, because esports does not qualify as ‘sport,’” and 29 percent said esports should grow independently of the Olympics.

A further 26.7 percent said esports must first unify under a single governing body, and 10.4 percent said esports should join “as soon as possible.” Almost 6 percent said they did not know or abstained.

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Annemiek van Vleuten, back from horrific Rio Olympic crash, leads Dutch sweep at cycling worlds

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Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten led the first medal sweep by one nation in a world road cycling championships elite time trial, repeating as gold medalist two years after a horrific crash at the Rio Olympics.

Van Vleuten, 35, clocked 34 minutes, 25.36 seconds on the 17-mile course in Innsbruck, Austria.

She bettered Olympic road race champion Anna van der Breggen by 28.99 seconds, matching their one-two finish from 2017 Worlds. Ellen van Dijk, the 2013 World champ, completed the Dutch sweep with bronze, 1:25.19 back.

Van Dijk edged Canadian Leah Kirchmann by 1.62 seconds. The top American was Leah Thomas in fifth. Full results are here.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the men’s time trial on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold. A full broadcast schedule is here.

In the Rio Olympic road race, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped into a ditch. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title.

Van Vleuten wasn’t out long. She raced at the October 2016 World Championships, placing a career-high fifth in the time trial. She then won La Course in 2017 and 2018 and the Giro Rosa in July, in addition to the 2017 World time trial.

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