Kipchoge lacks ‘words to describe’ record-breaking run

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Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge smashed the marathon world record, winning the Berlin race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 39 seconds on Sunday.

His feat came as Kevin Mayer set a decathlon world record with a total of 9,126 points in his native France on Sunday, topping a previous best of 9,045 points set by American Ashton Eaton three years ago.

Organizers of the Berlin marathon initially put Kipchoge’s time at 2 hours, 1 minute, 40 seconds, but later reduced it by one second.

The 33-year-old broke the previous world record set in Berlin by fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 by 1 minute and 18 seconds.

“I lack words to describe this day,” Kipchoge said after becoming the first person to finish a marathon in less than 2 hours and 2 minutes.

“They say you miss two times but you can’t miss the third time,” he said in reference to his two previous failed attempts to break the world record in Berlin.

The Kenyan defended his 2017 title in the German capital, pulling ahead of other runners early on amid perfect conditions. Mild temperatures and little to no wind gave the runners of the 45th Berlin marathon an advantage over last year, when rain slowed the race.

Berlin debutant Amos Kipruto came second in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 23 seconds, followed by a third Kenyan, former world-record holder Wilson Kipsang, with 2 hours, 6 minutes, 48 seconds.

Shogo Nakamura of Japan narrowly missed setting a new national record with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 16 seconds.
Gladys Cherono won the women’s race in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 11 seconds, a women’s record for the Berlin marathon. The previous track record was set by Mizuki Noguchi of Japan 13 years ago.

The 35-year-old Kenyan, who has won twice before in Berlin, said she felt confident going into the race but wasn’t sure she would beat favorite Tirunesh Dibaba.
Dibaba came third behind fellow Ethiopian Rutia Aga.

A total of 44,389 runners from 133 countries took part in the race, organizers said.

Hirscher leads by 0.56 seconds after first run in World Champs slalom

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Marcel Hirscher swept into the finish area and wagged his finger triumphantly in front of the camera.

The message was clear: The ski king is back.

The Austrian produced an emphatic response to relinquishing his giant slalom title two days earlier at the world championships by taking a 0.56-second lead after the first run of the slalom on Sunday.

Only Alexis Pinturault of France was within a second of Hirscher, who was on course to win a record-tying seventh career gold medal at the worlds.

Marco Schwarz of Austria was in third place, 1.22 seconds off the lead.

Hirscher, the seven-time overall World Cup champion, showed no ill-effects from the cold that has been affecting him this week. After the giant slalom on Friday, he said he would be going straight back to bed to rest up for the slalom.

He looked in good working order on Sunday.

As the third skier on the course, Hirscher took 1.70 seconds off No. 2 starter Henrik Kristoffersen, who beat Hirscher to GS gold on Friday, and more than two seconds off Clement Noel, who came to the worlds in form after wins in Wengen and Kitzbuehel.

Save for Hirscher crashing, only Pinturault looks capable to denying the Austrian a third slalom gold at the worlds — something only the great Ingemar Stenmark has achieved. Pinturault was only 0.06 seconds behind Hirscher at the third checkpoint but he went wide at the first turn on the final descent and lost half a second.

“I’m still in the fight,” Pinturault said, “and still have a chance in the second leg. That’s the essential (thing).”

Daniel Yule of Switzerland was 0.28 behind Hirscher at the last split before falling at the start to the final descent.

Hirscher also won the slalom at the 2013 and 2017 worlds. A seventh career gold at the worlds would tie the men’s record held by compatriot Toni Sailer from the late 1950s.

Austria, a storied Alpine skiing nation, needs Hirscher to deliver in the final event to avoid finishing the world championships without a gold medal for the first time since Crans Montana, Switzerland, in 1987. The women’s team has already finished with no medals and that hasn’t happened since Schladming, Austria, in 1982.

Watch an encore presentation of the first run on NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET. The second and deciding run can be seen live starting at 8:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold.

Mikaela Shiffrin proving she’s in league of her own

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There are ski racers, and then there is Mikaela Shiffrin.

NBC Sports essayist Tim Layden calls Shiffrin the “rarest creature,” a prodigy who continues to get better with age.

Shiffrin’s stardom took off with her heart-stopping slalom gold medal in the 2014 Olympics. It looked like she would ascend to an even higher level four years later in PyeongChang when she claimed a gold medal in the giant slalom, but then she lost a battle with her nerves and failed to win a medal in the slalom. She did capture a silver in the combined event.

That Olympic disappointment has fueled her historic World Cup season. She became the youngest skier to pass the 50 win mark. She broke the women’s career record for slalom victories, and she became the first skier ever to win four-straight world championship titles in a single event.

A true prodigy indeed.