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Mo Farah compares Eliud Kipchoge to Anthony Joshua, taps London Marathon

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In the settled dust of the fall major marathon season, an argument can be made that Mo Farah is the world’s best marathoner in the non-Eliud Kipchoge division.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m on the track at the last two Olympics and switched full-time to road running this year, took third at the London Marathon on April 22 and won the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7.

The 35-year-old Brit announced Tuesday that he’s entering next April’s London Marathon, which Kipchoge has raced and won three straight times (not counting his 2017 absence for Nike’s sub-two-hour marathon attempt). Kipchoge, who distanced Farah by two minutes in April, has not announced his spring marathon plans, but it would be a surprise if he doesn’t defend his London title.

Farah anticipated the showdown in his post-Chicago victory news conference last month, conceding that Kipchoge is the better marathoner (currently, Farah noted) but that he was not afraid of not only racing Kipchoge, but also trying to test the Kenyan world-record holder.

Kipchoge, who is 19 months younger than Farah, has won nine straight marathons, the longest streak at the highest level of the event in at least 50 years. His world record — 2:01:39 set in Berlin on Sept. 16 — is 78 seconds clear of the second-fastest man in history.

“Do I think I can beat him? Yes,” Farah said in conjunction with his London Marathon announcement, according to the Standard. “Right now, he’s beyond anyone else. In that way, I’d compare him to Anthony Joshua, in that he’s the top of the heavyweight boxing division, but it only takes one great fight to knock him down.”

Farah compared himself to another undefeated British heavyweight, Tyson Fury. “You don’t know what you’re going to get. On the day, when it matters, I feel I can put on the best show,” he said, according to the report.

While Joshua and Fury have never fought, Farah and Kipchoge were in the same track race 14 times between 2006 and 2012, with Farah winning three of the last four as he emerged as the world’s best distance runner in 2011 and 2012.

Farah’s plan beyond the London Marathon isn’t as set as once thought. He has said he might go back on his 2017 retirement from track racing and attempt to race the 10,000m at the world championships in Doha on Sept. 27. Even race on the track at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The last British man to win the London Marathon was Eamonn Martin in 1993.

“My aim is to win the London Marathon one day,” Farah said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be.”

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MORE: U.S. marathon rankings for 2018

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire

Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

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Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

MORE: How Gracie Gold landed in Philadelphia, thoughts competitive return

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