Associated Press

Boston Marathon elite field announced

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Boylston Street will see a few familiar faces when the 123rd edition of the Boston Marathon takes place on April 15.

The Boston Athletic Association and sponsor John Hancock announced the elite field on Thursday, which includes both defending champions – American Desiree Linden and Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi. In total, nine Boston Marathon open champions and seven wheelchair champions will compete in the elite field.

Linden ended a 33-year drought for American women when she won last year’s race after powering through rampant rain. Other headliners in this year’s field include 2017 winner Edna Kiplagat of Kenya and 2016 Olympic marathon bronze medalist Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia. American Sarah Sellers, who surprised with a second-place finish in Boston last year, will also compete, as will Olympic 10,000-meter silver medalist Sally Kipyego of Kenya.

The men’s elite entrants include 2017 winner and world marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya and 2018 New York City Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia. Shadrack Biwott, who finished third in Boston last year, and Olympians Dathan RitzenheinAbdi Abdirahman and Jared Ward headline the U.S. contingent.

American Tatyana McFadden and Switzerland’s Marcel Hug are among the frontrunners in the elite wheelchair divisions. McFadden, a 17-time Paralympic medalist, is a five-time Boston winner and the defending champion. She’ll face Manuela Schar of Switzerland, who clocked in at 1:28.17 in 2017, becoming the first woman to finish under 1:30. Hug, an eight-time Paralympic medalist, will race for his fifth wheelchair title in a men’s field that also includes South African Ernst van Dyk, a 10-time Boston winner.

Hayley Wickenheiser is 7th woman elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Hayley Wickenheiser
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Hayley Wickenheiser, arguably the greatest female hockey player of all time who retired in 2017, will be the seventh female player in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The six-time Canadian Olympian (once in softball) was elected in her first year of eligibility. Wickenheiser is joined by Sergei Zubov, who earned gold at the 1992 Albertville Games with the Unified Team, two-time Czech Olympic medalist Václav Nedomanský and 1980s and ’90s NHLer Guy Carbonneau, among others.

The induction ceremony is Nov. 18 in Toronto.

Wickenheiser is the fifth Canadian female player elected after Angela James (2010), Geraldine Heaney (2013), Danielle Goyette (2017) and Jayna Hefford (2018). Americans Cammi Granato (2010) and Angela Ruggiero (2015) are also Hall of Famers.

Wickenheiser, now the Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant director of player development, earned four golds and one silver in the first five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments. She played 23 years for the Canadian national team, earning seven world titles and being named Olympic tournament MVP in 2002 and 2006.

She also carried the Canadian flag at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony and recited the Athletes’ Oath at the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony. She was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in 2014.

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Breaking provisionally added for 2024 Olympics

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Breaking (don’t call it break dancing) was provisionally added to the Olympics for the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC also announced Tuesday that skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were provisionally added to the 2024 Olympic program. Those three sports will debut at Tokyo 2020 but were not assured places on the Olympic program beyond next year.

“They contribute to making the program more gender balanced and more urban, and offer the opportunity to connect with the younger generation,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a press release. “The proposed sports are in line with these principles and enhance Paris 2024’s overall dynamic Games concept, which focuses on inclusivity, inspiring a new audience and hosting socially responsible Games.”

The IOC Executive Board will make the final decision on the Paris 2024 event program in December 2020, but no more sports can be proposed for inclusion. That means baseball and softball, which return to the Olympics next year, will not be on the 2024 Olympic program. Those sports can still be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Breaking debuted at the Youth Olympics last year, where the U.S. did not have any athletes. Sergei “Bumblebee” Chernyshev of Russia and Ramu Kawai of Japan took gold medals.

Breaking had never previously been up for a vote for Olympic inclusion, but the World DanceSport Federation is recognized by the IOC.

Teenagers, some of whom went by nicknames like Bad Matty, Senorita Carlota and KennyG, went head-to-head in dance battles at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last year. They performed on a mat atop an outdoor basketball court to a musical beat and emcees.

Judges determined winners using six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, perfomativity and musicality.

“Breaking (also called b-boying or b-girling) is an urban dance style,” according to the Youth Olympics. “The urban dance style originated during the mid 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City.”

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