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.

Tommy Ford ends U.S. men’s World Cup drought at Beaver Creek

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Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup win at age 30 and ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades.

Ford won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, the last North American race on tour this season. He prevailed by eight tenths of a second combining times over two runs.

Full results are here.

Ford became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup since Travis Ganong took a downhill on Jan. 27, 2017. He also became the first U.S. male podium finisher since Ted Ligety in January 2018. Both were the longest droughts for the program since the late 1990s.

Ford, a 2010 and 2018 Olympian who missed the 2014 Olympics due to a broken femur, had been working toward this moment. He finished a World Cup career-high fourth at the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27. Last season, he had a pair of top-five results.

The men’s World Cup moves to Val d’Isere, France, next weekend for a giant slalom and slalom.

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Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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