Chloe Kim wins halfpipe world title, attempts double

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There wasn’t much for Chloe Kim to add to her resume.

But at the World Championships in Park City, Utah, on Friday, the 18-year-old managed yet another milestone, adding a world title to a list of accolades that includes an Olympic gold medal and five X Games titles.

 

 

Kim clinched the title on her first run with a score of 93.50, leading the field by nearly 10 points. She upped the level of difficulty in her third run, attempting a frontside double cork 1080, but did not stay on her feet. China’s Cai Xuetong, the 2017 world champion, finished second, and American Maddie Mastro placed third for her first medal at the World Championships.

Despite her dominance over the rest of the field, Kim tends to focus more on progression than easy victory laps: at the Olympics, she had a gold medal secured with her first run score of 93.75, but put down an even more difficult third run – including back-to-back 1080s – to increase her score to 98.25.

Kim, who said she was “stoked” about her performance, spoke with NBC’s Tina Dixon after the competition about her attempt to land the double. In October, she became the first woman to do it in the halfpipe during training, but has not yet executed it in competition.

“I was really nervous,” she said. “[I] landed my first run super clean…[and] the second run was kind of a setup for the double. I think the next contest hopefully I’ll be able to do it. I’m stoked I tried it and glad I’m walking away in one piece.”

Kim, who dominated the field to win gold in PyeongChang, hasn’t lost a competition in over a year, winning the US Open to end last season and topping the field at the Dew Tour and the X Games earlier this season.

She plans to swap technical tricks for textbooks in the fall as part of the Princeton University Class of 2023.

PyeongChang bronze medalist Scotty James won the world title in men’s halfpipe. The Australian has continued to deliver since the Olympics, where he finished behind Shaun White and Ayumu Hirano: he won a second X Games title last month and defended his 2017 world title in Park City with a technical run that included two 1260s and his signature amplitude.

Japan’s Yuto Totsuka placed second, and Pat Burgener of Switzerland finished third. American Toby Miller, an 18-year-old from Mammoth Lakes, California, finished just off the podium in fourth.

Coverage of the World Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding Championships continues tonight with moguls, live at 9 p.m. on NBCSN.

 

 

Kenenisa Bekele still eyes Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record, but a duel must wait

Kenenisa Bekele
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LONDON — Kenenisa Bekele made headlines last week by declaring “of course I am the best” long distance runner ever. But the Ethiopian was fifth-best at Sunday’s London Marathon, finishing 74 seconds behind Kenya’s Amos Kipruto.

Bekele, 40, clocked 2:05:53, the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. He was with the lead pack until being dropped in the 21st mile.

But Bekele estimated he could have run 90 to 120 seconds faster had he not missed parts of six weeks of training with hip and joint injuries.

“I expect better even if the preparation is short,” he said. “I know my talent and I know my capacity, but really I couldn’t achieve what I expect.”

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history behind Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who broke his own world record by clocking 2:01:09 at the Berlin Marathon last week.

“I am happy when I see Eliud Kipchoge run that time,” Bekele said. “It motivates all athletes who really expect to do the same thing.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Bekele’s best time was within two seconds of Kipchoge’s previous world record (2:01:39). He described breaking Kipchoge’s new mark as the “main goal” for the rest of his career.

“Yes, I hope, one day it will happen, of course,” Bekele said. “With good preparation, I don’t know when, but we will see one more time.”

Nobody has won more London Marathons than Kipchoge, a four-time champion who set the course record (2:02:37) in 2019. But the two-time Olympic marathon champion did not run this year in London, as elite marathoners typically choose to enter one race each spring and fall.

Bekele does not know which race he will enter in the spring. But it will not be against Kipchoge.

“I need to show something first,” Bekele said. “I need to run a fast time. I have to check myself. This is not enough.”

Kipchoge will try to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles at the Paris Games. Bekele, who will be 42 in 2024, has not committed to trying to qualify for the Ethiopian team.

“There’s a long time to go before Paris,” Bekele said. “At this moment I am not decided. I have to show something.”

So who is the greatest long distance runner ever?

Bekele can make a strong case on the track:

Bekele
Four Olympic medals (three gold)
Six World Championship medals (five gold)
Former 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder

Kipchoge
Two Olympic medals
Two World Championship medals (one gold)

But Kipchoge can make a strong case on the pavement:

Bekele
Second-fastest marathoner in history
Two World Marathon Major victories

Kipchoge
Four of the five best marathon times in history
Two-time Olympic marathon champion
12 World Marathon Major victories

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Yalemzerf Yehualaw, Amos Kipruto win London Marathon

Yalemzerf Yehualaw
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Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw became the youngest female runner to win the London Marathon, while Kenyan Amos Kipruto earned the biggest victory of his career in the men’s race.

Yehualaw, 23, clocked 2:17:26, prevailing by 41 seconds over 2021 London champ Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya.

Yehualaw tripped and fell over a speed bump around the 20-mile mark. She quickly rejoined the lead pack, then pulled away from Jepkosgei by running the 24th mile in a reported 4:43, which converts to 2:03:30 marathon pace; the women’s world record is 2:14:04.

Yehualaw and Jepkosgei were pre-race favorites after world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya withdrew Monday with a right hamstring injury.

On April 24, Yehualaw ran the fastest women’s debut marathon in history, a 2:17:23 to win in Hamburg, Germany.

She has joined the elite tier of female marathoners, a group led by Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir, the reigning Olympic, New York City and Boston champion. Another Ethiopian staked a claim last week when Tigist Assefa won Berlin in 2:15:37, shattering Yehualaw’s national record.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, finished Sunday’s race in 3:20:20 at age 65.

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Kipruto, 30, won the men’s race in 2:04:39. He broke free from the leading group in the 25th mile and crossed the finish line 33 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Leul Gebresilase, who said he had hamstring problems.

Kipruto, one of the pre-race favorites, had never won a major marathon but did finish second behind world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in Tokyo (2022) and Berlin (2018) and third at the world championships (2019) and Tokyo (2018).

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest marathoner in history, was fifth after being dropped in the 21st mile. His 2:05:53 was the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. Bekele ran his personal best at the 2019 Berlin Marathon — 2:01:41 — and has not run within four minutes of that time since.

The major marathon season continues next Sunday with the Chicago Marathon, headlined by a women’s field that includes Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich and American Emily Sisson.

London returns next year to its traditional April place after being pushed to October the last three years due to the pandemic.

MORE: Bekele looks ahead to Kipchoge chase after London Marathon

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