U.S. Speedskating

Joey Mantia wins Mass Start at World Single Distance Championships

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INZELL, Germany — Two-time Olympian Joey Mantia took gold in the men’s Mass Start event at the World Single Distance Championships on Sunday in at Max Aicher Arena in Germany.

In the final event of the four-day championships, Mantia sprinted the final 100m to win the title in 7:35.66. It’s his first gold medal this season, but not his first win in this event. He won the Mass Start at the 2017 World Single Distance Championships as well.

“I decided I was going to go into the last corner wide, I didn’t hear anybody coming on the inside, and I took advantage of them bumping into each other and that’s all she wrote,” Mantia said through U.S. Speedskating.

Full results are here.

The two skaters who bumped were South Koreans Cheonho Um and Jaewon Chung, who finished second and third in the race in 7:36.11 and 7:36.30, respectively.

“This year started out a little rough for me, but I’ve been training hard this last month and a half,” Mantia continued. “You train as hard as you can, and you try to put yourself in a position to take advantage of whatever the race presents, and I was able to do that today.”

Also on Sunday, Mantia finished eighth in the men’s 1500m.

Earlier Sunday, Brittany Bowe took home a bronze medal in the ladies’ 1500m with her time of 1:53.37.

The Netherlands’ Ireen Wuest set a new track record with her gold medal-winning time of 1:52.81 while Miho Takagi of Japan claimed the silver in 1:53.32.

“I’ve got some work to do on the last lap, but I’m happy with how I executed it,” Bowe said. “It’s probably my best time in Europe in a really long time, so I’m pleased.”

Americans Mia Manganello-Kilburg and Kimi Goetz raced in the ladies’ Mass Start on Sunday and placed eighth and 18th, respectively.

MORE: Brittany Bowe wins 1000m gold at World Single Distance Championships

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Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned four years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)