US Speedskating

Brittany Bowe wins overall bronze at the World Sprint Championships

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HEERENVEEN, Netherlands – Two-time Olympian Brittany Bowe celebrated her 31st birthday on Sunday by winning a bronze overall medal at the 2019 World Sprint Championships.

All athletes at the event skate two 500m races and two 1000m races. The times for those distances are converted to points using the samalog system, and the skater with the lowest total from all four races wins the championship.

In Saturday’s races, Bowe won gold in the first 1000m with a time of 1:14.60. She holds the track record in the 1000m at the Thialf Ice Arena (1:13.24) where earlier in the day she finished fifth in her first 500m event (37.89).

Bowe’s second day of races got her two silver medals; 500m (37.67) and 1000m (1:14.64). Her total time for all events (150.18) earned her a bronze medal for the overall event.

For the ladies, Japanese skaters Nao Kodaira and Miho Takagi took the overall first and second spots with a combined time of 149.665 and 150.050 respectively. Kodaira is the current world record holder in the 1000m (1:12.09).

Full results are here.

Kimi Goetz made her debut appearance at the sprint championships, after switching from short track skating last fall. Her first 500m landed her in 15th (38.49) and in her first 1000m, she finished in 19th (1:17.14). During the second day of racing, Kimi finished 16th in her 500m (38.81) and 16th in her 1000m (1:16.85) to come in 17th overall (154.295).

“I think that each time I go to the starting line, I’m improving my race execution and track patterns,” Goetz said through US Speedskating. “I still have a ton to learn but getting four more races at this level is a great opportunity for me. I have two more competitions left for the season [World Cup Finals mass start and the Calgary Finale], so I’m trying to take advantage of every race opportunity I have.”

This was also the first sprint championships for Brianna Bocox. Bocox’s first 500m time was 39.47 and she finished her 1000m with a time of 1:18.37. In her second 500m, she crossed the line at 39.67 and the 1000m at 1:19.24. Her combined time of 157.945 earned her 22nd overall.

“It was an extremely amazing opportunity to compete at my first World Sprint Championships in Thialf,” Bocox said. “The crowd and venue is one-of-a-kind!

Two-time Olympian Joey Mantia raced the first day of the championship event but decided not to compete the second day due to an ongoing back problem.

“I’ve had some issues with my back this season, on and off, starting in September,” Mantia said. “After getting on the ice for warm-up today, I wasn’t confident that I could race today and not make it worse. So I decided to rest and hopefully be ready for the world cup final in a couple of weeks.”

Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov won the overall men’s title (137.390), followed by Japan’s Tatsuya Shinhama (137.805) and Dutch skater Kjeld Nuis (1:37.86).

Both Mantia and Bowe won World Single Distance Championships titles two weeks ago in Inzell, Germany. Mantia is the world champion for the Mass Start and Bowe is the 1000m world champion.

Long track skaters will race in the World Cup Finals at the Utah Olympic Oval, Mar. 9-10. Bowe has won 12 world cup medals and Mantia has won a silver world cup medal this season.

MORE: Joey Mantia wins Mass Start at World Single Distance Championships

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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Conseslus Kipruto tests positive for coronavirus, canceling world-record bid

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Conseslus Kipruto, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion, tested positive for the coronavirus without symptoms, which will keep him from a world-record chase on Friday, according to his social media.

The Kenyan was to race in the first in-person Diamond League meet of the year in Monaco on Friday.

“Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities,” was posted. “Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League.

“I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well.”

Kipruto, 25, is the 14th-fastest steepler in history with a personal best of 8:00.12. The world record is 7:53.63, set by Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2004.

Last year, Kipruto won the world title by .01, extending a streak of a Kenyan or Kenyan-born man winning every Olympic or world title in the event since the 1988 Seoul Games. He was sidelined by a stress fracture in his left foot until opening his season extremely late on Aug. 24.

MORE: Trayvon Bromell’s road back through destruction, death

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Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities. Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League on August 14th. I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well. Wish to thank Monaco for all the work they have done and I wish them and my colleagues a wonderful competition. Athletics is back and I will be back as well. Anyone willing to organise a steeple once I can be cleared? @diamondleaguemonaco #nike #quarantine #WR #Kenya

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