5,000 meters
AP

Ethiopia, Kenya push back over decision to drop 5,000 from Diamond League

1 Comment

The IAAF’s decision to drop the 5,000 meters from its Diamond League track and field series has been met with strong resistance from Ethiopia and Kenya, where one former world champion accused the sport’s governing body of trying to “kill long-distance running.”

The Ethiopian Athletics Federation has written to IAAF president Sebastian Coe asking the governing body to reconsider the change, which comes into effect from next year and was part of a larger overhaul of the series.

Athletics Kenya said it would also argue for the 5,000 to be restored and would ask African nations to come together in opposition to the IAAF’s decision at a meeting of the African track body next month.

The IAAF this week announced a plan to revamp the Diamond League from 2020, reducing the series to 12 meetings and a finals event. There will now be 24 disciplines at each meet — 12 for men and 12 for women.

The 5,000 meters was one of the disciplines to be cut, leaving the 3,000 as the longest race on the schedule.

“They want to kill long-distance running,” two-time 10,000-meter world champion Moses Tanui of Kenya said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Friday. “I think (the reason) is the dominance of our athletes in long distances.”

Ethiopia’s opposition came in a letter from track federation interim president Derartu Tulu. She wrote in Thursday’s letter addressed to Coe: “We totally disagree with the decisions made.”

Tulu, a two-time Olympic champion in the 10,000 meters, urged the IAAF to reconsider.

″(It’s) not fair to countries like ours who are very competitive in long-distance running, and these distances are our cultural sports and also our identity,” she wrote.

The Diamond League is the highest-profile athletics competition outside of the world championships and the Olympics. But its format underwent a yearlong review in an attempt to find a product that was more pleasing to television viewers and more engaging for fans.

The changes were aimed at creating “a faster-paced 90-minute television event” for each meet, the IAAF said. In an effort to find a more compact, TV-friendly format, the 5,000 meters was one of the events to lose out.

In a statement to the AP on Friday, the IAAF noted that last year only three regular-season Diamond League meetings opted to stage a 5,000-meter race for men, and only two put on a women’s 5,000. From next year, meets will still have the option of including a 5,000, just outside the 90-minute TV window.

“We made the decision to reduce the 5,000m distance to a 3,000m distance based on clear market feedback from the broadcasters and fans,” the IAAF said.

Both the Ethiopian and Kenyan federations also complained about a lack of consultation with them or their athletes before the IAAF announced the changes. The IAAF said it did receive feedback from distance runners.

Still, the 5,000 at the Diamond League gave Kenyan distance runners precious chances to earn a living in prize money as well as prepare for the worlds and the Olympics, Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei said.

“That chance has been curtailed and therefore we are appealing to the IAAF to consider that position,” Tuwei said.

Federica Brignone passes Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup overall lead

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Italian Federica Brignone passed an absent Mikaela Shiffrin for the World Cup overall standings lead by winning a combined in Switzerland on Sunday.

Brignone prevailed by .92 of a second adding times from super-G and slalom runs in Crans-Montana. Full results are here.

Brignone moved 73 points ahead of Shiffrin in the overall through 29 of 40 scheduled races. A race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place finisher. The season runs through March 22.

Shiffrin, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, has not competed since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Brignone, 29, is having a career season with five wins and 10 podiums across four disciplines.

Brignone’s best previous World Cup overall standings finish was fifth. She earned giant slalom medals at the 2018 Olympics (bronze) and 2011 World Championships (silver).

She could become Italy’s first female World Cup overall champion. The last Italian male winner was Alberto Tomba in 1995.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves to La Thuile, Italy, for a super-G and a combined next Saturday and Sunday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Alpine skiing season TV schedule

Jade Carey on brink of becoming first gymnast to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

Leave a comment

The U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials aren’t until late June, but Jade Carey is in position to qualify for the Tokyo Games in March.

Carey, seeking an individual Olympic gymnastics spot outside of the team competition, earned the maximum points in a World Cup series that is one path to Olympic qualification.

Carey has three wins each on floor exercise and vault with two World Cups left in March. Carey will mathematically clinch an Olympic spot if no other gymnasts earn maximum points on one of the apparatuses to force a tiebreaker.

A gymnast’s top three finishes across the eight-stop series count in Olympic qualifying. If Carey finishes atop the floor or vault standings, she goes to the Olympics.

Carey picked up those third wins on floor and vault at the sixth World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend.

So far, no other gymnast has two wins on floor. One other gymnast can get to the maximum points on vault with one win between the last two stops (and others with two).

The one downside to qualifying this route: Carey would not be able to compete in the team competition at the Olympics. Those four spots will be determined at and after June’s trials in St. Louis, with Simone Biles likely grabbing one of them.

“I knew I would be giving up being on the team,” Carey said in October of going the World Cup route, “but I think, for me, it made sense to just go for it.”

Carey is a world medalist on vault and floor, but she doesn’t have the all-around credentials of Biles and some other U.S. gymnasts.

Olympic team event roster sizes were cut from five to four for Tokyo, putting a greater onus on all-around prowess given a team must put three gymnasts on each apparatus in the Olympic final.

The U.S. is the deepest country in women’s gymnastics, so the only truly safe pick to make the four-woman Olympic team event roster is Biles.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Olympic vault champion retires