When Boston Marathon turned into a sprint, Cherono was ready

AP Images
0 Comments

BOSTON (AP) Sometimes a race is both a marathon and a sprint.

Lawrence Cherono paced himself for 26 miles from Hopkinton to Boston, making the turn from Hereford Street for the last 600 meters on Boylston shoulder-to-shoulder with two other runners. From there, it was a footrace.

“I’ve never run on the track before,” the 30-year-old Kenyan said on Tuesday after picking up a check for $150,000 as the winner of the 123rd Boston Marathon. “To me, it was a lesson. I never lost hope.”

A six-time marathon winner, Cherono was the fastest man in the field by virtue of his victory in Amsterdam last fall in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 6 seconds. That speed came in handy Monday when the pack ran faster in the second half than the first, and Cherono completed the final mile in 4:29 to get to the tape before two-time Boston winner Lelisa Desisa.

In fact, at the 30K checkpoint there were still a dozen runners in the lead pack, including three of the last four champions: Desisa, who won in 2013 and ’15, Geoffrey Kirui (’16) and Lemi Berhanu Hayle (’17).

“I was not thinking of what they did last year,” Cherono said. “I was running my own race.”

Cherono finished in 2:07:57, the fastest winning time in Boston since Geoffrey Mutai’s 2:03:02 set a course record and a world best. Desisa slowed up, grimacing in agony, and finished 2 seconds behind.

Worknesh Degefa won the women’s race in 2:23:31 after pulling away from the pack in the outer suburbs and running alone for more than 20 miles.

“This is going to change my life,” she said Tuesday. “This marathon throws me onto the world stage. Winning the Boston Marathon is everything.”

A year after dealing with some of the foulest weather New England has to offer – temperatures in the mid-30s, an icy rain and near-gale headwinds – organizers lucked into a pretty nice day. Temperatures were in the high 50s at the start, and the rain held off until late in the afternoon.

That led to some new challenges.

Forecasts of cold and rain forced the Boston Athletic Association to prepare again for the worst, and heavy rains and lightning overnight led organizers to delay some of the buses shuttling runners out to the start. An early-morning military march was delayed for 90 minutes, but had the lightning continued the whole race could have been canceled.

Para athletes and others with imperfect contact with the ground were offered a deferment; not a single one took it, race director Dave McGillivray said.

The skies remained clear for the entire elite race and a light rain began falling mid-afternoon. But instead of the hypothermia that had been feared from anticipated cold weather – extra heaters were ordered for the medical tents – temperatures soared into the low 70s and doctors were dealing with exertion heat stroke.

One runner had a core body temperature of 109 degrees, medical coordinator Chris Troyanos said. A total of 2,217 runners needed medical attention on the course or at the finish line; 103 people were transported to hospitals and 13 were admitted overnight.

All were expected to be released Tuesday, Troyanos said.

McGillivray said the changing forecasts put pressure on organizers that last year’s dreadful – but predictable – weather did not.

“It was a moving target all week long,” he said. “But pressure is a privilege. And the B.A.A. team is at its best when we are challenged.”

Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

Diana Taurasi
Getty
0 Comments

Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Alexis Pinturault wins world championships combined; American in fourth

0 Comments

France’s Alexis Pinturault won the world Alpine skiing championships combined at his home venue after defending world champion Marco Schwarz blew a lead in the final seconds of his slalom run.

Pinturault, a 31-year-old who hadn’t won a race in nearly two years (the longest drought of his distinguished career), prevailed by one tenth of a second over the Austrian Schwarz in Courchevel, France.

“I hope to enjoy it because it was pretty difficult some months ago,” Pinturault said.

Austrian Raphael Haaser took bronze in an event that combined times from a morning super-G run and an afternoon slalom run, one day after his older sister took bronze in the women’s combined.

River Radamus was fourth, a quarter of a second from becoming the first U.S. man to win an Alpine worlds medal since 2015. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom, which is scheduled for Feb. 17 at worlds.

“It’s nice, but honestly, you don’t come to world championships hoping to get fourth,” Radamus said.

Five skiers finished within 2.98 seconds of the winner in an event that has been dropped from the annual World Cup schedule and is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Pinturault had the fastest super-G run by six hundredths over Schwarz. Schwarz, a slightly better slalom skier than Pinturault, erased that deficit early in the slalom and had a three tenths lead at the last intermediate split.

He gave it all away about six gates from the finish, slamming on the brakes. Moments later, he crossed the finish line one tenth behind Pinturault, who reacted by pumping his fists in the air.

The Frenchman earned his first race victory since the March 2021 World Cup Finals giant slalom, where he clinched his first World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Last season, Pinturault went winless on the World Cup for the first time since he was a teenage rookie in 2011, plus went medal-less at the Olympics.

Pinturault, who grew up in Courchevel and now co-owns the family’s five-star Hotel Annapurna there, had retirement cross his mind in the offseason, according to Eurosport. He skipped a pre-worlds Sunday press conference due to illness.

Nonetheless, Pinturault was on the front page of French newspapers this week, including L’Equipe on Tuesday. In a sports cover story for Le Figaro, Pinturault said that, given the circumstances, it would be almost a “nice surprise” to go for a medal at these worlds.

Olympic champion Johannes Strolz of Austria skied out of the slalom after tying for 29th in the super-G.

Olympic silver and bronze medalists Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Jack Crawford of Canada were among the speed specialists who did not start the slalom. They essentially used the event as a training run for Thursday’s super-G.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the women’s super-G, where Mikaela Shiffrin is a medal contender but not the favorite. She can tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!