U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials change format, name host city

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The U.S. Olympic men’s and women’s gymnastics trials will recombine next year, to be held in St. Louis, after they were split up for the Rio Games.

St. Louis hosts the meet June 25-28 ahead of the Tokyo Games that open July 24. The trials will be three weeks after the annual U.S. Championships. Both the men’s and women’s Olympic teams will be named in St. Louis. Specific selection procedures are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

New USA Gymnastics CEO and president Li Li Leung said Tuesday that she is “pretty confident” that USA Gymnastics will remain the sport’s national governing body to put on trials. Leung, appointed in February, came on after U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said in November that the USOC was seeking to revoke USA Gymnastics’ recognition.

In February, Leung said she has already spoken to Hirshland and that “both sides are committed to working closely to resolve the decertification request.” Hirshland called Leung “an accomplished professional” in a statement and expressed optimism about the direction of the organization under Leung’s leadership.

In 2016, the men’s trials were held in St. Louis in June in conjunction with the women’s national championships. The women’s trials were held two weeks later in San Jose, Calif.

“We think it’s the best of both worlds, to have them competing together,” Leung said Tuesday.

Most of the 2016 U.S. Olympians have announced retirements and/or not competed since the Rio Games. The only actively competing returnees are Simone Biles and Sam Mikulak, who won their fifth U.S. all-around titles last year.

Gymnastics trials will again overlap with track and field trials (June 19-28) and swimming trials (June 21-28).

This season’s U.S. Gymnastics Championships are in Kansas City from Aug. 8-11. The world championships are in Stuttgart, Germany, from Oct. 4-13.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials Sites
2016: St. Louis (men) and San Jose, Calif. (women)
2012: San Jose
2008: Philadelphia
2004: Anaheim
1996 and 2000: Boston
1992: Baltimore
1988: Salt Lake City
1984 and 1980: Jacksonville, Fla.
1976: Los Angeles (women) and University Park, Pa. (men)
1972: Des Plaines, Ill. (men) and Long Beach, Calif. (women)
1968: Long Beach, Calif. (women) and Los Angeles (men)
1964: Kings Point, N.Y. (women) and San Fernando, Calif. (men)
1960: West Point, N.Y.

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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