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Fifteen years ago today: Michael Phelps wins first gold medal

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Michael Phelps made his first Olympic team at age 15, finishing fifth in the 200-meter butterfly in Sydney.

Four years later, the expectations were much higher. He broke the 200 fly world record in 2001 and broke it again to win his first world championship later that year. In the 2003 world championships, he defended his title and added championships in the 200-meter medley, the 400-meter medley and 4×100 medley relay.

On Aug. 14, 2004, still barely 19 years old, Phelps jumped into the pool for his first final of the Athens Olympics, the 400-meter medley.

Even the yellow line for world-record pace was no competition for Phelps.

That year, Phelps took gold in both medleys, both butterflies and two relays. He added bronze in two other events for a total of eight medals.

Twelve years later, he wrapped up with a career total of 23 golds, three silvers and two bronzes.

The full list:

2004 Athens

Gold (6): 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 200m medley, 400m medley, 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay

Bronze (2): 200m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay

2008 Beijing

Gold (8): 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 200m medley, 400m medley, 200m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay, 4x200m freestyle relay

2012 London

Gold (4): 100m butterfly, 200m medley, 4x200m freestyle relay. 4x100m medley relay

Silver (2): 4x100m freestyle relay, 200m butterfly

Did not medal: 400m medley (fourth)

2016 Rio

Gold (5): 200m butterfly, 200m medley, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay, 4x200m freestyle relay

Silver (1): 100m butterfly

Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

MORE: Eliud Kipchoge opines on shoe technology debate

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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