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Noah Lyles can break Usain Bolt record; Diamond League Brussels TV, live stream info

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Noah Lyles still has a ways to go to challenge Usain Bolt‘s 200m world record, but over the next month he can finish a campaign that rivals Bolt’s greatest seasons.

Lyles headlines the Diamond League Finals in Brussels on Friday. NBC Sports Gold streams live coverage at 12:20 p.m. ET. NBCSN airs coverage at 11 p.m.

The 22-year-old phenom can break his tie with Bolt for the most times breaking 19.8 seconds in the 200m in one year.

Bolt did it four times in 2009 (actually broke 19.7 four times), when he lowered the world record to 19.19 seconds. Lyles broke 19.8 in four meets in 2018 and is now on four occurrences in 2019 with three weeks before the world championships. Perhaps Bolt would have done it more often, but he was known for keeping his races to a minimum.

Lyles has shown little restraint, dipping down to the 100m to challenge (and beat) Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman. He’s lost just one outdoor 200m since placing fourth at the 2016 Olympic Trials out of high school.

He is a huge favorite at his first worlds in Doha, given his 19.50 clocking on July 5, the eighth-fastest in history and .37 faster than anybody in Friday’s field has recorded this year.

Lyles could be in for something special in Brussels. At last year’s Diamond League Finals (in Zurich), he had his most impressive performance of the year, a 19.67 into a slight headwind.

In Lyles’ last 200m, in Paris on Aug. 24, he broke Bolt’s 200m meet record and then Instagrammed, “Bolt who?” The accompanying photo had Lyles holding an index finger to his mouth in a shushing gesture.

Here are the Brussels entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

Thursday
11:10 a.m. — Men’s Shot Put

Friday
12:23 p.m. — Women’s Discus
1:02 — Women’s Long Jump
1:24 — Women’s Pole Vault
1:45 — Women’s High Jump
2:03 — Men’s 400m
2:12 — Women’s 100m
2:18 — Men’s Discus
2:20 — Men’s 3000m Steeplechase
2:37 — Men’s 200m
2:45 — Women’s 5000m
2:46 — Men’s Triple Jump
3:11 — Men’s 110m Hurdles
3:18 — Men’s 1500m
3:33 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
3:41 — Women’s 800m
3:53 — Women’s 400m Hurdles

Here are five events to watch:

Women’s Pole Vault — 1:24 p.m. ET
The third meeting among the last two Olympic champions (Katerina Stefanidi and Jenn Suhr) and the Olympic and world silver medalist Sandi Morris this season, but none of the three were winners at the previous stops. Six different women have won Diamond League stops, and Suhr, who has the best clearance this year, isn’t one of them. Favorite status for worlds is there for the taking.

Men’s 400m — 2:03 p.m. ET
Michael Norman, world’s fastest man this Olympic cycle, races for the first time since suffering his first 400m defeat in years at the USATF Outdoor Championships in July. The man who ended that streak, Fred Kerley, is also in the field. In fact, Brussels could be statement meet for the U.S. men. Norman, Kerley and Nathan Strother could sweep the 400m on Friday and at worlds with Olympic champion and world-record holder Wayde van Niekerk still sidelined after his 2017 knee tear. Should any of them win Friday, Vernon Norwood gets added to the 400m team for worlds.

Men’s 200m — 2:37 p.m. ET
Nobody here has ever beaten Lyles. It includes surprise 2017 World champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey and Olympic silver medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada, but Lyles was absent from both of those major meets. Some of the other men with the highest ceilings for worlds — Coleman (who rarely races 200m) and Divine Oduduru and Kenny Bednarek, who have been slow since their NCAA seasons ended — are not in Brussels.

Women’s 5000m — 2:45 p.m. ET
A meeting of the world 5000m champion (Kenyan Hellen Obiri) and the world-record holders in the mile (Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan) and the 3000m steeplechase (Beatrice Chepkoech). Chepkoech is an underdog and an unknown, having finished just two 5000m races in her career (and none this year). Obiri beat Hassan in their four head-to-heads, including the last two that turned out to be the two fastest 5000m races in history when accounting for the top four finishers.

Men’s Triple Jump — 2:46 p.m. ET
Will Claye, who took silver or bronze behind Christian Taylor at two Olympics and two world championships, has a chance to draw nearly even with Taylor in their all-time head-to-head in the triple jump. Taylor currently leads 25-24, but Claye is having the better summer and bettered him in Paris two weeks ago for his first Diamond League win in five years. Taylor once dominated, but four different men have won the four Diamond League events this season, and all of them are in Brussels.

MORE: Christian Coleman cleared of drug-testing charge

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Rewind: Australia’s Steven Bradbury gains gold and lasting fame after pileup takes out Apolo Ohno

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Heading into the 2002 Winter Olympics, young American Apolo Ohno was a phenom with a legitimate shot at multiple medals in short-track speedskating.

The 1999 world junior champion and future “Dancing with the Stars” champion had finished first in the World Cup season standings in all three individual disciplines in the 2000-01 season. In the 2001 world championships, he took gold in the relay and the 3,000m (a non-Olympic event), silver in the 1,000m and fourth in the 1,500m.

Australia’s Steven Bradbury was at the other end of his career, enduring all sorts of misfortune in the years that followed — a 1995 accident in which he needed more than 100 stitches after a skate blade sliced his thigh, then a 2000 accident in which he broke two vertebra in his neck. 

The highlights of Bradbury’s career were relay world championships medals — gold in 1991, bronze in 1993, silver in 1994. He and his relay teammates also took Olympic bronze in 1994.

Bradbury barely advanced to one individual final, the 1,000m in 2002. He advanced from the quarterfinal when Canadian favorite Marc Gagnon was disqualified. He advanced from the semifinal when multiple skaters fell.

In the final, Bradbury was matched up against three outstanding skaters, including Ohno and Li Jiajun of China, who won this event and the overall title at the 2001 world championships. Ohno and Li had finished 1-2 in the 1,000m World Cup standings in 2001.

Bradbury couldn’t keep up. The other four skaters were in a pack, making dangerous passes among each other, while Bradbury fell further and further behind.

Those dangerous passes finally caught up to the rest of the field in the final turn. Li bumped into Ohno, which would lead to Li’s disqualification. After the lead pack jockeyed for position through the entire race, all four tumbled to the ice.

Bradbury, the last man standing, crossed the finish line first.

 

From the tangled pile-up, Ohno managed to fling himself, skate-first, across the finish line to take silver. Canada’s Mathieu Turcotte made it across for bronze.

Ohno wasn’t done in Salt Lake City. He won the 1,500m gold after the disqualification of Kim Dong-Sung, a controversial decision that made Ohno the object of South Korean derision.

Less controversially, Ohno won three more individual world championship events from 2005 to 2009, plus two relay golds, and the overall world title in 2008. In the Olympics, he took six more medals, including gold in the 500m in 2006 and silver in the 1,500m in 2010.

Bradbury missed the finals in the other two events in Salt Lake City, but his name lives on in the Urban Dictionary and elsewhere as a synonym for an improbable and even accidental victory. He embraced his unique place in history to carve out a career as a motivational speaker delivering more than 1,000 speeches in 19 countries, according to the International Skating Union and has even seen his win commemorated in Legos.

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Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier form new figure skating pair

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A few weeks after her husband and skating partner, Chris Knierim, stepped away from competitive figure skating, Alexa Scimeca Knierim has a new partner.

Brandon Frazier, who was also looking for someone to form a new pair after longtime partner Haven Denney stepped away from competition, at least temporarily, will join Scimeca Knierim on the ice whenever they’re able to train and compete again.

Frazier is a longtime friend of Chris Knierem. Scimeca Knierim told U.S. Figure Skating’s FanZone that Frazier had played a pivotal role in kindling the Knierem’s off-ice romance.

Denney and Frazier won the U.S. championship in 2017 and finished 20th in the world championships that year. They finished third in their two Grand Prix assignments last fall — Skate America and the Internationaux de France. They were runners-up in the 2019 U.S. championships and fifth this year, when they revived their “Lion King” free skate.

The Denney-Frazier pair took an unusual path to figure skating, starting as roller skaters.

The Knierims won their third U.S. championship in January but handed their slot in the world championships to Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson when Chris Knierim, struggling with his form and depression, decided he was unable to continue beyond the Four Continents Championship. The world championships were later canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus.

READ: Resilient Knierims withdraw from world championships

The couple had earned attention for their romance and for their inspirational returns from illness and injury. Their U.S. championship win earlier this year was their third.

Skate America, the first event on the Grand Prix circuit, is scheduled to start Oct. 23 in Las Vegas.

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