Michael Norman, world 400m favorite, fails to make final with injury

Leave a comment

Michael Norman, the world championships 400m favorite, was eliminated in Wednesday’s semifinals with an unspecified injury.

Norman was seventh and last in his semifinal in 45.94 seconds, way slower than the 43.45 he ran on April 20 to become the joint-fourth-fastest man in history.

Afterward, he told Lewis Johnson on NBCSN that an injury that nearly kept him out of July’s USATF Outdoor Championships had been nagging him leading up to worlds and in the semifinal.

“My body was telling me stuff, giving me signs,” Norman said, adding that he felt a “warning sign” in one of his legs during the semifinal before jogging to the finish line. “Trying to push myself to an area I’m not capable of running right now. Body’s telling me to slow down to keep something tragic from happening.”

In July, Norman said he didn’t practice the two weeks leading into nationals because of an unspecified strain. He said the last two weeks before worlds were very hard to cope with.

“I’m just very happy that I didn’t make a huge mistake,” he said.

Norman ends a season that was promising in the spring but stifled by injury in the summer and fall. He turned professional last summer, after his sophomore year at USC, and soon became the early Olympic 400m favorite with Rio gold medalist and world-record holder Wayde van Niekerk out injured.

In addition to that 43.45, Norman handed Noah Lyles his only 200m defeat in this Olympic cycle.

“It was a great rookie year,” Norman said, “but I have a lot of learning to do. … I’m just going to have to really focus on myself and start becoming a little bit more selfish when it comes to taking care of my body.”

In Norman’s absence, the favorite in Friday’s final has to be U.S. champion Fred Kerley, the second-fastest man in the world this year. Another medal threat is 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James, who scarcely competed since a silver in Rio due to Graves’ disease.

TRACK WORLDS: Results | TV Schedule

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Tommy Ford ends U.S. men’s World Cup drought at Beaver Creek

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup win at age 30 and ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades.

Ford won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, the last North American race on tour this season. He prevailed by eight tenths of a second combining times over two runs.

“It doesn’t beat doing it here. I’ve been working hard,” Ford said on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. “No secret, just kept it simple and really trusted what I was doing.”

Norwegians Henrik Kristoffersen and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen were second and third. American Ted Ligety, fourth after the opening run, finished 11th.

Full results are here.

Ford became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup since Travis Ganong took a downhill on Jan. 27, 2017. He also became the first U.S. male podium finisher since Ligety in January 2018. Both were the longest droughts for the program since the late 1990s.

Ford, a 2010 and 2018 Olympian who missed the 2014 Olympics due to a broken femur, had been working toward this moment.

He finished a World Cup career-high fourth at the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27. Last season, the Oregon native and former Dartmouth student had a pair of fifths.

The men’s World Cup moves to Val d’Isere, France, next weekend for a giant slalom and slalom.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2019-20 Alpine skiing TV, live stream schedule

Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

Leave a comment

In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Dressel recalls summer tears in Golden Goggles speech