Eliud Kipchoge on his marathon bucket list, shoe technology debate

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NEW YORK — Eliud Kipchoge is in Manhattan for New York City Marathon weekend. He is not running the race, three weeks after becoming the first person to break two hours in a marathon (in a non-record-eligible setting), but for the second time in three years, he is here to watch training partner Geoffrey Kamworor.

Kipchoge sat down with OlympicTalk to discuss marathon-related topics. Interview lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

OlympicTalk: What perspective have you found in the three weeks since the 1:59?

Kipchoge: I realized that the whole human community was lacking something within them. I’ve been receiving good messages of inspiration. Many people in the world are saying that I inspired them in a human way, that they’ve pushed their limits in their fields of work. Many people realized that they can be more happy when they venture into sport or when they get out of their house and run. Many people, from the farmers, lawyers, teachers, everybody is eager to get out of the house in the morning and do something better. Being a game-changer in the whole world, just to change the life of a human family. I’ve realized that together we have won.

OlympicTalk: Your motto for the 1:59 event was “No human is limited.” Is there an athlete in a sport other than track and field who you look at as somebody who also portrays that?

Kipchoge: Chris Froome is actually a good example. Grew up in Kenya, lived in Kenya for 14 years. You don’t expect someone who grew up in Kenya to come and win the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia.

OlympicTalk: You said after the London Marathon that you would like to run all six World Marathon Majors before you retire. Is that still your goal, and do you have a schedule in mind for when to run Boston and New York?

Kipchoge: That’s what is in my bucket list. I wish in the future that I will do that.

OlympicTalk: What about next year? Have you thought about your schedule and how the Olympics might come into play?

Kipchoge: Not really. For now, I am concentrating purely on my recovery.

OlympicTalk: But would a second Olympic gold medal be on your bucket list?

Kipchoge: It’s on my bucket list, yes.

OlympicTalk: What do you think about the decision to move the Olympic marathon from Tokyo to Sapporo?

Kipchoge: I can’t comment on that because I am still active. Those who can comment on that are those in the administration. All in all, I respect what the administration of the IOC and the Japanese are doing.

OlympicTalk: If you could only have one of these accomplishments, which would you take: 1:59, world record or Olympic gold medal?

Kipchoge: The 1:59. Because it’s a noble gesture. It’s history. And I trust and believe that it will go all through to more than three billion people.

OlympicTalk: When you were here in 2017 and you watched Geoffrey win, what was that experience like for you to be a spectator in Central Park?

Kipchoge: I was really nervous when I was watching him running. But, all in all, I was happy to receive him after crossing the line being the winner. The first thing [I said] was many congratulations for winning.

OlympicTalk: The IAAF formed a committee to determine whether or not to put more regulations on shoes before the end of this year. What would you tell the committee?

Kipchoge: I respect technology. I respect innovation. I respect the law of man. We are growing in the world. And the world is moving, and you can’t stop. We are moving with the world, and the world is changing. I expect the committee will be respecting the change in the world, the innovation, the technology.

OlympicTalk: When you ran in Vienna in the new Vaporfly version, could you feel the difference from your previous version?

Kipchoge: I’ve been using different shoes. For my 14 marathons, I’ve used 11 new pairs. It’s my fitness that I consider fast. My mental fitness. My physical fitness. The beauty of the shoe is the recovery.

OlympicTalk: If you were running in your shoes from 2014 or 2015 in Vienna, do you think you still would have broken two hours?

Kipchoge: I may or I may not. We cannot put ourselves in the last 10 years.

OlympicTalk: In 2012, you missed the Olympic team on the track. The next year, you moved to marathon running. If you had made that Olympic team on the track, would you still have moved to the marathon?

Kipchoge: Absolutely, I would have made the transition. It was a plan with my management and my coach. I spent 10 good years in track, which I can say was really successful and I enjoyed running track for 10 years. Even if I would have made the team to London, I would have made the transition, no worries.

OlympicTalk: When will you make a decision on if you will run a spring marathon, and which one?

Kipchoge: Absolutely, yes, [I will run a marathon in the spring]. I will make the decision in December on which one.

MORE: Tokyo governor to IOC: Keep Olympic marathon in Tokyo

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Beach volleyball player’s dog becomes social media sensation

Mathias Berntsen
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Norwegian beach volleyball player Mathias Berntsen‘s dog, Kiara, captivated social media this weekend.

A video of Kiara peppering with Berntsen and a pair across the net on a grass field spread from Berntsen’s Instagram across platforms. Kiara now has 12,000 Instagram followers, more than twice the total of Berntsen.

Berntsen, 24, is one half of Norway’s second-best beach volleyball team.

He and partner Hendrik Mol are ranked 45th in the world and well outside the Tokyo Olympic picture (24 teams go to the Games), but could get in the mix depending on how qualification is amended once sports resume.

Berntsen and his cousin Mol are part of a group called the Beach Volley Vikings. Mol’s younger brother, Anders, and family friend Christian Sorum are the world’s top-ranked team (profiled here).

MORE: Beach volleyball players fly to Australia, learn event is canceled

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FIFA rules on Olympic men’s soccer tournament age eligibility

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For the first time since 1988, some 24-year-olds will be eligible for the Olympic men’s soccer tournament without using an over-age exception.

FIFA announced Friday that it will use the same age eligibility criteria for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 that it intended to use in 2020 — that players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997 are eligible, plus three over-age exceptions. FIFA chose not to move the birthdate deadline back a year after the Olympics were postponed by one year.

Olympic men’s soccer tournaments have been U-23 events — save those exceptions — since the 1992 Barcelona Games. In 1984 and 1988, restrictions kept European and South American players with World Cup experience ineligible. Before that, professionals weren’t allowed at all.

Fourteen of the 16 men’s soccer teams already qualified for the Games using players from under-23 national teams. The last two spots are to be filled by CONCACAF nations, potentially the U.S. qualifying a men’s team for the first time since 2008.

The U.S.’ biggest star, Christian Pulisic, and French superstar Kylian Mbappe were both born in 1998 and thus would have been under the age limit even if FIFA moved the deadline to Jan. 1, 1998.

Perhaps the most high-profile player affected by FIFA’s decision is Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus. The Manchester City star was born April 3, 1997, and thus would have become an over-age exception if FIFA pushed the birthdate rule back a year.

Instead, Brazil could name him to the Olympic team and still keep all of its over-age exceptions.

However, players need permission from their professional club teams to play in the Olympics, often limiting the availability of stars.

MORE: Noah Lyles details training near woods, dog walkers

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