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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Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin
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Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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Lara Gut-Behrami wins Killington giant slalom, and the overall title race may be on

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Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami rallied from third place after the first run for her 35th career World Cup victory, taking a giant slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Saturday.

Gut-Behrami, 31, earned her fifth World Cup giant slalom win and first in six years. She prevailed by .07 of a second over Italian Marta Bassino combining times from two windy runs. Sweden’s Sara Hector, the Olympic champion and first-run leader, ended up third.

“Last two years I’ve been getting better in GS again,” said Gut-Behrami, who won the GS at the last world championships in 2021. “Last year I was struggling with my health. I was all the time sick.”

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Gut-Behrami’s best events are downhill and super-G, so a strong start to the season in GS could put her on a path to winning the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. She previously lifted that crystal globe in 2016.

Reigning World Cup overall champ Mikaela Shiffrin, who previously placed second, third, fourth and fifth in Killington giant slaloms, finished 13th after winning the season’s first two races, slaloms in Finland last week. It marked her lowest World Cup GS finish since December 2019.

“[Finland] was a spectacular weekend,” Shiffrin, who has not had much recent GS training, said after her 10th-place opening run Saturday. “Every race is a different story.”

Shiffrin won all five World Cup slaloms in Killington dating to 2016 and will go for her 50th career World Cup slalom victory across all venues on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock).

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