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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Alex Zanardi, auto racer turned Paralympic champion, has 5-hour surgery to rebuild face after crash

Alex Zanardi
AP
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SIENA, Italy (AP) — Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi underwent a five-hour surgery Monday to reconstruct his face following a crash on his handbike last month.

It was the third major operation that Zanardi has had since he crashed into an oncoming truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19 during a relay event.

Dr. Paolo Gennaro of Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena said the operation required three-dimensional digital and computerized technology that was “made to measure” for Zanardi.

“The complexity of the case was fairly unique, although this is a type of fracture that we deal with routinely,” Gennaro said in a hospital statement.

After the surgery, Zanardi was returned to the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma.

“His condition remains stable in terms of his cardio-respiratory status and grave in terms of his neurological status,” the hospital medical bulletin read.

The 53-year-old Zanardi, who lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago, has been on a ventilator since the crash.

Zanardi suffered serious facial and cranial trauma, and doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

Zanardi won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.

Last month, Pope Francis penned a handwritten letter of encouragement assuring Zanardi and his family of his prayers. The pope praised Zanardi as an example of strength amid adversity.

Shawn Johnson East shares struggles with body image, prescription drugs

Shawn Johnson
Getty Images
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Shawn Johnson East, a 2008 Olympic gymnastics champion, detailed past struggles with body image and prescription drugs and reflected on her eating disorder as an elite athlete, to show there is hope to others in difficult situations.

“It all started with pregnancy and having my daughter,” East, who had daughter Drew in October, said on TODAY on Monday. “I had so many people asking me questions about how did pregnancy affect you mentally and how did you get your body back after having your daughter. I couldn’t answer that without giving a greater and a larger story.”

East first went public about her undiagnosed teenage eating disorders in 2015, three years after retiring from the sport. She said she limited herself to 700 calories per day and didn’t tell her parents.

In a June YouTube video, Johnson said she also binged and purged, including while dating future husband Andrew in the mid-2010s. And that she had depression and anxiety in 2011, when she returned to competition for the first time since the Beijing Games.

“I thought it would fix all of my problems,” East said of returning to gymnastics for a 2012 Olympic bid.

When East won “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009, she “hit a very low spot” going through puberty on national TV. She said she gained 15 pounds after the 2008 Olympics and started taking medications and drugs “to look like I did at the Olympics.” It included fad diets, diuretics and a three-week stretch of eating nothing but raw vegetables.

“Most pain of my entire life because I couldn’t digest anything,” she said.

At some point in 2011, East began feeling burned out. She was back to eating too few calories and overtraining. An unnamed USA Gymnastics doctor prescribed her Adderall “to lose more weight, have more energy and be more successful in gymnastics.” She took “heavy doses.”

“It helped my performances, but there were massive consequences to it,” she said. “I continued to compete into 2012, where I just started to get depressed.

“I was overdosing on Adderall. I was overdosing on any medication that wouldn’t be caught by USADA.”

Adderall was a banned substance in competition without a therapeutic use exemption, but was legal outside of competition.

“I was so controlled by other people’s opinions that I wouldn’t live up to that Olympic standard that I did anything to get it back and I could never have it back,” East said. “I didn’t learn that until later on.”

East’s mental hurdles re-emerged when she had a miscarriage in 2017. She blamed herself, believing her unhealthy lifestyle in the past was a contributor.

“Our natural inclination is to say, what did I do? And what did I do wrong?” she said. “It haunted me. I felt like I had sacrificed everything for an Olympic medal to not actually get the dream I had wanted my entire life [to have a child].”

With the help of a nutritionist and therapist and her husband, she conquered the demons through her 2019 pregnancy and childbirth.

“Having gone through a whole pregnancy and knowing that I felt confident through the whole thing, I feel like I’ve climbed Everest,” she said.

MORE: Why Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson went 8 years without talking

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