World and U.S. short track speedskating records fall on fast Utah ice

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Canadian short track speedskater Kim Boutin set a world record in the 500 meters and Kristen Santos set a U.S. record at 1,000m at the first World Cup stop of the season over the weekend at Utah Olympic Oval.

Boutin became the first woman to complete short track’s shortest distance in less than 42 seconds, racing to a time of 41.936 seconds in the semifinals. She went on to win the event along with the 1,500m.

The previous record of 42.335 seconds, posted in 2016 by Britain’s Elise Christie, also was set at the facility outside Salt Lake City.

Santos set her record in the semifinals with a time of 1:28.485, breaking the 2016 record of Olympic medalist Katherine Reutter. That time still wasn’t fast enough to advance past the semifinals, and she wound up finishing third in the B final.

The only other U.S. skater to reach a B final was Corinne Stoddard in the 1,500m, though the mixed relay team of Santos, Maame Biney, Aaron Tran and Thomas Hong beat Canada to take fourth.

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 speed skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Speed Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go here to sign up for access. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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