Olympic champion field hockey player retires after freak head injury

Getty Images
0 Comments

LONDON (AP) — A field hockey player who helped Britain win a gold medal at the Rio Olympics announced her retirement on Thursday after failing to recover from head trauma caused by hitting a brick wall hard while laughing at a joke.

Alex Danson-Bennett said her head injury had been life-changing “in terms of my perspective and things that have happened within my family.”

“It’s difficult because this has been my life,” said Danson-Bennett, a 34-year-old who co-led the last two Olympic tournaments in goals.

A key player for Britain when the team won Olympic gold in 2016, she was on holiday in Kenya with her now-husband, Alex, when she threw her head back to laugh at his joke and hit her head against a brick wall.

She suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, and said she had to spend 24 hours a day in bed for a few months and struggled to walk to the bathroom.

“I couldn’t bear light, sound, touch, anything,” she told the BBC in an interview. “It was almost like my sensory dials had been whacked up. Even holding a conversation, I’d have to talk very slowly.”

Danson-Bennett was told she would make a full recovery, and made changes in her personal life in an attempt to get back playing for Britain.

“Hockey has always been my priority, but I’ve come to that stage where I can’t do that and it wouldn’t be fair to the team,” she said.

Danson-Bennett said she will be Britain’s “No. 1 supporter” when the team tries to retain the Olympic title in Tokyo this year.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Full list of U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
Getty
0 Comments

Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah
Getty
0 Comments

British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!