U.S. rowers fight back against COVID-19 in real world and virtual world

U.S. Rowing
Getty Images
0 Comments

In the last month, COVID-19 has affected the U.S. rowing community in many of the same ways the virus has affected all athletes — changes in training routines, a mental reset with the postponement of the Olympics, and at least one athlete falling ill.

What’s unique to U.S. Rowing is that it is still staging a national championship. The federation isn’t violating social distancing protocols or playing video-game tournaments as we’ve seen in sports such as basketball and curling.

Athletes will be rowing. They’ll just be doing so on land.

Welcome to the USRowing Virtual Youth Championships Series.

Rowers have deadlines to turn in times on a 2,000m virtual course, recorded by a Concept2 ergometer. Regional championships will end May 17, with the nationals wrapping up June 14.

Equipment is already in high demand. Rowing machines have sold out as many people — not just elite rowers but those who may or may not have ever rowed on water — seek exercises they can do without access to a gym.

Many Olympic hopefuls have scattered for training as well. Up until a few weeks ago, many were training in Princeton, N.J. One was Olivia Coffey, a bronze medalist in the women’s eight at the 2019 world rowing championships.

READ: Once-unbeatable women’s eight goes into Olympics as world bronze medalist

Coffey fell ill in late March with a probable bout of COVID-19 and left Princeton for Burdett, Minn., where she and her husband have a house, the Elmira Star-Gazette reported.

U.S. Rowing confirmed March 26 that a staff member at Princeton tested positive for the virus.

Dana Moffat, another member of the bronze medalist women’s eight, has posted pictures and videos of herself working in rural New Jersey.

Emily Regan, a gold medalist in the 2016 Olympics and three-time world champion, summed up the situation succinctly on Twitter: “I’ll be training hard in my apartment (for now) to be ready.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
0 Comments

The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
Getty
0 Comments

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!