Brittany Bowe, Joey Mantia headline U.S. team for speed skating World Cups

ISU World Cup Speed Skating - Tomaszow Mazowiecki
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World champions Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia lead the six-athlete U.S. team selected for this season’s three international competitions.

The long track season typically consists of six World Cups and multiple formats of world championships but has been whittled down to two World Cups and the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All three events – plus the Jan. 16-17 European Championships – will be held in a bubble environment at the Thialf venue in Heerenveen, Netherlands. The World Cups are Jan. 22-24 and Jan. 29-31, followed by a brief break leading into the Feb. 11-14 world championships. Athletes are limited to the hotel, a restricted area of the arena and pre-approved bike rides.

Bowe, Ethan Cepuran, 2018 Olympian Erin Jackson, Mantia and Ian Quinn qualified based on their season’s best times, while Conor McDermott-Mostowy earned his spot at his first worlds after a Jan. 9-10 time trial event. The team is smaller than past seasons due to some qualified athletes opting not to travel, including Kimi Goetz, who finished fifth in two distances at last year’s world championships.

Bowe, 32, led the 1000m World Cup standings last season, winning three gold medals and a silver in five races, plus two 1500m bronze medals. At the 2020 World Single Distances Championships, held on home ice in Utah, she surprisingly finished off the podium in all of her races for the first time at the event since 2012. She is a nine-time single distance world medalist.

Mantia, who turns 35 while in the bubble, claimed a mass start medal of each color and a 1500m bronze on the 2019-2020 World Cup circuit, plus 1500m bronze at worlds – the first time trial world medal of his career. He won the mass start world title in 2017 and again in 2019.

Katie Ledecky out-touches new rival at swimming’s U.S. Open, extends streak


It was a rare sight: Katie Ledecky being matched stroke for stroke in a distance race in an American pool. She was up for the challenge.

Ledecky out-touched emerging 16-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh by eight hundredths of a second in the 400m freestyle at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday night.

Ledecky and McIntosh were tied at the 300-meter mark. Ledecky ended up clocking 3:59.71 to McIntosh’s 3:59.79 to extend a decade-long win streak in freestyle races of 400 meters or longer in U.S. pools.

“I know we’ll have a lot more races ahead of us,” Ledecky said on Peacock. “We bring the best out of each other.”

The U.S. Open continues Friday with live finals coverage on Peacock at 6 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

At the Tokyo Olympics, McIntosh placed fourth in the 400m free at age 14.

She accelerated this year, taking silver behind Ledecky at the world championships and silver behind Tokyo gold medalist Ariarne Titmus of Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Then in October, McIntosh outdueled Ledecky in a 400m free — also by eight hundredths — in a short-course, 25-meter pool at a FINA World Cup meet in Toronto. Long-course meets like the Olympics and the U.S. Open are held in 50-meter pools.

McIntosh also won world titles in the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley, becoming the youngest individual world champion since 2011.

A potential showdown among Ledecky, Titmus and McIntosh at the 2024 Paris Games is already being compared to the “Race of the Century,” the 2004 Olympic men’s 200m free where Australian Ian Thorpe edged Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps.

In other events Thursday, Regan Smith, an Olympic and world medalist in the backstroke and butterfly, won a 200m individual medley in a personal best 2:10.40, a time that would have placed fifth at June’s world championships. She beat 16-year-old Leah Hayes, who took bronze in the event at worlds.

Olympic 400m IM champ Chase Kalisz won the men’s 200m IM in 1:56.52, his best time ever outside of major summer meets. Frenchman Léon Marchand won the world title in 1:55.22 in June, when Kalisz was fourth.

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Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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