Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky notch wins in San Antonio swim meet

0 Comments

Training partners Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky earned victories in their first full meet in one year, a Pro Series stop in San Antonio on Thursday.

Manuel won the 100m freestyle in 54.62 seconds, edging Rio Olympic teammate Abbey Weitzeil by .06. Ledecky was third in 54.74 in an event that’s not expected to be on her program this summer.

About an hour later, Ledecky won the 400m free in 4:05.00, distancing Olympic bronze medalist Leah Smith by 2.41 seconds.

Both Manuel and Ledecky last raced in a full meet last March, before the coronavirus pandemic halted sports and postponed the Olympics by one year.

“Different type of atmosphere. Different type of jitters,” Manuel said. “Whether I win or lose, I’m pretty critical of my swims. I would have liked to see something a little bit better than that [time].”

Manuel and Ledecky spent three months last spring swimming in a backyard pool and, more recently, passed on traveling for meets in favor of training with Stanford’s facilities reopened.

“I’ve been doing a lot of racing in practice,” Ledecky, who won the 1500m free on Wednesday by 21 seconds, said on Olympic Channel. “I don’t feel like I’m behind.”

ON HER TURF: Simone Manuel reflects on how her own story is told

Swimmers are preparing for the Olympic Trials in June in Omaha.

The San Antonio meet continues Friday. A full TV and live stream schedule is here. Full results are here.

In other events Thursday, Blake Pieroni won the men’s 100m free in 49.19 seconds. Caeleb Dressel, the world champion and second-fastest man in history, swam 49.75 in the B final, a time that would have placed seventh in the A final.

Through 10 events, the winning time has been at least a half-second slower in every A final than it was in the March 2020 Pro Series meet in Des Moines. It’s more than a second slower in eight of the 10 events.

“I don’t think this is the fastest pool in the world,” Pieroni said of San Antonio.

Nathan Adrian, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist coming back from testicular cancer, won the B final in 49.53. Adrian ranks eighth among Americans since the start of 2019 and will likely need to be top six at trials to make a fourth Olympic team in the relay.

Molly Hannis edged Annie Lazor by .21, clocking 1:07.10 in a battle between the U.S.’ second- and third-ranked women in the 100m breaststroker. Olympic and world champion and world-record holder Lilly King did not enter San Antonio, but is more than a second faster than any other American since the start of 2019.

Michael Andrew, who turned professional eight years ago at age 14, took the men’s 100m breast in 1:00.10. Andrew, bidding for his first Olympic team, is ranked second in the U.S. since the start of 2019. He trails Andrew Wilson, who was disqualified from the preliminary heats for flinching at the start.

The U.S.’ top three female 200m butterfliers faced off, with world silver medalist Hali Flickinger taking the win in 2:07.55. Regan Smith, the world-record holder in both backstrokes, was with Flickinger through 150 meters and finished 1.3 seconds back. She remains second-fastest among Americans behind Flickinger since the start of 2019.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
Getty
0 Comments

Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

0 Comments

Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”