Sha’Carri Richardson, Noah Lyles lead winners at USATF Golden Games

1 Comment

Sha’Carri Richardson again looked peer-less in the 100m on Sunday. Noah Lyles, dominant in the 200m for years, conquered a rare challenge.

After the early DK Metcalf buzz at the USATF Golden Games, world-class runners showcased track speed six weeks before the Olympic Trials.

Start with Richardson, who confirmed she has the talent to bring home the U.S.’ first Olympic women’s 100m title in 25 years. The 21-year-old clocked 10.74 and 10.77 seconds within two hours of each other. The latter was into a 1.2 meter/second headwind, the fastest time ever into that much wind. Unfortunate, as it was the only sprint not run with a tailwind Sunday at Mt. SAC in Walnut, California.

“We’re just getting started!” Richardson exclaimed moments after the 10.74.

Richardson also ran 10.72 last month to become the sixth-fastest woman in history. She is in the mix for Olympic gold, along with Jamaicans Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who ran 10.71 and 10.73, respectively, in 2019. The last U.S. woman to win an Olympic 100m was Gail Devers in Atlanta (not counting Marion Jones‘ stripped 2000 gold).

Later, Lyles rallied to win the 200m in 19.90, surging past Kenny Bednarek by .04. Lyles, who has a personal best of 19.50, is not known for his start but consistently puts fields away in the last half of the race. He’s lost just one outdoor 200m since turning pro out of high school after the 2016 Olympic Trials, and that was to a man not expected to race the 200m this summer (400m star Michael Norman).

Lyles has been watching other runners, including Richardson, as he prepares to race the 100m and 200m at Trials. He said he had low expectations on Sunday and exceeded them.

“No matter what position, I feel like I can always get myself into a winning position,” in the 200m, said Lyles, who sprinted wearing a black, fingerless glove on his left hand, nine months after raising a black-gloved fist on the start line at two meets in Europe. “In the 100m, I still feel like I’m tinkering. … Sometimes I run out of real estate. In the 200m, I always have more real estate.”

Bednarek, second at the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships, is 22 years old and 15 months younger than Lyles.

Full meet results are here. Athletes are preparing for the U.S. Olympic Trials next month, when the top three are in line to make the Olympic team in most events.

Earlier, the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Metcalf ran the 100m, clocking 10.37 seconds for last place in his heat. His time, though two tenths off qualifying for Olympic Trials, beat most expert predictions. More from Metcalf here.

Allyson Felix was second in a field of Olympic team contenders in her first 200m since 2017. She clocked 22.26 seconds — .14 behind Gabby Thomas — with a 2.1 tailwind (just above the legal limit of 2.0). Had it been a legal wind, Felix would rank fifth among Americans in the 200m since the start of 2019. She’s expected to enter both the 200m and the 400m at the Olympic Trials, seeking a fifth Olympics and, at age 35, her first as a mom.

Norman won a 400m in 44.40 seconds, his best time since September 2019. Norman looked like the Olympic favorite until injuries derailed his summer 2019. He still might be, though Sunday’s race lacked the other favorites — world champion Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas and American Fred Kerley.

Norman’s training partner Rai Benjamin ran the fastest 400m hurdles time in history this early in a calendar year. Benjamin, the 2019 World silver medalist, clocked 47.13 seconds, matching the 14th-fastest time in history. Benjamin already owns the the joint-fourth-fastest time in history of 46.98. Norwegian Karsten Warholm, the two-time reigning world champion, is the Olympic favorite with a best time of 46.87.

Elle Purrier, who grew up milking cows on her family’s century-old Vermont dairy farm, won a 1500m in 3:58.36, making her the sixth-fastest American in history. She’s a favorite to make the Olympic team, along with American record holder Shelby HoulihanJenny Simpson, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, has made every Olympic and world team dating to 2007, but she has serious competition to extend that streak.

In an 800m, Bryce Hoppel, fourth at 2019 Worlds, prevailed in 1:44.94 over a field that included 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Clayton MurphyDonavan Brazier, who won the 2019 World title in an American record 1:42.34, scratched out of the meet late last week.

The USATF Journey to Gold series continues May 23 with the Boston Games live on NBC Sports and Peacock Premium.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

Diana Taurasi
Getty
0 Comments

Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Alexis Pinturault wins world championships combined; American in fourth

0 Comments

France’s Alexis Pinturault won the world Alpine skiing championships combined at his home venue after defending world champion Marco Schwarz blew a lead in the final seconds of his slalom run.

Pinturault, a 31-year-old who hadn’t won a race in nearly two years (the longest drought of his distinguished career), prevailed by one tenth of a second over the Austrian Schwarz in Courchevel, France.

“I hope to enjoy it because it was pretty difficult some months ago,” Pinturault said.

Austrian Raphael Haaser took bronze in an event that combined times from a morning super-G run and an afternoon slalom run, one day after his older sister took bronze in the women’s combined.

River Radamus was fourth, a quarter of a second from becoming the first U.S. man to win an Alpine worlds medal since 2015. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom, which is scheduled for Feb. 17 at worlds.

“It’s nice, but honestly, you don’t come to world championships hoping to get fourth,” Radamus said.

Five skiers finished within 2.98 seconds of the winner in an event that has been dropped from the annual World Cup schedule and is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Pinturault had the fastest super-G run by six hundredths over Schwarz. Schwarz, a slightly better slalom skier than Pinturault, erased that deficit early in the slalom and had a three tenths lead at the last intermediate split.

He gave it all away about six gates from the finish, slamming on the brakes. Moments later, he crossed the finish line one tenth behind Pinturault, who reacted by pumping his fists in the air.

The Frenchman earned his first race victory since the March 2021 World Cup Finals giant slalom, where he clinched his first World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Last season, Pinturault went winless on the World Cup for the first time since he was a teenage rookie in 2011, plus went medal-less at the Olympics.

Pinturault, who grew up in Courchevel and now co-owns the family’s five-star Hotel Annapurna there, had retirement cross his mind in the offseason, according to Eurosport. He skipped a pre-worlds Sunday press conference due to illness.

Nonetheless, Pinturault was on the front page of French newspapers this week, including L’Equipe on Tuesday. In a sports cover story for Le Figaro, Pinturault said that, given the circumstances, it would be almost a “nice surprise” to go for a medal at these worlds.

Olympic champion Johannes Strolz of Austria skied out of the slalom after tying for 29th in the super-G.

Olympic silver and bronze medalists Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Jack Crawford of Canada were among the speed specialists who did not start the slalom. They essentially used the event as a training run for Thursday’s super-G.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the women’s super-G, where Mikaela Shiffrin is a medal contender but not the favorite. She can tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!