Olympic 400m preview in Doha? Diamond League live stream schedule

Michael Norman, Fred Kerley
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The men’s sprint scene, clearly defined with favorites in each event two years ago, has since complicated. It’s most crowded in the 400m, where the U.S.’ two fastest men face off in a Diamond League meet in Doha on Friday.

Peacock Premium live streams coverage at 11 a.m. ET.

Michael Norman and Fred Kerley lead a list of anticipated head-to-heads — also Sha’Carri Richardson vs. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100m, Rai Benjamin vs. Abderrahman Samba in the 400m hurdles and Emma Coburn vs. Beatrice Chepkoech in the 3000m steeplechase.

Norman and Kerley may well enter the Tokyo Olympics as favorites, in either order. Even though neither owns an individual gold or silver medal from a global championship.

South African Wayde van Niekerk, who broke Michael Johnson‘s world record in Rio, has been largely absent since tearing an ACL and meniscus playing celebrity tag rugby in late 2017. Last Sunday, he eased up in a race due to tightness in the hip area of the same leg.

Bahamian Steven Gardiner, the 2019 World champion, fell to the track while straining in the final meters of a 400m on May 18. He received treatment on his right ankle area.

Norman was the Alpha in the 400m at this time two years ago after running 43.45 seconds at an early season meet. That made him the joint-fourth-fastest man in history. But injuries followed. He was beaten by Kerley at the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships and eased up in the semifinals of the 2019 World Championships, where Gardiner won in 43.48.

Kerley, second-fastest in the world in 2017, took bronze behind Gardiner in Doha two years ago. This year, he impressed over 100m, clocking 9.91 seconds to rank second in the world, but remains focused on the 400m for the Olympic Trials next month.

The U.S. went one-two in the men’s 400m at the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008, sweeping the medals in ’04 and ’08. Then a single bronze between 2012 and 2016, when the U.S. won zero Olympic men’s sprint titles overall.

American men could win every Olympic track event from 100m through the 800m (and boast the defending Olympic champion in the 1500m). Whether Norman or Kerley is the one to watch in the 400m is to be decided. The faster man on Friday in Doha stakes an early claim.

Here are the entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

10:58 a.m. — Women’s Pole Vault
11:18 — Women’s Discus
11:38 — Women’s Triple Jump
12:03 — Men’s 400m Hurdles
12:05 — Men’s High Jump
12:14 — Women’s 800m
12:28 — Men’s 1500m
12:37 — Men’s Shot Put
12:42 — Men’s 200m
12:53 — Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
1:14 — Men’s 800m
1:26 — Men’s 400m
1:38 — Women’s 100m
1:48 — Women’s 3000m

Here are five events to watch

Women’s Triple Jump — 11:38 a.m.
Deepest field event of the meet. The top four from both the 2016 Olympics and the 2019 World Championships. That includes Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas, who last Saturday recorded the second-farthest jump in history — 15.43 meters, matching her indoor world record and just seven centimeters off the 26-year-old outdoor world record. Plus Keturah Orji, who in Rio recorded the best Olympic triple jump finish for an American woman — fourth.

Men’s 400m Hurdles — 12:03 p.m.
A matchup including the joint-third-fastest men in history — American Rai Benjamin and Qatari Abderrahman Samba. Benjamin, Samba and Norwegian Karsten Warholm (second-fastest in history) are expected to deliver fireworks at the Tokyo Olympics, but Friday will mark the first time that two of them are in the same race since they made up the podium at the 2019 World Championships, also in Doha. Benjamin, who took silver at worlds after spending days on crutches with a heel bone bruise, clocked 47.13 seconds on May 9, the fastest-ever time that early in a year. Samba raced twice since his 2019 World bronze, a pair of flat 400m on March 31 and last Saturday.

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase — 12:53 p.m.
American Emma Coburn races her first steeple since winning her third consecutive global championships medal at 2019 Worlds (silver). She faces an Olympic-caliber field including world-record holder and world champion Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya, plus the rest of the top five from 2019 Worlds.

Men’s 400m — 1:26 p.m.
Americans Michael Norman and Fred Kerley may well be the favorites once Tokyo rolls around. They meet here for the first time since September 2019. Norman owns the world’s fastest time in this Olympic cycle (43.45), but he was injured in the summer of 2019, beaten by Kerley at those USATF Outdoor Championships and eased up in the 2019 Worlds semifinals. Kerley took bronze at 2019 Worlds and last month clocked 9.91 for 100m, ranking second in the world this year in that event. Kirani James, the 2012 Olympic champion from Grenada, and Anthony Zambrano, the 2019 World silver medalist from Colombia, are also in the field.

Women’s 100m — 1:38 p.m.
American Sha’Carri Richardson, after taking her first 100m defeat in nearly two years on a blustery Sunday in Great Britain, continues her busy spring of racing. She won’t get another crack at Brit Dina Asher-Smith here, but does face two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica. Richardson has shown the ability to break 10.7 seconds this season if the wind is on her side. No active woman has run that fast.

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Noah, Josephus Lyles have unfinished business after record-breaking sprint season

Noah Lyles, Josephus Lyles
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CHARLOTTE — Brothers Noah and Josephus Lyles each hit a milestone in the 200m this past summer. Each has a clear next step in mind.

Noah, the elder at age 25, is (in a change) now talking openly about wanting to break Usain Bolt‘s world record of 19.19 seconds. He will do it if he improves his personal best by a similar amount of time as he did in 2022.

At the world championships in July, Noah prevailed in 19.31 seconds, a personal best by 19 hundredths and an American record. He is now the third-fastest man in history. Bolt’s world record is 12 hundredths of a second away. Eye blinks can be quicker, but it is still a significant gap. Since worlds, Noah repeated a desire to break Bolt’s record.

Noah, speaking before an event for the brothers’ foundation last week, was asked if he had any hesitation about voicing that ambition given there will be doubters. He ruminated.

“There’s like 150 different ways I can go about [answering] this. I’m trying to figure out which one I want to do,” he said. “It kind of really all boils down to: I don’t care what other people think.”

Recall a back-and-forth between Noah and the retired Bolt in 2019. That summer, Noah ran 19.65 at a Diamond League meet in Paris — breaking Bolt’s meet record. In Noah’s Instagram story that day, an image showed him making a shushing motion with the caption, “Bolt who?” That drew a reaction from Bolt. Noah was asked often that summer about Bolt’s world record. Rather than take aim at 19.19, Noah said coyly that he had special things planned.

Noah did not run 19.65 or faster for another two years, until after taking bronze at the Tokyo Olympics. But his 2022 was arguably the deepest 200m season in history. Noah went faster than 19.65 on six occasions. Bolt is the only other man to break 19.65 more than three times over a career, and he never did it more than three times in one year (In his prime, Bolt did not race the 200m as often as Noah did this year).

In summary: Noah is back and better than ever, boosted by a more efficient start out of the blocks and improved mental health, having worked with therapist Diana McNab. Bolt was 23 when he ran 19.19. Michael Johnson was 28 when he ran his personal best of 19.32. Noah turns 26 on July 18, one month before next summer’s world championships in Budapest.

“When you enter a sport, why shouldn’t your dream be to achieve the best that is ever possible?” Noah said. “To anybody who says to themselves, ‘A record is not going to be broken,’ look at all the previous world records. All broken. And even when I get this record, it’s going to be broken. And that’s OK.”

In addition to chasing Bolt in the 200m, Noah plans to reintroduce the 100m into his major event program. He has a bye into the world championships in the 200m, so expect him to run the 100m at next summer’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, where three world spots are at stake.

Noah previously planned to double in the 100m and 200m for the Tokyo Olympics but did not find his rhythm before the Olympic Trials, where he placed seventh in the 100m, one week before making his first Olympic team in the 200m. Only one man has won both the 100m and the 200m at a global championship in the last 15 years: Bolt in 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

“We were planning on going after [the double] this year, but just a few complications,” Noah said. “Mostly, [needing to work on] my start was making that very difficult. We decided to focus mainly on the 200m, and I’m glad we did because we were able to accomplish two things — winning the world championship in the 200m again, and then actually getting a better start. So now that I’ve secured both of those things, I now feel I have the freedom to go and try and bring the same success to the 100m.”

Josephus, the younger brother by 369 days, had a breakout 2022 of his own. He went under 20 seconds in the 200m for the first time and, had he not been running into a headwind, would have broken 10 seconds in the 100m for the first time.

Josephus also made his first world championships team, albeit in unusual circumstances. He was fifth in the 200m final at nationals, where the top four earned spots at worlds. Josephus, who had a two-day bout with COVID a week before nationals, left the Hayward Field track believing that he missed the team by six hundredths of a second.

Then he got a call from Noah, who saw Josephus’ name on a board at team processing and told his younger brother to hurry over to get fitted for national team clothes. Turns out, Josephus was named to the 4x100m relay pool, unexpectedly given he didn’t run the 100m at nationals. Micah Williams, who was fourth in the 100m at nationals, was not named to the team (no reason was given).

At worlds, the U.S. ran the same four men in 4x100m qualifying and the final, meaning that Josephus and Kyree King, another relay pool-only runner, didn’t get to race. Josephus left bittersweet.

“All I know is I’m not going to be in the relay pool again [without qualifying in an individual event],” he said. “I’m going to make the team [individually] so I don’t have to worry about that.”

Josephus and Noah traded stories about their seasons after taking an eight-hour road trip from Central Florida to Charlotte, where they lived for five years growing up. They sat for an interview on bleachers inside the Sugaw Creek Recreation Center, where they planned to show off their medals, give away signed spikes and meet and greet more than 200 people, including a question-and-answer session with kids.

The foundation, launched in late 2020, supports children who want to be involved in track and field.

“We’re still in the early stages,” Noah said.

Next: the brothers go back to their native D.C. area, where they will be inducted into their high school district’s athletics hall of fame next week. Later in October is what Noah calls an “End of Season Bash” in Bermuda. There is plenty to celebrate, and plenty to look forward to.

Before rising from the bleachers, the brothers were asked what will make 2023 a success on the track.

“If I go out there and I have fun, everything else will fall into place,” Josephus said.

Noah joked that Josephus stole his answer.

“I got a lot of success this year, but I can’t let that overrun everything,” Noah said. “I want to make sure that I use that energy to fuel doing even more into this [next] year. I know if I do that. the world is mine.”

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U.S. women win record 27th consecutive FIBA World Cup game

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SYDNEY — There’s been a long legacy of success for the U.S. women’s basketball team at the World Cup.

The names change over time, but the results don’t seem to.

Kelsey Plum scored 20 points, Chelsea Gray added 16 and the United States routed Bosnia and Herzegovina 121-59 on Tuesday to break the team record for consecutive wins at the World Cup.

The victory was the 27th in a row in World Cup play for the Americans, who haven’t lost since the 2006 semifinals against Russia. The U.S. won 26 in a row from 1994-2006 leading up to that game. The Soviet Union holds the World Cup record with 56 straight wins from 1959-86.

“It’s kind of amazing,” said Breanna Stewart, who has been part of the last three World Cup teams. “Obviously, been here for some of it, but you understand the legends before that who really kind of started the streak. It goes to show that no matter who is playing on USA Basketball, we’re always trying to chase excellence.

“This streak doesn’t mean much right now because we’re going into the quarterfinals and focusing on winning a gold medal, but it’s something to kind of hang your hat on later.”

What started with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Sylvia Fowles has now been passed on to Stewart and A’ja Wilson. A legacy of excellence that doesn’t appear it will end anytime soon.

“The players change and, you know, there was a lot of concern about who’s next,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said. “It was a concern when Dawn Staley and Lisa Leslie were playing and who was going to be next. Then it was Sue and (Taurasi) and then other great players, too. Now with this group they are saying, hey, we’re pretty good, too.”

MORE: FIBA World Cup Schedule, Results

The U.S. last lost a group play game in 1975, according to Bill Mallon of Olympedia.org.

“We know the responsibility when you put on this jersey. There’s a lot more than yourself,” Plum said. “Everyone puts pride to the side. We have a common goal. We have some amazing players on this team.”

The Americans (5-0) won their pool games by an average of 46.2 points and never trailed in any of them. Now they play Serbia in the quarterfinals.

The U.S. was coming off a record rout of South Korea in which the team broke the World Cup record for points with 145. While the Americans didn’t match that number, they put the game out of reach in the first 10 minutes, going up 33-15.

The lead ballooned to 63-31 at halftime. Bosnia and Herzegovina put together a small run to start the third quarter, but the U.S. scored the final 19 points of the period.

Once again they used a dominant inside performance, outscoring Bosnia and Herzegovina 84-28 in the paint led by Wilson, Stewart and Brionna Jones.

“It’s a huge part of our identity,” Reeve said. “Ninety-whatever we had yesterday and 84 today, we just know what we’re good at and we have players that are really understanding their opportunities for that.”

The U.S. was missing Jewell Loyd, whom the team said was resting. Kahleah Copper started in her place and finished with 11 points.

Nikolina Elez scored 19 points to lead the Bosniaks (0-5), who were playing in their first World Cup.

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