Michael Norman wins stacked 400m in Doha


Michael Norman staked a claim for Olympic 400m favorite status, beating a field that included an Olympic gold medalist, the reigning U.S. champion and the the world silver medalist on Friday.

Norman, the fastest man in this Olympic cycle (43.45 seconds) who eased up in the 2019 Worlds semifinals injured, clocked 44.27 at a Diamond League meet in Doha.

Norman pulled away in the world’s fastest time this year, prevailing by three tenths over world silver medalist Anthony Zambrano of Colombia. Zambrano was followed by U.S. champion Fred Kerley (44.60) and 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada (44.61).

The race included the primary Tokyo Olympic medal contenders save Rio gold medalist and world-record holder Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa, plagued by injuries the last three and a half years. And 2019 World champion Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas, who was injured in his most recent race last week.

Norman, who was fifth in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials 200m just after his senior year in high school, has credentials at 100m (personal best 9.86 seconds) and 200m (handed Noah Lyles his only defeat in this Olympic cycle). But the 400m is his focus, and he could bring the Olympic title back to the U.S., after Americans managed a singled bronze in the event between 2012 and 2016.

Norman and Kerley are favorites to grab two of the three individual Olympic 400m spots at Trials in Eugene, Oregon, next month.

Full Doha results are here. The next Diamond League meet is June 10 in Florence, Italy.

In other events Friday, two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the 100m in 10.84 seconds, beating a field that lacked the world’s fastest woman this year, American Sha’Carri Richardson, who was entered and withdrew. Richardson ran 10.72 last month. Rio gold medalist and fellow Jamaican Elaine Thompson also withdrew days before the meet.

American Kenny Bednarek edged Olympic and world silver medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada in the 200m, 19.88 to 19.89. Bednarek, who ran for Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, before turning pro in 2019, ranks second in the world since the start of 2020 behind Lyles, the world champion.

American Rai Benjamin won the 400m hurdles in 47.38 seconds. Doha marked the first time any of the 2019 World Championships 400m hurdles medalists faced each other since those worlds. Benjamin, the world silver medalist, beat Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba, the world bronze medalist, in a battle between the joint-third-fastest men in history. Samba was fourth in 48.26.

At the Olympics, Benjamin, Samba and world champion Karsten Warholm are expected to produce fireworks and, potentially, break Kevin Young‘s world record of 46.78 seconds from the 1992 Olympics. Warholm, who was not in Doha, is the second-fastest man in history at 46.87.

Colombian Yulimar Rojas won a triple jump that included the top four from both the 2016 Olympics and 2019 World Championships. Rojas, who last Saturday recorded the second-farthest jump in history of 15.43 meters, won Friday with a 15.15-meter leap.

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

USA Basketball

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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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup

The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium 85, Bosnia and Herzegovina 55 Group A
11:30 p.m. Serbia 81, Mali 68 Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA 145, South Korea 69 Group A
2 a.m. France 67, Japan 53 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 95, Puerto Rico 60 Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia 75, Canada 72 Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 92, South Korea 73 Group A
11:30 p.m. China 81, Belgium 55 Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA 121, Bosnia and Herzegovina 59 Group A
2 a.m. Canada 88, Mali 65 Group B
3:30 a.m. Serbia 68, France 62 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 71, Japan 54 Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. USA vs. Serbia
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Canada vs. Puerto Rico
4 a.m. China vs. France
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Belgium
Fri., Sept. 30 3 a.m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final