Veronica Campbell-Brown, who led Jamaica’s golden sprint revival, retires

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Veronica Campbell-Brown, who won back-to-back Olympic 200m titles to lead Jamaica’s ascent to the top of global sprinting, announced her retirement on the eve of her nation’s Olympic Trials.

“As I take off my spikes never to put them on again, this girl from Clarks Town walks away happy and contented with a race well run,” was posted on the 39-year-old’s social media. “Through the grace of God, I have climbed from a small town in Trelawny, Jamaica up the ladder of success to become one of the most decorated women in the Olympic Games and World Championships history.”

Campbell-Brown sprinted at five Olympics from 2000 to 2016, earning eight medals, one shy of the Olympic women’s track and field record.

In 2004, she beat an 18-year-old Allyson Felix for gold in Athens, becoming Jamaica’s first Olympic flat sprint champion in 28 years. She repeated in 2008, again relegating Felix to silver.

Campbell-Brown also excelled at 100m, winning a world title in 2007 and Olympic bronze medals in 2004 and 2012.

She was honored with a statue in a park outside the National Stadium in Kingston, along with other champions from her era — Usain BoltShelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Asafa Powell. Past Jamaican Olympic sprint legends Herb McKenleyDon Quarrie and Merlene Ottey were previously feted with statues.

Campbell-Brown came from the same parish as Bolt and the same high school as Ottey.

“I realized in primary school, around 10, that I had a chance,” Campbell-Brown said years ago. “I would run a lot, and I would win. I would beat the girls, I would beat the boys, and I realized there was something special about this gift that I had.”

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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