Emma Coburn wins Olympic Trials, extending record reign amid absence of distance stars


Steeplechaser Emma Coburn extended the longest reign in U.S. track and field at an Olympic Trials otherwise marked by the fading of the old guard, especially in women’s distance running.

Coburn, who earned a medal of every color among the 2016 Olympics, 2017 Worlds and 2019 Worlds, won the 3000m steeple in 9:09.41 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on Thursday night. She qualified for a third Olympics by winning a seventh consecutive U.S. title, the best active streak in the sport, and is joined by Courtney Frerichs and Val Constien.

“It’s 10 years of having a target on your back,” said Coburn, who won her first national title in 2011, “but it’s a challenge that I like to rise up to.”

Coburn’s mom, Annie, was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in December 2019 that spread to her liver and lungs. Annie is doing well now, has completed 22 rounds of chemotherapy, with more to come, and is in Eugene this week.

“To share this with her and have her be well, it’s more special than winning today and going to Tokyo,” Coburn told Lewis Johnson on NBC, adding later, “She has surpassed all of her doctor’s expectations. She’s a little miracle. She’s a little Energizer Bunny. You wouldn’t know she’s sick. You wouldn’t know that, internally, her body is going through major crisis.”

Frerichs took second to Coburn on Thursday, just as she did at the 2017 Worlds in a historic U.S. one-two. Constien chopped 7.19 seconds off her personal best for third after Leah Falland tripped and fell after clearing a barrier with just under two laps left. In Tokyo, they take on powerful Kenya, led by world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech.

In Rio, Coburn won the U.S.’ first Olympic steeple medal since 1984 (a bronze).

The U.S.’ top finishers from Rio in other women’s distance events failed to qualify for Tokyo — Jenny Simpson was 10th in the 1500m on Monday, Shelby Houlihan missed Trials due to a doping ban that she disputes and Molly Huddle didn’t enter Trials after hip and hamstring pain. None of the marathoners from 2016 made it back, either. The 800m final is still to come.

Olympic Trials continue Friday with men’s finals in the steeple and discus, plus semifinals in the women’s 200m and 800m and men’s 400m hurdles and 1500m.


In Thursday’s other final, Jessica Ramsey won the women’s shot put with a personal-best 20.12-meter throw. She now ranks second in the world in this Olympic cycle, trailing two-time world champion Gong Lijao of China.

“I was counted out,” said Ramsey, who was 19th at the 2016 Olympic Trials and 12th at the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships. “I always tell myself I’m No. 1 in everything that I do, and I am a 20-meter thrower.”

Ramsey, who added nearly three feet to her career best, is joined on the Olympic team by 2016 Olympian Raven Saunders and Adelaide Aquilla.

Rio gold medalist Michelle Carter watched the competition from the stands after a June 3 surgery to remove a benign right ankle tumor.

In qualifying action, the most accomplished athlete to fail to advance was 2013 World silver medalist Brenda Martinez in the 800m. Raevyn Rogers and Ajeé Wilson, the 2019 World silver and bronze medalists, and 19-year-old phenom Athing Mu won heats to reach Friday’s semis.

Sean Burrell, who two weeks ago broke the 37-year-old world U20 record in the 400m hurdles, crashed over the eighth hurdle. Burrell was seeded second after winning the NCAA title in that record time at Hayward Field. World silver medalist Rai Benjamin won his heat to make Friday’s semis. Olympic gold medalist Kerron Clement, in scantly racing the last two years, did not meet the qualifying time to enter Trials.

Allyson Felix, who already made the team in the 400m, qualified 10th fastest into Friday’s 200m semis. Felix said her legs were “a little rusty.” Gabby Thomas, who made the 4x100m relay pool, ran the world’s top time since the start of 2020 — a personal-best 21.98.

The 18-year-old Hobbs Kessler won his 1500m heat to reach Friday’s semis, joining Rio Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz.

Kessler, who broke Alan Webb‘s high school 1500m record last month and turned professional this week, could become the second-youngest U.S. Olympic 1500m runner ever after Jim Ryun in 1964.

Rio silver medalist Paul Chelimo won his heat to make Sunday’s 5000m final. Also advancing: Woody Kincaid and Grant Fisher, who went one-two in the 10,000m last Friday.

Tianna Bartoletta and Brittney Reese, the last two Olympic long jump champions, made Saturday’s final.

The 2012 Olympic champion Jenn Suhr and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris were among the 12 qualifiers into Saturday’s pole vault final.

The world’s top three women’s hammer throwers — DeAnna Price, Brooke Andersen and Gwendolyn Berry — were among 12 qualifiers into Saturday’s final.

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Faith Kipyegon breaks second world record in eight days; three WRs fall in Paris


Kenyan Faith Kipyegon broke her second world record in as many Fridays as three world records fell at a Diamond League meet in Paris.

Kipyegon, a 29-year-old mom, followed her 1500m record from last week by running the fastest 5000m in history.

She clocked 14 minutes, 5.20 seconds, pulling away from now former world record holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, who ran 14:07.94 for the third-fastest time in history. Gidey’s world record was 14:06.62.

“When I saw that it was a world record, I was so surprised,” Kipyegon said, according to meet organizers. “The world record was not my plan. I just ran after Gidey.”

Kipyegon, a two-time Olympic 1500m champion, ran her first 5000m in eight years. In the 1500m, her primary event, she broke an eight-year-old world record at the last Diamond League meet in Italy last Friday.

Kipyegon said she will have to talk with her team to decide if she will add the 5000m to her slate for August’s world championships in Budapest.

Next year in the 1500m, she can bid to become the second person to win the same individual Olympic track and field event three times (joining Usain Bolt). After that, she has said she may move up to the 5000m full-time en route to the marathon.

Kipyegon is the first woman to break world records in both the 1500m and the 5000m since Italian Paola Pigni, who reset them in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m over a nine-month stretch in 1969 and 1970.

Full Paris meet results are here. The Diamond League moves to Oslo next Thursday, live on Peacock.

Also Friday, Ethiopian Lamecha Girma broke the men’s 3000m steeplechase world record by 1.52 seconds, running 7:52.11. Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shaheen set the previous record in 2004. Girma is the Olympic and world silver medalist.

Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway ran the fastest two-mile race in history, clocking 7:54.10. Kenyan Daniel Komen previously had the fastest time of 7:58.61 from 1997 in an event that’s not on the Olympic program and is rarely contested at top meets. Ingebrigtsen, 22, is sixth-fastest in history in the mile and eighth-fastest in the 1500m.

Olympic and world silver medalist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic won the 400m in 49.12 seconds, chasing down Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who ran her first serious flat 400m in four years. McLaughlin-Levrone clocked a personal best 49.71 seconds, a time that would have earned bronze at last year’s world championships.

“I’m really happy with the season opener, PR, obviously things to clean up,” said McLaughlin-Levrone, who went out faster than world record pace through 150 meters. “My coach wanted me to take it out and see how I felt. I can’t complain with that first 200m.”

And the end of the race?

“Not enough racing,” she said. “Obviously, after a few races, you kind of get the feel for that lactic acid. So, first race, I knew it was to be expected.”

McLaughlin-Levrone is expected to race the flat 400m at July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, where the top three are in line to make the world team in the individual 400m. She also has a bye into August’s worlds in the 400m hurdles and is expected to announce after USATF Outdoors which race she will contest at worlds.

Noah Lyles, the world 200m champion, won the 100m in 9.97 seconds into a headwind. Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy was seventh in 10.21 in his first 100m since August after struggling through health issues since the Tokyo Games.

Lyles wants to race both the 100m and the 200m at August’s worlds. He has a bye into the 200m. The top three at USATF Outdoors join reigning world champion Fred Kerley on the world championships team. Lyles is the fifth-fastest American in the 100m this year, not counting Kerley, who is undefeated in three meets at 100m in 2023.

Olympic and world silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson won the 800m in 1:55.77, a British record. American Athing Mu, the Olympic and world champion with a personal best of 1:55.04, is expected to make her season debut later this month.

World champion Grant Holloway won the 110m hurdles in 12.98 seconds, becoming the first man to break 13 seconds this year. Holloway has the world’s four best times in 2023.

American Valarie Allman won the discus over Czech Sandra Perkovic in a meeting of the last two Olympic champions. Allman threw 69.04 meters and has the world’s 12 best throws this year.

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Iga Swiatek sweeps into French Open final, where she faces a surprise


Iga Swiatek marched into the French Open final without dropping a set in six matches. All that stands between her and a third Roland Garros title is an unseeded foe.

Swiatek plays 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova in the women’s singles final, live Saturday at 9 a.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

Swiatek, the top-ranked Pole, swept 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-2, 7-6 (7) in Thursday’s semifinal in her toughest test all tournament. Haddad Maia squandered three break points at 4-all in the second set.

Swiatek dropped just 23 games thus far, matching her total en route to her first French Open final in 2020 (which she won for her first WTA Tour title of any kind). After her semifinal, she signed a courtside camera with the hashtag #stepbystep.

“For sure I feel like I’m a better player,” than in 2020, she said. “Mentally, tactically, physically, just having the experience, everything. So, yeah, my whole life basically.”

Swiatek can become the third woman since 2000 to win three French Opens after Serena Williams and Justine Henin and, at 22, the youngest woman to win four total majors since Williams in 2002.

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Muchova upset No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus to reach her first major final.

Muchova, a 26-year-old into the second week of the French Open for the first time, became the first player to take a set off the powerful Belarusian all tournament, then rallied from down 5-2 in the third set to prevail 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5.

Sabalenka, who overcame previous erratic serving to win the Australian Open in January, had back-to-back double faults in her last service game.

“Lost my rhythm,” she said. “I wasn’t there.”

Muchova broke up what many expected would be a Sabalenka-Swiatek final, which would have been the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 match at the French Open since Williams beat Maria Sharapova in the 2013 final.

Muchova is unseeded, but was considered dangerous going into the tournament.

In 2021, she beat then-No. 1 Ash Barty to make the Australian Open semifinals, then reached a career-high ranking of 19. She dropped out of the top 200 last year while struggling through injuries.

“Some doctors told me maybe you’ll not do sport anymore,” Muchova said. “It’s up and downs in life all the time. Now I’m enjoying that I’m on the upper part now.”

Muchova has won all five of her matches against players ranked in the top three. She also beat Swiatek in their lone head-to-head, but that was back in 2019 when both players were unaccomplished young pros. They have since practiced together many times.

“I really like her game, honestly,” Swiatek said. “I really respect her, and she’s I feel like a player who can do anything. She has great touch. She can also speed up the game. She plays with that kind of freedom in her movements. And she has a great technique. So I watched her matches, and I feel like I know her game pretty well.”

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