Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce sizzles at Jamaican Olympic Trials; Omar McLeod stunned

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce completed a sweep of the 100m and 200m at the Jamaica Olympic Track and Field Trials, while Rio gold medalist Omar McLeod finished last in the 110m hurdles and is likely missing Tokyo.

Fraser-Pryce, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic 100m champion who came back from childbirth to win the 2019 World 100m title, finished trials Sunday by winning the 200m in a personal-best 21.79 seconds. She won the 100m on Friday in 10.71 seconds.

Fraser-Pryce ranks No. 1 in the world this year in the 100m with a 10.63 from June 5, making her the second-fastest woman in history behind Florence Griffith Joyner. American Sha’Carri Richardson is second in 2021 at 10.72.

Fraser-Pryce ranks No. 2 this year in the 200m behind Gabby Thomas, who won the U.S. Olympic Trials on Saturday in 21.61, making her the second-fastest in history behind Griffith Joyner.

At 34, Fraser-Pryce can become the oldest individual Olympic flat sprint champion in history, according to Olympedia.org. In 2019, she became the first mom to win an Olympic or world 100m title in 24 years.

Also Sunday, McLeod finished last and will miss the Tokyo Games should the Jamaican federation follow usual policy and take the top three finishers.

McLeod, dealing with cramps, hit the first hurdle square with his lead foot and lost enough momentum that he never got back into the race. Video is here.

Ronald Levy won in 13.10 seconds, followed by Damion Thomas (13.11) and Hansle Parchment (13.16). McLeod slowed before the last hurdle and crossed in 16.22.

McLeod followed his 2016 Olympic title by winning the 2017 World title. At 2019 Worlds, he stumbled to last place after hitting a hurdle in the final while slowed by a hamstring injury, and was later disqualified for falling into the lane of Orlando Ortega.

McLeod is the second-fastest man in this Olympic cycle behind 2019 World champion Grant Holloway. Holloway ran 12.81 seconds at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Saturday, .01 off Aries Merritt‘s world record. McLeod ran 12.90 in 2017. Russian Sergey Shubenkov is the only other man to break 13 seconds since Rio.

Two other Jamaican sprint stars join Fraser-Pryce on the Tokyo team. Elaine Thompson Herah, who swept the 100m and 200m in Rio, finished third in both events this weekend (10.84, 22.02).

Shericka Jackson, the Rio Olympic 400m bronze medalist, moved down and took second in the 100m (10.82) and 200m (21.82) and ranks third in the world in both races this year.

Yohan Blake, the join-second-fastest man in history, finished second in the 100m (10.01) and the 200m (20.18) behind Tyquendo Tracey (10.00) and Rasheed Dwyer (20.17). For its first Olympics since Usain Bolt‘s retirement, Jamaica has zero men in the top 10 in the world this year in the 100m or the 200m.

Danielle Williams, the fastest 100m hurdler since the start of 2019, failed to make the Jamaican Olympic team outright for a second straight time. She was fourth in Sunday’s final, five years after crashing at Trials as reigning world champion. Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn is the only one of the four fastest women since the start of 2019 in line to compete at the Tokyo Games.

Stalwarts Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell will not be on the Olympic team, either. Campbell-Brown, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic 200m champ, retired. Powell, the 100m world-record holder before Bolt, did not enter Olympic Trials.

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Valencia Marathon produces historic times in men’s, women’s races

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Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum and Ethiopian Amane Beriso won the Valencia Marathon and became the third-fastest man and woman in history, respectively.

Kiptum, a 23-year-old in his marathon debut, won the men’s race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 53 seconds. The only men to ever run faster over 26.2 miles are legends: Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09 world record, plus a 2:01:39) and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41).

Kipchoge made his marathon debut at age 28, and Bekele at 31.

Beriso, a 31-year-old whose personal best was 2:20:48 from January 2016, stunned the women’s field Sunday by running 2:14:58. The only women to have run faster: Kenyans Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) and Ruth Chepngetich (2:14:18).

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey finished second in 2:16:49, the fastest-ever time for a woman in her marathon debut. Gidey is the world record holder at 5000m and 10,000m.

Valencia is arguably the top annual marathon outside of the six World Marathon Majors. The next major marathon is Tokyo on March 5.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill

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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

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Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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