Usain Bolt to run 800m event, but still retired

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Usain Bolt: 800m sprinter.

That’s right, the now-retired world’s fastest man is not only changing diapers these days but also distances as he makes a brief comeback for a promotional race.

The new father of twins selected the 800m, a two-lap endeavor measured in minutes, not seconds, like he’s more accustomed. The training has been grueling for the 100m and 200m world record-holder but has made him miss the action.

Sort of.

“When I go to the track and start training, then I don’t miss it that much,” cracked the 34-year-old Bolt, whose nearly 13-year reign as Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m will come to an end at the Tokyo Games. “I’m excited to be training and just running and seeing what I can do.”

Since his retirement in 2017, Bolt’s life has involved making records (he’s a music producer) and raising a family. He and his partner, Kasi Bennett, recently welcomed twins, Saint Leo and Thunder, to their family (they also have a young daughter named Olympia Lightning). He also enjoys a good soccer match (he wants to meet French soccer standout Kylian Mbappé because “he’s fast”) and of course a well-run race — especially a distance event such as the 800m.

Bolt’s best time over two trips around the track is 2 minutes, 5 seconds, he said. But he quickly added: “I did that in my track shoes. If I put the spikes on, I can make it under 2 minutes.”

FYI, because he’s all about world records: The top 800m time is 1:40.91, set by David Rudisha of Kenya at the 2012 London Games.

Bolt is undertaking the new distance in part for a promotion — and to simply put on those spikes again. His opponent won’t be on the track, either. He is going up against a CarMax customer who is getting an instant online offer for a vehicle on their phone as Bolt speeds around his home track. The July 13 “race” will be streamed on his Facebook page.

It may even be punctuated by his signature pose at the finish.

“I definitely miss it a little bit,” Bolt said of the adrenaline rush from competing. “I’m excited to be training and just running and seeing what I can do.”

To prepare, he has been riding his Peloton bike and in training doing something he rarely used to do — circle the bend of the track and just keep on going. He is running lap after lap.

“Just to get my legs ready for the lactic acid and my lungs for the air that I need,” he explained.

Bolt believes he can still clock 10.2 seconds in the 100. His coach thinks he might be closer to 10.4.

“I guess one day we’ll test it out,” said Bolt, who set his world records in the 100m (9.58) and 200m (19.19) at the 2009 World Championships.

He insisted his return to a lane, though, isn’t a sign that he’s leaving the door open for a comeback.

“Definitely not,” Bolt emphatically said. “This is just a one-off challenge to see if I still got it.”

If?

“I’m trying to be humble and cool,” Bolt cracked.

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In a tie, Wendy Holdener puts to rest a remarkable stat in Alpine skiing

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Swiss Wendy Holdener ended one of the most remarkable victory droughts in sports by tying for the win with Swede Anna Swenn Larsson in a World Cup slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Sunday.

Holdener, after 15 second-place finishes and 15 third-place finishes in her career, stood on the top step of a World Cup slalom podium for the first time. She shared it with Swenn Larsson, who had six World Cup slalom podiums before Sunday and also earned her first win.

They beat Austrian Katharina Truppe by .22 of a second combining times from two runs.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Holdener, 29, previously won three World Cups in other disciplines, plus two world championships in the combined and Olympic and world titles in the team event.

“To be tied first when I came into the finish was such a relief,” Holdener said while shoulder to shoulder with Swenn Larsson. “On the end, it’s perfect, because now we can share our first win together.”

Mikaela Shiffrin had the best first-run time but lost her lead midway through the second run and finished fifth. Shiffrin, who won the first two slaloms this season last weekend, was bidding for a 50th World Cup slalom victory and a sixth win in six slaloms in Killington.

“I fought. I think some spots I got a little bit off my timing, but I was pushing, and that’s slalom,” she said before turning her attention to Holdener and Swenn Larsson. “It’s a pretty special day, actually.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves next weekend to Lake Louise, Alberta, with two downhills and a super-G.

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Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin
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Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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