Elaine Thompson-Herah beats Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce; Olympic sprint picture jumbles

Elaine Thompson Herah
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Elaine Thompson-Herah upset Tokyo favorite Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in a meeting of the last two women to win the Olympic 100m at the Gyulai István Memorial in Hungary on Tuesday.

It was the highlight race of a meet that clouded the Olympic medal forecast in most of the flat sprints.

Thompson-Herah clocked 10.71 seconds, .01 off her personal best. Fraser-Pryce was second in 10.82, one month after running 10.63 to become the second-fastest woman in history.

The Olympic favorites are Thompson-Herah, Fraser-Pryce and Brit Dina Asher Smith (not in Tuesday’s race), following American Sha’Carri Richardson‘s suspension. Richardson clocked 10.72 in April.

The track and field season continues with a Diamond League meet in Monaco on Friday, live on NBCSN at 2 p.m. ET.

Also Tuesday, world champion Steven Gardiner beat American Michael Norman in a battle of the two fastest 400m sprinters in this Olympic cycle. Gardiner, who in a May race fell to the track and was carried into the infield, won in 44.47 seconds. Norman, who won the Olympic Trials in 44.07, was third in 44.65 behind Bryce Deadmon.

South African Wayde van Niekerk, the Rio gold medalist and world-record holder, was a late scratch. Van Niekerk, coming back from tearing an ACL and meniscus in his right leg playing celebrity tag rugby in 2017, tweeted that he had lower back discomfort in his warm-up.

South African Akani Simbine won the men’s 100m in an African record 9.84 seconds to become second-fastest in the world this year. Only U.S. Olympic Trials champion Trayvon Bromell has gone faster in 2021 (9.77). Bromell was not in the field in Hungary.

Going into Tuesday, the seven fastest men in the world this year were Americans. Now, Simbine, fifth in Rio, has eyes on becoming the first person from an African nation to win an Olympic 100m medal since Namibian Frankie Fredericks‘ back-to-back silvers in 1992 and 1996.

Jamaican Shericka Jackson won the women’s 200m in 21.96 seconds, distancing Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo (22.15). Miller-Uibo was defeated in a 200m that she finished for the first time since the 2017 World Championships.

Miller-Uibo, the Rio Olympic 400m champion, is preliminarily entered in both the 200m and the 400m for Tokyo but has said she will race only the 200m. Both events, however, changed drastically in recent weeks.

The seven fastest 400m women in the world since the start of 2019 are all not expected to race the event at the Olympics. The eighth-fastest woman since the start of 2019 — American Wadeline Jonathas — has a top time of 49.60 in that span, which is 1.23 seconds slower than Miller-Uibo’s best.

In the 200m, American Gabby Thomas ran the third-fastest time in history at the Olympic Trials, a 21.61 that is .13 better than Miller-Uibo’s personal best.

In the men’s 200m on Tuesday, Canadian Andre De Grasse won in 19.97, edging the second- and third-place finishers from the U.S. Olympic Trials. Kenny Bednarek ran 19.99, and 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton crossed in 20.03, both slower than their Trials times.

Grant Holloway, who at U.S. Olympic Trials was .01 off the 110m hurdles world record, won in Hungary against a field of Olympic medal contenders.

Holloway, the world champion, prevailed in 13.08 seconds, well off the 12.80 world record but clearly ahead of Olympic silver medalist Orlando Ortega of Spain (13.15) and Sergey Shubenkov of Russia (13.19).

The field lacked Rio gold medalist Omar McLeod, who finished last at the Jamaican Olympic Trials and was not named to the team.

Shubenkov is the only man other than Holloway and McLeod to break 13 seconds in this Olympic cycle, with a best of 12.92 in that span.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico confirmed her Olympic favorite status by winning the 100m hurdles in 12.34. Camacho-Quinn is the only woman to break 12.4 seconds this year, and she’s done it three times.

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Snowboarders sue coach, USOPC in assault, harassment case

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Olympic bronze medalist Rosey Fletcher has filed a lawsuit accusing former snowboard coach Peter Foley of sexually assaulting, harassing and intimidating members of his team for years, while the organizations overseeing the team did nothing to stop it.

Fletcher is a plaintiff in one of two lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday. One names Foley, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team and its former CEO, Tiger Shaw, as defendants. Another, filed by a former employee of USSS, names Foley, Shaw and the ski federation as defendants.

One of the lawsuits, which also accuse the defendants of sex trafficking, harassment, and covering up repeated acts of sexual assault and misconduct, allege Foley snuck into bed and sexually assaulted Fletcher, then shortly after she won her bronze medal at the 2006 Olympics, approached her “and said he still remembered ‘how she was breathing,’ referring to the first time he assaulted her.”

The lawsuits describe Foley as fostering a depraved travel squad of snowboarders, in which male coaches shared beds with female athletes, crude jokes about sexual conquests were frequently shared and coaches frequently commented to the female athletes about their weight and body types.

“Male coaches, including Foley, would slap female athletes’ butts when they finished their races, even though the coaches would not similarly slap the butts of male athletes,” the lawsuit said. “Physical assault did not stop with slapping butts. Notably, a female athlete once spilled barbeque sauce on her chest while eating and a male coach approached her and licked it off her chest without warning or her consent.”

The USOPC and USSS knew of Foley’s behavior but did nothing to stop it, the lawsuit said. It depicted Foley as an all-powerful coach who could make and break athletes’ careers on the basis of how they got along off the mountain.

Foley’s attorney, Howard Jacobs, did not immediately return requests for comment from The Associated Press. Jacobs has previously said allegations of sexual misconduct against Foley are false.

In a statement, the USOPC said it had not seen the complaint and couldn’t comment on specific details but that “we take every allegation of abuse very seriously.”

“The USOPC is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Team USA athletes, and we are taking every step to identify, report, and eliminate abuse in our community,” the statement said.

It wasn’t until the Olympics in Beijing last year that allegations about Foley’s behavior and the culture on the snowboarding team started to emerge.

Allegations posted on Instagram by former team member Callan Chythlook-Sifsof — who, along with former team member Erin O’Malley, is a plaintiff along with Fletcher — led to Foley’s removal from the team, which he was still coaching when the games began.

That posting triggered more allegations in reporting by ESPN and spawned an AP report about how the case was handled between USSS and the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which is ultimately responsible for investigating cases involving sex abuse in Olympic sports. The center has had Foley on temporary suspension since March 18, 2022.

The AP typically does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault unless they have granted permission or spoken publicly, as Fletcher, Chythlook-Sifsof and O’Malley have done through a lawyer.

USSS said it was made aware of the allegations against Foley on Feb 6, 2022, and reported them to the SafeSport center.

“We are aware of the lawsuits that were filed,” USSS said in a statement. “U.S. Ski & Snowboard has not yet been served with the complaint nor has had an opportunity to fully review it. U.S. Ski & Snowboard is and will remain an organization that prioritizes the safety, health and well-being of its athletes and staff.”

The lawsuits seek unspecified damages to be determined in a jury trial.

Oleksandr Abramenko, Ukraine’s top Winter Olympian, tears knee, career in question

Oleksandr Abramenko

Aerials skier Oleksandr Abramenko, who won both of Ukraine’s medals over the last two Winter Olympics, is out for the season after a knee ligament tear and said he might not return to competition at all, according to Ukrainian media.

Abramenko, 34, won gold at the 2018 Olympics — Ukraine’s second-ever individual Winter Olympic title after figure skater Oksana Baiul in 1994 — and silver last year.

He competed once this season, placing 10th at a World Cup in Finland on Dec. 4, and then flew with the Ukrainian national team to stay in Utah ahead of World Cups in Canada in January and at the 2002 Olympic venue in Park City this weekend. The area also hosted many Ukraine winter sports athletes this past summer.

Abramenko missed the competition in Canada two weeks ago due to injury and then wasn’t on the start list for today’s aerials event in Park City. He is set to miss the world championships later this month in Georgia (the country, not the state).

Abramenko said he needs surgery, followed by a nine-month rehabilitation process, similar to an operation on his other knee six years ago, according to Ukraine’s public broadcaster. He said he will see how the recovery goes and determine whether to return to the sport at age 35, according to the report.

Abramenko is already the oldest Olympic men’s aerials medalist and come the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games will be older than all but one male aerialist in Olympic history, according to Olympedia.org.

At last year’s Olympics, Abramenko, Ukraine’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, was hugged after the aerials final by Russian Ilya Burov, who finished one spot behind Abramenko for a bronze medal. A week later, Russia invaded Ukraine.

A week after that, Abramenko posed for a photo sitting on a mattress in a Kyiv parking garage with his wife and 2-year-old son published by The New York Times.

“We spend the night in the underground parking in the car, because the air attack siren is constantly on,” Abramenko texted, according to the newspaper. “It’s scary to sleep in the apartment, I myself saw from the window how the air defense systems worked on enemy missiles, and strong explosions were heard.”

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