Jake Reed, husband of Olympic softball player Janie, makes MLB debut

2021 Los Angeles Angels Photo Day
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It’s been a great couple of days for the Reed family.

On Monday, July 5, Janie Reed arrived in Japan to prepare for her Olympic debut with the U.S. softball team. Then on Tuesday, July 6 (U.S. time), her husband Jake Reed made his Major League Baseball debut.

After the Los Angeles Dodgers had picked up Jake’s contract earlier that day, he was called to the mound for that night’s game against the Miami Marlins.

Reed pitched two-thirds of an inning in the bottom of the sixth, striking out Garrett Cooper, intentionally walking Jesus Sanchez and allowing two hits and an unearned run; the Marlins won 2-1.

“Can someone please give him a big hug for me???” Janie tweeted, reacting to the Dodgers selecting Jake’s contract.

Her teammates, including 2008 silver medalist Monica Abbott, were sharing their excitement for Jake all day on social media.

Dejah Mulipola, a 2021 Arizona grad, posted clips of her catching for Jake last year during the lockdown period of the pandemic.

Olympic team alternate Keilani Ricketts‘ Instagram story included video of the team chanting, “Jake! Jake! Jake!” as Janie entered the room during breakfast.

The Americans are in Iwakuni, 430-plus miles from Tokyo, where they will play four doubleheaders from July 9-13 and train leading up to the U.S.’ first Olympic game on July 21 against Italy.

Ranked first in the world, the reigning world champion U.S. team is expected to win gold in softball’s return to the Olympic program, but will face stiff competition from host nation and world No. 2 Japan. The U.S. won the sport’s first three Olympic titles before Japan claimed the latest in 2008.

The Reeds, both 28, met and began dating as student-athletes during their freshman year at the University of Oregon in 2011. They were married in November 2017.

“We knew what we were doing when we got married, and we both realized it’s not going to last forever,” Janie told TeamUSA.org in 2020. “It may seem like a long time sometimes when we haven’t seen each other for a month and a half, but there is going to be a time where one of us or both of us are done playing, and it’s going to feel like this time of our lives flew by. So we’re just trying to enjoy the moment.”

Outfielder Janie (née Takeda) has played with the national team since 2015, winning the 2016 and 2018 world titles in that time, plus the 2019 Pan American Games.

Jake played six seasons bouncing around minor league teams under the Minnesota Twins organization after he was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. He then played for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, part of the Los Angeles Angels, from November 2020 through June 2021.

Just over a month ago, Jake signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers and recorded a 2.61 ERA with 11 strikeouts in nine games for the Oklahoma City Dodgers.

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Chicago Marathon features Emily Sisson’s return, Conner Mantz’s debut, live on Peacock

Emily Sisson

At Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, Emily Sisson makes her return, nearly three years after Olympic Trials disappointment. Conner Mantz makes one of the most anticipated U.S. men’s debuts in 26.2-mile racing.

It is not the norm, but an American will be one of the spotlight runners in both the men’s and women’s elite races at a major marathon. Peacock airs live coverage at 8 a.m. ET.

Sisson, 30, starts her first mass marathon since dropping out of the Olympic Trials on Feb. 29, 2020, her legs “destroyed” on the hilly Atlanta course where she started as arguably the favorite. She ran the virtual New York City Marathon later in 2020, but that was solo (and not in New York City). Her 2:38:00 isn’t recorded in her official results on her World Athletics bio.

Since, Sisson won the Olympic Trials 10,000m on the track and was the top American in Tokyo in 10th place. She moved back to the roads, winning national titles at 15km and the half marathon and breaking the American record in the latter.

Sisson vaulted into the elite group of U.S. female marathoners in 2019, when she clocked the second-fastest debut marathon in American history, a 2:23:08 on a windy day in London, where the early pace was slow.

At the time, it was the 12th-best U.S. performance all-time. In the last two years, Keira D’Amato, 37, and Sara Hall, 39, combined to run seven faster marathons. At Chicago, a flat course that produced a world record three years ago, Sisson can answer them and perhaps get close to D’Amato’s American record 2:19:12.

“I’m hoping sub-2:20,” coach Ray Treacy said, according to LetsRun.com. “With the [super] shoes and the training behind her, I would think that’s [worth] at least three minutes.”

It is less likely that Sisson can challenge for the win on Sunday given the presence of Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the 2019 World champion and defending champion in the Windy City. The 28-year-old mom is the fifth-fastest woman in history with a personal best of 2:17:08. And Ethiopian Ruti Aga, a podium finisher in Berlin, New York City and Tokyo with a best time of 2:18:34, though she has one marathon finish since the pandemic (a seventh place).

Like Sisson, Mantz has shown strong recent road racing form. The American men’s debut marathon record of 2:07:56 (Leonard Korir) is in play. If he can break that, Mantz will be among the five fastest U.S. marathoners in history.

Rarely has a U.S. male distance runner as accomplished as Mantz moved up to the marathon at such a young age (25). At BYU, he won NCAA cross-country titles in 2020 and 2021 and placed fifth in the Olympic Trials 10,000m, then turned pro and won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships last December.

“If everything goes as planned, I think sub-2:08 is realistic,” Mantz said in a Citius Mag video interview last month. “If everything goes perfect on the day, I think a sub-2:07, that’s a big stretch goal.”

The men’s field doesn’t have the singular star power of Chepngetich, but a large group of East Africans with personal bests around 2:05. The most notable: defending champion Seifu Tura of Ethiopia and 2021 Boston Marathon winner Benson Kipruto of Kenya.

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Alpine skiing to test new format for combined race

Alpine Skiing Combined

Alpine skiing officials will test a new format for the combined event, a race that is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the International Ski Federation (FIS) will test a new team format for the combined, which has been an individual event on the Olympic program since 1988. L’Equipe reported that a nation can use a different skier for the downhill and slalom in the new setup, quoting FIS secretary general Michel Vion.

For example, the U.S. could use Breezy Johnson in the downhill run and sub her out for Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom run, should the format be adopted into senior competition.

The format will be tested at the world junior championships in January in St. Anton, Austria, according to the report.

In response to the report, a FIS spokesperson said, “Regarding the new format of the combined is correct, and our directors are working on the rules so for the moment the only thing we can confirm is that there will be this new format for the Alpine combined that has been proposed by the athletes’ commission.”

Some version of the combined event has been provisionally included on the 2026 Olympic program, with a final IOC decision on its place coming by April.

This will be the third consecutive World Cup season with no combined events. Instead, FIS has included more parallel races in recent years. The individual combined remains on the biennial world championships program.

L’Equipe also reported that the mixed team parallel event, which is being dropped from the Olympics, will also be dropped from the biennial world championships after this season.

“There is nothing definitive about that yet, but it is a project in the making,” a FIS spokesperson said in commenting on the report.

Vion said the mixed team event, which debuted at the Olympics in 2018, was not a hit at the Beijing Games and did not draw a strong audience, according to L’Equipe.

The World Cup season starts in two weeks with the traditional opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria.

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