Robert Griswold, Nick Mayhugh set world records as U.S. men win first Paralympic medals

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 3
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It took the men of the U.S. Paralympic team until the third day of competition to earn their first medal in Tokyo, but once they did the medals kept coming.

Led by world-record efforts from Robert Griswold in the pool and Nick Mayhugh on the track, the U.S. tripled its medal count from four to 12 on Friday, with four of those medals coming in men’s events.

Griswold, the two-time reigning world champion, claimed the first medal of these Games by a U.S. man when he won the 100m backstroke S8 in 1:02.55, breaking the world record of 1:02.90 set by China’s Zhou Cong five years ago in Rio, where Griswold was third.

“I worked for five years for this moment,” Griswold told U.S. Paralympics Swimming. “I remember this record took a big jump down in Rio, and I was in that race, and I woke up the next day and said, ‘How can I get down to 1:02.90?’ I thought about it again and again, and said if I just kept a little bit better every day, it will click. Then one day it all clicked.”

In the next race, Jessica Long – the most decorated active Paralympian – took bronze in the women’s 100m backstroke S8 for her 24th career medal. Competing in her fifth Games, Long has four individual events still to come.

Mallory Weggemann and Ahalya Lettenberger went 1-2 for the U.S. in the 200m individual medley SM7. The race was the first of Lettenberger’s Paralympic career, and the 13th for three-time Paralympian Weggemann but her first gold medal in nine years.

“This has been a very long fight and there has been a lot of circumstances that have come around through this journey,” Weggemann said. “I’m just filled with pride that I get to be with Team USA and I get to represent my family, my community, and that I have that love and support to surround me.”

About 20 minutes later, Mayhugh won the U.S.’ first track and field medal of the Games when he cruised to victory in the 100m T37. His time of 10.95 seconds bested his 10.97 world record from the morning’s heats. The first-time Paralympian had last set the record when he won the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials in 11.21 seconds in June.

“I honestly didn’t feel like I ran my two best races,” Mayhugh said, according to TeamUSA.org. “I know there’s a lot more left in the tank, so I’m just excited to run again.”

Mayhugh, 25, took up track just two years ago. He led the team that earned bronze in soccer at the 2019 Parapan American Games and was named the 2019 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year with a Disability. Soccer 7-a-side had been removed from the Paralympic program from Tokyo, though, so Mayhugh, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 2010, decided to try his hand on the track.

He is now ranked No. 1 in the world in both the 100m and 200m.

Raymond Martin took silver in the 400m T52 after winning the event in both London and Rio. Japan’s Tomoki Sato, the three-time reigning world champion, won the race in a Paralympic-record time of 55.39 seconds.

For the fifth Paralympic Games in a row, Lex Gillette settled for the silver medal in the long jump T11 with a best jump of 6.17 meters. China’s Di Dongdong, who only competed in sprint events in Rio, won with a jump of 6.47.

Gillette has won the event at the past four world championships, though has never been able to secure the title when it comes to the Paralympic Games. The 36-year-old has already said he plans to compete in Paris in three years.

For the U.S.’ first medal outside of its three major sports of cycling, swimming and track and field, dressage rider Roxanne Trunnell won gold in the individual test Grade I. Hers is the first Paralympic equestrian medal by an American in 17 years and first gold in 25.

A full Paralympic Games broadcast schedule is available here. Events can also be streamed on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, with more info available here.

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Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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2024 Tour de France to end with Nice time trial due to Paris Olympics

2024 Tour de France Nice
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The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.

The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.

Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.

Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.

The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.

Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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