Breanna Clark breaks own world record to defend 400m Paralympic title

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Breanna Clark won the women’s 400m T20 gold medal and continued to lower her own records at the Tokyo Paralympics.

The Los Angeles native has now won the race at every major championship she competed.

Clark had claimed the Rio 2016 title in a Paralympic record time of 57.79 seconds. She broke that record Tuesday morning, winning her heat by a whopping 3.36 seconds in 56.07.

In the final, the 26-year-old dropped the Paralympic record once again, this timing breaking the 55.99 world record she had set in 2018. She won by exactly one second, in 55.18, over 2021 European champ Yuliia Shuliar of Ukraine. Brazil’s Jardenia Felix Barbosa da Silva was third in 57.43 seconds.

The T20 classification is for athletes with intellectual impairments; Clark was diagnosed with autism at 4 years old.

Since her big debut in Rio, Clark has won the 2017 and 2019 World titles, plus 2019 Parapan American gold.

Americans won six medals in track and field on Tuesday, though a fifth-place finish was just as notable.

Tatyana McFadden, a 19-time Paralympic medalist, was fifth – just 0.61 seconds off the podium – in the women’s 1500m T54.

McFadden was the two-time reigning Paralympic champion at that distance. She also won the world title in 2011, 2013 and 2017.

“Tough race tonight in the down pouring rain,” she posted to social media. “I gave it all I had out there tonight, and couldn’t ask for anything better. Proud of myself and looking forward to the next race.”

The five-time Paralympian already has a silver and bronze from Tokyo but is still seeking her first gold of the Games with two individual races remaining.

Sam Grewe won his first Paralympic gold, taking the high jump T63 title at 1.88 meters after settling for silver in the event in Rio. He is the three-time reigning world champion.

Brittni Mason earned silver in a photo finish in the first Paralympic final of her career, barely edged by Lisbeli Marina Vera Andrade of Venezuela in the women’s 100m T47.

Both women finished at 11.97 seconds. Reigning Paralympic gold medalist Deja Young, Mason’s teammate, took bronze at 12.21.

Mason set the current world record of 11.89 seconds when she beat Young for the 2019 World title.

Young is the 2016 Paralympic and 2019 World champion in the 200m, which both Americans will race Saturday.

Kym Crosby was third in the women’s 100m T13, same as in Rio.

In the morning finals, Roderick Townsend claimed his second medal of the Games with a personal best long jump of 7.43 meters in the T47 classification. Cuba’s Robiel Yankiel Sol Cervantes won the event with a Paralympic record of 7.46 meters. Townsend had won high jump gold on Sunday.

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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Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

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Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

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Alexis Pinturault wins world championships combined; American in fourth

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France’s Alexis Pinturault won the world Alpine skiing championships combined at his home venue after defending world champion Marco Schwarz blew a lead in the final seconds of his slalom run.

Pinturault, a 31-year-old who hadn’t won a race in nearly two years (the longest drought of his distinguished career), prevailed by one tenth of a second over the Austrian Schwarz in Courchevel, France.

“I hope to enjoy it because it was pretty difficult some months ago,” Pinturault said.

Austrian Raphael Haaser took bronze in an event that combined times from a morning super-G run and an afternoon slalom run, one day after his older sister took bronze in the women’s combined.

River Radamus was fourth, a quarter of a second from becoming the first U.S. man to win an Alpine worlds medal since 2015. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom, which is scheduled for Feb. 17 at worlds.

“It’s nice, but honestly, you don’t come to world championships hoping to get fourth,” Radamus said.

Five skiers finished within 2.98 seconds of the winner in an event that has been dropped from the annual World Cup schedule and is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Pinturault had the fastest super-G run by six hundredths over Schwarz. Schwarz, a slightly better slalom skier than Pinturault, erased that deficit early in the slalom and had a three tenths lead at the last intermediate split.

He gave it all away about six gates from the finish, slamming on the brakes. Moments later, he crossed the finish line one tenth behind Pinturault, who reacted by pumping his fists in the air.

The Frenchman earned his first race victory since the March 2021 World Cup Finals giant slalom, where he clinched his first World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Last season, Pinturault went winless on the World Cup for the first time since he was a teenage rookie in 2011, plus went medal-less at the Olympics.

Pinturault, who grew up in Courchevel and now co-owns the family’s five-star Hotel Annapurna there, had retirement cross his mind in the offseason, according to Eurosport. He skipped a pre-worlds Sunday press conference due to illness.

Nonetheless, Pinturault was on the front page of French newspapers this week, including L’Equipe on Tuesday. In a sports cover story for Le Figaro, Pinturault said that, given the circumstances, it would be almost a “nice surprise” to go for a medal at these worlds.

Olympic champion Johannes Strolz of Austria skied out of the slalom after tying for 29th in the super-G.

Olympic silver and bronze medalists Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Jack Crawford of Canada were among the speed specialists who did not start the slalom. They essentially used the event as a training run for Thursday’s super-G.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the women’s super-G, where Mikaela Shiffrin is a medal contender but not the favorite. She can tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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