Americans Ryan Crouser, Maggie Ewen crowned Diamond League champions

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Seven champions were determined Wednesday on the first of a two-day Diamond League final in Zurich, Switzerland.

The shot put events kicked off the meet and were won by Americans Ryan Crouser and Maggie Ewen.

With a season’s best throw of 19.41 meters, Ewen earned not only her first season-ending Diamond League trophy but also the first Diamond League meet victory of her career. Portugal’s Auriol Dongmo was second at 18.86 meters and Sweden’s Fanny Roos third with a throw of 18.75.

The 26-year-old was fourth at the 2019 World Championships but just missed this year’s Olympic team, placing fourth at U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials by 0.03 meters.

Crouser, meanwhile, scored his ninth Diamond League victory since 2017 but first season title. He won all three meets he entered this year, setting meet records each time.

He set the world record of 23.37 meters when he won the Olympic Trials in June en route to his second consecutive Olympic gold.

Joe Kovacs, the 2019 World champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist, was second with a best of 22.29 meters. Serbian Armin Sinancevic, seventh in Tokyo, was third at 21.86, while New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh, who was on the past two Olympic and world championship podiums, finished a surprising fourth (21.61m) after winning three Diamond League season trophies.

Burundi long distance runner Francine Niyonsaba won her third 5000m Diamond League race in a row, running 14:28.98, ahead of Kenyan Hellen Obiri (14:29.68) — the two-time Olympic silver medalist at this distance — and Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye (14:30.30).

Niyonsaba is the 2016 Olympic and 2017 World silver medalist at 800 meters, but moved up to the 5000m this year after World Athletics ruled her testosterone levels are too high to run distances between 400 meters and the mile.

She qualified for Tokyo in the 5000 and 10,000, but was disqualified in the 5000m heats for a lane infringement. She finished fifth in the 10,000m final.

Three-time women’s high jump world champion, and recent Olympic gold medalist, Mariya Lasitskene of Russia won her event with a world-leading jump of 2.05 meters. Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh tied her season’s best height of 2.03 meters, while Australian Nicola McDermott was third, switching orders on the podium with Mahuchikh from Tokyo, at 2.01 meters.

Sweden’s Thobias Montler jumped 8.17 meters for the second Diamond League long jump win of his career, followed by American Steffin McCarter (8.14) and South African Ruswahl Samaai (7.99). None of the Tokyo Olympic medalists were competing.

With no Olympic medalists entered in women’s long jump either, Serbian Ivana Spanovic won her fourth Diamond League meet of the season, jumping 6.96 meters. Swede Khaddi Sagnia was second with 6.83, followed by Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk at 6.75.

Ethiopian Berihu Aregawi won the men’s 5000m title after just missing out on the Olympic 10,000m podium this summer. He ran 12:58.65, ahead of Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew (13:01.27) and Kenyan Jacob Krop (13:01.81).

Twenty five Diamond League titles will be determined on Thursday.

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

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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

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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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