Karsten Warholm, Elaine Thompson-Herah named World Athletics Athletes of the Year

Athletics - Olympics: Day 11
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Norwegian Karsten Warholm and Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah were named World Athletics Athletes of the Year on Wednesday.

Warholm won the men’s award over fellow Olympic gold medalists Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda, 5000m), Ryan Crouser (USA, shot put), Mondo Duplantis (Sweden, pole vault) and Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya, marathon).

Warholm twice broke what was the longest-standing world record among men’s track races set by American Kevin Young, who went 46.78 in the 1992 Olympic final. Warholm lowered it to 46.70 on July 1, then to 45.94 in the Tokyo Olympic final.

In the Olympic run alone, Warholm took 1.6 percent off the world record, just shy of Michael Johnson‘s 1.7 percent drop in the 1996 Olympic 200m final.

Crouser was the only other man to break a world record in an Olympic event this year. At the Olympic Trials, he threw 25 centimeters farther than the mark set by American Randy Barnes in 1990, three months before Barnes tested positive for a banned steroid and was suspended.

Crouser later also threw farther than Barnes’ old world record at the Olympics and the Prefontaine Classic, both in August. He now owns the three best outdoor throws in history, in addition to the indoor world record he broke in January.

Thompson-Herah earned the women’s award among finalists that included Sifan Hassan (Netherlands, 5000m/10,000m), Faith Kipyegon (Kenya, 1500m), Sydney McLaughlin (USA, 400m hurdles) and Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela, triple jump).

She became the first woman to win 100m, 200m and 4x100m golds at one Olympics since Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988. Thompson-Herah also clocked the second-fastest 100m and 200m times in history (10.54, 21.53), trailing only Griffith Joyner’s world records.

McLaughlin twice went under countrywoman Dalilah Muhammad‘s 400m hurdles world record of 52.16 seconds. She won duels with Muhmmad at the Olympic Trials (51.90) and the Tokyo Games (51.46). She also earned gold as part of the U.S. 4x400m relay.

Hassan in Tokyo became the second woman to earn a medal in three individual track races at one Olympics — 5000m gold, 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze. The other: also a Dutchwoman, Fanny Blankers-Koen in 1948, the mother of two dubbed the Flying Housewife.

Warholm is the first 400m hurdles sprinter to win Male Athlete of the Year since Young in 1992 and the first Norwegian man or woman to take the award. Thompson-Herah became the first Jamaican woman to win since Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in 2013.

Americans Athing Mu (Olympic 800m champion) and Erriyon Knighton (youngest U.S. Olympic male track and field athlete since miler Jim Ryun in 1964) won Rising Star awards given to the best U20 athletes. Mu is 19. Knighton is 17.

Bobby Kersee, who guided McLaughlin and Allyson Felix to gold in Tokyo, earned a coaching award. Kersee has now coached a gold medalist in every Olympic women’s event one lap or shorter.

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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