Kaillie Humphries, Elana Meyers Taylor go 1-2 in monobob, enter Olympics as favorites

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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — American Kaillie Humphries got a win. Elana Meyers Taylor got an overall title. And the U.S. bobsled team got more momentum to take into the Beijing Olympics.

Humphries prevailed in the final women’s monobob race of the season on Saturday, with Meyers Taylor finishing second. And in the seasonlong standings, the order was reversed — Meyers Taylor winning the points crown, with Humphries second.

Nobody was even close to the two drivers in the race. Humphries won in 2 minutes, 22.27 seconds. Meyers Taylor was second in 2:22.31. Cynthia Appiah of Canada got third, nearly a full second back in 2:23.22.

Appiah, Germany’s Mariama Jamanka (2:23.24) and Germany’s Laura Nolte (2:23.25) drove the only sleds that finished within a second of Humphries’ time. Christine de Bruin of Canada was sixth, 1.43 seconds off the pace.

“My runs weren’t without flaws, especially the second run, but overall I’m super happy I got to race here today,” Humphries said. “This is an amazing track, and it feels so nice when you do it right.”

ON HER TURF: Olympic monobob favorites didn’t want Olympic monobob

And for U.S. sliding, the way the final season standings in monobob worked out — Meyers Taylor first with 1,110 points, Humphries second with 1,052 — was a bit of a rarity. It was only the fourth time in any sliding sport that American sleds wound up first and second in the seasonlong standings.

The other instances: Katie Uhlaender and Noelle Pikus-Pace in women’s skeleton in 2006-07, Zach Lund and Eric Bernotas in men’s skeleton that same season, and Jean Racine and Jill Bakken in women’s bobsled in 1999-2000.

“I wasn’t focused on the overall title at all. I was just trying to work every week on getting better and better,” Meyers Taylor said. “I know I have a much bigger battle ahead. Beijing is unlike any track on tour, and it’s going to be a tough challenge.”

Monobob — just a driver in the sled — is part of the Olympic program for the first time this year. Men’s bobsledders have always had two medal events, with two- and four-man racing. Adding monobob gives the women two medal opportunities at the Olympics as well, with it joining the traditional two-person race.

Appiah was third in the overall monobob season standings, with de Bruin fourth, Breanna Walker of Australia fifth and Nolte sixth — those four sleds separated by just 10 points in the final rankings, all finishing with between 1,002 and 1,012 points.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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Dmitriy Balandin, surprise Olympic swimming champion, retires

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Dmitriy Balandin, the Kazakh swimmer who pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2016 Rio Olympics, retired at age 27.

“Today I would like to announce the end of my sports career,” Balandin said last week, according to Kazakhstan’s Olympic Committee. “I am still inspired. A new phase of my life begins. I have a lot of cool projects in my head that will soon be implemented.”

Balandin reportedly has coaching aspirations.

In 2016, he won the Olympic men’s 200m breaststroke out of lane eight as the last qualifier into the final. He edged American Josh Prenot by seven hundredths of a second and became Kazakhstan’s first Olympic swimming medalist.

He followed that up with 11th- and 17th-place finishes in the breaststrokes in Tokyo last year.

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