Mondo Duplantis, Yulimar Rojas break world records at world indoor championships

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Mondo Duplantis and Yulimar Rojas broke their own world records in the men’s pole vault and women’s triple jump to close the world indoor track and field championships.

Duplantis, a Louisiana-raised Swede, cleared 6.20 meters (20 feet, 4 inches) on his third and final attempt to raise his record by one centimeter for the second time in two weeks in Belgrade.

“It’s something that you can only dream of,” he said. “There are no limits. The sky’s the limit.”

The Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas launched the farthest jump in history in any setting, leaping 15.74 meters.

Rojas, who has won every global title since placing second at the 2016 Olympics, bettered her previous world indoor record of 15.43 meters from 2020 by more than a foot.

WORLD INDOORS: Full Results

Her outdoor world record is 15.67 meters from the Tokyo Games.

“The 16-meter mark is my big goal,” said Rojas, who hopes to compete in the long jump and triple jump at this summer’s world outdoor championships. “Every day, I am trying to add one more centimeter to get closer to it.”

Just as in Tokyo, Rojas’ record-breaking jump came on the last jump of the competition on Sunday, with the gold medal already assured.

The 6-foot-2 star has lost just one triple jump competition since September 2019.

Later Sunday, Americans Grant Holloway and Ajeé Wilson won the men’s 60m hurdles and women’s 800m, respectively.

Holloway, the Olympic 110m hurdles silver medalist, tied his world record of 7.29 seconds in the semifinals, then won the final in 7.39. He has an eight-year unbeaten streak in the 60m hurdles, and his only defeat in any event since the start of 2021 was in the Olympic final.

Wilson, 27, earned her first senior global title after two bronzes and two silvers between indoor and outdoor worlds.

“It feels amazing to finally come home with the gold after coming so close so many times,” she said.

Isaiah Harris gutted out his preliminary round 4x400m anchor leg after suffering an upper right leg injury with about 175 meters to go. He willed to hold onto second place, giving the U.S. a chance to advance to the final, but the Americans ended up not advancing on time.

Ethiopian Samuel Tefera upset Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway by .25 in the men’s 1500m, running 3:32.77.

Ethiopian Selemon Barega, the Olympic men’s 10,000m gold medalist, won the 3000m by .25 of a second over countryman Lamecha Girma.

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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