A Boston Marathon women’s field for the ages on historic anniversary

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For the first time in many years, the Boston Marathon features the world’s top two female marathoners from the previous year. Perhaps the best Boston Marathon women’s field ever comes on the 50th anniversary of the first time women were officially allowed to race the world’s most historic 26.2-mile race.

Kenyans Peres Jepchirchir and Joyciline Jepkosgei headline the entries. Also running is arguably the top American today, Olympic bronze medalist Molly Seidel.

“I’ve gotten my ass kicked by Peres the two times that I’ve raced her,” Seidel told LetsRun.com on Friday. “Getting to be in a race with a huge amount of competition like that with women with incredible credentials, that fires me up like nothing else. A lot of it is, you just hang on for dear life and see what happens.”

London usually has the best fields of the spring marathons, but that race is being held in October for a third consecutive year due to the pandemic.

Boston, which was canceled in 2020 and held in October last year, returns to its usual Patriots’ Day date for the first time since 2019.

BOSTON MARATHON: TV Schedule | Men’s Preview | U.S. Women’s Moment

It is this year’s spotlight spring marathon.

The race is an opportunity for Jepchirchir, who won the Olympics and the New York City Marathon last year, to consolidate her status as the world No. 1. Jepkosgei is right behind, winning London in the world’s fastest time of 2021 in her lone marathon of the year.

Another Kenyan, world-record holder Brigid Kosgei, is perhaps the only other woman in that very top tier. But she hasn’t raced Boston since becoming a star. Yet another Kenyan Mary Keitany, the retired queen of the 2010s, never raced Boston as she favored London.

So this year’s field is about as special as it gets for the world’s most historic marathon.

Another reason why is Seidel, who has an opportunity to shake up the marathon world.

She already mixed it up at majors, placing sixth in London in 2020, then third at the Olympics (within 30 seconds of Jepchirchir and Kosgei) and fourth in New York City last year (in the fastest time ever for an American woman on that course).

“It was a surprise for a lot of people that I won that medal,” said Seidel, who formerly supplemented her training as a barista and babysitter and is now working on an MBA and pilot’s license. “But honestly, that’s been something that’s always been a big goal of mine. My goals are pretty much the same [now], a podium spot at major marathons.”

Seidel’s performance will go a long way in determining the top U.S. marathoner of the moment.

Keira D’Amato broke the American record in Houston in January. Sara Hall made a major marathon podium each of the last two years.

But Seidel is the only one of the very best Americans racing Boston after Hall withdrew due to injury.

The story Monday could also be the return of Ethiopia. Its fastest woman of 2021, London runner-up Degitu Azimeraw, is also entered. Ethiopia, the longtime rival of Kenya for marathon supremacy, has one women’s title in the last six years among Boston, London, New York City, the world championships and Olympics.

Monday also marks the ninth Boston Marathon for Des Linden, the lone active woman left from the previous generation of top Americans.

In 2018, she ended a 33-year victory drought for U.S. female runners in Boston. At 38, she does not know how much longer she will do elite marathon racing.

“I’m watching the youngsters take over and push the sport forward, and sort of hanging on and, hopefully, having a moment here and there where I can compete with them,” Linden said.

ON HER TURF: A look at the 50th anniversary of official women’s division

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell

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

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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