Kristian Blummenfelt wins Ironman title after Olympic gold; Daniela Ryf’s 5th world title

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Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt became the first triathlete to earn an Olympic gold medal and an Ironman world championship in the same year span, rallying to win the latter in St. George, Utah, on Saturday.

The 28-year-old covered a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run in an unofficial 7 hours, 49 minutes, 16 seconds. He is the first man to win an Ironman world title in his world championships debut since Belgian Luc Van Lierde in 1996.

“That was a tough day, brutal course,” Blummenfelt said in a finish-line interview.

Blummenfelt, eighth after the bike leg, easily made up a 4-minute, 23-second deficit on the closing marathon run to win the most prestigious distance triathlon in its first edition outside of Hawaii. Canadian Lionel Sanders was second, 4:46 behind, followed by New Zealand’s Braden Currie.

IRONMAN WORLDS: Results

Blummenfelt took the lead around the 18th mile of the marathon with temperatures in the mid-80s. He ran the marathon in 2:38:01.

In Tokyo, Blummenfelt was in fifth place going into the closing 10km run, making up a 15-second deficit to win the 32-mile race. Four months later, he debuted at the Ironman distance by clocking the fastest time ever for 140.6 miles — 7:21:12 — boosted from a significant swim current in Cozumel, Mexico.

German Jan Frodeno is the only other triathlete to win the Olympics and the Ironman world championships. His Ironman crown came seven years after his Olympic gold medal.

Frodeno, a three-time Ironman world champion, missed St. George due to an Achilles injury. The field lacked other stars: two-time world champion Patrick Lange of Germany (shoulder), Norwegian Gustav Iden, the half Ironman world champion (illness), and Brit Alistair Brownlee, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist (illness).

In the women’s race Saturday, Daniela Ryf earned her fifth world title, prevailing by 8:50 over Brit Kat Matthews in 8:34:59.

“I guess I’m still good,” she said.

Ryf, 34, moves into third place on the women’s career victories list, trailing Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser (eight) and fellow Swiss Natascha Badmann (six). Before moving up to Ironman, Ryf placed seventh and 40th in the 32-mile Olympic triathlons in 2008 and 2012.

At her last victory in on Hawaii’s Big Island in 2018, she broke the course record by 20 minutes despite getting stung by a jellyfish in both armpits on the opening 2.4-mile swim.

The Ironman World Championships were held outside of Hawaii for the first time since their 1978 inception. The coronavirus pandemic forced the event to be postponed in 2020 and 2021, the latter rescheduled from October and moved to St. George, which held the half Ironman world championships last year.

The world championships return to Kailua-Kona for a new, two-day race format — Oct. 6 for the women and Oct. 8 for the men.

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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

Joel Embiid
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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

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LA 2028
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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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