Garrett Scantling passes greats on U.S. decathlon list, leads world team

Garrett Scantling
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Garrett Scantling moved to No. 3 on the U.S. all-time decathlon list, posting 8,867 points to win the USATF Combined Events Championships and lead the team for the world championships.

Scantling, who was fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, improved from eighth in American history by personal best to third behind Olympic gold medalists Ashton Eaton and Dan O’Brien. Scantling, who is now seventh on the all-time world list, passed Olympic or world champions Tom Pappas, Trey Hardee and Bryan Clay.

Scantling retired from track and field after missing the 2016 Olympics by one spot at trials. He had a brief stay with the Atlanta Falcons in a 2017 spring camp as a wide receiver before returning to Jacksonville, Florida, to work as a financial advisor. He returned to competition in 2020.

Scantling is joined on the team for July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon, by University of Georgia junior Kyle Garland (8,720 points) and two-time Olympian Zach Ziemek (8,573), who like Scantling recorded personal bests by more than 100 points. Garland shattered his previous best by 524 points in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Friday and Saturday.

USATF COMBINED EVENTS CHAMPS: Full Results

Anna Hall won the heptathlon with 6,458 points, a total that would have placed sixth at the Olympics. Last year, Hall crashed out of the Olympic Trials heptathlon in the opening 100m hurdles.

She’s joined on the world team by Olympic fifth-place finisher Kendell Williams, who earned a spot last year by topping the world season standings.

Third and fourth U.S. women’s spots are to-be-determined based on world rankings and/or athletes who get the world championships qualifying standard by June 26. Hall was the only woman to hit the standard in Fayetteville, though 10th-place finisher Erica Bougard also has it from a previous result.

In other track and field meets Saturday, two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica clocked the fastest women’s 100m this early in a year ever — 10.67 seconds — to win at the Kip Keino Classic at altitude in Nairobi, Kenya.

The race’s other headliner, Olympic 200m silver medalist Christine Mboma of Namibia, pulled up midway through, tripped and fell to the track and was carried off on a stretcher.

Olympic gold medalist Marcell Jacobs of Italy withdrew before the men’s 100m due to stomach problems. Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala won in 9.85, the fastest time in the world this year, edging Olympic 100m silver medalist Fred Kerley by .07.

In an American Track League meet, Allyson Felix finished fourth in a 400m in 52.23 seconds in her first time racing the event this year.

Felix, in her farewell season, has not said publicly whether she will compete in the USATF Outdoor Championships next month, where it’s likely that the top eight in the 400m make the world team (top three individually, plus relay spots). Last year, the eighth-place finisher at Olympic Trials ran 50.84.

Emily Sisson, who finished 10th in the Olympic 10,000m, broke Sara Hall‘s American record in the half marathon by winning the national title in 67:11.

The track and field season continues Sunday with a Continental Tour meet at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, featuring world 100m champion Christian Coleman and Olympic 400m hurdles silver medalist Rai Benjamin.

The top-level Diamond League season begins Friday in Doha.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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