Shericka Jackson wins over Elaine Thompson-Herah, Allyson Felix in Rome

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Shericka Jackson played spoiler in a race that included the three women who combined to win the last seven Olympic flat sprint titles, taking the 200m at a Diamond League meet in Rome on Thursday.

Jackson, an Olympic 100m and 400m bronze medalist for Jamaica, clocked 21.91 seconds, just four hundredths off the world’s top time this year set by Olympic 200m silver medalist Christine Mboma of Namibia. Mboma wasn’t in the Rome field.

Elaine Thompson-Herah, who swept the 100m and 200m at the last two Olympics, was a distant second in 22.25, outleaning world champion Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain by .02. Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas, who won the last two Olympic 400m titles, was fourth.

Allyson Felix, the 2012 Olympic 200m champion in her farewell season, was seventh in 22.97.

Athletes are preparing for national and world championships. For Jamaica and the U.S., nationals are June 23-26 with the top three in most individual events in line to qualify for the world championships in Eugene, Oregon, in July.

Jackson established herself as a medal contender in the 200m in addition to the 100m. At the Tokyo Olympics, Jackson followed her 100m bronze medal with a lackluster opening round of the 200m, running 1.44 seconds slower than she did at trials and failing to advance.

Felix, 36, is expected to race at least the 400m at her final nationals, bidding for a spot in the eight-woman final that would likely be enough to get on the world championships team in the relay pool. Felix ranks fourth among Americans in the 400m this year with a top time of 50.71.

She is tied for sixth in the U.S. in the 200m, which has been less of a focus than the 400m in recent years.

Full Rome results are here. The Diamond League moves to Oslo for the Bislett Games next Thursday.

In other events in Rome, Olympic champion Athing Mu dominated in her first Diamond League 800m in nearly 10 months. Mu, who turned 20 on Wednesday, pulled away to prevail in 1:57.01, supplanting Olympic silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson as fastest in the world this year. The Brit Hodgkinson was not in the Rome field.

American pole vaulter Sandi Morris continued her strong start to a season that she hopes brings her first global outdoor championship. Morris, a three-time silver medalist between the Olympics and worlds, in Rome beat the last two Olympic gold medalists at a third consecutive Diamond League to start the season. She cleared 4.81 meters, the world’s best in 2022.

JuVaughn Harrison became the first American to win a Diamond League high jump in six years, clearing 2.27 meters to beat a field including co-Olympic gold medalist Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy.

Slovenian Kristjan Ceh won for the third time in as many Diamond League men’s discus events this year. Ceh, fifth at the Olympics, threw 70.72 meters to beat a field that included the top four from Tokyo. Ceh has the world’s top throw in 2022 of 71.27.

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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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