Allyson Felix advances, Sha’Carri Richardson out of the 100m on Day 1 of U.S. Track and Field Championships

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Dynamic but inconsistent sprint star Sha’Carri Richardson will not be on the U.S. 100m team for World Championships. On the opening night of the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships, Richardson finished 5th in her heat in 11.31, well off her season best of 10.85, and not fast enough to advance to the semifinals. While the Dallas native is still entered in the 200, the early round elimination came as something of a surprise after Richardson finished 2nd at the 2022 Prefontaine Classic in May behind two-time Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica.

RELATED: 2022 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships TV, live stream schedule

21 years to the day after she competed at her first U.S. Championships, 13-time world champion Allyson Felix won her 400m heat and advanced to the semifinals. Felix spoke to On Her Turf earlier this week about her memories of those 2001 championships, where she was eliminated in the opening round the 200m (Marion Jones won the heat and went on to win the national title, of which she was later stripped). “My family found me somewhere in the stands and I was crying (because) I didn’t make the final,” Felix said. “And my brother (Wes) just looked at me like, ‘What did you think was going to happen? That you were going to beat Marion Jones? As a teenager?’” Felix will compete in the 400m semifinal Friday night on CNBC and Peacock.

In the women’s 400m hurdles, Tokyo Olympic champion and world record holder Sydney McLaughlin cruised through to the next round in 54.11. Reigning world champion Dalilah Muhammad announced Wednesday that she had received a waiver from USATF exempting her from competing in Eugene this weekend before claiming her bye to the Worlds team. The three-time Olympic medalist has dealt with a hamstring injury this spring.

Middle-distance superstar Athing Mu, who won gold in the 800m in Tokyo at age 19, also advanced in her event. Two-time Olympian Ajee Wilson, who had a major breakthrough this indoor season to win her first global title at 2022 World Indoor Championships, was the fastest qualifier in 2:00.37.

RELATED: Dalilah Muhammad among Olympic gold medalists to miss USATF Outdoor Champs

In the men’s 800m, reigning world champion Donavan Brazier gutted out a win in his heat in 1:46.49, the fastest time of the round. Brazier, who has a bye to 2022 World Championships thanks to his win in 2019, revealed this week that he was dealing with bursitis in his right foot, and that he would take time after U.S. Championships to assess his fitness for Worlds. “He wants to represent himself and represent his country to the very best he can and if he doesn’t feel he can do that, we will shut him down,” his coach Pete Julian told reporters. Tokyo Olympians Clayton Murphy, Bryce Hoppel and Isaiah Jewett also advanced to the semifinals.

RELATED: How to watch 2022 World Track and Field Championships

Last summer, many raised eyebrows when 400m runner Fred Kerley dropped down in distance to contest the 100m. But he came away from Tokyo with an Olympic silver medal behind Italy’s Marcell Jacobs, and at the opening night of these championships, he looked to be back in podium-worthy form, running an easy 9.83 for the fastest time of the round, also a world lead. 2019 world champion Christian Coleman, back in action after missing the Tokyo Olympics while suspended for whereabouts failures (missed drug tests), won his heat in 10.08.

“You do kind of go into a shell,” Coleman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of his suspension earlier this year. “For the first time in my life this was something to not really be proud of. That part was tough. Eventually you come to terms with it and move forward and look forward to the future.”

Since he has the bye from 2019, Coleman doesn’t need to run all three rounds here in Eugene. His plans for the remainder of the 100m and the 200m, which starts Saturday, are still to be seen.

RELATED: 2022 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships Results

National titles were handed out in multiple field events, with Brooke Andersen winning the hammer ahead of Janee Kassanavoid and Annette Echikunwoke, Quanesha Burks winning the long jump ahead of Jasmine Moore and Tiffany Flynn and Andrew Evans taking home this discus title, with Dallin Shurts second and Sam Mattis third. 2019 world hammer champion DeAnna Price will also be on the team for Worlds by virtue of her wild card bye.

Coverage continues tomorrow with Day 2 of the meet at 10pm ET on CNBC and Peacock. For full results throughout the weekend, click here.

How to Watch 2022 U.S. Track and Field Championships

Day Key Finals Time (ET) Network
Thursday Women’s Hammer, Long Jump 6:50-11 p.m. USATF.TV
Friday 100m, Women’s Pole Vault 10 p.m.-12 a.m. CNBC | Peacock
Saturday 400m, 1500m, Women’s Hurdles 4-6 p.m. NBC | Peacock
Sunday 800m, Men’s 400m Hurdles 4-5 p.m. NBC | Peacock
200m, Men’s 110m Hurdles 5-6 p.m. USA | Peacock

Japanese pair edges Americans for historic Grand Prix Final figure skating title

Riku Miura, Ryuichi Kihara
Getty
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Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won the biggest title ever for a Japanese figure skating pair, taking the Grand Prix Final and consolidating their status as the world’s top active team.

Miura and Kihara, last season’s world silver medalists, barely outscored world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier in Turin, Italy, in both Thursday’s short program and Friday’s free skate to win the six-pair event that is a preview of March’s worlds.

The Japanese totaled 214.58 points, distancing the Americans by a mere 1.3 points after Frazier erred on both of their side-by-side jumping passes in the free skate. Italians Sara Conti and Niccolo Macii took bronze.

“We had a very late start to our season than initially planned, so as we have been performing at each event, I see us getting stronger, improving things,” said Frazier, who with Knierim had their best short program and free skate scores of the autumn.

Knierim and Frazier didn’t decide to continue competing together this season until July.

“I feel a little personally disappointed tonight just for myself for my jumps,” Frazier continued. “I was a little all over the place and, normally, I can execute better, so I feel a little bad, but I’m very proud of us overall. We’ve done a great job of improving each competition and looking forward to the second half of the season where we can start tapping into our best skating.”

GRAND PRIX FINAL: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Miura and Kihara, who partnered in June 2019 and train in Ontario, both waited with trepidation for their final score to be posted, worried that each’s separate mistake on jumps might cost them the title. When they learned they won, both burst into tears.

“This was the first time in eight years that I made a mistake with a Salchow, so I thought we might not get a good score, and it would be my fault,” Kihara said.

Miura and Kihara entered the competition ranked No. 1 in the world by best scores this season ahead of Knierim and Frazier, who in March became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979.

Last season, Miura and Kihara became the second Japanese pair to make a Grand Prix podium and to earn a world championships medal. Their ascension helped Japan win its first Olympic figure skating team event medal in February (a bronze that could be upgraded to gold pending the Kamila Valiyeva case).

In Grand Prix Final history, Japan had won 11 gold medals and 40 total medals, all in singles, before this breakthrough.

Knierim and Frazier, already the first U.S. pair to compete in the Grand Prix Final since 2015, became the first U.S. pair to win a Grand Prix Final medal. The Final has been held annually since 1996, though it was canceled the last two seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Miura and Kihara and Knierim and Frazier ascended to the top of the sport while the top five teams from the Olympics from Russia and China have not competed internationally since the Winter Games.

All Russian skaters are ineligible for international competition due to the war in Ukraine. China’s pairs, including Olympic champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, didn’t enter last March’s worlds and did not compete in the fall Grand Prix Series.

Later Friday, world champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan led the women’s short program with 75.86 points, 1.28 ahead of countrywoman Mai Mihara. American Isabeau Levito, the 15-year-old world junior champion, was fifth of six skaters in her Grand Prix Final debut.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier topped the rhythm dance with 85.93 points, edging Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates by .44. Both couples are bidding for the biggest international title of their careers. None of the Olympic medalists competed internationally this fall.

The Grand Prix Final ends Saturday with the men’s and women’s free skates and free dance, all live on Peacock.

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A Winter Olympic medal still being decided, 10 months later

Fanny Smith, Daniela Maier
It's still unknown whether Fanny Smith (green) or Daniela Maier (blue) is the Olympic ski cross bronze medalist. (Getty)
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There is a second Winter Olympic medal result still in question, 10 months after the Games.

While the figure skating team event results are still unknown due to the Kamila Valiyeva case, the bronze medal in women’s ski cross is also in dispute.

Originally, Swiss Fanny Smith crossed the finish line in third place in the four-woman final at the Winter Games in February. Upon review by the International Ski Federation (FIS) jury, she was minutes later demoted to fourth place after making contact with German Daniela Maier near the end of the course. Maier, who originally was fourth, was upgraded to bronze.

“I tried to be OK with the fourth place. I was very disappointed, I have to say, [then] the jury was like this,” Maier said then. “I am really sorry for Fanny that it’s like this right now. … The jury decided like this, so accept it and be happy with the medal.”

Smith and the Swiss ski federation appealed. FIS reinstated Smith as the bronze medalist nine days after the race and six days after the Closing Ceremony. A FIS appeals commission met four times and reviewed video and written documentation for several hours before deciding that “the close proximity of the racers at that moment resulted in action that was neither intentional or avoidable.”

But that wasn’t the end. The case ended up reportedly going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), whose rulings are usually accepted as final. The CAS process is ongoing, European media reported this week.

CAS has not responded to a request for comment. A FIS contact said Friday, “There is currently no update to provide in regards to the bronze medal in ski cross. Should there be any update, we will inform you.”

Smith said there should be news soon regarding the case, according to Blick.

Maier still has the bronze medal at her home and enjoys looking at it, according to German media, which also reported that the German ski federation expects Maier to win the case and keep the medal. Smith and Maier spoke extensively about it in recent training sessions and cleared things up. Maier said the best outcome would be bronze medals for both of them, according to the report.

For now, FIS lists Smith as the bronze medalist. The IOC lists Maier as the bronze medalist.

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