Sam Kendricks won’t defend world pole vault title; notable U.S. athletes not on world team

Sam Kendricks
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Sam Kendricks, the two-time reigning world pole vault champion, will miss the world track and field championships that start next week due to May 2 knee surgery.

Kendricks was among the notables not named to the U.S. roster for worlds in Eugene, Oregon.

Kendricks’ agent said the surgery to repair a meniscus was minor.

“We thought his recovery would have been much quicker but he’s had a few setbacks,” the agent said. “Sam didn’t feel he was in a position to compete for the medals.”

LetsRun.com first reported the reason for Kendricks’ absence.

Kendricks did not compete at last month’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, but had the option to petition onto the world team as a reigning world champion (which hurdler Daliliah Muhammad did). His most recent competition was April 8. He flew to Oslo for a June 16 Diamond League meet and withdrew before the event.

Kendricks won bronze at the 2016 Olympics, then back-to-back world titles and was expected to challenge world record holder Mondo Duplantis at the Tokyo Games. But he was ruled out of last year’s Olympic competition after testing positive for COVID while in Tokyo.

The 151-athlete U.S. roster is also without 400m sprinter Quanera Hayes, who won last year’s Olympic Trials and placed seventh in Tokyo. She was eliminated in the heats at nationals last month but had a bye onto the world team via winning last season’s Diamond League final.

No reason has been given for the absence of Hayes or Garrett Scantling, the national champion in the decathlon, or Micah Williams, who was fourth in the 100m, which would normally earn a spot in the 4x100m relay pool.

In May, Scantling posted the world’s best decathlon total this year, improving to seventh on the all-time world performer list. He was fourth at the Olympics.

Williams wasn’t named to the 4x100m pool, but two athletes who did not run the 100m at nationals did make a 4x100m pool — Josephus Lyles, who was the top finisher in the men’s 200m to not make that team — and Gabby Thomas, the Olympic 200m bronze medalist who was eighth in the 200m at nationals weeks after tearing a hamstring.

As expected, Allyson Felix made her record-extending 10th and final world championships team in the mixed-gender 4x400m relay pool. Felix was sixth in the 400m at nationals. The mixed 4x400m is the marquee final on the first night of worlds on July 15.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde
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BEAVER CREEK, Colorado — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph (121 kph) in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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