Athing Mu wins 800m thriller, world records fall, U.S. wins most track worlds medals ever

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Athing Mu‘s victory by eight hundredths of a second in the 800m highlighted a three-gold-medal final day of the world track and field championships for the U.S., which broke the record for most total medals at a worlds.

Nigerian Tobi Amusan (100m hurdles) and Swede Mondo Duplantis (pole vault) also broke world records Sunday.

Mu and the U.S. men’s and women’s 4x400m relays won on the last day of the 10-day meet in Eugene, Oregon, the first outdoor worlds to be held in the U.S.

In all, the U.S. earned five medals on Sunday to finish with 33, breaking the record of 31 medals won by East Germany in 1987. Its 13 gold medals are one shy of the record that the U.S. holds from 2005, 2007 and 2019.

Notably, the retiring Allyson Felix earned a records-extending 20th career world championships medal and 14th gold for her participation in Saturday’s preliminary heats of the women’s 4x400m.

Sydney McLaughlin anchored the final quartet with a split of 47.91 seconds, making her the seventh-fastest relay performer in history and second-fastest in the last 33 years behind Felix. It could be a sign of things to come as McLaughlin, who smashed her world record in the 400m hurdles on Friday, may move full-time to the flat 400m.

Mu became the first American woman to win a world 800m title, a year after becoming the second American woman to win an Olympic 800m title. She barely held off surging Brit Keely Hodgkinson, the Olympic silver medalist, to her inside over the last 100 meters. Mu is undefeated in outdoor 800m races dating to 2019. On Her Turf has more on the women’s 800m here.

“Today was kind of a rough day for me,” said Mu, who in Tokyo won by a more comfortable .67 of a second. “I just physically wasn’t where I would like to be. I just didn’t feel my best.”

Mu, at 20, became the youngest woman to own Olympic and world titles in an individual track and field event in history. The only younger man to do it was Kirani James of Grenada in the 400m in 2011 and 2012.

TRACK WORLDS: Results

Also Sunday, Amusan ran the two fastest women’s 100m hurdles times in history, though only one counted for a world record. More on Amusan here. Duplantis capped the meet by breaking his own pole vault world record, clearing 6.21 meters (20 feet, 4 inches).

“I did not touch it [the bar], so that gives you confidence that you can go higher,” said Duplantis, one of only two men to pole vault higher than 20 feet outdoors (Sergey Bubka).

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen added a world 5000m title to his Olympic 1500m crown, taking the lead with 900 meters left and pulling away in the final 200. American Grant Fisher was in third coming around the last curve, stumbled — could have been clipped by another runner — and dropped to sixth.

Ingebrigtsen wants to run the 1500m and 5000m at the Olympics, but ran solely the 1500m in Tokyo because the events overlapped. The 2024 Olympic track and field schedule has not been published, though Ingebrigtsen said before worlds that he petitioned for the events to be separated and that it was rejected.

Kenya finished worlds without a gold medal in any of the men’s and women’s 5000m, 10,000m, marathons and 3000m steeplechases for the first time since the first worlds in 1983.

World record holder Kevin Mayer of France earned his second world title in the decathlon, a day after Olympic gold medalist Damian Warner of Canada pulled up with a leg injury in the 400m. Mayer earned silver medals at the last two Olympics and has a home Games in two years in Paris.

Zach Ziemek took bronze to become the first American medalist in the decathlon since Ashton Eaton retired after his second Olympic title in 2016.

German Malaika Mihambo followed her Olympic gold by repeating as world champion in the long jump, edging Olympic bronze medalist Ese Brume of Nigeria by 10 centimeters.

The track and field season continues with the resumption of the Diamond League circuit with a meet in Poland on Aug. 6, with early commits including Duplantis and world 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica.

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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

Mark McMorris
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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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