Kyle Chalmers wins, shushes at Commonwealth Games after ‘rock bottom’

Swimming - Commonwealth Games: Day 4
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Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers won his signature race at the Commonwealth Games, then celebrated with a shush two days after saying recent “false headlines” about his relationship with Australian teammates threatened his future in swimming.

Chalmers took the 100m free on Monday in 47.51 seconds, a day after recording a Commonwealth Games record 47.36 in the semifinals in Birmingham, Great Britain. He ranks second in the world this year behind 17-year-old Romanian David Popovici, who swam 47.13 at June’s world championships.

“It’s special to win, but unfortunately, I think it’s hard to enjoy the moment when all that’s happened has gone on,” Chalmers said on Australia’s Seven Network. “It makes it a very, very challenging time. I’m grateful that I was able to block it out enough to stand up and win tonight, but I just hope this is a learning point for everyone where no one else has to go through what I’ve had to go through the last couple of days.

“There was points where I thought that I wouldn’t continue on and do the race, but that just lets the media win, right?”

Chalmers, who took 100m free gold and silver at the last two Olympics, was referring to headlines and media questions toward him at the Commonwealth Games about fellow Australian swimmers Emma McKeon, his former girlfriend, and Cody Simpson, who is now dating McKeon.

Earlier, Chalmers shared Sydney Morning Herald article that reported that other media accused Chalmers of not congratulating McKeon after they were on the victorious mixed 4x100m free relay team Friday.

“Did you watch the whole race?” Chalmers said, according to the newspaper. “I said congratulations and we [McKeon] stood here right alongside you guys and spoke last night. I find that really hard to believe that I didn’t say congratulations after the race.”

McKeon said that Chalmers did shake her hand, according to the Herald, saying, “He did [congratulate me]. We always put a good team together, and mixed relays are always fun.”

Chalmers said the headlines date back to May’s Australian trials. In the 100m butterfly at that meet, Chalmers took second and Simpson took third. Chalmers said before the meet that he planned to skip the world championships, which would have meant Simpson was upgraded to the second and final spot on the world championships team in the event.

Then at the meet (and before the 100m fly final), Chalmers said he had not made up his mind. After the 100m fly final, he decided to take the spot, which meant that Simpson, a pop star who returned to swimming in 2020 after a decade break, would not be on the world team (but would make Commonwealths, where a nation can enter three swimmers per individual event).

“I ask that you please stop writing these false headlines otherwise my time in the sport will be finished,” Chalmers shared on social media on Saturday. “This could end my time in swimming, I hope you are all aware. My mental health right now from all of this over the months is at rock bottom, I really hope that pleases the key board warriors that continue to write false news. Thank you again for the people who love, care and support me. You’ve been there for me everyday through this journey.. and without you I would not have been standing here racing. I would have been retired, but you motivated me, inspired me and helped me get through this battle. For that I am forever grateful.”

Back in May, Simpson said that he and Chalmers “cleared the air” after Chalmers’ decision to take the spot and that “it was all good.”

“He changed his mind, which he has every right to do,” Simpson said then on Amazon Prime. “I respect his decision either way.”

Chalmers said at Commonwealths that he tells Simpson “good luck” and has messaged him post-race, according to the Herald.

“I do nothing but be positive,” Chalmers said, according to the report. “I try and support him on the team but again, people just want clickbait.”

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Kenenisa Bekele still eyes Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record, but a duel must wait

Kenenisa Bekele
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LONDON — Kenenisa Bekele made headlines last week by declaring “of course I am the best” long distance runner ever. But the Ethiopian was fifth-best at Sunday’s London Marathon, finishing 74 seconds behind Kenya’s Amos Kipruto.

Bekele, 40, clocked 2:05:53, the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. He was with the lead pack until being dropped in the 21st mile.

But Bekele estimated he could have run 90 to 120 seconds faster had he not missed parts of six weeks of training with hip and joint injuries.

“I expect better even if the preparation is short,” he said. “I know my talent and I know my capacity, but really I couldn’t achieve what I expect.”

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history behind Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who broke his own world record by clocking 2:01:09 at the Berlin Marathon last week.

“I am happy when I see Eliud Kipchoge run that time,” Bekele said. “It motivates all athletes who really expect to do the same thing.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Bekele’s best time was within two seconds of Kipchoge’s previous world record (2:01:39). He described breaking Kipchoge’s new mark as the “main goal” for the rest of his career.

“Yes, I hope, one day it will happen, of course,” Bekele said. “With good preparation, I don’t know when, but we will see one more time.”

Nobody has won more London Marathons than Kipchoge, a four-time champion who set the course record (2:02:37) in 2019. But the two-time Olympic marathon champion did not run this year in London, as elite marathoners typically choose to enter one race each spring and fall.

Bekele does not know which race he will enter in the spring. But it will not be against Kipchoge.

“I need to show something first,” Bekele said. “I need to run a fast time. I have to check myself. This is not enough.”

Kipchoge will try to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles at the Paris Games. Bekele, who will be 42 in 2024, has not committed to trying to qualify for the Ethiopian team.

“There’s a long time to go before Paris,” Bekele said. “At this moment I am not decided. I have to show something.”

So who is the greatest long distance runner ever?

Bekele can make a strong case on the track:

Bekele
Four Olympic medals (three gold)
Six World Championship medals (five gold)
Former 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder

Kipchoge
Two Olympic medals
Two World Championship medals (one gold)

But Kipchoge can make a strong case on the pavement:

Bekele
Second-fastest marathoner in history
Two World Marathon Major victories

Kipchoge
Four of the five best marathon times in history
Two-time Olympic marathon champion
12 World Marathon Major victories

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Yalemzerf Yehualaw, Amos Kipruto win London Marathon

Yalemzerf Yehualaw
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Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw became the youngest female runner to win the London Marathon, while Kenyan Amos Kipruto earned the biggest victory of his career in the men’s race.

Yehualaw, 23, clocked 2:17:26, prevailing by 41 seconds over 2021 London champ Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya.

Yehualaw tripped and fell over a speed bump around the 20-mile mark. She quickly rejoined the lead pack, then pulled away from Jepkosgei by running the 24th mile in a reported 4:43, which converts to 2:03:30 marathon pace; the women’s world record is 2:14:04.

Yehualaw and Jepkosgei were pre-race favorites after world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya withdrew Monday with a right hamstring injury.

On April 24, Yehualaw ran the fastest women’s debut marathon in history, a 2:17:23 to win in Hamburg, Germany.

She has joined the elite tier of female marathoners, a group led by Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir, the reigning Olympic, New York City and Boston champion. Another Ethiopian staked a claim last week when Tigist Assefa won Berlin in 2:15:37, shattering Yehualaw’s national record.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, finished Sunday’s race in 3:20:20 at age 65.

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Kipruto, 30, won the men’s race in 2:04:39. He broke free from the leading group in the 25th mile and crossed the finish line 33 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Leul Gebresilase, who said he had hamstring problems.

Kipruto, one of the pre-race favorites, had never won a major marathon but did finish second behind world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in Tokyo (2022) and Berlin (2018) and third at the world championships (2019) and Tokyo (2018).

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest marathoner in history, was fifth after being dropped in the 21st mile. His 2:05:53 was the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. Bekele ran his personal best at the 2019 Berlin Marathon — 2:01:41 — and has not run within four minutes of that time since.

The major marathon season continues next Sunday with the Chicago Marathon, headlined by a women’s field that includes Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich and American Emily Sisson.

London returns next year to its traditional April place after being pushed to October the last three years due to the pandemic.

MORE: Bekele looks ahead to Kipchoge chase after London Marathon

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