Sydney McLaughlin ends season with another historic 400m hurdles time

Sydney McLaughlin
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Sydney McLaughlin ran the sixth-fastest 400m hurdles time in history in what she said beforehand was her last race of the season.

McLaughlin, who lowered her world record at June’s USATF Outdoor Championships (51.41) and July’s world championships (50.68), ran 51.68 at a Continental Tour meet in Hungary on Monday.

McLaughlin, who turned 23 on Sunday, extended her win streak to seven meets since her last defeat at the 2019 World Championships. Her time on Monday would have been a world record up until the Tokyo Olympics, where she lowered it from 51.90 to 51.46.

Next season is another world championships year. McLaughlin has a bye into next August’s worlds in Budapest in the 400m hurdles as reigning champion but has said she could add or change events, perhaps to the flat 400m, as the 2024 Paris Olympics approach.

Also Monday, Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the 100m in 10.67 seconds, giving her the world’s six best times this year.

Fraser-Pryce, 35, has broken 10.70 a total of seven times in her career, all in the last two years after returning from 2017 childbirth, including five times in the last three months. No other woman has broken 10.70 more than four times in a career.

World champion Grant Holloway was upset by Jamaican Rasheed Broadbell in the 110m hurdles. Both ran 13.12, with Broadbell chasing down Holloway, who had a big early lead.

World bronze medalist Erriyon Knighton won the 200m in 19.88 seconds, while world silver medalist Kenny Bednarek pulled up grabbing the back of his upper left leg.

The track and field season continues with a Diamond League meet in Monaco on Wednesday, featuring a 200m showdown among Noah LylesMichael Norman, Knighton and, if he’s OK to run, Bednarek. A preview and broadcast information is here.

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Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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