Barbora Spotakova, greatest female javelin thrower in history, retires

Barbora Spotakova

Barbora Spotakova, a two-time Olympic champion and world record holder in the javelin, retired at age 41, according to the Czech Republic track and field federation.

She made the announcement Friday at her favorite restaurant in the center of Prague, “where she always liked to go for a pint of Pilsner,” according to the federation.

Spotakova competed for the last time at Thursday’s Diamond League Final, placing fifth after feeling ankle pain in her warm-up, according to meet organizers.

“I am just a bit sad for my performance, but there are also worse things to happen,” she said, according to organizers. “It is just sport. It was not the worst and not the best performance. For me, it is just a big success to be here and compete. After [last month’s European Championships in] Munich, I felt so tired that I did not want to compete anymore.”

Spotakova, the gold medalist in 2008 and 2012, is one of two women to win multiple Olympic javelin titles, along with East German Ruth Fuchs in 1972 and 1976. Fuchs later admitted to using steroids during her career.

Spotakova, who had sons Janek in May 2013 and Darek in 2018, is the only woman with three total Olympic javelin medals (including her bronze in 2016). She placed 14th in her fifth and final Olympics in Tokyo.

She was an All-American in the javelin for the University of Minnesota in 2002. In 2004, it was fellow Czech Jan Zelezny, the men’s javelin world record holder, who recommended to a 23-year-old Spotakova to give up the heptathlon and focus solely on the javelin. Zelezny coached Spotakova for several years during her prime.

She broke the world record in 2008 with a 72.28-meter throw (more then 237 feet). Nobody other than Spotakova has been within two and a half feet of the record since.

With Spotakova’s retirement, Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the lone active 2008 Olympic female track and field champion still competing in her gold-medal event.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They meet in Friday’s semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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IOC board recommends withdrawing International Boxing Association’s recognition

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Boxing

The IOC finally ran out of patience with the International Boxing Federation on Wednesday and set a date to terminate its Olympic status this month.

While boxing will still be on the program at the 2024 Paris Games, the International Olympic Committee said its executive board has asked the full membership to withdraw its recognition of the IBA at a special meeting on June 22.

IOC members rarely vote against recommendations from their 15-member board and the IBA’s ouster is likely a formality.

The IOC had already suspended the IBA’s recognition in 2019 over long-standing financial, sports integrity and governance issues. The Olympic body oversaw the boxing competitions itself at the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021 and will do so again for Paris.

An IOC statement said the boxing body “has failed to fulfil the conditions set by the IOC … for lifting the suspension of the IBA’s recognition.”

The IBA criticized what it called a “truly abhorrent and purely political” decision by the IOC and warned of “retaliatory measures.”

“Now, we are left with no chance but to demand a fair assessment from a competent court,” the boxing body’s Russian president Umar Kremlev said in a statement.

The IOC-IBA standoff has also put boxing’s place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games at risk, though that should now be resolved.

The IOC previously stressed it has no problem with the sport or its athletes — just the IBA and its current president Kremlev, plus financial dependence on Russian state energy firm Gazprom.

In a 24-page report on IBA issues published Wednesday, the IOC concluded “the accumulation of all of these points, and the constant lack of drastic evolution throughout the many years, creates a situation of no-return.”

Olympic boxing’s reputation has been in question for decades. Tensions heightened after boxing officials worldwide ousted long-time IOC member C.K. Wu as their president in 2017 when the organization was known by its French acronym AIBA.

“From a disreputable organization named AIBA governed by someone from the IOC’s upper echelon, we committed to and executed a change in the toxic and corrupt culture that was allowed to fester under the IOC for far too long,” Kremlev said Wednesday in a statement.

National federations then defied IOC warnings in 2018 by electing as their president Gafur Rakhimov, a businessman from Uzbekistan with alleged ties to organized crime and heroin trafficking.

Kremlev’s election to replace Rakhimov in 2020 followed another round of IOC warnings that went unheeded.

Amid the IBA turmoil, a rival organization called World Boxing has attracted initial support from officials in the United States, Switzerland and Britain.

The IBA can still continue to organize its own events and held the men’s world championships last month in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

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