Barbora Spotakova, greatest female javelin thrower in history, retires

Barbora Spotakova
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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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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

Boxing gloves
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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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