After New York City Marathon, the U.S. Olympic women’s team picture is crowded

Aliphine Tuliamuk
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NEW YORK — It did not take long for Aliphine Tuliamuk to find air conditioning after finishing seventh as the top American in the warmest New York City Marathon since 1985.

She picked up her giggling 21-month-old daughter, Zoe, and placed her face directly in front of the cool air.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think it was actually as bad as I expected,” Tuliamuk said of the temperature, which reached 73 degrees when she crossed the Central Park finish line. “I was on point with my hydration.”

MORE: New York City Marathon Results

She clocked a personal-best 2:26:18, despite ankle swelling hampering her build up. She estimated that she only had five weeks of training before taking the last two weeks to taper.

“I excel when the conditions are not perfect,” she said. “I rise to the occasion, and I believe that today that was the case.”

Seventh was the lowest placing for the top American woman in New York City since 2015, when Laura Thweatt also finished seventh.

“I remember going into the race thinking, if I could get top seven, that would be really good,” Tuliamuk said. “I obviously wanted more.”

Tuliamuk is beginning to turn her attention to the Olympic Trials in the first quarter of 2024 at a to-be-announced site.

She plans on running a spring 2023 marathon, which could be her final marathon before trials, where the top three are expected to make up the team for the Paris Games.

“Once the [trials] schedule is out,” she said, “we’ll work backwards from that.

“I think that next Olympic team is going to be really, really hard to make.”

Tuliamuk identified Emma Bates, Keira D’Amato, Molly Seidel and Emily Sisson as her toughest competition. Sisson broke the American record at October’s Chicago Marathon, clocking 2:18:29 to lower D’Amato’s record from Jan. 16 by 43 seconds. Seidel claimed the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

“There’s so many Americans right now that are doing amazing,” Tuliamuk said. “It’s like you just have to have a perfect day.”

Tuliamuk made her Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games. She did not finish the race, seven months after she gave birth.

“I really want to make the next Olympic team,” she said. “The last one, the pandemic and having a child, I never really got to represent my country the way I wanted it.”

Tuliamuk will be 35 in 2024. The U.S. Olympic women’s marathon team included a 35-year-old at three of the last four Games.

“I really want a medal for my country,” she said. “I think that I have a lot of running in me. I have a lot of speed.”

Bates, 30, finished 35 seconds behind Tuliamuk for eighth place on Sunday.

“Those hills were a lot harder than I imagined,” said Bates, who revealed that she did not look at the course map before the race.

Bates wore a matching snake ring and earrings as she made her New York City debut, one year after placing second at the Chicago Marathon.

“I think I’m going to take some more risks next time,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll do better next time. I want to be top five.”

It was a big 48 hours for Bates, who was inducted into the Boise State Hall of Fame on Friday. She planned on celebrating with a Modelo beer.

Tuliamuk envisioned a tamer celebration, including showing Zoe around Central Park and other tourist attractions.

“I’m really grateful that I’m able to do all of it,” she said. “I’m able to run at the very highest level of our sport and be a mom at the same time.”

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Jessie Diggins ties U.S. record for World Cup cross-country skiing wins

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Jessie Diggins tied Kikkan Randall‘s U.S. record with her 13th career individual cross-country skiing World Cup victory, taking a 10km freestyle in Lillehammer, Norway, on Friday.

Diggins, the most decorated U.S. Olympic cross-country skier with a medal of every color, prevailed by 3.8 seconds over German Katharina Hennig in the interval start event. Diggins trailed Hennig by one second at the 8.2-kilometer split, then made up 4.8 seconds over the final four minutes of the course.

“My fitness and brain were in a really good place,” Diggins said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “When I asked my body to go deep into the pain cave, it responded.”

Diggins tied the record of Randall, who in 2007 became the first U.S. woman to win a World Cup cross-country skiing race and ended her career by teaming with Diggins to win the first U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing title at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. (Another skier, Alison Owen-Spencer, won a race in 1978 that U.S. Ski and Snowboard counts as a World Cup, but the International Ski Federation does not.)

Diggins opened this World Cup season last weekend in Ruka, Finland, with a best finish of 10th among three races. She trended up each day, finishing that stop with the second-fastest time in last Sunday’s individual pursuit (where she started 19th).

Diggins, 31, has spread out her goals this season. One of the biggest is helping the U.S. win a relay medal for the first time at the world championships in three months. Diggins has been a part of relays that finished fourth at four different worlds.

She also eyes the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in the sport that goes to the best all-around skier for the season. In 2020-21, Diggins became the second American — and first American woman — to win the overall in a season where Norway’s top skiers, including superstar Therese Johaug, skipped early season races and chances to gain points for the overall title.

Johaug retired after winning three individual golds at last February’s Olympics. Diggins is the top returning skier given the absence of reigning overall champ Natalya Nepryayeva, who cannot compete due to the ban on Russian athletes for the war in Ukraine.

The World Cup season continues with a freestyle sprint on Saturday and a classic 20km mass start on Sunday in Lillehammer.

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Katie Ledecky out-touches new rival at swimming’s U.S. Open, extends streak

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It was a rare sight: Katie Ledecky being matched stroke for stroke in a distance race in an American pool. She was up for the challenge.

Ledecky out-touched emerging 16-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh by eight hundredths of a second in the 400m freestyle at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday night.

Ledecky and McIntosh were tied at the 300-meter mark. Ledecky ended up clocking 3:59.71 to McIntosh’s 3:59.79 to extend a decade-long win streak in freestyle races of 400 meters or longer in U.S. pools.

“I know we’ll have a lot more races ahead of us,” Ledecky said on Peacock. “We bring the best out of each other.”

The U.S. Open continues Friday with live finals coverage on Peacock at 6 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

At the Tokyo Olympics, McIntosh placed fourth in the 400m free at age 14.

She accelerated this year, taking silver behind Ledecky at the world championships and silver behind Tokyo gold medalist Ariarne Titmus of Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Then in October, McIntosh outdueled Ledecky in a 400m free — also by eight hundredths — in a short-course, 25-meter pool at a FINA World Cup meet in Toronto. Long-course meets like the Olympics and the U.S. Open are held in 50-meter pools.

McIntosh also won world titles in the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley, becoming the youngest individual world champion since 2011.

A potential showdown among Ledecky, Titmus and McIntosh at the 2024 Paris Games is already being compared to the “Race of the Century,” the 2004 Olympic men’s 200m free where Australian Ian Thorpe edged Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps.

In other events Thursday, Regan Smith, an Olympic and world medalist in the backstroke and butterfly, won a 200m individual medley in a personal best 2:10.40, a time that would have placed fifth at June’s world championships. She beat 16-year-old Leah Hayes, who took bronze in the event at worlds.

Olympic 400m IM champ Chase Kalisz won the men’s 200m IM in 1:56.52, his best time ever outside of major summer meets. Frenchman Léon Marchand won the world title in 1:55.22 in June, when Kalisz was fourth.

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