Fred Kerley, Sha’Carri Richardson in weekend track action; TV, stream schedule

Fred Kerley
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The track and field season is beginning to heat up, and the sprints will be sizzling on Saturday and Sunday, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

First up is the Los Angeles Grand Prix, live on Saturday from 4:30-6 p.m. ET on NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

The most stacked race there is the 100m hurdles, pitting the two fastest women in history (Nigerian Tobi Amusan and American Keni Harrison) plus Olympic gold medalist Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico. The winner likely becomes the favorite for August’s world championships in Budapest.

LA boasts more world record holders in the pole vault (Mondo Duplantis of Sweden) and shot put (American Ryan Crouser), plus a women’s 100m that includes Sha’Carri Richardson, the world’s fastest woman this year, and most of the other top contenders for July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships.

Then on Sunday, the Diamond League resumes in Rabat, Morocco, live from 2-4 p.m. ET on CNBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

The marquee event there is the men’s 100m including American Fred Kerley, the world champion, countryman Trayvon Bromell, the world bronze medalist, and Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, the world’s fastest man this year. Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs withdrew Thursday with a minor health issue.

Here are the start lists: Los Angeles | Rabat. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

Los Angeles (Saturday)
3:25 p.m. — Women’s Shot Put
4:02 — Women’s 100m (Round 1)
4:10 — Women’s/Men’s Javelin
4:20 — Men’s Pole Vault
4:22 — Men’s 800m
4:32 — Men’s 400m Hurdles
4:40 — Women’s 200m
4:48 — Men’s 200m
4:55 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
5 — Men’s Shot Put
5:03 — Men’s 400m
5:11 — Women’s 1500m
5:20 — Women’s 800m
5:27 — Men’s 1500m
5:37 — Women’s 400m
5:45 — Women’s 100m
5:53 — Men’s 100m

1:37 p.m. — Women’s Shot Put
2:04 — Women’s 400m Hurdles
2:05 — Women’s High Jump
2:15 — Men’s 800m
2:27 — Men’s Discus
2:29 — Men’s 110m Hurdles
2:38 — Women’s 1500m
2:40 — Women’s Triple Jump
2:52 — Men’s 400m
3:02 — Women’s 200m
3:11 — Men’s 1500m
3:25 — Men’s 100m
3:34 — Women’s 800m
3:46 — Men’s 3000m Steeplechase

Here are five events to watch:

Men’s Pole Vault — Saturday, 4:20 p.m. ET
A meeting of the world’s top three over the last several years: world record holder Mondo Duplantis of Sweden, American Chris Nilsen, who took silver to Duplantis at the last Olympics and worlds, and American Sam Kendricks, world champion in 2017 and 2019. Kendricks missed the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19, then missed almost all of last season due to a knee injury. So this is the first time that all three are competing against each other outdoors since Nilsen joined the 6-meter club.

Women’s 100m Hurdles — Saturday, 4:55 p.m. ET
Camacho-Quinn enters on best form. Last Sunday, she clocked 12.17 seconds with a 3.5 meter/second tailwind (legal limit is 2.0), the third-fastest all-conditions time in history behind Amusan’s semifinal and final runs at last July’s worlds. Amusan’s best time this year is 12.59. Harrison’s is 12.44. The fastest wind-legal time this year is 12.36 from the University of Kentucky’s Masai Russell, who is not in this field.

Women’s 100m — Saturday, 5:45 p.m. ET
Richardson ran 10.76 in the Diamond League opener on May 5 in Doha, beating world silver medalist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica with the the best time in the world this year. Richardson is arguably the early favorite for the world title, but she has run fast early in the season before and yet to compete at an Olympics or worlds, plus reigning world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has yet to race this season. To make worlds, Richardson must be top three at USATF Outdoors in July, and many of her domestic rivals will be in Saturday’s race. That includes the last four women to win the national title: Aleia Hobbs, Teahna Daniels, Javianne Oliver and Melissa Jefferson.

Men’s 1500m — Sunday, 3:11 p.m. ET
The first head-to-head between Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway and Yared Nuguse, who in the winter ran the second-fastest indoor mile in history and broke the American indoor 3000m record. There are other standouts in this field — Kenyan Abel Kipsang, Australian Ollie Hoare, Spaniard Mario Garcia Romo — making this the 23-year-old Nuguse’s first outdoor measuring stick race against international competition.

Men’s 100m — Sunday, 3:25 p.m. ET
Kerley opened his 100m season by running 9.88 and 9.91 in Japan last Sunday to rank second in the world this season behind Omanyala (9.84). Given Kerley ran 9.76 last year, he is likely just starting to ramp up. Plus, keep in mind he has a bye into the world championships 100m as defending champion. Bromell has no such luxury, so he needs to be in form by July’s USATF Outdoors. A strong showing in Rabat will keep him among the favorites to grab one of the three open spots on the U.S. team.

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At the French Open, a Ukrainian mom makes her comeback

Elina Svitolina French Open

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, once the world’s third-ranked tennis player, is into the French Open third round in her first major tournament since childbirth.

Svitolina, 28, swept 2022 French Open semifinalist Martina Trevisan of Italy, then beat Australian qualifier Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the last 32 at Roland Garros. She next plays 56th-ranked Russian Anna Blinkova, who took out the top French player, fifth seed Caroline Garcia, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 on her ninth match point.

Svitolina’s husband, French player Gael Monfils, finished his first-round five-set win after midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. She watched that match on a computer before going to sleep ahead of her 11 a.m. start Wednesday.

“This morning, he told me, ‘I’m coming to your match, so make it worth it,'” she joked on Tennis Channel. “I was like, OK, no pressure.

“I don’t know what he’s doing here now. He should be resting.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Svitolina made at least one major quarterfinal every year from 2017 through 2021, including the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2019. She married Monfils one week before the Tokyo Olympics, then won a singles bronze medal.

Svitolina played her last match before maternity leave on March 24, 2022, one month after Russia invaded her country. She gave birth to daughter Skai on Oct. 15.

Svitolina returned to competition in April. Last week, she won the tournament preceding the French Open, sweeping Blinkova to improve to 17-3 in her career in finals. She’s playing on a protected ranking of 27th after her year absence and, now, on a seven-match win streak.

“It was always in my head the plan to come back, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself, because obviously with the war going on, with the pregnancy, you never know how complicated it will go,” she said. “I’m as strong as I was before, maybe even stronger, because I feel that I can handle the work that I do off the court, and match by match I’m getting better. Also mentally, because mental can influence your physicality, as well.”

Svitolina said she’s motivated by goals to attain before she retires from the sport and to help Ukraine, such as donating her prize money from last week’s title in Strasbourg.

“These moments bring joy to people of Ukraine, to the kids as well, the kids who loved to play tennis before the war, and now maybe they don’t have the opportunity,” she said. “But these moments that can motivate them to look on the bright side and see these good moments and enjoy themselves as much as they can in this horrible situation.”

Svitolina was born in Odesa and has lived in Kharkiv, two cities that have been attacked by Russia.

“I talk a lot with my friends, with my family back in Ukraine, and it’s a horrible thing, but they are used to it now,” she said. “They are used to the alarms that are on. As soon as they hear something, they go to the bomb shelters. Sleepless nights. You know, it’s a terrible thing, but they tell me that now it’s a part of their life, which is very, very sad.”

Svitolina noted that she plays with a flag next to her name — unlike the Russians and Belarusians, who are allowed to play as neutral athletes.

“When I step on the court, I just try to think about the fighting spirit that all of us Ukrainians have and how Ukrainians are fighting for their values, for their freedom in Ukraine,” she said, “and me, I’m fighting here on my own front line.”

Svitolina said that she’s noticed “a lot of rubbish” concerning how tennis is reacting to the war.

“We have to focus on what the main point of what is going on,” she said. “Ukrainian people need help and need support. We are focusing on so many things like empty words, empty things that are not helping the situation, not helping anything.

“I want to invite everyone to focus on helping Ukrainians. That’s the main point of this, to help kids, to help women who lost their husbands because they are at the war, and they are fighting for Ukraine.

“You can donate. Couple of dollars might help and save lives. Or donate your time to something to help people.”

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Marcell Jacobs still sidelined, misses another race with Fred Kerley

Marcell Jacobs

Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy will miss another scheduled clash with world 100m champion Fred Kerley, withdrawing from Friday’s Diamond League meet in Florence.

Jacobs, 28, has not recovered from the nerve pain that forced him out of last Sunday’s Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, according to Italy’s track and field federation.

In his absence, Kerley’s top competition will be fellow American Trayvon Bromell, the world bronze medalist, and Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, the world’s fastest man this year at 9.84 seconds. Kerley beat both of them in Rabat.

The Florence Diamond League airs live on Peacock on Friday from 2-4 p.m. ET.

Jacobs has withdrawn from six scheduled head-to-heads with Kerley dating to May 2022 due to a series of health issues since that surprise gold in Tokyo.

Kerley, primarily a 400m sprinter until the Tokyo Olympic year, became the world’s fastest man in Jacobs’ absence. He ran a personal best 9.76 seconds, the world’s best time of 2022, at last June’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships. Then he led a U.S. sweep of the medals at July’s worlds.

Jacobs’ next scheduled race is a 100m at the Paris Diamond League on June 9. Kerley is not in that field, but world 200m champion Noah Lyles is.

The last time the reigning Olympic and world men’s 100m champions met in a 100m was the 2012 London Olympic final between Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake. From 2013 to 2017, Bolt held both titles, then retired in 2017 while remaining reigning Olympic champion until Jacobs’ win in Tokyo, where Kerley took silver.

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