Therese Johaug

Karsten Warholm runs fastest 300m hurdles in history at Impossible Games

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Karsten Warholm ran the fastest 300m hurdles in history in a solo race in a largely empty stadium, clocking 33.78 seconds at the Impossible Games in Oslo on Thursday.

Warholm, the two-time reigning world 400m hurdles champion, took seven tenths of a second off an 18-year-old record in a rarely contested event. He did so at the closest thing resembling an international track and field meet in three months, since the coronavirus pandemic.

The Impossible Games, a repurposed version of an annual Diamond League meet in Oslo, had few spectators (mostly cutouts, including renderings of Michael Jordan and Homer Simpson), limited events and small fields.

Full results are here.

Another repurposed meet is due for July 9, featuring Allyson Felix and Noah Lyles racing from their training bases against athletes in different countries. The regular Diamond League calendar is scheduled to resume in August.

In other events Thursday, a Norwegian team in Oslo beat a Kenyan team in Nairobi in a 2000m. The Norwegians, led by brothers FilipHenrik and Jakob Ingebrigtsen, easily prevailed. The Kenyans, with the last two 1500m world champions Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manangoi, had to run in the rain.

Mondo Duplantis, the pole vault world-record holder who flew from Louisiana to compete, beat former world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie, who previously taped his own attempts from his French home. Duplantis cleared 5.86 meters, four months after raising the overall world record to 6.17 and then 6.18 meters at indoor meets.

Norwegian Therese Johaug, the world’s best cross-country skier, lowered her 10,000m personal best by 40 seconds to 31:40.67, which is 15 seconds shy of the Olympic standard.

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Kenya’s best to race Norway’s best on different continents in June track meet

Ingebrigtsen, Cheruiyot
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Kenya’s top 1500m man is expected to run with a team in Nairobi. Norway’s fastest will be together at a stadium in Oslo. The two contingents will face off in a virtual 2000m team event during the June 11 Impossible Games, the most significant track and field meet since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Organizers of the meet held in Oslo, typically part of the top-level Diamond League circuit, are billing the Norwegian team to include all three Ingebrigtsen brothers — Henrik (2012 European champion), Filip (2017 World bronze medalist), and Jakob (second-fastest in the world in 2019).

The Kenyan team is “Team Cheruiyot,” named after world champion Timothy Cheruiyot, though organizers did not confirm in a press release that Cheruiyot will be part of the squad that races. Later, World Athletics reported that the Kenyan team will include Cheruiyot, plus 2017 World champion Elijah Manangoi.

In the 2000m competition, each team will have five runners. The winner will be the team with the best overall time for three runners, which sounds similar to long-track speed skating’s team pursuit.

Again, the Kenyans will be racing in Nairobi. The Norwegians at the Bislett stadium. A broadcast stream will be a split screen.

“This will be the first virtual race at such level in the history of athletics,” according to a press release.

Also, Therese Johaug, the reigning World Cup overall cross-country skiing champion, will run a 10,000m on the track, organizers announced Tuesday.

Johaug, 31, is one of the world’s dominant athletes. Last season, she notched 20 World Cup victories, 17 more than any other woman. She did so after being banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after testing positive for a steroid found in a cream given to her by a team doctor to treat sunburned lips.

Johaug also has some distance-running credentials. Last year, she won the Norwegian national title in the 10,000m, clocking 32:20.86 to rank 88th in the world. The Olympic qualifying standard is 31:25.

Also slated for the June 11 meet with limited athletes and no fans in the stadium: world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm of Norway, the top two ranked pole vaulters in history — Swede Mondo Duplantis and Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie — and world discus champion Daniel Stahl of Sweden.

Duplantis is expected to be at the Oslo stadium, while Lavillenie will pole vault remotely from his home in France. Warholm was announced last month to race the 300m hurdles, eyeing the fastest time in history in the non-Olympic event, in a solo race.

This year’s Diamond League season has been readjusted to start in August.

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Therese Johaug ties her own cross-country win record in Tour de Ski

Therese Johaug
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Norway’s Therese Johaug won the 10k freestyle race Tuesday in Toblach, Italy, tying her own record for consecutive cross-country World Cup distance wins and taking the overall lead in the Tour de Ski.

U.S. skiers Jessie Diggins remained in second place in the points standings, a separate category from the overall time-based standings that Johaug leads. Diggins finished seventh, followed by teammates Sadie Maubet Bjornsen and Rosie Brennan in eighth and ninth. Diggins, who finished fourth in Sunday’s freestyle sprint, is just two points behind leader Anamarija Lampic of Slovenia and six points ahead of Johaug, who has won both distance races but earned no points in the sprint.

In the overall standings, Diggins stands ninth after three stages, 1:10 behind Johaug and 48 seconds behind Heidi Weng, who holds the last spot on the podium. Diggins finished third in both the overall and the points standings in the 2017-18 Tour.

Maubet Bjornsen, who briefly led the World Cup earlier this season, is one place behind Diggins in the overall standings. Brennan is 13th. In the points competition, which was called the sprint competition in previous years and is the rough equivalent of the Tour de France’s green jersey, Maubet Bjornsen is seventh, with Sophie Caldwell 12th.

Johaug left the start house 38th in the interval-start race and had the advantage of seeing the time posted by teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, who held the lead with a time of 23:52.6. Johaug crossed the line 0.7 seconds ahead of Oestberg’s time. Diggins and Maubet Bjornsen, who started behind Johaug, were 35.6 seconds and 42.9 seconds back. Brennan, who had an earlier start, finished 45.0 seconds behind the winner.

The men’s 15k race saw a Russian sweep, led by Sergey Ustiugov, who won four individual medals at the 2017 world championships but was not allowed to compete in the 2018 Olympics. He also leads the overall standings. Norway’s Johannes Hosflot Klaebo leads the points race.

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