Tuesday, 15 August 2017 19:57

Hikes and hops: The best hiking trail and brewery pairs in Illinois

Nothing pairs better with the sounds and smells of nature than a cold beer—or room temperature brew, depending on the recommendations of the brewery at hand.

We picked out the best hiking paths in Illinois and paired them with a brewery close by to motivate you to get to the end of the trail. Grab your packs, your snacks and your hiking boots, and get out there to enjoy nature and the beer you’ll reward yourself with after.

Merwin Nature Preserve Trail and DESTIHL Microbrewery

Drive time from Chicago: 2.5 hours

Beer to try: Amra Mango IPA

The skinny: This 2-mile trail near the Mackinaw River (25777 N. 1925 East Road, Lexington, Ill. 309-454-3169) is good for hikers of all skill levels. DESTIHL Brewery (1200 Greenrbiar Drive, Normal, Ill. 309-220-9902) is only a 15-minute drive away, so you’re close enough to continue riding that post-exercise endorphin high when you roll up to replenish your energy. Their Amra Mango IPA is perfect for summer and to cool you down after spending some time in the great, humid outdoors.

Starved Rock and Tangled Roots Brewing Company

Drive time from Chicago: 2 hours

Beer to try: Kit Kupfer

The skinny: You’re not a true Illinoisan until you make your way to Starved Rock (2668 E. 873 Road, Oglesby, Ill. 800-868-7625). Arguably the prettiest of Illinois’ state parks, Starved Rock is home to many a canyon and Lover’s Leap—with a beautiful view, dismal as it may sound. Once you get your fill of nature, check out nearby Tangled Roots Brewing Company (812 LaSalle St., Ottawa, Ill. 815-324-9549) and its adjacent brewpub, The Lone Buffalo. Sip on a Kit Kupfer, a peachy amber ale brewed specifically to be enjoyed as a complement to outdoorsy activities.

Rock Cut State Park and Pig Minds Brewing

Drive time from Chicago: 1.5 hours

Beer to try: HappiDaze

The skinny: What has two lakes and 3,092 acres of wildlife to explore? Rock Cut State Park (7318 Harlem Road, Loves Park, Ill.). Take it easy on its titular trail path or kick it up a notch with the Pierce Lake trail, and enjoy fishing, swimming or camping before heading out of the woods to Pig Minds Brewing (4080 Steele Drive, Machesney Park, Ill. 779-423-2147). Their HappiDaze brew features a California golden ale with hints of blueberries to round out a perfect summer sipper.

Seth Atwood Park and Granite City Food and Brewery

Drive time from Chicago: 2 hours

Beer to try: Prairie Vixen

The skinny: Lace up your boots or grab your canoe to spend a day on the Kishwaukee River in Atwood Park (7074 Rydberg Road, Rockford 815-966-8747). You can spend the afternoon walking this 5.3-mile trail, or enjoy smooth sailing down the Kishwaukee before heading to Granite City Food and Brewery (7140 Harrison Ave., Rockford 815-332-7070). Check out their Prairie Vixen Hefeweizen beer, with hints of banana, clove and bubble gum.

Cavalier de LaSalle and Brickstone Brewery

Drive time from Chicago: 1.5 hours

Beer to try: Cherry Bomb

The skinny: This trail isn’t very long (Percy Drive, Bourbonnais, Ill). , but it ends at a gorgeous cave, perfect for getting your exploring kicks without leaving the comfort of your home state. Bring the pup(s) along—but keep ‘em on a leash—and make it a family affair. Head to nearby Brickstone Brewery (557 William R. Latham Senior Drive, Bourbonnais, Ill. 815-936-9277) to sample their award-winning craft beers, including the Cherry Bomb, a fruit ale made with Michigan cherries.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve and Skeleton Key Brewery

Drive time from Chicago: 45 minutes

Beer to try: Migratory Coconut golden ale

The skinny: The suburbs aren’t all strip malls and Panera Bread. Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve (south of Interstate 55 between Lemont Road and Cass Avenue, Darien, Ill.) is home to a beautiful waterfall and nearly 11 miles of trail to peruse. Once you’re done spending your day admiring the babbling brooks and flowing rivers, make your way to Skeleton Key Brewery’s taproom (8102 Lemont Road, Woodridge, Ill. 630-395-9033). Check out the Migratory Coconut golden ale, a traditional ale infused with toasted coconut, or their Friends Don’t Lie American pale ale with grapefruit.

Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site and Hand of Fate Brewing

Drive time from Chicago: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Beer to try: Cucumber saison

The skinny: This trail accompanies the historical village built to mirror the one Abraham Lincoln lived in as a boy (15588 History Lane, Petersburg, Ill. 217-632-4010). The path follows the Rocky Branch trail and Cardinal Ridge along the Sangamon River. If you’re lucky, you can catch some local theater stars at the Theatre in the Park. Once you’re done kickin’ it in the 1800s, check out Hand of Fate Brewing (107 E. Douglas St., Petersburg, Ill. 217-691-1098) to sip on their uber-refreshing summer brew, the Cucumber saison.


The Athletes Hoping To Continue Mo Farah's Legacy 

Last week marked the end of an era for Mo Farah and British athletics. The 34-year-old ran his final track race in a major event, settling for silver in the 5000 meters at the world championships. It was an emotional experience for onlookers inside the London Stadium as the search begins for the next star of the sport.

During Farah’s career, he claimed a total of four Olympic and six World Championship gold medals. A YouGov survey named his double triumph at the 2016 Rio Games the stand out moment of the entire Olympics for the British public. Illustrating how he has managed to become a heavyweight in the world of sport.

"There are athletes out there who have won more medals, but the quality of those medals and for Mo to have led an event on his own... wow. I don't know how you can't see him as our greatest ever athlete," former sprinter Darren Campbell told BBC Sport.

As the Somali-born Brit prepares for the challenges of the marathon, his teammates are already trying to fill the void. Last week in London Team GB achieved 11 top-four finishes with a total of six medals. Out of those medals, two were won by Farah. He was the only Brit to claim an individual medal, but it doesn't necessarily reflect on the current state of British track and field.

The next generation

Laura Muir has already established herself as a world class athlete at the age of 24. At this year’s European Indoor Championships, she won both the 1500m and 3000m title. Impressively, she broke both championship records, including one that was set back in 1985. Last year she ran a 1500M race in 3:55.22 to become the quickest British female athlete of all time over the distance.

"I think I've got at least two, even three more Olympics in me. What events? I don't know. Certainly, so much scope for the future," she said.
Besides Muir’s athletic ability, she also inspires many with her academic dedication. The Scot is studying for a degree in Veterinary medicine at Glasgow University and will miss next year’s Commonwealth Games due to exams.

Middle distance runner Kyle Langford grew up living opposite boxer Anthony Joshua. Now the 21-year-old is bidding to create some sporting history of his own. Last week in London, he missed out on a medal by just 0.04 seconds. An impressive achievement for somebody who entered the event as the 40th best 800M runner in the world.

Langford now finds himself in the media spotlight, an opportunity he hopes to capitalize on.

"I'm not saying I'm going to overtake Mo or dominate like him, but it's more that I would love to fill his boots," he told the Press Association. "I feel like I can. I'm not going to say I've got the personality - I hope I do - but people can probably relate to me.”

"Hopefully with my personality, I can get other people involved in athletics. My aim is not to just win Olympic gold or get a world record or be the face of the sport, it's to try to get people involved,” Langford added.

Dina Asher Smith broke her foot at the start of the year in a training accident. Less than six months later, she finished fourth in the women’s 200M world championship final.

The best performance by a British woman in the discipline since Kathy Cook in 1983. She was also part of the women’s 4x100M relay team, who won silver in London.

"Dina is just a lovely member of the team," Race Walker Tom Bosworth stated in The Telegraph. "It's frustrating because she is so bright, so athletic and has it all."

As far as men’s sprinting is concerned, talent is shining brightly. Britain won gold in the 4x100M relay. Three out of those four members are only 23-years-old and have already broken the 10-second milestone - Adam Gemili, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Chijindu Ujah.

A British athlete emulating Farah’s achievements might still be far away, but there is hope for the future. The legacy left by the 34-year-old is unquestionable, but only time will tell if it has had any impact on the rising stars of the sport. A waiting game that will be filled with both apprehension and excitement.

British medals won at the 2017 World Athletics Championships

GOLD - Mo Farah (10,000 M)
GOLD - Men’s relay (4x100M)
SILVER - Mo Farah (5000M)
SILVER - Women’s relay (4x100M)
SILVER - Women’s relay (4x400M)
BRONZE - Men’s Relay (4x400M)


Muir Urged Not To Skip Commonwealth Games

Sportscotland's director of high performance Mike Whittingham hopes Laura Muir will change her mind about skipping the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Muir has said her veterinary medicine exams will mean she will not make it to Australia's Gold Coast.

The 24-year-old finished fourth in the 1500m and sixth in the 5,000m at the World Championships in London.

"We hope to sit down with her and her coach to see if we can persuade her to run," Whittingham told BBC Scotland.

"We are always mindful of people's studies and would do all we can to accommodate her.

"She isn't competing because obviously she's got to put her studies first, but we are regularly in contact with her and so are Scottish Athletics.

"There may be an outside chance she just looks at the programme and thinks, 'well, I didn't win a medal in Rio and was agonisingly close in London', maybe she'll just look at the Gold Coast 1500m and, who knows, we might be able to persuade her to have a fleeting visit."

Muir aims to complete the final year of her studies, with her exams in May. Next year's Commonwealth Games run from 4-15 April.

"We're not going to put pressure on her, because obviously her studies are important, and we believe in supporting an education alongside an athletics career, because it's really important under our duty of care for our athletes," added Whittingham.

"But having said that, I think Laura would like to win a medal, she hasn't as yet won a medal on the world stage, like World Championships and Olympics, and if you look at that pecking order, European and Commonwealth would fit within that global stage.

"So, there's an outside chance she might sit down with her coach and look at the 1500m."

Whittingham's comments came as it was announced that 65 Scottish athletes "with the potential to make the podium" at the 2018 Commonwealth Games or the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea have been handed individual sportscotland Athlete Personal Awards (SAPAs).

The £312,250 will go to athletes across 16 sports, with beneficiaries including Callum Hawkins in athletics, Kirsty Gilmour in badminton, and boxers Sean Lazzerini, Lee McGregor and Aqeel Ahmed.


Chris Brown On The Way Back For The Bahamas

Brown plans to give it a run in the 2018 season

Don't look now, but "The Fireman" is on the way back.

Former Bahamian national record holder in the men's 400 meters (m) Chris "The Fireman" Brown said that he wasn't convinced to give it another run by the results from the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Championships in London, England, but rather this is something that he was contemplating for a while, and he just decided to go full steam ahead with it.

Brown confirmed that he will compete in the 2018 athletics season, starting off with indoor meets and looking to qualify for the world indoors. The 17th IAAF World Indoor Championships is set for March 2-4, 2018, in Birmingham, England, and it could be Brown's swan song in competitive athletics.

The soon-to-be 39-year-old runner said that he knows he can still produce top times at the world level. He's won five individual medals at the world indoors in the men's doom — a gold, a silver and three bronze medals, and is the most decorated athlete of all time at the world indoors.

Brown has personal best times of 43.58 seconds indoors, and 44.40 seconds outdoors. He's The Bahamas' number two athlete of all-time in both events.

The savvy veteran said that it is highly unlikely that he will compete beyond next year.

"I know what I've done throughout my career, and I know what I'm still capable of doing," said Brown. "Some people don't appreciate it, but that's life. I know I could still get out there and drop a fast time. Next season, I plan to be in great shape and competitive at the world indoors. That should be it for me, but I'll do whatever the good Lord has planned for me to do. I'm just taking it one day at a time."

Brown took in the recently completed world championships from his home base in Atlanta, Georgia, and said he was disheartened by the results of the men's 4x400m relay. Brown has been a mainstay on the team over the past 18 years, but this year he missed out. This was the first world championships he missed since he became a senior athlete almost two decades ago.

Notwithstanding The Bahamas' men's 4x400m relay team was without its fastest runner and national record holder in the person of Steven Gardiner, Brown said that he expected a bit more from the team.

"I am a bit disappointed by them not advancing to the finals. I felt they were in a great position to advance based on the heat they were in," said Brown. "With the amount of medalists that were on the team, particularly with us having a quarter-miler who won a silver medal in the open 400, the results were just shocking."

Of course, that quarter-miler didn't run, and the team of Alonzo Russell, Michael Mathieu, Ojay Ferguson and Ramon Miller, in that order, went on to run 3:03.04 in their heat. They were sixth in their heat, and finished nth overall. That wasn't nearly enough to get them through to the final, as only the top three finishers in each heat and the next two fastest times moved on.

This year Gardiner was the only Bahamian to run a sub-45 second race. For the most part, the others struggled to get in that range. Brown said that he felt they still had the leg speed to get it done.

"When you look at the Olympics last year, we weren't running fast and people counted us out. We got to the Olympics and still got on the podium with those same 45 and 46 runners," said Brown. "I feel like the foundation that I help to lay is strong enough to result in continued success. I can't run forever, and that's why I was confident that with a strong group of world and Olympic medalists in the mix, that we would have still experienced success."

According to reports, Gardiner, who blazed a trail of 43.89 seconds in the semi-finals of the men's doom, chose not to run in the relay, even after being asked to do so, because he didn't want to run with guys who were "running 45s and 46s". Brown said that if that is the case, it's just unfortunate, adding that he would have never refused to run for his country when asked to do so.

"When one looks at my career, it's quite obvious what I would have done," said Brown. "When I'm present and on a team to run, I go out there and run like it has been every year for the past two decades. I go out there and represent The Bahamas like I always do."

Brown was particularly disturbed by the results of the men's 4x400m relay at the world championships this year because he felt that The Bahamas had an excellent shot, not just to win a medal, but a gold medal at that.

Trinidad & Tobago shocked the United States in the final, coming from behind to win the gold in 2:58.12. The United States settled for the silver medal in 2:58.61 and Great Britain won bronze in 2:59.00.

Brown is confident that a healthy Bahamian team could have run a 2:58 in the final, or faster.


Bolt: "Someone Told Me Ali Lost His Last Fight Too"

LONDON – Usain Bolt took an emotional final bow on the track at the end of the World Championships in London on Sunday before declaring that, definitely and definitively, there was no way he would ever return to sprinting.

After embarking on a special lap of honour so slow that you could not believe that we were saying farewell to the world’s fastest man, Bolt was asked by reporters already missing him whether he might ever change his mind.

“No, I’ve seen too many people come back and make things worse and shame themselves. I won’t be one of those people who come back,” Bolt said firmly.

Twenty-four hours earlier, the 30-year-old Jamaican’s matchless sprint career had ended painfully on the last leg of the 4x100 metres relay final as he crumpled to the ground in the London Stadium with a hamstring injury.

Bolt, who admitted that it had been a terrible end of a “stressful” championship for him after also losing his 100m crown, said he had felt consoled on Sunday when someone told him “Muhammad Ali lost his last fight too – so don’t be too stressed about it”.

Already he was looking forward to an exciting future, he said, with his management camp talking to IAAF president Sebastian Coe about what he might be able to do for the sport in an ambassadorial capacity.

He also revealed that his coach Glen Mills, the sage of Jamaican athletics, wanted him to become his coaching assistant.

“So, we’ll see how that goes,” Bolt smiled about the man who has put him through a lifetime of pain.

And the great man even had reporters laughing when he gave them a vision of what a 50-year-old Usain Bolt might end up doing.

“I’ve no idea. Hopefully, with three kids, married, still in track and field, trying to help the sport, watching it grow,” he said.

“I don’t know if I’d take my kids to the track, though. I won’t be one of those parents who force their kids into things they don’t want to do.”

It was a wonderful night of celebration for athletics’ greatest entertainer, with Bolt honoured one last time at the stadium where he achieved the second of his three Olympic sprint doubles.

Coe and London mayor Sadiq Khan presented him with a piece of the 2012 track as a memento before he embarked on his celebration lap, slowly soaking up all the non-stop cheers from the 56 000 full house – all to a Bob Marley soundtrack.

He went over to the 200 metres and 100 metres start lines, knelt down and crossed himself.

“I was saying goodbye to my fans, but to my events also,” he said, admitting he had been close to tears.

And after taking rather longer than the 9.63 seconds it took him to win the 100m crown here in 2012, he eventually stopped at the finish line and gave everyone his trademark lightning bolt impression.

Before he had set off on the lap, he had told the crowd he just wanted to entertain and put on a show.

He did just that before, also getting a rare round of applause in the press room from “some of you guys who wrote bad things about me”.

Asked what he hoped his legacy would be, he paused for a moment before saying: “I’ve proved with hard work, anything is possible. I personally think this is a good message to the kids. ‘Push on, be strong, be as good as you can be’ – that’s a good legacy to leave.”

He was also adamant that he would “preach” to youngsters about avoiding the evil of performance-enhancing drugs.

“The sport hit rock bottom last year and the year before, and now we’re on the way back up,” he said.

And his immediate aims? In typical Bolt fashion, he just smiled and declared: “The first thing I’m going to do is have some fun. Have a party and have a drink. I need to chill.”


SA’s best finish at world champs

The South African athletics team’s luggage will be just a little heavier on their return to the country after a record medal haul at the World Championships in London.

The country’s previous best was four medals, including two golds, won in Paris in 2003 to finish joint seventh. But, with Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya earning themselves two medals each in London and a gold and bronze coming from the nation’s long jumpers, South Africans can celebrate a record haul of six medals. That meant they finished in third place behind the USA and Kenya on the medal table – another first to be applauded.

It’s a massive achievement for a team that, heading into these championships, was rattled by a selection shambles that saw many of the country’s athletes left at home. Nevertheless, Van Niekerk, Semenya, Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai ensured the flag was well represented in London.

Thanks to Lebogang Shange’s fourth-place in the 20km walk and Akani Simbine’s fifth place in the 100m, South Africa finished 11th with 52 points on the placing table, which awards points for places in finals of events. Obviously larger teams have a better chance of a higher finish, with the USA topping that table as well with 272 points, Kenya second on 124 and Great Britain third with 105.

“Obviously I think it’s really, really good – our most medals ever and third on the medal table,” said Semenya’s coach, Jean Verster, after his athlete powered to 800m gold on the last night of competition. “But I also think it’s important to look at that fourth place in the walk and Akani’s fifth place in the 100. It would be nice if we had more placings as well.

“Looking at it critically – I think we need to look at the next generation. We’ve got a few stars now but we’ve got to make sure that the new bunch come through as well. What we’ve actually done quite well over the last decade is getting youngsters exposed to these kinds of championships and I’ll just confirm again that I believe we should have brought as many as possible and the guys that stayed behind should have been here,” he added, referring to the questionable selection policy that Athletics South Africa employed.

Semenya herself was enthusiastic about the performance of Team SA, but also pointed to the next generation. “It’s fantastic. We are growing a lot and hungry enough to be the best in the world. We just have to go back and inspire the young ones so that they can do better,” she said. “But I think it’s also all about the development in South Africa. If we focus more on grooming the young ones, I think we can be a better nation.”

Speaking about the nation’s rise up the medal table, she added: “I think it’s about hard work and dedication. We are inspired by the other generation. We had great runners before and what we tried to do was to improve and take over. I think we are hungry enough.”

The 800 world and Olympic champion pointed to the great performance of the country’s youth athletes who recently topped the medal table at the World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi.

“Those young ones, they actually inspired us. We thought if those ones can do it, we need to come up with something, spice it up, and give it our all. Fortunately we were able to win three golds, a silver and two bronzes which is fantastic. For us, being in the top three in the world – that’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us,” she said, pointing out that top-class coaching has played a massive part in that success.

Verster, meanwhile, hailed these World Championships as one of the best to date.

“It’s been a different championship to be quite honest. There have been a lot of surprises and it just shows you they are all human,” he said.

“This was an excellent world champs in the sense that it just showed again – this is how the sport should be. If you go to the medal table and just look at gold medals, there are 24 different countries that won a gold medal. That I think might be a record. I remember over many years between the Americans, Jamaicans, Kenyans and Ethiopians, almost three quarters of all the gold medals went to them but this year it’s been spread around a lot more countries. That is fantastic for our sport.

“Just as an athletics fan, I think this was one of the best champs we’ve had in the sense that we never knew what was going to happen.”

SA Medallists:

Wayde van Niekerk (400m gold, 200m silver)

Caster Semenya (800m gold, 1500m bronze)

Luvo Manyonga (long jump gold)

Ruswahl Samaai (long jump bronze)


Manyonga will try to set new world record

The world long jump champion, Luvo Manyonga, had his sights set on the world record for quite a while now and just maybe tomorrow in France it might happen.

It is certainly going to be a unique world record attempt. If the Tuks/HPC-athlete, or any of the other six athletes competing succeed in doing so, there is bound to be some controversy because they are competing at 3 032 metres above sea-level on a specially built long-jump track. Most of the world record attempts happened at sea level.

The athletes will warm up at an indoor facility in Tignes and will then be flown up by helicopter to the track in the Alps. It is about a two-minute flight.

Mike Powell, who jumped 8.95 metres in 1991 at the Tokyo World Championships, holds the current world record.

It is interesting to note that when Bob Beamon (USA) set his world record of 8.90m at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, he competed at 2 250 metres. At the time it was argued that Beamon had an unfair advantaged competing at such a high altitude.

Earlier this season Manyonga set his South African record of 8.65 metres in Potchefstroom, which is only 1 341 metres above sea level.

In South Africa athletes often do high altitude training in Dullstroom, which is 2 077m above sea level, while the Tuks/HPC-rowers do their high altitude training at Katse Dam in Lesotho, which is at 2 100m.

It will be a definite challenge for Manyonga and the athletes to compete at 3 032 metres. The problem with competing at high altitude is that there is less oxygen, which means an athlete’s respiratory rate and heart rate speed up.

Neil Cornelius (Tuks/HPC coach) made it clear that it is not going to be a case of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread.

“We have planned for the world record attempt. Karen Gibbs (physiotherapist) has been helping Luvo with special breathing exercises to prepare him from competing at 3 000 metres. We also made provision for special thermal clothing should it be really cold in the mountains.”

Cornelius admits that many an athlete has failed in the past when officially going for a world record.

“Although all of this has especially been organised to help the athletes set a world record, Luvo is not obsessed with jumping a specific distance. Obviously, we want Luvo to do that really big jump. I honestly believe he is capable of doing something remarkable.

“But nothing is going to change. Our approach will be the same as at the World Championships in London. Luvo’s goal will be to make sure that his first jump counts because we believe that with a good first attempt you ‘buy’ five more jumps. It is important that Luvo should have fun because the more relaxed he is, the better he performs.

“Competing at such a high altitude certainly creates its unique challenges. For example, I know that Luvo is going to be much faster in his approach than normal, so we will have to make certain adaptions to it to compromise for the extra speed.”

As to whether the IAAF will recognise a world record set at such a high altitude, Cornelius said he foresees no problems.

“All of this is legal. What might happen is that the statisticians will put an ‘A’ in brackets behind whatever distance is jumped to indicate it happened at altitude. Personally, I don’t view this as any different than Luvo jumping at Tuks, which is also at altitude.”

According to Cornelius, the organisers have set three days aside for this world record attempt. If the weather is not perfect tomorrow, the athletes might only compete on Thursday or Friday. But all indications are that tomorrow the conditions will be as near perfect as they can be.

There will also be an attempt at the world triple-jump record at the same time. It is understood that Jeff Henderson (USA), the Olympic long-jump champion, and Christian Taylor (USA), the world triple-jump champion will also be competing.


Watch 'Smile', A Film Celebrating Mo Farah's Historic Career By Nike

In celebration of Mo Farah's legacy, as he steps onto the London Stadium track to compete in his final campaign for double gold, Nike launches new film Smile.

The film highlights the tremendous sacrifice and resilient mindset behind his record-breaking career, showcasing Farah's intense training and dedication, all the while maintaining that unbeatable smile.

Smile chronicles the mental strength beneath the smiley persona, providing insight into his journey and the toughest moments within it. His hometown of London provides the backdrop to the film.

British spoken word artist George The Poet provides a powerful tribute that captures the human truth we all recognise: behind every smile, there is a story that is never as easy as it seems.


Usain Bolt to play for Manchester United at Old Trafford in legends game against Barcelona - if he can recover in time

Usain Bolt's athletics career finale didn't go to plan with the fastest man of all time breaking down on the home straight of the 4x100m relay in London.

But a lifelong dream for the now-retired Jamaican sprinter could become a reality at Old Trafford.

It has been reported that Bolt is to be named in the star-studded line-up for Manchester United's legends match against Barcelona.

Now after a career of dominating his opponents on the track, Bolt has to race against the clock to be fit to play in the match.

Bolt is recovering from a hamstring injury suffered in the relay and has until September 2 to be ready.

“This has been his dream for many years. He’s desperate to do it as long as he can get over the injury,” a source told The Sun.

Man United Legends manager Bryan Robson will welcome Bolt's speed to the line up which includes the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes, Dwight Yorke and Phil Neville.

Other former Red Devils stars include Denis Irwin, Ronny Johnsen, Louis Saha, Mikaël Silvestre, Jesper Blomqvist, Quinton Fortune and Dion Dublin.

The Catalan legends will be managed by Jose Mari Bakero, with stars including Gaizka Mendiaeta, Eric Abidal, Migel Angel Nadal, Gheorghe Popescu, Ion Andoni Goikoetxea and Julio Salinas


Semenya 'thrilled' to be 'amongst best in the world'

CAPE TOWN - South African middle distance star Caster Semenya says that she is thrilled to be amongst the best athletes in the world after she picked up her third 800m world title at the IAAF World Championships in London on Sunday.

Semenya won the 2017 final in a time of 1:55.16, setting a world leading time over the distance in the process. She also bagged her second medal at the athletics showpiece, adding the 800m gold medal to the bronze she won in the 1,500m last week in her first major final in the event.

"It is the best (performance) I have ever produced in my life. If you see, it is 1:55.16, it's my lifetime best. It's eighth on the world list, so I'm quite thrilled and it's an amazing feeling to be amongst the best in the world.

The South African now has three World Championships golds to go with her two Olympic winner's medals.

The dominant South African has also equalled Maria Mutola's World Championships record of three 800m gold medals.

Speaking after her final, Semenya dedicated her win to the women in South Africa.

"It is Women's Month and I dedicate this to all South African women and I thank them for all the support, they've been fantastic. I give this glory to them.

"South Africans are proud. I know they're jumping up and down now. It's all about giving back to them now, they deserve this. It's also for the younger generation, it's all about inspiring them, showing them that anything is possible if you work hard and you believe."


Sanya Richards-Ross 'healed' by support after abortion revelation

Former Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross says she has helped other women by speaking publicly about having an abortion.

Richards-Ross, 32, revealed in her new book that she had a termination a day before leaving for Beijing 2008, where she won a gold and bronze medal.

She later claimed that every female athlete she knows has had an abortion but the issue is "not talked about".

"There is a brokenness there," the American told BBC Radio 5 live.

"For me, it was really healing to be able to share that with other friends.

"Now I've had other women reach out to me, not just in track and field but all over the world. They've said 'your courage is helping me to heal myself'. That's meant a whole lot to me.

"I feel bad because I think people misinterpreted when I said 'everyone I know'. I don't intimately know a lot of women in this sport.

"When I started to share my story I was like 'wow', so many women around me have been through the same thing and no matter how close you are, it's something that people don't share."

'Thanks for making it cool to wear make-up on the track'

Richards-Ross won three Olympic golds in the 4x400m relay for the USA, with her first and only individual gold coming in the 400m at London 2012.

She also claimed seven medals at the World Championships - including five golds - before retiring in 2016.

During her career, the Jamaican-American athlete became well-known for her style on the track - which included wearing make-up and nail varnish while competing.

She hopes that her image, as well as her sporting achievements, will inspire female athletes in the future.

"People ask me 'why do you wear make-up when you run?' and 'why are you so stylish?' and a big part of it for me was to show young girls that you don't have to be butch or masculine to be a great athlete," she said.

"I've had so many girls during my career saying 'thanks for making it cool to wear make-up on the track'. My hope is that I've empowered some young women to go towards sports because sport is one of the best life teachers you can have."

Dopers making 'impact' on athletics

Richards-Ross' time of 48.70 seconds in the women's 400m is the fastest since 2005.

The world record of 47.6 was set by East German athlete Marita Koch in 1985 but there has always been doubt cast over the time.

Koch competed during a period when it is known that East Germany was doping its athletes but she has denied any wrongdoing and never failed a test.

When asked about doping in track and field, Richards-Ross said: "The more we hear about these horror stories of the best athletes in the world not being clean, it definitely impacts on our sport.

"I think the IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations] needs to go back as far as they have records to ensure the records we are competing against are clean and fair.

"I want to see the IAAF do everything they can to make sure the sport is clean."


Daily Mail: "At Least Coe's Tainted Sport Won't Be Back Soon"

  • Lord Coe was thanked by the BBC for laying on the greatest games ever
  • Coe also returned the praise to the broadcaster for their wonderful coverage
  • Athletics is undermined by drugs, corrupt execs and state-sponsored doping

The World Athletics Championships ended, predictably, in an orgy of self-congratulation.

Lord Coe, of the IAAF, was thanked by the BBC for laying on the greatest games ever, Coe returned the praise to the broadcaster for their wonderful coverage. Back in the studio all the talk was of how soon the event could return to London. We're so fine, do-lang, do-lang, do-lang, as The Chiffons didn't sing.

'That's why athletics is the greatest sport in the world,' cooed a commentator, surveying a podium containing one Russian athlete, running as a neutral because his country is so bent it is banned, and a gold medallist from Qatar, who has the unique distinction of being the first medal-winner from that country to be born there.

Like Qatar's Bulgarian weightlifters, his predecessors were always imported, at a price.

That little peccadillo — the ruthless corruption of nationality in sport — did not stop Qatar getting the 2019 edition of the Championships, though.

And the issue of fixing and other questionable practices now being investigated in the United States, did not stop the 2021 event going to Nike central in Eugene, Oregon, either. Capacity at Eugene's Hayward Field venue is only slightly smaller than the ground at MK Dons.

So, there's the reality. Not that athletics is coming home any time soon, but that it is a tainted pursuit that sells off its main event to the highest bidder, and the warmth felt for it at the London Stadium was a brief moment in time, no more.
'There is growing confidence within the sport,' insisted IAAF president Coe. 'People are proud to be involved.'

Look, this is Britain. It does not take much to make us proud. The economy is starting to tank and we're still banging on patriotically about hard Brexit. We win a few medals in the relay and we're kings of the world. Give us a big event and we'll get behind it.
Last year, 81,781 turned up at Wembley to watch a football team that had just been beaten by Iceland play Malta.

We go to Test matches in big numbers, whether we're any good at cricket or not. We fill huge stadiums for para athletics events. We were the worst performing host team in Rugby World Cup history, and you still can't get a ticket at Twickenham for love nor money.

You'd want us in the front row at every gig you played but, let's be honest, we're not the most discerning crowd. We laugh at any joke, applaud any entrance. We're up for it all, the best house a rotten turn could hope for.

So, Coe might not want to take London to the bank just yet. Normal service will be resumed in Doha in 2019, where attendances are typically low. Just 15,000 tickets were sold for the Para Athletics Championships there in 2015, compared to 230,000 in London this summer. The Asian Cup and Qatar Open tennis were also sparsely attended.

Yet Doha and athletics are a lovely fit. That's where the event should be held, really, so we can see it for what it is. Full of apologists and cheerleaders and in thrall to commerce. This is also why Nike — the company that endorses and embraces the drug cheat Justin Gatlin, booed in London don't forget — gets its payback in 2021.

Eugene was the host award that bypassed a formal bidding process, a decision so suspect it is being investigated by the FBI. Before London, the IAAF took their marquee event to Russia and China. You can't claim 2017 as a typical year for the sport.
It was Gatlin who talked of the narrative being about white hats and black hats — good guys and bad guys — but in athletics even the white hats are often grey around the edges.

At the time the 2021 host city was being debated, Lord Coe was on the IAAF Council and the payroll at Nike. He made plain his support for Eugene to a senior Nike executive, Craig Masback, a fact revealed by the BBC. Maybe those in front of camera don't watch their own channel.

So, anyway, to answer the queries of the BBC panel: 2023. That's the earliest the IAAF World Championships can return, by which time Laura Muir will be 30. But it won't return then because the sport the BBC think they are covering, the one they called greatest in the world, does not exist.

It should, because there is nothing in essence purer than a foot race or a throwing contest, but athletics is undermined by drugs and corrupt executives and state-sponsored doping and participants who sell their passports to the highest bidder, and there will be plenty of vested interests jostling to host in six years' time and all are ready to pay. Azerbaijan, come on down.

So, for all the phoney euphoria, Qatar is welcome to it. Eugene, too. Anywhere but London. The love of the common people shouldn't be turned into handy camouflage for the IAAF. Let Doha show athletics for what it is.


New UCLA Head Anderson Talks Legacy, Future

UCLA track and field sent more athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships this season than it had in any year since 2004. However, 2017 hardly resembles the 20th-century glory days that saw both teams place in the top-10 – if not the top-five – nearly every year.

The new director of track and field and cross country Avery Anderson competed in Westwood alongside dozens of internationally renown legends of the sport from 1992 to 1996, and Daily Bruin Sports had the opportunity to catch up with Cal State Northridge’s former director on what the past culture was like at UCLA and how he plans to reshape the program.

Daily Bruin Sports: What does it mean to you to be the director of your own alma mater’s program? Did you ever see yourself in (former coach Bob) Larsen’s shoes?

Avery Anderson: No, it’s absolutely incredible. It’s hard to describe – it’s still surreal. I’ve been here a few weeks now, but it’s an awesome feeling to know that I’m able to come back and charged with bringing the program back to the caliber it was when I was here as a student-athlete. I just always knew it to be the best program out there. That’s what I see, and so I’m excited to get the opportunity to do that and lead us back there.

DB: What was the culture like for UCLA track and field back then? Is it similar or different now?

AA: It’s definitely different now. I think the excitement of that time was kind of unrealized every moment when you go out to practice every day and you live through the days, and the weeks, and the months and the whole season. We knew that it was something special, but even looking back it was far more special.

I don’t think that culture and atmosphere and environment will ever necessarily be duplicated – I think that what we’ll do when we get back to the top is going to be in a different way. The difference is, then, you had the men as a team and the women as a team and those were separate programs, but you had legends on opposite sides of the track.

John Smith was the sprint coach and hurdle coach; Bob Kersee was sprints, hurdles, jumps coach on the other side. Some coaches shared duties, (like coaches) Art Venegas and Bob Larsen. So I think just the caliber of the athletes that were on the campus at the time and on the track and even working on opposite sides of the track – it was pretty awesome to see and take in. Now looking back, I’ll know that that’s what existed then. I think we’ll get back to that point, but we’re not there right now. It’s different now.

DB: What do you see as the future of UCLA track and field culture then?

AA: I think that the accomplishments can be duplicated; I have actually every intention on even surpassing the accomplishments. But when you look back and you realize I was training with (Olympic long jumper and heptathlete) Jackie Joyner-Kersee, that’s something that I think will be duplicated, in the sense that we’ll have elite athletes of that caliber; we’ll have Olympic champions and world champions and world record holders, but I think the era was different.

When you have the (Olympic sprinter and hurdler) Gail Devers and the on and on and on, (Olympic hurdler) Kevin Young and people like that, I think that those caliber athletes are what UCLA track and field is. I think that’s what we’ll get back to, and I hope we supersede some of what happened.

The couple championships that were won I want to be many more. I think there’s a different way that it’s going to happen. The basics are the same – bring athletes in, you coach them, and you win – but I think the day and age of track and field now is going to require a different method.

DB: Is that just because the sport is so much bigger now than it was in the ’90s, or are there other factors as to why it’s going to require different methods?

AA: It’s a bigger sport. I think, worldwide, it was always that way. In the U.S. now it’s more college-focused, whereas when I was growing up it was the Carl Lewises and the Evelyn Ashfords, and the people were the professionals, and you had the great college teams of UCLA and USC, but not on a national scale. …The sport now in the U.S., I think, is really college focused.

Even though there are the professional athletes that still aspire to go to the world championships, there are a lot of college athletes that are doing that, and back then there weren’t as many. But the sport, the knowledge, the science of it, it’s enhanced at the college level. I think that’s where the development is happening, to take that step from high school to elite, so I think that’s one of the challenges right now that exists.

DB: What’s your analysis of why the program has gone downhill since then, and what do you plan on doing to get it back up there?

AA: I don’t want to look back in a way that might come across as criticizing; I really want to focus on moving forward. There are things that I see and I have an opinion about, but I wasn’t sitting in (the director’s) chair, so I really don’t want to comment on too much of it.

But in ways that I see moving forward, it’s about excellence. This is the best university in the world to me and, I think athletically and academically, the balance is that we have to be what UCLA is, and that’s compete on a level of excellence. That includes recruiting the right student-athlete – and that means the character of the person, the student and the athlete all have to be a mesh that makes it so that we’re on the same page of achieving excellence, and that’s kind of where you start.

And then the coaches: There has to be the same level of expectation with the coaching staff – for myself, but also my assistant coaches. We have to understand that the standard is a lot higher than maybe it’s been and that’s where we’re going as we move forward. So we coach student-athletes, including mentoring them as young people to develop into the most successful person they can be. A big part of that is going to be their athletic development, and we’re aspiring to great heights with that. There’s, I think, no limit to where we can reach. But I know we’re not going to have a standard so low that there’s room for the program to exist where it has.

DB: What was your favorite memory from when you were an athlete in the program?

AA: That’s a good question. There’s a lot. It’s funny because it’s really the experience, and that’s a memory that’s broad – it’s specific but it’s broad. It’s being at practice, it’s being around the team. A lot of it is centered on what I remember about practice in that corner at Drake Stadium, but also on that bus and on that plane and at that track meet. So really it was the experience, the overall experience with the teams that we had and the great people.

Some of them were great athletes, but a lot of them were great people. The coaching staff then (are) still great friends of mine now, and great mentors and great leaders. I think that’s the thing that I’d say was one of my favorite memory was just the experience.

DB: Academically and athletically, you said you want to draw the best people here. What’s your pitch to get those type of athletes here?

AA: I don’t want to give you my secrets (laughs), but honestly it’s just what I mentioned. There’s a level of expectation that we’ll have and it just operates on the side of being excellent, being great. Like I said, this is the best university in the world, we’re in the best city in the world, we’re in the best location in that city, we have the best facility in the country in my opinion. All of these things align with one common theme, and that’s “the best.” That’s what the pitch is: This is the best, you want to be the best, (and) it’s here for you in Westwood.

DB: This is a kicker, but in about a span of a week or so this past month, UCLA had (men’s sprints coach Darrell) Smith go, (NCAA 400-meter-hurdles runner-up) Rai Benjamin transfer to USC, (NCAA 110-meter-hurdles qualifier) Misana Viltz transfer to Cal and (sprinter) Angie Annelus go to USC with Rai. Does that present any obstacles going forward as far as sprints go?

AA: You know, I realize why that looks like it presents an obstacle, and obviously, it’s an obstacle when you lose talent like that. Before they transferred, I did meet with all of them. We had a great conversation. Them transferring had nothing to do with me personally; I understand that and they were clear about that. That’s just where they were with the experience they had here, up to that point before I got here.

But in terms of the overall mission of UCLA track and overall goal in the long run, it doesn’t present as much of an obstacle as it would if you have people who are here who don’t want to be here. That’s a bigger problem. This is UCLA; if a person does not want to be here, then they’re free to leave. There’s not going to be many people that fit that bill, and so those athletes that decided to transfer, I can only wish them the best. I don’t have any ill will toward them; I’m going to cheer for them and root for them and things like that, but it’s not going to stop what we’re going to do.

Our mission to be the greatest track and field entity in the world, that’s what I’m about. And that is going to be inclusive of people that want to be here and are on board; and those that aren’t, it’s ok.

DB: We’ve talked a lot about track, but the second half to the job is cross country. The men are coming off one of their best seasons last year; what do you expect from cross country this fall?

AA: I think that momentum that’s been built is what we expect to keep going. We’re in different places on the men and women’s side, but I think the goal will still be the same – we want both teams to get into the national championship meet, run as well as they can, and, through the season, build.

There’s a lot more focus on doing better this year than we have in a long time, on the part of the student-athletes. And I know coaching-wise … what we’re looking at is how we navigate the season and to be as good as we can nationally.


Coe: Track Will Miss Bolt's Voice More Than Medals

ATHLETICS chief Sebastian Coe described the sight of Usain Bolt pulling up injured in the final race of his glittering career as “horrible”.

The Jamaican collapsed to the track on the final leg of the 4x100 metres relay at the World Championships in London on Saturday.

Coe, president of world athletics governing body the IAAF, said: “The athlete in me tells me it’s a devastating moment if you’re in mid-race and something starts not to work, it’s horrible.

“Whether the Jamaican team were in a medal position or not, the reality of it is you don’t want to see anybody not being to be able to fulfil what they warmed up to do and what they prepared to do.

“What we are going to miss about Usain Bolt is not the three back-to-back Olympic Games or the clutch of world records or the medals, it’s going to be because he has an opinion, he has a view, he fills a room. We have some really terrific talent that’s identified themselves at these championships, but that’s not the same as filling that void.”

Bolt’s team-mate Yohan Blake blamed the 30-year-old’s injury on the delay to the race, which started 10 minutes later than scheduled.

“I think they were holding us too long in the call room. The walk was too long,” the former world 100m champion said as he hit out at the organisers. “Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me, ‘Yohan, I think this is crazy’.”

But Niels de Vos, the chief executive of UK Athletics and London 2017, said: “It’s an unfortunate inevitability that the final event of any World Championship is often slightly later than timetabled.

“I expect Usain himself would be the very last person to complain, not least because often he’s been the cause of events being delayed because of the mass celebration that happens around him.”


What's The Future Of British Track?

The UK Athletics team may have won six medals at this year's IAAF World Championships, but the best could yet be to come.

Great Britain came sixth in the table, winning two gold, three silvers and one bronze medal.
The chair of the team, Richard Bowker, says Britain has a "fantastic rich crop of young talent".
Here are four promising young athletes who could be topping the medal tables in the future.

Kyle Langford

Kyle is a middle-distance runner who competes mostly in the 800m race.
At 21, he's already competed in the World Championships twice.
He didn't advance beyond the first round in Beijing in 2015, but two years later he managed to get to the 800m final, narrowly missing out on a medal by coming fourth.
He ran a personal best of 1 minute 45.25 seconds, so expect to see a lot more of him in the future.

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake

Londoner Nethaneel is 23 and is a sprinter specialising in the 200m.
At this summer's World Championships he won a gold medal as part of the men's 100m relay and also came fourth in his own 200m race.
He is only the second British man to break both 10 seconds for the 100m and 20 seconds for the 200m - so is a promising prospect in UK running.

Adelle Tracey

Middle-distance runner Adelle was selected as one of the promising British athletes who got to light the London 2012 Olympic torch and has certainly lived up to those expectations.
The 24-year-old achieved two personal bests at the World Championships in the 800m heat and semi-final, but sadly missed out on making the final by three-quarters of a second.
She's hoping to get a medal at the upcoming European Championships in Berlin.

Desiree Henry

Desiree is21 but the sprinter from London already has a bronze medal from the Rio Olympics and a silver medal as part of the 100m women's relay team from the World Championships.
She has recently improved her personal bests - 11.06 seconds for the 100m and 22.46 seconds for the 200m.
She is Britain's third-fastest female sprinter of all time.


Was London More About Losers Than Winners?

Bolt was never tainted by track's doping scandals

Of the seven men who have run 9.80 seconds or better in the 100, Bolt is the only one who has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

The intangibles also matter

Bolt finally was beaten in his last 100-meter race at this past week's World Athletics Championships, but that does not erase his magnificence. His world record of 9.58 in the 100 is set in stone. No current athlete is within shouting distance of his 19.19 in the 200. He won three sprint golds in three straight Olympics, when no other athlete has done that twice. (One relay gold was later revoked, due to a teammate's positive drug test.)

But just as much as these astonishing numbers, Bolt's personality set him apart -- the energy, joy and excitement he delivered every time he stepped onto the track.

After finally defeating Bolt in London, Gatlin did not exult or strut. He literally bowed down to Bolt. "It was paying homage to someone who has changed the game, who has come along and took the sport to another level," Gatlin said. "Not just sprinting, but the sport, and helped sports in general be lifted to a different plateau."


Why No Steven Gardiner On Bahamian 4x4?

LONDON, England — The issue of Steven Gardiner not running the men's 4x400 meters (m) relay for The Bahamas at the 16th International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Championships, in London, England, made headlines locally and internationally. It is understood that the decision might have come from his American coach, leaving Bahamian coaches and team officials in awe as to how a foreigner could have so much power over a Bahamian athlete and so much say in how Bahamian teams are made up.

Gardiner is 21 years old, and is coached by American Gary Evans, of Pure Athletics in Clermont, Florida. He won the silver medal in the men's 400 meters (m) at the world championships on Tuesday night, running 44.41 seconds in the final. He set a new Bahamian national record of 43.89 seconds in the semi-finals, becoming the first Bahamian to dip below 44 seconds in the men's doom.

The first round of the relay was four days after the final of the men's 400m, so fatigue shouldn't have been a factor at all. 
Gardiner, believed to be healthy, could have given The Bahamas two rounds of the relay — the heats on Saturday, and the final on Sunday, had they qualified. Even former world record holder Michael Johnson, commenting for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), spoke to the matter. Johnson was critical of Gardiner for not running the relay, particularly since the final of the men's 400m was done from Tuesday.

Team Bahamas' Head Coach Diane Woodside-Johnson voiced her displeasure. "As the head coach I requested of him to run in the heats, because I thought that we would have done a lot better, but he refused to run. That's a problem that we have to deal with," she said. "The team as a whole was in very good spirits. Most of them did what they were supposed to do. It's a very young team, and we have to keep them together some way, somehow, in a certain program where they meet several times per year.

"We must make some changes in this elite part of our program in The Bahamas, though. We must have something in place, whether it's developmental, consequences for not doing what you're supposed to do, or whatever. I'm going to initiate that in my report and hopefully something comes out of it." In Gardiner's absence, the team of Alonzo Russell, Michael Mathieu, Ojay Ferguson and Ramon Miller, in that order, ran 3:03.04. They finished sixth in their heat, and were nth overall. Just the top three in each semi-final heat, and the next two fastest times moved on to Sunday's final. Out of the four relay teams, the men's 4x400m squad was the only one to record a time. Both the women's 4xioom and 4x400m relay teams didn't finish, as the 4.xioom squad dropped the baton, and veteran quarter-miler Christine Amertil fell in the 4x400m race; and the men's 4x1oom squad was disqualified for a lane infraction.

"We've had some good spots and some bad spots — the nature of meets like this," said Woodside-Johnson. "In the sprint relays, we had some very good exchange practices, but we had a rough day. We just had some incidents out there. I'm disappointed, but the athletes went out there and did their best. Things just happened and we didn't fare very well. It was unfortunate that happened to the men's sprint team, and the girls were pretty okay. Based on the exchanges that we did, I think that was the best possible combination at that time."

The real tension and turmoil of Team Bahamas centers Gardiner, though. Many can't believe that he refused to run

Bronze medalist in the women's loom Shaunae Miller-Uibo didn't run the rounds of the relays as well, but she had just completed six straight days of running from doing three rounds each of the women's 200 and 400m, and it is understood that she would have been available for the final of either relay, had the teams advanced. Gardiner not running is a serious issue. The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) is yet to release a statement on the matter. 
BAAA President Rosamunde Carey left London for The Bahamas on Sunday and was unavailable for comment.


US medal dominance could reflect doping cleanup in track

LONDON (AP) — For years, athletes from the United States have quietly wondered how they might have fared if they had been competing on a level playing field. This year, they may have found out.

Final figures from the medals standings at the world championships that wrapped up Sunday offered evidence that track and field’s attempt to crack down on a global doping crisis could be making a direct impact on the results themselves.

Exhibit A: The United States won 30 medals, while athletes from four countries that have been under the doping microscope — Kenya (11), Russia (6), Ethiopia (5) and Jamaica (4) — combined for 26.

Two years ago, the results looked like this: United States 17, Kenya 16, Jamaica 12, Ethiopia 8, Russia 4.

Four years ago, with Russia competing on home turf and in the midst of what investigators have determined was a state-sponsored doping conspiracy, they looked like this: United States 26, Russia 14, Kenya 12, Jamaica and Ethiopia 10 each.

“Maybe the only good byproduct of the past corruption and scandal is that it forces sport to make sure it never happens again,” said Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. “Ultimately, that’s good for clean athletes.”

Among the changes that have taken place over the last two years:

—The suspension of the Russian track federation. Only 19 Russians competed at this year’s worlds, 100 fewer than were present in Moscow in 2013. The 19 competed as neutral athletes because the IAAF determined they’ve been under proper anti-doping controls.

—Five countries, including distance-running powerhouses Kenya and Ethiopia, have been placed on a doping watch list — meaning they are being closely watched because of evidence that has surfaced about less-than-robust anti-doping procedures in those countries. Jamaica has also been under increased scrutiny, which has led to the stripping of a 2008 Olympic relay medal because of doping by one of Usain Bolt’s teammates.

—The IAAF has established an independent testing authority that takes responsibilities for conducting the anti-doping program out of its hands. A handful of former IAAF leaders are under investigation for their roles in doping cover-ups and related corruption.

“We have to be open about it,” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said. “There’s been a disproportionate amount of damage to the sport produced by a relatively small number of nations, and we just have to get on top of that.”

As a sign of the IAAF’s willingness to tackle the issue head-on, the meet began with the reallocation of medals from 11 races dating to 2007.

“It’s not a Russia thing, but it is a thing that sometimes you get out there and you wonder, ‘Do I have a fair shot at this? If I’m doing the right thing, is everyone else doing the right thing?’” said American sprinter Natasha Hastings, who received a reallocated relay gold from 2013.

It’s a refrain shared up and down the roster in the United States, where athletes are widely considered to be subject to one of the world’s toughest anti-doping programs.

“It’s not uncommon for athletes in our training group to get tested every month,” said U.S.-based track coach Loren Seagrave, who trains athletes from several countries. “On some occasions, you get tested on one day, and they show up again the next day. I think they’re as vigilant as they can be.”

Of course, it’s a delicate proposition to attribute all these numbers to doping, or to assume all the problems are fixed. From Marion Jones to Tim Montgomery to Tyson Gay, Americans have a history of doping positives, reflected most starkly during this meet by the fans’ reaction to Justin Gatlin. The 100-meter champion was roundly booed at every turn because of his doping history — he’s served two bans.

“I thought in 2012, I was in a cleaner race, and it turns out that Olympic final was probably one of the dirtiest in history,” said American middle-distance runner Shannon Rowbury, who finished out of the medals in a race in which no fewer than five of the 1,500-meter finalists have been investigated for doping violations.

Exhibit B (perhaps): Eleven of this year’s 14 winning sprint times, including relays and hurdles, were slower than in 2013, which was the last world championships held the year after the Olympics. But a portion of that — as well as Jamaica’s paltry showing, with only four medals — could be attributed to Bolt’s rough week; he won bronze in the 100 meters and pulled up lame in the 4x100 with a hurt left hamstring.

The champion took umbrage to the linking of slow times and doping, calling it “disrespectful.”

“There’s something called injury and sometimes, everything doesn’t go as smoothly as you want,” Bolt said. “We came out and put on a good show for everyone.”

Nobody enjoyed the show more than the Americans, whose 30 medals were only two short of what they picked up last year at the Olympics in in Rio de Janeiro, when some of the reforms were starting to take hold and Russia only sent one track and field athlete.

“There was a lot of shuffling, some medalists were completely unexpected,” said American long jumper Tianna Bartoletta, who won a bronze medal. “Whatever the explanation, it’s promising. I’m encouraged by what I saw here this week.”


Manangoi Can Break 1500 Record Says Kiprop

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters - Kenya’s new world 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi can break the 19-year-old world record for the event, Asbel Kiprop said after losing his title to his younger compatriot on Sunday.

“I see Elijah as a fresh talent, a new guy, who will take the event to the next level," Kiprop told reporters after failing in his attempt to win a fourth consecutive 1,500 gold medal at the World Championships. "He is new, young, strong and smart; he is the guy to run under 3:26.”

Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj set the world record of 3:26.00 in Rome on July 14 1998.

Kiprop, 28, finished ninth on Sunday, more than three seconds behind Manangoi's time of three minutes 33.61 seconds, and said he would now move up to the 5,000 metres.

“I used a wrong tactic and used a lot of energy in closing the gap. When the race settled, the pace had become too hot for me.

“I will move to the 5,000m to fill the void being left by Mo Farah and to try and bring the title back home,” he said.

The last Kenyan to win the world 5,000 title was Benjamin Limo in 2005 in Helsinki.

Manangoi, who finished ahead of fellow Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot, thanked Kiprop for mentoring him but was coy about his world-record ambitions.

“I thank everybody who made this possible," Manangoi, 24, said. "It is like a dream. I particularly thank Asbel for mentoring me. As for the world record, let’s not talk about it.” (Editing by Clare Fallon)


Which British athletes could be contending for medals at the Tokyo Olympics?

Great Britain finished the London 2017 World Championships on Sunday with six medals as attention swiftly turned to the athletics team's prospects at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Here Press Association Sport looks at six athletes who could be on the podium in Japan.

:: Likely medallists

Laura Muir

The British record holder over 1,500 metres and 5,000m, Muir finished fourth over the shorter distance. She is still a relative novice at 5,000m, but showed at London 2017 her calibre cannot be questioned.

Adam Gemili

His decisive second leg run in the 4x100m relay win on Saturday night gave a hint of what might have been had the selectors opted for Gemili in the individual 100m and 200m. With Usain Bolt retiring, the 200m, in particular, could be wide open.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Surely the heir apparent to Jessica Ennis-Hill is going to get it right sooner rather than later? A poor performance in the high jump – usually one of her strongest suits – saw Johnson-Thompson fall out of medal contention in the heptathlon, but if she can put it all together in two days, she should be challenging for gold.

:: Staking a claim

Dina Asher-Smith

Five years on from carrying athletes' kit at London 2012, Asher-Smith recovered from a broken foot to finish fourth in the 200m and win a silver medal in the 4x100m relay. She will be optimistic of further major championships success, if she can stay fit.

Kyle Langford

The son of Watford fish and chip shop owners, Langford placed fourth in the competitive 800m before vowing to go for gold in Tokyo. Some big names, and Russians, were absent, though, so he has plenty of work to do.

Callum Hawkins

Hawkins was a surprise fourth in the marathon, an event usually dominated by Africans. Four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah is stepping on to the road post-London 2017, but may not be around for Tokyo, so Hawkins has an opportunity to take his team-mate's mantle.


Bolt bids farewell: Americans shine at world championships with 30 medals

LONDON—Usain Bolt took a last leisurely stroll around the track, placed his hands over his heart and then pointed toward the stands, where barely a soul had left.

The running had been over for nearly 30 minutes. As always, though, Bolt had a way of making everybody stay.

The world championships came to a melancholy close Sunday with an on-track tribute to the man who made the sport fun again. There were 11 gold medals at stake on a frenetic final day in London, and yet it was the sight of the hobbled champion walking slowly around the track—stopping to kneel at the starting lines for the 100- and 200-meter races he dominated for a decade—that made for the evening's best theatre.

"I think I almost cried," Bolt said. "I was just saying goodbye. That was it. Saying goodbye to my events. Saying goodbye to everything."

The United States says goodbye to London in possession of 30 medals, the most it has ever taken from the worlds. Of those, 10 were gold, including the capper in the women's 4x400 relay final, where Allyson Felix won her 16th medal to finish as the most-decorated athlete of all-time at the worlds.

Felix also won gold in the 4x100 relay, but the bronze she took in her only individual event, the 400, makes this a less-than-perfect trip for her.

In that way, she's got something in common with Bolt. Between the bronze medal in the 100 and the hamstring pull and tumble to the track that ended his anchor leg of the 4x100 relay—and still made him wince when he had to negotiate big steps around the stadium—the championships went nothing like he planned.

"Someone tried to blame me, and said I started it," Bolt said of a 10-day run filled with upsets and surprises. "It was just one of those things. It was one of those championships where everything does not go your way."

Winners on the final day included:

_ Caster Semenya of South Africa, who added the 800-meter gold to her 1,500-meter bronze from earlier in the meet.

_ Elijah Manangoi, who led a 1-2 Kenyan finish in the 1,500 meters.

_ Hellen Obiri of Kenya, who pulled away from favorite Almaz Ayana with 250 meters to go to win the 5,000-meter race.

_ Sandra Perkovic of Croatia, who added this latest discus title to her two Olympic golds.

_ Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, who won the high jump by clearing 2.35 meters without a miss.

_ The men's 4x400 relay team of Trinidad and Tobago, whose anchor, Lalonde Gordon, beat American sprinter Fred Kerley to the line.

_ Yang Jiayu of China, Yohann Diniz of France, Eider Arevalo of Colombia and Ines Henriques of Portugal in race walking. Henriques set a world record in winning the first women's 50-kilometer walk at the worlds in 4 hours, 5 minutes, 56 seconds.

There's not a household name in the bunch, and though all the performances were remarkable in their own way, this sport's lack of star power with Bolt out of the mix is hard to gloss over.

"What we're going to miss about Usain Bolt isn't the three back-to-back Olympic Games or the clutch of world records and medals," said Sebastian Coe, the leader of track's governing body, the IAAF. "It's because he has an opinion. He has a view. He fills a room. We have terrific talent that's identifying itself at these championships. But that's not the same as filling that void, and we have to work at that."

Bolt's standing-room-only news conference was scheduled for 15 minutes but went about 35. He discussed his past, the future and the sport he leaves behind.

He said over the long term, he could see himself coaching track and occasionally stepping into the TV booth for the sport's biggest events. His immediate plans? "I need to go out and have a drink," he said.

Asked one more time about doping, he said he thinks track is on an upward trajectory after two dispiriting years involving a doping scandal in Russia and problems across Africa and in his own country, Jamaica.

"I've proven to the world that you can do it, that you can be great without doping," he said. "Hopefully young athletes can look at me."

As far as a comeback is concerned, he insists it simply won't happen.

"I've seen too many people retire and come back and make it worse and shame themselves," he said. "I personally feel I won't be one of those people."

But he has no regrets about running in this meet, or concerns that the results will tarnish his legacy. In a way, he said, the jaw-dropping losses were similar to the breathtaking wins: They showed that when he's on the track, anything really is possible.

"For me, it was brilliant," he said of the week that was. "I'm just really sad I have to walk away now."


Dwight Stones Not Happy w/ NBC's HJ Coverage

A Facebook post from the ever-quotable former WR holder:

<<It's difficult to listen to the NBC commentators talk about today's men's high jump competition and repeatedly allude to someone clearing 8ft. No one has been within 3 inches of that height this year. The field event "analyst" doesn't know the correct height of the favorite, Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar. Barshim is 6'4" and the commentator has him at 6'2" and recently corrected it to 6'3", still incorrect. The commentator also has no clue how to state heights and/or distances, insisting on saying "Two point three, five" instead of "Two, thirty-five" as an example of how he states EVERY height and distance.

The producers, in their ignorance of the event, chose to focus on Barshim hurdling 6'4" as part of his warm-up/introduction today. The world record for hurdling in the high jump is over 7ft. Then the commentator, with support from the play x play announcer, start setting Barshim up for ultimate failure by pushing this world record/jumping 8ft. scenario. They keep driving the hurdling and 8ft. theme. Barshim is past his sell by date for setting PRs. He can absolutely still win medals and is an overwhelming favorite to win today but he squandered his world record chances back in 2014.

At age 26, the world record window has closed for him, which means we must continue to endure the drug-fueled record set by Cuba's Javier Sotomayor for the foreseeable future. This coverage is nearly unwatchable in its amateurishness. Nothing has or will change and this network has exclusive rights to cover the professional level of our sport and has rights to the Olympics through 2032!>>


World Championships 2017: Why athletics is still worth fighting for

So this was a disappointing World Championships. Justin Gatlin beat Usain Bolt. Seven days later, cramp beat Bolt again. Wayde van Niekerk couldn't win his 200m/400m double. Isaac Makwala couldn't even start both.

Mo Farah, after 10 global golds on the bounce, finished with silver. Britain went fourth rather than conquered. Only one new championship record was set. On most days it was grey and on several nights it was as cold and wet as autumn.

It was also a Worlds where the old guard was superseded by the new in electrifying fashion. Upsets were everywhere: double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson out of the medals in the 100m, world record holder Keni Harrison off the podium in the sprint hurdles, Olympic 400m hurdles champion Kerron Clement overshadowed by charismatic young Norwegian Karsten Warholm.

There were comeback stories - Sally Pearson from a shattered wrist that almost led to amputation, South African long jump champion Luvo Manyonga from an addiction to crystal meth. Ding-dongs were everywhere - in the women's triple jump, in the long jump where six centimetres covered the first four athletes, in the women's 1500m and the men's 800m. Both steeplechases were thrillers.

So it was disappointing for Great Britain. Going into the final weekend, the largest squad they had assembled for a Worlds had just one medal to show for it, and that was Mo Farah's 10,000m title in the first night. £27m in funding over the four-year Olympic cycle, went the prevailing argument, should be bringing home so much more.

And then the relays happened. Gold for the men's sprint quartet, silver for the women. Silver for the women's 4x400m team, bronze for the men. Along with Mo Farah's 5,000m silver it meant Britain finished with six medals - on its target, the same number as after the last two Olympics, at the Worlds of 2013 and 2009.

Disappointments and great excitement, a struggle but a success. This is where athletics is, and the Worlds of 2017 brought both old doubts and fresh hope.

Britain wanted more. Maybe, in a Worlds without Russia, in a sport which is possibly cleaner than it used to be, it should have taken them.

Those relay medals were wonderful, each achieved through hours of drills and a tightness between the constituent parts that cannot be faked. They are also the lower hanging fruit on the track tree; only 16 teams invited for each. There is a reason they are targeted by British Athletics.

But athletics medals are hard to win. There are 208 member nations of the IAAF. It is a more truly global championships than that of track cycling or rowing, the two great engines of the British medal machine across the past three Olympics.

Last summer on Rio's Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, British rowers dominated the regatta, winning three gold medals and two silvers. With 43 athletes they also had the biggest team of any nation there. Forty-nine of the nations there qualified teams of fewer than 10 athletes - 32 of them had a team of just one or two rowers.

Only nine nations apart from Britain won a gold. At London 2017, 43 different nations won medals, 27 different nations gold.

Then there is the spread of the past 10 days. Five fourth-place finishes might sound like five failures, yet each was a stretch achievement for the individual who took it.

The IAAF produces something called a placings table, which aims to give a broader indication of each nation's strength. Eight points are awarded for a first place, seven for a second, down to one for eighth.

At the 2005 Worlds, Britain came 12th on this ranking with 35 points. Across the five Worlds since then they have hovered between fifth and seventh, their biggest total the 94 points of two years ago in Beijing.

Here in London they ended third, racking up 105 points. Maybe it means nothing compared to medals. Maybe that strength in depth won't convert to medals over the next four years. Maybe too it suggests encouragement, even as issues remain with the quality of coaching available, with the development of promising juniors into successful seniors, with the glaring gaps in several key disciplines.

There were an almost overwhelming number of reasons to be pessimistic about track and field coming to London. The end of Bolt, the ongoing struggle against doping, only the start of the complete rebuild the sport's governance and image requires.

All those issues were here right in front of you. There were several performances that wise insiders struggled to make sense of, the sight of returning cheats taking titles, athletes who have switched nationality for purely economic reasons winning medals for nations where they have never lived.

Eleven individuals and five relay teams were reallocated medals denied them by cheats in the recent past. If that was both welcome and dispiriting, so too was the warning from IAAF president Seb Coe that other nations may yet join Russia in mass exclusion from the biggest stage.

And yet impossible to ignore too were the great strengths of this beleaguered sport, the spells of magic that set it apart from others, the allure that still shines through when circumstances are right.

Over its 10 days, 705,000 people came to watch these championships. Never before has a Worlds brought in so many.

If that won't happen in Qatar in two years' time, neither does it happen in the same way at other great events in this sport-mad nation. An athletics crowd is untouchable in its diversity: families, kids, a blend of ethnicities that reflected this host city but was light years away from the far narrower demographics at Wimbledon, or Twickenham, or Lord's.

Then there is what they see: more nations brought together than at any other sporting championship, a wider range of skills and sizes, the action on those big nights happening all around the stadium at a dizzying lick.

It is both a simple sport, in that even a newcomer can work out how an event is run and won, and one with depth - running at astounding speed, throwing an astonishing distance, jumping longer and higher than we could ever imagine.

It can be easy to let the cynicism win. Everyone is at it. Too many of these results won't last. When the Worlds leave London's embrace the magic will dissipate and with it the crowds and energy. The troubles are still right there.

So too is the allure. There are clean athletes, and there are great champions. There are nights, like Saturday, when the thrill can still be pure and unrivalled.

It can be a beautiful sport. It is worth fighting for. Don't give up on it, even when it can feel so easy to do so.


Mo Farah tells media: ‘If you say I’ve done something wrong, prove it’

Mo Farah has accused sections of the media of trying to “destroy” his achievements on the track with unfounded allegations against his legendary coach Alberto Salazar and insinuations about how he attained his success.

Speaking the morning after his glittering championship track career came to an end with a painful 5,000m defeat in the London Stadium, Britain’s most successful ever athlete insisted his 10 world and Olympic titles had come about purely through hard work.

“History doesn’t lie,” Farah told his critics. “What I achieved over the years, people are proud of me. You can write what you like. The fact is I’ve achieved what I have from hard work and dedication. Putting my balls on the line, year after year and delivering for my country.”

As the exchanges grew more heated, Farah asked why some journalists kept bringing up his relationship with Salazar, who helped turn him from a very good athlete into a great one after he joined the coach’s Nike Oregon Project training group in late 2010. Salazar has been under investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for the past two years but has always vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

“It’s like a broken record, repeating myself,” said Farah, who gave everything during a thrilling last lap only to finish second to the Ethiopian Muktar Edris on Saturday night. “If I’ve crossed the line, if Alberto’s crossed the line, why bring it up year after year, making it into headlines? I’ve achieved what I have achieved – you’re trying to destroy it.”

As Farah pointed out, while Salazar has been his coach on paper – which includes writing his workouts – the day-to-day training has been facilitated by the British team. “How many races has he been to this year for me or last year?” Farah asked. “He hasn’t been to any.

“I‘ve been pretty much by myself with the guidance of Alberto, as you all know. I was capable of doing the job. It didn’t make any difference to me. I know what I wanted to do. I was in a training camp for the British team.”

Farah also suggested that parts of the media, which has questioned the nature of his relationship with the controversial coach Jama Aden and then reported on the leak of his athlete’s biological passport by the Russian hackers Fancy Bears, had an agenda against him.

Mo Farah lies on the track after finishing second in the men’s 5,000m final as the winner, Muktar Edris, reaches down to comfort him. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex Shutterstock
“There’s nothing else to be said,” he said. “Sometimes I find it bizarre how certain people write certain things to suit how they want to sell the story. You guys get to me – you never write the facts. The fact is, over the years, I have achieved a lot through hard work and pain.

“So many times, you guys have been unfair to me. I know that. But say it how it is. I want you to write the truth about what’s out there and educate people out there. But be honest with them. If you say Mo Farah has done something wrong‚ prove it.”

Farah refused to say whether he would be coached by Salazar next year when he tackles the formidable challenge of the marathon. But he admitted he was sad to leave the track after so many glittering successes.

“It has definitely hit me,” he said. “I got emotional on Saturday night. All good things in life must come to an end at some point. What goes up must come back down. I wanted to end on a high. But it happens. The better man won on the day. That’s part of athletics. Fair credit to the other guys to be able to go. They had three guys in the team – they said ‘one of you won’t get a medal’. To beat Mo, it’s taken them six years to do it but you’ve got to give it to them.”

He also conceded that stepping up to 26.2 miles would not be easy. “No one is going to give it to me. The roads are a whole new game. I’ve got to learn it and understand my weakness. It’s going to take a while to understand the marathon.”

Farah also insisted that he was open to the idea of helping the next generation of British distance runners. “It’s important that we get into the sport and help others,” he said. “Christine Ohuruogu has been helping out with the relay and will continue to leave a legacy behind.

“It’s about not thinking selfishly, not thinking financially. If we love the sport, you try to help others and I believe the knowledge and what I’ve learned over the years, I can contribute towards the younger kids and make a difference.

“You see Kyle Langford, Laura Muir, the relay boys – there are a lot of youngsters coming through,” he added. “I think we can make a difference.”


Golden London run has triumphant Pearson eyeing Tokyo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's Sally Pearson will reward herself with "volumes" of greasy food after winning her second 100 meters hurdles world championship but plans to keep herself in top shape in the long-term for a tilt at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Pearson's brilliant win at the London Stadium on Saturday capped two years of injury heartbreak and made her Australia's most decorated track athlete of the modern era.

The 2012 London Olympic champion was denied a chance to defend her title last year at Rio due to a hamstring injury but hopes her body can stand up for Tokyo in 2020, when she would be just shy of her 34th birthday.

"Of course, you always think about Tokyo," the rejuvenated hurdler told state radio ABC.

"I've always want to go to three Olympics. Missing out on Rio was heartbreaking but obviously it was there for a reason.

"As I've said, I've got to look after my body. Definitely (running at) the Commonwealth Games next year. And who knows what will happen after that?

"Tokyo is only three years away ... I just have to listen to my body and be smart about it."

After missing out on Rio, Pearson coached her own way back to the top, reasoning that after multiple injury setbacks, no-one knew her body like she did.

She will cast off the unflinching self-discipline for a brief period to eat what she wants before plotting a path to victory at next year's Commonwealth Games, where she will be the headline attraction near her home on the Gold Coast.

"Volumes of food .... I like to reward myself with greasy food," said Pearson, who won her first 100m hurdles world title at Daegu in 2011 and grabbed a silver at the Moscow championships two years later.

Also a silver medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, Pearson's third individual world championship medal surpassed the record of iconic Aboriginal sprinter Cathy Freeman, who won back-to-back 400m titles in 1997-99 and clinched gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

A week after mourning the death of Betty Cuthbert, the only athlete to win 100, 200 and 400m Olympic golds, local media hailed Pearson as Australia's "latest golden girl".

"Cuthbert was the center of a much cherished and glorious part of Australian sporting history," prominent local pundit Patrick Smith wrote in The Australian newspaper.

"That spirit lives on. It is indestructible. It lives on in Sally Pearson who sometimes has a fragility that is a decoy for the toughness that lines her body and soul."

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)


'Superhuman' wanted -- Bolt exit leaves vacuum to fill

Usain Bolt's retirement leaves a huge vacuum to fill but athletics is moving in the right direction in rebranding itself after scandals that damaged its image, according to sports marketing experts. While athletics was left reeling by allegations about former athletics boss Lamine Diack as well as the Russian doping scandal, under the leadership of Diack's successor Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body says it is beginning to take the right steps in restoring its image. "The authorities are making it more accessible and improving its presentation and taking it into an urban environment with street races," Jon Tibbs, chairman of leading sport public relations firm Jon Tibbs Associates (JTA), told AFP. Tibbs says the sport needs to find a "superhuman" replacement, equating the loss of Bolt to how golf has suffered since Tiger Woods went into meltdown.


Bolt gets the cheers, and Americans get the medals at worlds

LONDON (AP) -- Usain Bolt took a last leisurely stroll around the track, placed his hands over his heart and then pointed toward the stands, where barely a soul had left.

The running had been over for nearly 30 minutes. As always, though, Bolt had a way of making everybody stay.

The world championships came to a melancholy close Sunday with an on-track tribute to the man who made the sport fun again. There were 11 gold medals at stake on a frenetic final day in London, and yet it was the sight of the hobbled champion walking slowly around the track - stopping to kneel at the starting lines for the 100- and 200-meter races he dominated for a decade - that made for the evening's best theatre.

''I think I almost cried,'' Bolt said. ''I was just saying goodbye. That was it. Saying goodbye to my events. Saying goodbye to everything.''

The United States says goodbye to London in possession of 30 medals, the most it has ever taken from the worlds. Of those, 10 were gold, including the capper in the women's 4x400 relay final, where Allyson Felix won her 16th medal to finish as the most-decorated athlete of all-time at the worlds.

Felix also won gold in the 4x100 relay, but the bronze she took in her only individual event, the 400, makes this a less-than-perfect trip for her.

In that way, she's got something in common with Bolt. Between the bronze medal in the 100 and the hamstring pull and tumble to the track that ended his anchor leg of the 4x100 relay - and still made him wince when he had to negotiate big steps around the stadium - the championships went nothing like he planned.

''Someone tried to blame me, and said I started it,'' Bolt said of a 10-day run filled with upsets and surprises. ''It was just one of those things. It was one of those championships where everything does not go your way.''

Winners on the final day included:

-Caster Semenya of South Africa, who added the 800-meter gold to her 1,500-meter bronze from earlier in the meet.

-Elijah Manangoi, who led a 1-2 Kenyan finish in the 1,500 meters.

-Hellen Obiri of Kenya, who pulled away from favorite Almaz Ayana with 250 meters to go to win the 5,000-meter race.

-Sandra Perkovic of Croatia, who added this latest discus title to her two Olympic golds.

-Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, who won the high jump by clearing 2.35 meters without a miss.

-The men's 4x400 relay team of Trinidad and Tobago, whose anchor, Lalonde Gordon, beat American sprinter Fred Kerley to the line.

-Yang Jiayu of China, Yohann Diniz of France, Eider Arevalo of Colombia and Ines Henriques of Portugal in race walking. Henriques set a world record in winning the first women's 50-kilometer walk at the worlds in 4 hours, 5 minutes, 56 seconds.

There's not a household name in the bunch, and though all the performances were remarkable in their own way, this sport's lack of star power with Bolt out of the mix is hard to gloss over.

''What we're going to miss about Usain Bolt isn't the three back-to-back Olympic Games or the clutch of world records and medals,'' said Sebastian Coe, the leader of track's governing body, the IAAF. ''It's because he has an opinion. He has a view. He fills a room. We have terrific talent that's identifying itself at these championships. But that's not the same as filling that void, and we have to work at that.''

Bolt's standing-room-only news conference was scheduled for 15 minutes but went about 35. He discussed his past, the future and the sport he leaves behind.

He said over the long term, he could see himself coaching track and occasionally stepping into the TV booth for the sport's biggest events. His immediate plans? ''I need to go out and have a drink,'' he said.

Asked one more time about doping, he said he thinks track is on an upward trajectory after two dispiriting years involving a doping scandal in Russia and problems across Africa and in his own country, Jamaica.

''I've proven to the world that you can do it, that you can be great without doping,'' he said. ''Hopefully young athletes can look at me.''

As far as a comeback is concerned, he insists it simply won't happen.

''I've seen too many people retire and come back and make it worse and shame themselves,'' he said. ''I personally feel I won't be one of those people.''

But he has no regrets about running in this meet, or concerns that the results will tarnish his legacy. In a way, he said, the jaw-dropping losses were similar to the breathtaking wins: They showed that when he's on the track, anything really is possible.

''For me, it was brilliant,'' he said of the week that was. ''I'm just really sad I have to walk away now.''


Scots Zoey Clark and Eilidh Doyle inspire Great Britain to win relay silver medal at London 2017 World Championships

Great Britain won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay race after a fantastic team performance in the final.

Zoey Clark, Laviai Neilsen, Eilidh Doyle and Emily Diamond finish with a time of three minutes and 25 seconds.

The team were 0.41 seconds ahead of Poland with both Clark and Doyle playing a key role in the victory - finally giving Scottish athletics fans something to shout about.

The gold medal went to the United States but Emily Diamond was able to hold on in the anchor leg to make second.

Perth-born Doyle ran an impressive third leg before tiring but it was Diamond who used every ounce of her experience to ensure success for her country.


Canada Went Viral At WC (not in a good way)

Stomach virus, injuries combine to let down athletes, track & field fans

The 2017 IAAF track and field world championships were supposed to be 10 days filled with golden goodbyes and a clash of rivalries.

Unfortunately for athletes and fans, the farewells were not so fond, and it turned out that the biggest rivalry that played out in London, England, was between the human body and a stomach virus.

That sickness – which afflicted scores of athletes and coaches – and key injuries threw cold water on the big moments many were expecting and were also a large reason why Canada saw such a regression from two years ago.

The last world championships brought eight medals, including two gold, but this year Canadians are leaving worlds without a single podium finish for the first time since 2001.

Here's everything you need to know about what happened at the 2017 event.

De Grasse sidelined for Bolt's goodbye

The first sign that something was amiss in London, at least for Canadian track fans, was that a hamstring injury nixed what was supposed to be a final showdown between Andre De Grasse and Usain Bolt.

That was a shame for plenty of reasons, chief among them being that De Grasse was looking to use a strong performance to prove he was ready to become the heir apparent to Bolt and take on the mantle of the word's fastest man.

There was also the drama factor that this moniker would carry, especially since before competition began, Bolt said the last person he anointed as the 'next one' had disrespected him. While the Jamaican didn't specifically name names, an astute track fan could connect the dots about who he spoke of. It seems the two Puma arthletes have made up, as they were spotted exchanging plesantries in London.

So while Bolt failed to retire from the 100 as world champion, it wasn't De Grasse who dethroned him, but the crowd's favourite villain, Justin Gatlin of the U.S.

Gatlin's win also presented its own share of drama, especially when IAAF president Sebastian Coe – who placed the gold medal around the American's neck – told CBC Sports' Scott Russell that he still believed those caught doping, as Gatlin had been in 2006 and served a four-year suspension, should be banned or life.

Not the ideal farewell tour

Bolt wasn't immune from the injury bug, either. His final race at the world championships will be remembered not for him powering Jamaica to another golden finish, but of the 30-year-old pulling up on the homestretch with a leg injury.

Great Britain's Mo Farah also had his goodbye race overshadowed, albeit without the injury or stomach bug getting in the way. After claiming gold in the men's 10,000, Farah faltered in the 5,000, settling for silver in his final race. Canada's Mo Ahmed put down a Canadian record in the 10,000, finishing sixth, while rookie Justyn Knight was ninth in the 5,000.

Bishop comes up short against Semenya

Canada's Melissa Bishop, who just missed the podium at the Rio Games, made it through to the women's 800 final, but watched once again as the event was dominated by South African phenom Caster Semenya.

Semenya has a condition known as hyperandrogenism, which causes some women to produce higher levels of male sex hormones such as testosterone – one of the key ingredients contributing to an athlete's strength and speed.

Bishop, who finished fifth, told CBC Sports after the race that Semenya's testoserone levels weren't something she focused on.
Other notable Canadian results on the track include Crystal Emmanuel finishing seventh in the final of the women's 200; Sage Watson's sixth-place finish in the final of the women's 400 hurdles, and Genevieve Lalonde set a Canadian record with her 13th-place finish in the women's 3000 steeplechase final.

Van Niekerk denied the double

In another shocking result at an event chock full of them, Ramil Guliyev of Turkey upset Wayde van Niekerk's attempt at the 200/400 double, earning Turkey's first world championship gold medal in the 200.

The 25-year-old Van Niekerk, considered by many to be the heir apparent to Bolt as the next global figurehead for the sport, was attempting the 200/400 double in London after the South African won the 400 earlier in the week.

Isaac Makwala of Botswana finished sixth after a hectic schedule due to his bout with the stomach virus and quarantine forced him to miss qualifications. Makwala was granted a shot to qualify, but in an odd sight, ran the track on his own.

Makwala made it through that test, and semifinals on the same day, but missed the podium in the final.

Missing from all this drama was Canada's De Grasse, who was also favoured to land on the podium in the 200.

Warner can't capitalize on Eaton's departure

The stomach bug responsible for so many athletes and coaches forced to be quarantined also hit decathlete Damian Warner.

Widely expected to dominate in London – especially with his chief rival and good friend Ashton Eaton retiring – the London, Ont. native struggled in the first day of competition, and revealed that he had been one of the unlucky ones stricken with the virus.After posting the fastest time in the hurdles on Day 2 of the event, Warner moved up to third overall, however he could not stick around in podium position, ending up fifth.

Drouin, Barber no longer defending champs

Canada's top high jumper may have avoided the stomach virus, but a nagging Achilles injury forced Derek Drouin to abandon his world title defence.

"I knew I was dealing with an injury that would make my chances of competing come down to the wire," Drouin said in a statement. "My support team did everything they could to give my Achilles time to heal, we didn't want to rush back. We just ran out of time."

Shawn Barber was left as the only Canadian reigning champion available to mount a defence, but he ultimately fell in the men's final, finishing eighth.

The field events saw plenty of Canadian content: Alysha Newman and Anicka Newell finished seventh and 12th, respectively, in the women's pole vault, Brittany Crew made Canadian history with a sixth-place finish in the women's shot put final, and Liz Gleadle was 12th in women's javelin final.

Looking ahead to 2020

Canada head coach Glenroy Gilbert, who replaced former coach Peter Eriksson following a surprise firing after the Rio Olympics, said despite not cracking the podium, there are some positives to take from worlds.

"Obviously it's disappointing we weren't able to get the eight medals we were after," Gilbert told CBC Sports' Perdita Felicien. "We're looking at 12 top-eight performances from a lot of new athletes that are in our system.

"So we're looking more towards 2020 and hoping that those top eights... become our medal targets."


Perkovic dominates discus to clinch second world title

By Christian Radnedge

LONDON (Reuters) - Double Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic eased her way to a second world discus title after being the only athlete to throw over 70 metres at the World Championships on Sunday.

The Croatian, who first won the world title in 2013, threw 70.31 on her second attempt which was enough to triumph in the same stadium in which she won Olympic gold in 2012.

The 27-year-old had the top three throws of 2017 going into the competition, and led from the first attempt in the final to secure her country’s first gold of the championships.

"I really enjoyed this competition like I never did before," she told reporters. "I am happy to get my world title back.

"My goal today was to throw over 70 metres because that I was sure that would be a medal mark."

Perkovic’s romp to gold was only seriously threatened on the final attempt by Dani Stevens of Australia.

The 29-year-old was concentrating intensely as she strode into the throwing circle and launched the discus one last time for glory.

It resulted in a personal best 69.64 metres which was enough for silver, her first World Championship medal since she won the title in 2009.

"I am in utopia right now," Stevens said. "I am so excited. Everything came together at the right moment. I cannot believe it. I did not think that I could throw that far."

Melina Robert-Michon of France also achieved a lifetime best throw, with 66.21 getting her the bronze medal to go with the Olympic one she was awarded in Rio last year.

There was no joy, however, for 2015 champion Denia Caballero of Cuba, who could only throw 64.37 to finish fifth.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Great Britain win silver and bronze in 4x400m relays on final night of World Athletics Championships 2017 in London

Great Britain continued their impressive relay form with medals in both the men's and women's 4x400m relays to boost the hosts' World Championships tally.

The women's team of Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond, Laviai Neilsen and Eilidh Doyle finished behind the United States for silver to give the home crowd plenty to celebrate on the final evening.

GB finished in two minutes 56.60 seconds as the hosts claimed their fifth medal of the championships.

The sixth followed straight after Matthew Hudson-Smith, Martyn Rooney, Rabah Yousif and Dwayne Cowan took bronze.

The quartet clocked a season's best of two minutes 59 seconds behind winners Trinidad and Tobago and second-placed the United States.

The medals follow last night's gold and silver for the men and women in the 4x100m events.


Usain Bolt insists there will be no comeback

Usain Bolt insists he will not go back on his decision to retire after a painful end to his glittering athletics career, and says he has no regrets about racing for one more year following his success at Rio 2016.

Bolt made history at last year's Olympics by winning both the 100 metres and 200m for the third time in succession, but there was to be no fairytale send-off for the sprint icon at the IAAF World Championships in London.

Having finished third in his last individual race, the 100m final, Bolt sensationally pulled up lame with cramp in his left hamstring when running the anchor leg for Jamaica in Saturday's 4x100m relay.

Asked at a news conference on Sunday if he would consider a comeback, Bolt replied: "No. I've seen too many people come back and make things worse and shame themselves. I won't be one of those people who come back."

Explaining his decision to compete in 2017, he added: "My fans wanted to see me compete for one more year. Without them, I wouldn't have accomplished everything over the years. If I could come out here and give the fans a show, that's fine with me. That's all I wanted.

"One championship doesn't change what I've done. After losing the 100m someone said to me, 'Muhammad Ali lost his last fight so don't be too stressed'.

"I have shown my credentials throughout my career so losing my last race isn't going to change what I've done in my sport."

Bolt's injury was diagnosed as cramp by Jamaica's team doctor, but the 30-year-old added: "I will see what it is tomorrow [Monday] to see if it is worse than I think it is."

Commenting on his lap of honour in front of a packed London Stadium, Bolt said: "For me, it was brilliant. The support hasn't changed.

"It is sad that I have to walk away now. The energy of the crowd was great. I feel so at home and welcome here.

"I was saying goodbye to fans and saying goodbye to my events also, I've dominated them for years. They have been everything to me. I almost cried, but it didn't come."


U.S. ties all-time world championships medal record

The U.S. ran away with the medal lead at the world track and field world championships, claiming 30 total medals. Kenya finished a distant second with 11 total medals.

U.S. athletes earned 10 gold medals in London. No other country earned more than five golds.

It was the best-ever performance for the U.S. at worlds. The previous U.S. record was 26 total medals, set in 1991, 2007 and 2011.

30 medals matched East Germany’s record from 1987 for the most total medals at a single world championship.

The U.S. has earned the most total medals at 12 of 16 editions of worlds, and at every edition of the biennial completion since 2005.

U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix, who earned three medals in London, now has the most career world championship medals.

Usain Bolt and Felix both entered the competition with 13 career world championship medals, one shy of the record held by retired Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey.

Bolt claimed his 14th medal by finishing third in the 100m at what is expected to be his final world championships.

Felix now has 16 career medals. She was the bronze medalist in the 400m, which was won by fellow American Phyllis Francis. She also earned relay medals in the 4x100m and 4x400m.

Unlike Bolt, the 31-year-old Felix is not done yet. She reiterated to The New York Times that she intends on racing through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, meaning she could compete at worlds in 2019 in Doha, Qatar.

Medal table at track and field world championships

2017: U.S. (30 total medals)
2015: U.S. (18)
2013: U.S. (25)
2011: U.S. (26)
2009: U.S. (22)
2007: U.S. (26)
2005: U.S. (25)
2003: Russia (20)
2001: Russia (18)
1999: U.S. (17)
1997: U.S. (17)
1995: U.S. (19)
1993: U.S. (25)
1991: Soviet Union (29)
1987: East Germany (30)
1983: U.S. (24)


Trinidad deny U.S. seventh successive 4x400 world title

By Brian Homewood

LONDON (Reuters) - Trinidad and Tobago denied United States a seventh successive world 4x400 meters relay title when Lalonde Gordon overhauled Fred Kerley on the final straight to win a breathtaking final at the World Athletics Championships on Sunday.

The U.S led for most of the race and appeared to be on course for another win after Michael Cherry ran a strong third lap to extend their lead before handing the baton to Kerley.

But Gordon gave chase and ran a superb final lap for the Caribbean islands, catching the American on the home straight to give Trinidad their first world title in this event and add to the list of upsets at the championships.

It was just reward for Lalonde who was part of the Trinidad team which took bronze on the same track at the London Olympics five years ago and won silver at the Beijing World Championships in 2015.

Jereem Richards, bronze medalist in the 200 meters, and Machel Cedenio also kept them in contention in the second and third legs as Trinidad claimed their first and only gold of the championships.

Martyn Rooney put up a brave chase for Britain but was unable to haul in the leading pair and the hosts took bronze.

Trinidad's time of 2:58.12 was the fastest this year.

Jamaica and Bahamas, Olympic silver and bronze medalists respectively in Rio de Janeiro last year, both failed to qualify for the final as did Botswana, another of the favorites, after they dropped the baton in the semi-finals.

The United States, who are also Olympic champions, last failed to win the world title in Paris in 2003.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Allyson Felix and U.S. women claim 4x400m gold by nearly six seconds

Allyson Felix and Phyllis Francis won their second gold medals at the world championships by helping the United States win the 4×400-meter relay.

The favored Americans, with 400 champion Francis running the anchor, won in 3 minutes, 19.02 seconds. They finished about 50 meters ahead of silver medalist Britain. Poland took bronze.

Felix also won gold in the 4×100 relay on Saturday. The latest medal was the 16th of her career at the world championships, going back to 2005.

In the men’s race, Trinidad and Tobago swept past the United States to earn the last big upset of the world championships in the final event.

Lalonde Gordon stayed in the slipstream of Fred Kerley for most of the last lap but then pushed past the American to win in 2 minutes, 58.12 seconds. The U.S. team was second in 2:58.61. Britain took bronze in 2:59.00.

The United States had not lost at the world championships since 2003, but the Americans did lose in the Olympic final at the 2012 London Games in the same stadium.


Barshim sails to dominant world high jump gold

(Adds details, quotes)

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim secured the global high jump title his talent has promised for so long when he completed a faultless series in the World Championships on Sunday, culminating in a winning leap of 2.35 metres.

The Qatari, whose 2.43m best is the second-highest in history after Cuban Javier Sotomayor's 2.45 set 24 years ago, has won silver and bronze at the last two Olympics and silver in the 2013 World Championships.

But he was a class apart on Sunday, having qualified without a fail he went through the final never looking remotely close to dislodging the bar as he flexed his body into biology-defying shapes.

With the gold secured he went agonisingly close to clearing 2.40 but there was no disappointment and the 26-year-old can target a crack at the world record on home soil when Doha hosts the next World Championships in 2019.

Russian Danil Lysenko, competing as a neutral athlete, took silver with 2.32m while Majd Eddin Ghazal of Syria had the best record of three men who cleared 2.29 to take bronze - his country's first world championship medal for a man.

"My first big world championships gold and I was so determined to win it," Barshim said. "I was expecting it tonight so I am glad I managed to fulfil my target.

"Let's say, I was recovering last year. I did not want to put too much pressure on myself but now I am back in shape and feel I can go even higher. I do not want to retire one day with the feeling that there is still something left."

Lysenko revealed that he had injured nerves in his lead leg a week before the championships.

"It was very painful even in qualification but especially during my warm-up tonight," he said.

"I even wanted to refuse to continue in the final but after my first attempt at 2.20m I decided that I could do something special. I was trying not to hurt my leg, so my technique was not brilliant."

Canada's world and Olympic champion Derek Drouin was unable to defend his title in London because of an Achilles injury. (Editing by Ed Osmond)


Olympic champion Caster Semenya wins women's 800m at the World Championships in London

  • Caster Semenya came from behind to win the women's 800m in London
  • The Olympic champion added gold to the bronze she won in the 1,500m
  • Francina Niyonsaba took the silver medal, with America's Ajee Wilson in third
  • Britain's sole finalist, Lynsey Sharp, finished in eighth at the London Stadium

South Africa's Caster Semenya produced a personal best performance as she continued her dominance of the women's 800metres with World Championship victory on Sunday.

The 26-year-old, who had already won bronze in the 1,500m at the London Stadium, took the bell towards the back of the pack and was third behind Ajee Wilson and Francine Niyonsaba heading into the home straight.

But she timed her kick to perfection to ease past her rivals to take gold in a new national record time of 1:55.16. Niyonsaba took silver, with Wilson finishing in third. Britain's Lynsey Sharp, who was temporarily disqualified before being reinstated to the final, missed out on a medal, finished eighth.


Obiri wins 5,000 meters with astonishing last lap

By Brian Homewood

LONDON (Reuters) - Kenyan Hellen Obiri produced an astonishing last lap to break Almaz Ayana's resistance, win the 5,000 meters at the World Athletics Championships and claim her first major title on Sunday.

Ethiopia's Ayana, winner of the 10,000 meters at the championships, and Obiri broke clear of the pack after one third of the race and opened up a huge gap as they set a blistering pace.

Ayana led with Obiri on her tail into the final lap until the Kenyan, silver medalist in Rio de Janeiro last year, suddenly burst past with 300 meters left and stormed home to win in 14:34.86, more than five seconds clear of her rival.

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands prevented an East African clean sweep by taking the bronze.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Coe bemoans Bolt's 'devastating moment'

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - Sebastian Coe said he felt huge sympathy for Usain Bolt after the Jamaican pulled up with a hamstring problem during his final event on Saturday, but believes the great sprinter's departure will open the door for new talent to shine.

"It's a devastating moment if you are mid-race and that happens, it's horrible," the IAAF president told a news conference ahead of the last night's action at the World Athletics Championships on Sunday.

Bolt pulled up while running the anchor leg for Jamaica in the 4x100 relay, his final race before retiring. He will do a farewell lap of honor in the London Stadium on Sunday evening before heading into retirement.

"I do think this gives us an opportunity to cast a light on the young talent that's out there," Coe said.

"I can't remember a time when the competition has been so competitive and the stories around them so compelling," he added.

"We have had some of the youngest-ever medalists and the emergence of such extraordinary young talent is what many people will remember this event for," Coe said.

"This is a really comforting place to be in at a time when we are asking what the sport looks like after Mo (Farah) and Bolt and for example with the emergence of (American 100 meters silver medalist) Christian Coleman we may be looking at the future face of sprinting for the next five years."

LARGE NUMBERS

Coleman was beaten by compatriot Justin Gatlin and large numbers of the 60,000 crowd that packed the stadium each evening loudly booed the man who has served two drug suspensions.

Ed Warner, co-chairman of the London 2017 organizing committee, was surprised by the extent of the booing but understood the reasons.

"My view as the organizer is the fans have the right to come and express their views about doping in our sport and people feel very passionate about it," he said.

Coe said he did not like to hear jeering but accepted that fans felt strongly about the issue.

"I would rather not see athletes who have tested positive winning some of the biggest titles in our sport but he is entitled to be here," he said.

"I don't think the IAAF has singled Gatlin out but we’re not here to choreograph public opinion.

"I thought in a way the athletes took the lead in a dignified way that Usain dealt with he situation took some of the tension out of the response by the time we get to the medal ceremony."

After two years during which the sport has been battered by doping and corruption issues Coe said he felt the last 10 days had helped the process of recovery.

"I'm speaking to federations, coaches and athletes more than ever before and my instinct is that there is a confidence and people are proud to be involved and seen to be involved in athletics," he said.

Coe believes the sport needed to learn lessons from the success of London and apply them to the Diamond League and other events and create a calendar that everybody can understand.

"If we don don’t get those things right then everything we've achieved here will be a happy memory but won’t be a springboard," he said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Coleman & Stefanídi Offer The Sport New Hope

The departure of Usain Bolt, track and field’s greatest weapon, means athletics needs to unearth new names to appeal to the next generation

When Sebastian Coe wakes up on Sunday morning he will have a 6ft 5in-shaped headache. Usain Bolt, track and field’s greatest weapon as well as its biggest crutch, has run his last race. Mo Farah is heading to the roads. And the question of how the sport can shout loud enough to be heard by casual fans without the great Jamaican or the most successful British athlete in history – or a major global championships on the horizon – will move from a theoretical to an intensely practical problem.

If Lord Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, feels this huge weight on his shoulders, he does not show it. He believes London 2017 has highlighted a number of new stars to go alongside established big names such as Wayde van Niekerk, Allyson Felix, Kendra Harrison and Nafissatou Thiam. He just wants them to promote themselves and their sport better.

“The agents and managers are incredibly cloying,” Coe claims. “They say: ‘You don’t want to say this, you don’t want to say that,’ to their athletes. We need to be relaxed about what they say. Look at Conor McGregor, who has got my kids talking about UFC. I’m not saying people should be like him – but I want more of them to give a view on things and to show their personality. “We’ve got to encourage the athletes to be themselves. That will make the media find them more interesting and help the public to become more engaged.”

Coe adds: “Usain Bolt, for whatever reason, was probably a personality the second he walked into his classroom. You are not trying to choreograph that but I do think it is important that athletes realise they are part of the entertainment business. The reason Usain is going to be missed is not because he wins all those medals – it is because he is prepared to give a view about things. He has instincts. He is not looking either side to his handlers.”

Coe believes Christian Coleman of the USA – who has an unbeaten record against Bolt having beaten him in their 100m semi-final and final – can help fill the void. Coleman says: “I have the utmost respect for Usain Bolt when I heard that I am only the only person who is unbeaten against him, I thought: ‘That’s pretty crazy.’ When I get older, that’s something I’m going to tell my grandkids. He pushed the sport along but we have other great athletes coming forward – and hopefully one of those is me.”

Other athletes have shown their personalities at these championships, too. They include the French runner Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, whose exuberance on television having won the 800m gold earned him thousands of new fans, and the Norwegian Karsten Warholm, whose shocked face when he won the 400m hurdles showed that he was more surprised than anyone else.

Coe accepts the IAAF also has to do more to promote its sport and stars. According to preliminary research conducted by athletics’ governing body, 75% of respondents said that track and field has to change – not only in how it does things in the stadium, but how the sport is shown on TV and online.

“There’s more need for us to really demonstrate that we have some incredible talent out there,” says Coe. “If you just look at the youth which has surfaced in the championships – it’s the youngest cohort of medallists, youngest cohort of winners. We had a 21-year-old who won the 400m hurdles and the youngest ever finalists in the men’s 800m. It’s very good out there – we just have to make sure that people know that.”

One of the stars in London this week was the Greek pole vaulter Katerina Stefanidi, who delighted the crowd in dancing to Zorba the Greek after taking gold. She urged Coe to do more to talk to millennials, push field events into the centre of the area to give them more attention, and find ways to make the whole sport move a bit quicker.

“Even little things can make a difference,” she says. “It sounds silly but when I won and they played that music I got 20,000 followers on Twitter. I just wish I could dance better.”

Coe, incidentally, still believes that engaging with young people is the main challenge he faces – not doping. And he knows that Bolt, even as he heads to retirement, plays a key part. “I was chatting to him before the medal ceremony and, slightly tongue-in-cheek, he looked at me and said: ‘So what do you want me to do now, boss?’” Coe says. “And I went: ‘Anything you want to do, really.’” A more rounded answer to that question cannot come soon enough.


Read this, because you likely missed one of the best races in running history

LONDON -- Admit it, sports fans. Yeah, you -- the one waiting for football season (American or European) to start. The one who plays fantasy, wears jerseys and spouts trivia. You couldn't care less about the women's steeplechase.

But, right now, you should care. You're missing something amazing.

You may not even know what a steeplechase is. To appreciate the improbable, entertaining madness of what happened Friday night at the IAAF World Championships, you need to know that the steeplechase is a race of 3,000 meters, on a track, featuring 28 barriers and seven water jumps. (Full disclosure: I had to Google for that info.)

You need to know that Americans Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs had NO BUSINESS winning gold and silver. I've never used all caps in a column before, even when Justin Gatlin beat Usain Bolt in the 100 meters a few days ago. But Americans beating Kenyans in this steeplechase was like Gatlin beating Bolt in the 100, with the added excitement of trips, what looked like a tackle, and the front-runner having to double back as if she forgot her cellphone at home.

Even Coburn and Frerichs admitted they had no business medaling. On the final lap, Coburn said, "I was just waiting for three Kenyans to pass me."

"I was just hoping to finish in the top five or six," said Frerichs.

Coburn's time was nine minutes, two-point-five-eight seconds (track people call that 9:02.58). It was the fastest she had ever run, and the fastest time ever in the world championships, which is like scoring your career high and setting the record for most points ever in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

And Coburn didn't even run the most remarkable time.

Before Friday's race, Frerichs' fastest steeplechase time was 9:19.09. She beat that time by an enormous 15 seconds to win silver in 9:03.77. That's like scoring a hat trick in a World Cup soccer game after totaling three goals all season.
In third place was Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi, who ran 9:04.03. She is Kenyan. She sat at the postrace press conference looking like Pat Riley when LeBron James left the Heat and went back to Cleveland.

You sports fans see where I'm going with this, right? With the metaphors? I'm trying to explain just how huge these women's performances were in a sport with no next possessions, no bottom of the ninths, just one chance to make or break your entire season. As if the entire Stanley Cup finals consisted of one penalty shot.

Speaking of hockey, there were some serious collisions in this race. That's another reason to enjoy the steeplechase. Remember the barriers? They're not called hurdles for a reason. Hurdles get knocked over. Barriers knock runners over. Barriers are thick, long and heavy. They may even be attached to the track. (Google didn't say.)

The mayhem started when the front-runner, Beatrice Chepkoech, who is of course Kenyan because she was the front-runner, approached the first water jump. For some reason, she simply ran around it. Totally ignored the barrier and just kept moving, like she hit a single and proceeded straight to second base.

Chepkoech's trance was broken by the water splashing from the feet of runners to her left. She skidded to a halt, U-turned, ran 10 yards in the opposite direction as everyone else, and then jumped over the barrier. This put her so far back of the lead, you might have thought she was American.

Incredibly, she caught up to the pack. Then came another barrier. Chepkoech stumbled on the far side and, while falling to the track, took down a few other runners with her.

After all that, Chepkoech still finished fourth, in 9:10.45. That's just how Kenyans roll.

After Coburn and Frerichs crossed the finish line, they shared an exhilarated, exhausted embrace and traded incredulous profanities. "'Holy guacamole' is the PG version," Coburn said. "Courtney just kept saying, 'Am I dreaming? Am I dreaming?'"

No American had won a world title in steeplechase since 1952. No U.S. women had ever finished 1-2 in any world championship distance race. Track nerds -- why isn't there such a thing as a football nerd? -- are calling this the most thrilling race of the 2017 World Championships, and one of the greatest moments in American distance running history.

You sports fans can just call it amazing. Like a football game where -- nah, forget that. After a race like this, nobody cares about football.


Felix Wins Record 15th World Championships Medal

out there and when that guy hits the zone coming in, make sure you take off and make sure you get the stick and get around that track.”

He said Great Britain was helped by the crowd of more than 55,000 at London Stadium.

“When you’re in your home country, you get 10 bonus points in energy,” Gatlin said. “It’s like a video game. You get the energy of the crowd. They’re cheering for you, so it can either go up or it can go down. They took that energy and they didn’t let it become pressure and they did a great job. The women did a great job as well. I can’t wait till 2021 (when the world championships come to Eugene, Oregon). I might not be running, but I can’t wait to see these guys running on home soil as well.”

From his vantage point, Gatlin could see Bolt go down.

“I’m a runner just like he is, so I understand what it means to sustain an injury,” he said. “Especially his last race, my heart goes out to him. You don’t want to go out with a hamstring tear or anything like that. I hope it’s just a cramp, he’ll be able to rub it off and enjoy his night and enjoy his legacy.”

And come back after a year?

“Oh yeah,” Gatlin said, “he’s going to come back. You owe me $100.”


 After Rio, Gold All The Sweeter For Schippers

Twelve months ago in Rio de Janeiro, after lying despondent on the side of the track for some time, Dafne Schippers got up, took off her spikes and flung them to one side in frustration.

As the third fastest 200m runner in history, she was expected to add the Olympic title to the gold medal she won at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, but defeat to Jamaican Elaine Thompson left her irritated and confused. Her ambitions were lofty and silver was no longer good enough for the Dutch woman.

“There’s been a bit more pressure on me to perform since winning in Beijing,” she said. “A lot of that pressure is put on me by myself as I always want to win regardless of what I’ve done before.”

Fast forward one year, and the 25-year-old is back on top of the world. In claiming the 200m title at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 on Friday night, Schippers became the first European to win two gold medals over the half-lap distance, and joins Jamaican Merlene Ottey and USA’s Allyson Felix as the only athletes to successfully defend a world title in the event.

“It’s a great feeling to be world champion for the second time,” she said. “I was a bit nervous beforehand, but I’m a final runner, and bring my best in finals, so I’m very grateful for the experience today. There were so many Dutch fans in the stadium, all wearing orange. To win this two times in a row is brilliant.”

With Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson opting not to contest the 200m at these championships, Schippers’ main challenge came from Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who finished ahead of the Dutch woman in the 100m five days earlier. On this occasion the roles were reversed with Schippers edging a close race in 22.05 seconds, just 0.03 ahead of Ta Lou.

“During the first 100m I could not see anybody because I was in lane six and was in front of the rest,” she said. “Once I hit the straight I saw Ta Lou right there to my left and I just had to fight as much as possible to the finish line to stay ahead of her. I knew she’d be a tough competitor. She ran a very good 100m earlier in the championships, so I’m very happy to manage to beat her today.”

COACHING CHANGE
After her defeat in Rio, Schippers opted for a change. With Bart Bennema as her coach, she had transitioned from a world-class heptathlete, winning bronze in the IAAF World Championships Moscow 2013, into a multi-medal-winning 100m and 200m sprinter. However they both felt that to progress, she had to try something different, and so she joined up with Rana Reider, and his group containing Christian Taylor, Adam Gemili and Desiree Henry among others.

“It was not the easiest season for me,” she said. “When you change coach everything is different. I changed a lot in my training and I worked very hard this season.”

Working with Reider, the focus was purely on peaking for London. As a result she entered races on the IAAF Diamond League circuit this year during periods of heavy training, and her times early season were slower than she is used to running.

“I just had to trust the process and that I would eventually progress. I believed in my coach and I just did what he said. He’s a great coach and I couldn’t be happier with how everything has turned out.”

HOMETOWN SUPPORT
While she’s a fearless competitor on the track, away from the high-pressured arena of elite athletics she cuts a much more reserved figure, preferring a simple life of walking her dog and reading, rather than higher adrenaline interests. However, since her first world title in Beijing two years ago, she has found it much harder, back home in the Netherlands, to live the normal quiet life she craves.

“Since Beijing it’s been totally different,” she says. “When I walk on the streets people want to get photos or autographs. It has become a lot more normal for me now, but at the beginning it was difficult to deal with that. But at the same time, it’s also really cool because it means I’ve done a great job.”

Her performances over the past few years have not gone unappreciated in her home country. In April of this year, a new pedestrian and cycle bridge, named after her, was opened in her home city of Utrecht. One hundred and 10 metres long, it crosses the Amsterdam Rijn Canal, connecting the city centre with the growing suburbs and serves approximately 11,000 cyclists per day.

“To have a bridge named after me is a very special thing,” she says. “It’s the most important bridge in our country. It’s very special to have my name on that.”

After her success in London, they may need to rename of the canal too.

James Sullivan for the IAAF


Mo Farah launches astonishing attack on media - 'You're trying to destroy everything I have achieved'

In an attack as astonishing as any of his last-lap sprints for gold, Sir Mo Farah has accused the media of trying to “destroy” his reputation by misreporting the controversies to have engulfed him.

The morning after ending his major championship career on the track with a shock defeat in the 5,000 metres, Farah staged a press conference at which his legacy was inevitably the major topic of discussion.

As was right and proper, he was first asked to reflect upon his unprecedented achievements - 10 successive global titles, including four 5,000m and 10,000m doubles - following his amazing transformation from an also-ran into Britain’s most successful track-and-field athlete and an all-time great of distance running.

What followed were questions about matters infinitely more in the public interest, and the consequences of them for his legacy, including his ongoing relationship with Alberto Salazar - still under investigation for alleged drugs offences - his links with Jama Aden - arrested last year in connection with a doping inquiry - and evidence he had been given medication that endangered his health.

Not mentioned were his two missed drugs tests before the 2012 Olympics, the failure of a British Athletics doctor to properly record his use of a restricted substance before the 2014 London Marathon, and documents leaked just last month in which he was named as “likely doping” before being cleared.

The 34-year-old, who the media have never accused of cheating, all but branded reports of these facts as fake news, saying: “It’s like a broken record, repeating myself. Why bring it up year after year, making it into headlines? I’ve achieved what I have achieved – you’re trying to destroy it.”

He added: “You can write what you like. The fact is I’ve achieved what I have from hard work, putting my balls on the line, year after year and delivering for my country.

“There’s nothing else to be said. History doesn’t lie. I find it bizarre how certain people write certain things to suit how they want to sell the story.

“Sometimes, you guys get to me – you never write the facts. The fact is, over the years, I have achieved a lot through hard work and pain. If I have crossed the line - ‘Mo Farah has done something wrong’ - then prove it.”

Farah was in no doubt how he saw his legacy, one of a Somalian refugee who repaid his adopted homeland with some of the greatest sporting feats in its history.

“I’ve done my country and many people proud,” said Farah, who began his morning by performing his iconic ‘Mobot’ while perched atop one of the capsules on the London Eye.

“It makes me proud to be British, to put British distance running on the map.

“Growing up in Teddington and seeing the Kenyans and Ethiopians winning, I never thought, ‘One day, we’ll be able to challenge them and beat them at their own game’.

“I hope I can leave that legacy behind – and get behind younger British kids and see what we can do.

“It will take 10-15 years to get the next best distance runner in terms of winning medals. But we need to start somewhere.”

After two final farewell races on the track, Farah will switch to the road in a bid to end Britain’s long wait for a male marathon champion.

“I don’t like to keep still,” he said. “I want to continue on. I like the pain and the challenges of being an athlete. I think I can do something on the road. But I think it will take a few years and few marathons to get it right.”

Revealing he wanted to be known as Mohamed rather than Mo in future, he added: “My road name is Mohamed and I just feel like Mo is done. I need to forget about what I’ve achieved and what I’ve done.”

Farah refused to be drawn on whether Salazar, who denies breaking anti-doping rules, would be part of that future, with the American conspicuous by his absence from London 2017.

“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” Farah said. “I’ve a few races left, then I’ll take a nice break and see how it goes.”

He added: “Either way, if he was here or not here, day after day, I’d still be putting my balls on the line.”

With the questions he clearly did not like out of the way, the conversation switched to Farah’s desire to pass on his experience to the next generation. But he could not resist a parting shot at those he accused of being out to get him.

“Over the years, you guys have done many things to build a person up and bring them back down,” he said.

Beating his chest, he added: “The reality is, no matter what you do, I’m going to still keep fighting, keep working, making my country proud.

“I’m proud to be British and put my GB vest on and do it for my country. You can write what you like but, at the same time, I’m a clean athlete. I sleep well at night, hugging my kids, loving my kids, and showing them what’s right. And that’s all that counts.”


Semenya leads the pack on final day of competition

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Caster Semenya will attempt to reclaim her 800 metres title on the final day of action of the World Championships in London on Sunday.

The South African, who was awarded gold retrospectively in the event in 2011, already has one medal to her name this week, after winning bronze in the 1500 metres on Monday.

However, it's the two-lap race that is her strongest, the event in which she won Olympic gold in Rio last year.

Semenya's race is among the highlights of the final session at the London Stadium.

Having taken back the women's 4x100 metres relay title from Jamaica the day before, the United States will aim to repeat that feat on Sunday in the 4x400 metres relay.

The final event will be the men's edition of the race as hosts Britain go for one last gold.

The day's action begins across the city at The Mall, where the men and women's 50km race walk gets under way at 0645 GMT, with the 20km versions following afterwards. (Reporting by Christian Radnedge,; Editing by Neville Dalton)


Jamaican sprint team furious over Usain Bolt injury as they blame delays for ending his career in relay agony

The Jamaican relay team hit out at the World Athletics Championships’ organisers in London as Usain Bolt labelled the delay to his final race on Saturday “crazy”, with the sprint legend ending his career in agony after being struck down by injury.

As Great Britain powered their way to a stunning gold in the men’s 4x100m relay with the third-quickest time in history, Bolt was struck down midway through his stint with what has been revealed as cramp in his left leg.

The race started 10 minutes later than planned, with the teams being held in the warm-up area for nearly 30 minutes before they were able to run out into the London Stadium, and Bolt’s teammate Yohan Blake spoke afterwards of their concern with how the preparations were dragging on.

The concern was so great that Bolt turned to Blake before the raise to express his unhappiness, and Blake furiously hit out at organisers immediately after the race after having to watch the women’s high jump medal presentation overrun.

“I think they were holding us too long in the call room,” Blake said on Saturday night. “The walk was too long. Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me, 'Yohan, I think this is crazy'.

“It was 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run. We keep warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting. I think it got the better of us.

“We were over warm. And to see a true legend, a true champion go out there and struggling like that...The race was 10 minutes late, we were kept 40 minutes and it was a 300 metre walk. It was crazy.”

Jamaica failed to finish the race as Bolt lay prone on the track, but he dismissed the aid of a wheelchair to get up and cross the line before waving goodbye to the crowd, with Bolt now unlikely to race in Zurich as had been hinted if the injury proves worse than first feared. The Jamaican team medic, Dr Kevin Jones, played down any long-term injuries though and claimed the injury was just cramp.

“It's cramp in his left hamstring but a lot of pain is from disappointment from losing the race,” Dr Jones said. “The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him.”

However, his other two sprint teammates, Omar McLeod and Julian Forte, were in agreement with Blake that 30-year-old Bolt’s final farewell had been doomed to fail because of the delays.

“It's heart-wrenching,” said 110m hurdle gold medallist McLeod. “I gave it my all and I really wanted Usain to leave golden, or even if it was just a medal, it was really heart-wrenching.

“I couldn't believe it, I'm in shock, utter disbelief.

"It was ridiculous, man. We were there around 45 minutes waiting outside, I think they had three medal ceremonies before we went out so we were really trying our hardest to stay warm and keep upbeat, but it was ridiculous. We waited a really long time. I drank like two bottles of water.”

Forte added: “I really wanted to be a part of the team that sends Usain off in style. Unfortunately it's one of those things, it's part of sport.

“They kept us in the call room for an extremely long time in our running kits, and it's not the warmest over here and they had us around there for quite a while, so I think they really need to look into that and do something about it.

“We were excited, we were ready, we had been doing some hand offs and everybody was feeling good, but they kept us hanging around for a long time, you know. So it's just really crazy.”

The frustration with the long wait before the race was not contained to the Jamaican team, with USA sprinter and 100m gold medallist Justin Gatlin expressing sympathy for his long-time rival Bolt as he agreed with the cause of the injury.

“You can't really have this night or championship define what he's done in the past. From 2008 on, Usain Bolt has done amazing things. Tonight is not going to define who he is. He is still the man,” said Gatlin, whose USA team finished runner-up to Great Britain.

“This is a farewell tour, we take our hats off to him and we hope he gets better.

“I know it’s TV magic, and everybody has to be prepared on time to make everything happen for the viewers at home, (but) I personally think that we were held in the stadium a little too long without our clothes on, and there was a little draught in there. I lost all my sweat and body heat.

When asked if he thought that contributed to Bolt's injury, the 35-year-old Gatlin said: “I believe so.

"Knowing how Usain performs, he’s always ready, he’s always making sure he’s not injured and it’s very rare to see Usain injured when he comes to performances.”

However, Gatlin believes that London 2017 will not be the last time that Bolt is seen on the track.

“I'm going to win my 100, he's coming back in a year or two,” Gatlin added. “He'll be ready. He has a passion for the sport, he loves the fans, the fans love him. It's something you can't walk away too easy from."


Oh Mo! Farah gets golden send-off from press

London (AFP) - British athletics legend Mo Farah was hailed by the British press on Sunday despite his glorious track career ending with defeat in the 5,000 metres world championships final.

Although his silver medal performance was pushed out of the limelight by the drama of the men's 4x100m relay, which saw fellow legend Usain Bolt collapse with cramp on his own swansong as Britain pulled off a remarkable victory, as well as the thrilling opening of the Premier League season, Farah still commanded many column inches.

The 34-year-old saw his global championship win streak of 10 gold medals dating back to the 5,000m at the 2011 world championships ended as Muktar Edris of Ethiopia held off his desperate charge in the finishing straight.

"End of the track for Mo" headlined The Sunday Times, adding that it was a "shattering defeat in front of an adoring crowd".

However, the paper eulogised about the performance by Farah -- who came to Britain with his mother and two of his brothers from Somalia via a spell with his grandparents in Djibouti aged just eight -- in the stadium where he had memorably achieved his first Olympic double in 2012.

"If defeat is the making of a true champion, then Mo Farah left the track at the Olympic stadium last night as the greatest champion of all," wrote its sports writer.

"That he failed, beaten finally, for the first time at a major championships since 2011, by Muktar Edris of Ethiopia, stripped nothing from the legend."

The Sun on Sunday, never one to miss out on an eye-catching pun, perhaps unkindly went with "Slow Mo".

However, Farah -- who has had a tense relationship with large sections of the British media over the questions raised by his loyalty to controversial United States-based coach Alberto Salazar -- would have been happier with what followed.

"The 34-year-old is hanging up his spikes to take to the roads in the marathon after a stellar career which has seen him establish himself as one of the all-time greats of the sport," purred the Sun correspondent.

"Yet despite the huge support from the home crowd packed into the London Stadium, Britain's hero was finally knocked off his perch as the king of long-distance running."

- 'I was going to take Mo down' -

The Mail On Sunday headlined their tale of Farah's final bow "Oh Mo!"

They called it a "disappointing silver" but pointed to the remarkable career of Britain's most successful ever athlete.

And they took aim at America's Kenyan-born bronze medallist Richard Chelimo for making Farah's trademark 'Mobot' gesture and then running his hand across his throat as the 5,000m runners lined up before their race.

"It is what it is, I just meant that I was going to take Mo down," said Chelimo.

The Observer remarked that those who had come in their thousands with their faces painted with "Go Mo!" and banners with "Run Farah Run" were to be left disappointed.

It also commented on how his soon to turn five twin daughters Aisha and Amani had never seen him lose a major final before Saturday.

"He curled into the foetal position at the finish, beaten in a major final for the first time in six years," wrote the correspondent.

"Silver on this occasion stung like defeat and salt was rubbed into open wounds by his conqueror, Muktar Edris of Ethiopia, performing the iconic Mobot at the finish."


Coe Tells Athletes To Stop Being Bland

Lord Coe warned athletes and their entourages on Saturday night they must stop being so bland if athletics is to prove there is life after Usain Bolt.

On the day track-and-field’s greatest showman ran the final race of his legendary career, Coe called for the next generation of stars to fill the void by showing more of their own personalities, accusing their managers and agents of preventing them being themselves.

With Sir Mo Farah also running his last 5,000 metres at a major championships on Saturday, athletics is on the brink of losing both of the only men guaranteed both to fill stadiums and draw millions of viewers on television.

Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said the World Championships in London, which end today, had proven there was no shortage of young talent ready to step into Bolt and Farah’s shoes.

Admitting part of the IAAF’s job was to promote those new names, he challenged the athletes themselves to do the same.

Coe said: “I want athletes with opinions, I want them with views. Sometimes, they’re going to be uncomfortable.

“But I sense sometimes that the agents and the managers are sitting there curtailing that kind of engagement.

“We have a young reporters’ programme [with people] from all backgrounds and they think our athletes are less communicative and less engaging and engaged than a lot of other sports.

“We’ve got to encourage the athletes to be themselves. When they are, you are going to find them more interesting.”

Coe hailed men’s 400 metres hurdles champion Karsten Warholm for showing the kind of personality the sport was crying out for.

“He’s absolutely what we need to start building the sport around,” Coe said of the 21-year-old Norwegian, whose reaction to his gold medal run captured the imagination last week.

“I was actually in the Hilton the other night, to talk to the federations and he walked in wearing his Viking helmet and absolutely shocked at what he’d done.”

Coe also confirmed he would speak to Bolt, who hung up his spikes after last night’s 4x100m relay final, between now and the end of the year about keeping the Jamaican involved in the sport.

Indicating that would be in an ambassadorial role engaging with young people, he revealed Bolt had tried to open discussions just before collecting his 100m bronze medal last Sunday.

Coe said: “I was chatting to him before the medal ceremony and, slightly tongue-in-cheek, he looked at me and said, ‘So what do you want me to do now, boss?’”

“And I went, ‘Anything you want to do, really’.”

Reflecting on a championships dominated by Bolt’s defeat to two-time convicted drugs cheat Justin Gatlin and a norovirus outbreak that sparked a major row over the participation of Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, Coe said the IAAF was taking steps to avoid such controversies in future.

He spoke about plans to stop athletes being drawn into doping in the first place and revealed the communication of medical decisions such as that which saw Makwala blocked from entering the stadium would be reviewed.

He also said the IAAF was awaiting a date for a hearing to determine whether it could resume forcing intersex athletes like Caster Semenya to take medication to reduce their naturally-occurring testosterone.

Confirming he expected that to take place next month or in October, he added: “I don’t want athletes being demonised but it is the responsibility of the federation to create a level playing field in female sport.”


'Infinite love for my fans' - Bolt thankful for support as stellar career ends

Jamaican icon Usain Bolt expressed his love for his fans after bowing out of athletics in unfortunate circumstances at the IAAF World Championships.

Seeking a record-equalling 15th World Championships medal in his farewell race, sprint king Bolt pulled up injured during the men's 4x100 metres relay in London on Saturday.

Having been forced to settle for a bronze medal in his final individual race – last weekend's 100m decider – a 12th World Championships gold was on Bolt's mind via the 4x100m relay but the 30-year-old's career ended painfully after he failed to finish.

Bolt fell to the ground and he was later diagnosed with cramp in his left hamstring, and as the curtains closed on a memorable journey, the eight-time Olympic gold medallist used social media to thank his supporters.

In a photo uploaded to Instagram, Bolt wrote: "Thank you my peeps. Infinite love for my fans."

While all eyes were on Bolt, Great Britain claimed a shock gold medal in a time of 37.47 seconds, with the United States and Japan second and third respectively.


Blake points finger at organisers following Bolt injury woe

An angry Yohan Blake suggested a lengthy wait in cold conditions contributed to Usain Bolt's career ending in painful fashion, after the iconic sprinter sensationally pulled up injured in the men's 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Championships.

Having been forced to settle for a bronze medal in his last individual race, last weekend's 100m final, Bolt had hoped to bow out with a 12th World Championships gold.

However, after taking the baton in the anchor role for Jamaica, Bolt dramatically failed to finish, instead falling to the ground with an injury later diagnosed as cramp in his left hamstring.

The final race of Saturday's evening session started later than initially planned, following medal ceremonies for the men's 5000m and women's high jump.

"They were holding us too long," said Blake. "To be holding us so long was atrocious.

"That long wait contributed. Inside it was cold. We kept on warming up.

"You have to think about the athletes ... because we were in the mixed zone too long, over 40 minutes.

"That's our true friend, Usain, that's our training partner. I felt it. A hero of the sport to go down like that? As a true friend, I didn't like it one bit.

"He was saying he was sorry, but there was nothing to be sorry for, he's done it for us [over his career]."

Dr Kevin Jones, the Jamaica team doctor, said of Bolt's injury: "It's cramp in his left hamstring but a lot of pain is from the disappointment from losing the race.

"The last three weeks have been hard for him. We hope for the best for him."


Gatlin hails Bolt the 'showman' despite relay flop

London (AFP) - A sentimental Justin Gatlin hailed Usain Bolt as an "amazing showman" whose career would certainly not be defined by him pulling up with cramp in the world 4x100m relay, the Jamaican's final competitive race.

There was high drama in Saturday's relay as anchor man Bolt received the baton in third place behind eventual gold medallists Britain and runners-up America.

Less than 50 metres down the track, Bolt suddenly pulled up, clutching his left leg, tumbling to the track with what was later diagnosed as a hamstring cramp.

"This is farewell time, I am sentimental about it already now," said Gatlin, who stormed to 100m gold in London, US teammate Christian Coleman taking silver to relegate Bolt to a disappointing bronze in his individual send-off.

"In the warm-up area we give ourselves respect and greet each other," Gatlin said of Bolt, who bows out of competition with a startling haul of eight Olympic gold medals and 14 world medals, nine of which are gold.

Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, put the blame for Bolt's cramp partly at the amount of time the athletes spent on the track before the starter's gun went off.

"There was a cool breeze out there. But the conditions were the same for everybody," said the 35-year-old, who won the 100m at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2005 worlds in Helsinki before serving his second ban between 2006-10 for taking testosterone.

- Chilly conditions unhelpful -

"I think it was the elements. I am sorry he got this injury. He is still the best in the world.

"It was a recipe. I don't want to say this but I understand we need to be ready early but I think we took our clothes off a little too early. It's a little chilly in here so I think that's where the cramp came from. That's what he suffered with. He was running out there cold."

But Gatlin, who was roundly booed at the London Stadium before both the 100m and relay, insisted: "Usain Bolt is a great athlete.

"You can't let this championships define what he's done in the past. He has done amazing things. He's still the man, you know. The was his farewell race and we wish him the best and hope he recovers soon."

Referring to Bolt's mooted future ambassadorial role within athletics' world governing body the IAAF, Gatlin added: "He's coming back in a couple of years. He'll be ready, he has a passion for the sport.

"He loves the fans and they love him. He loves the sport too much to walk away. He's a showman."

Japan snatched a surprise bronze medal, Kenji Fujimitsu moved to comment: "Thank you, Bolt. He was an inspiration for us."

Omar McLeod, the newly-crowned 110m hurdler and Jamaica's lead-off runner in the relay, added: "Usain Bolt's name will always live on."


Does Farah leave the track as greatest distance man?

By Ian Chadband

LONDON (Reuters) - Right at the last, Mo Farah's unbeatable air could not stand up to another examination by the world's best distance runners as he was denied one final global triumph in his farewell championship track race on Saturday.

As the Briton was consoled -- and congratulated on a peerless track career -- by his competitors following his world 5,000 meters silver in the stadium where his legend was first properly sculpted in 2012, the only question that remained was where he stands in the annals of track distance running.

There is a powerful argument to say, after 10 straight global championship victories stretching back to the 2011 world 5,000 meters triumph in Daegu, that the 34-year-old is the greatest distance racer we have ever seen on the track.

Despite his defeat on Saturday, his ability, time and again, to fend off every challenge and tactic thrown at him -- from Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes ganging up on him to being spiked and bruised in physical races -- and still sprint to victory was unprecedented during an incredible six-year reign.

His ability to strike for home with that long, loping stride, anywhere from 600 meters to 100 meters out -- and then to find yet another gear when it seemed as if he was flat out -- marked him as a unique talent.

Yet being considered the best racer is very different from being seen as the greatest distance athlete of all-time.

Seb Coe, the president of the IAAF and a massive fan of Farah, set the ball rolling when declaring in Friday's Evening Standard newspaper that Haile Gebrselassie was the greatest.

"When it comes to the debate on the greatest distance runner of all time, I'm tough on this," said Coe, who himself is in the shake-up for the title best middle-distance runner of them all.

"For me, it's not Mo Farah — and that's not to do a disservice to Mo, who is one of the greats of all time.

"For me that still has to be Haile Gebrselassie, for the distances that he covered, the titles he won and the world records he broke."

In championship running, Farah won 10 on the trot before Saturday's setback, compared with Gebrselassie's six in a row at 10,000 meters and Kenenisa Bekele's best run of four championship wins in succession at both distances.

Yet the two Ethiopian greats also went chasing records to extraordinary effect, Bekele setting a total of three new world marks at 5,000m and 10,000m and Gebrselassie seven at the two events.

Farah has never been down that route, with his capacity for really fast times never examined.

It remains an extraordinary fact that the most successful championship runner ever at 5,000m with five global titles, is ranked only the 31st-fastest runner of all time, at 12 minutes 53.11 seconds. Bekele holds the world record at 12:37.35.

At 10,000 meters, in which Farah has also won a record five global golds, he is also still only the 16th-fastest (26:46.57), nearly half a minute down on Bekele's world record of 26:17.53.

Bekele, a year older than Farah at 35, won nine global golds, once went unbeaten for eight years at 10,000 meters, won 11 world cross-country titles and now holds the second-fastest marathon time in history (2 hours 3 minutes 3 seconds).

For the moment, even if Gebrselassie was the great Ethiopian trailblazer, it seems fair to rank Bekele the highest for his all-round achievements on the track, country and roads.

Yet Farah, who has run only one marathon, finishing eighth in London in 2014 in a relatively modest 2:08:21, believes he can make a big impact on the roads.

The most amazing tale in the annals of British athletics may not quite have run its course yet.

(Reporting by Ian Chadband,; Editing by Neville Dalton)


Pain no gain as Bolt and Farah's farewell party falls flat

London (AFP) - Athletics legends Usain Bolt and Mo Farah experienced some of their greatest moments in their careers at the 2012 Olympics in London but five years on and back in the same stadium, misery replaced joy on Saturday.

Bolt, who won the individual 100 and 200m and the 4x100m relay in London in 2012, collapsed to the track injured anchoring the Jamaica 4x100 metres relay team.

Jamaican team doctor Dr Kevin Jones said Bolt had suffered from "cramp in his left hamstring".

"But a lot of pain is from disappointment from losing the race," Jones said.

"The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him."

The organisers brought on a wheelchair but Bolt shrugged them aside and he limped across the line, grimacing.

Jamaica's 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod and relay team-mate said nothing had changed with regard to the reputation of Bolt.

"Usain Bolt's name will always live on," he said.

Briton Farah, who had won the first of his four global double doubles of 5,000m and 10,000m to deafening cheers in London in 2012, put up a spirited and courageous effort but for the first time in six years of global championship competition he had to settle for silver behind Muktar Edris of Ethiopia.

Farah, who started the championships in grand style by winning the 10,000m, had been left by Edris as the bell went and as hard as he tried he just didn't quite have the legs to pass his younger rival in the finishing straight.

"It's been amazing. It's been a long journey but it's been incredible," said Farah who was embraced by his fans as he made his way around the stadium on a lap of honour, stopping to sign autographs and pose for 'selfies'.

"It doesn't quite sink in until you compete here and cross the line -– I had a couple of minutes to myself -– that this is it."

The despair and disappointment of Bolt and Farah was in stark contrast to another hero from 2012 -- Australia's 100m hurdling great Sally Pearson.

The 30-year-old's grit and determination to come back from two years of injury hell -- she feared that she would have to have her hand amputated when she suffered a bone explosion in her wrist in 2015 -- was rewarded with her second world title.

The Australian celebrated in exuberant style, her mouth spread in a broad grin as she charged to the stands.

She tried to find her English mother Anne McLellan -- who had taken two jobs when she was raising her daughter as a single parent so she could go to training and achieve her dream -- and husband, childhood sweetheart Kieran but without success.

"Far out, that was bloody hard," gasped Pearson.

"It's been a long journey back from injury, but to get this moment and go and celebrate in front of my family is unreal."

Bolt's dramatic failure to medal permitted American great Allyson Felix to sit on top of the overall career world medals table with 15 after she was part of the women's 4x100m relay gold-winning team.

The Americans had to fight hard to edge out the British team but in Bolt's relay it was the reverse as the host nation pulled off an impressive but shock win over the United States -- for whom 100m world champion two-time drugs cheat Justin Gatlin was booed by large sections of the stadium as he had been in the 100m even after he won the gold.

Elsewhere there was a gold for Russian Maria Lasitskene, competing as a neutral, who defended the women's high jump title and extended her winning streak to 25.

It was the first gold for Russian athletes competing at the championships but whose federation are still banned due to the doping scandal that affected all sports in the country.


U.S. reclaim 4x100m world title, Britain take silver

(Adds details)

LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Individual champion Tori Bowie anchored the United States to victory in the women's 4x100 metres relay at the World Championships on Saturday.

The Americans, Olympic gold medallists in Rio last year, were led off by Aaliyah Brown who flew out of the blocks to start the run that brought them the world title they last won in 2011.

Allyson Felix, part of that winning team in Daegu, ran the second leg before passing on to Morolake Akinosun who handed the baton to Bowie, the 100m world champion.

The 26-year-old had pulled out of competing in the 200m earlier in the week due to suffering cuts and bruises in her sprint triumph last Sunday.

However, she looked in no discomfort as she surged down the final straight to win in 41.82 seconds.

Bowie was shadowed all the way to the line by Briton Daryll Neita who led her team to silver, in 42.12, ahead of 2015 champions Jamaica who were missing their usual anchor runner in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

It was the sixth time the U.S. have won the event and the gold was also a record 15th World Championship medal for Felix. (Editing by Ed Osmond)


Injured Bolt fails to finish final race as GB take shock relay gold

Usain Bolt's illustrious athletics career finished on a painful and shocking note at the IAAF World Championships, the iconic sprinter pulling up with an injury as Great Britain claimed a shock gold in the men's 4x100m relay.

Bolt set off on the final leg behind the United States' Christian Coleman and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake of Great Britain and pushed too hard to reach the front, appearing to pull a hamstring and falling to the ground as he failed to finish.

While the Jamaican lay prone, it was Britain who crossed the line first in a world-leading time of 37.47 seconds, the US – booed upon entry with 100m champion Justin Gatlin on the second leg – second and Japan taking the bronze.

The crocked Bolt was soon joined by his team-mates Omar McLeod, Julian Forte and Yohan Blake, who helped him to his feet and across the line before departing down the tunnel.

Rather than bemoaning a far from fitting end to the 30-year-old's distinguished career, the crowd inside London Stadium were lost in celebration for the victorious home nation.


German Vetter wins javelin, Rohler misses out on medals

LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Germany's Johannes Vetter won the javelin at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday as his great rival and Olympic champion Thomas Rohler missed out on the podium.

Vetter's opening throw of 89.89 metres was enough to win the gold and the 24-year-old was overcome with emotion after clinching the title, mopping his tears on a German flag.

Czech Republic pair Jakub Vadlejch and Petr Frydrych threw personal bests of 89.73 and 88.32 respectively to take silver and bronze.

Rohler, who like Vetter has thrown over 90 metres this season, was beaten into fourth with 88.26.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Mo Farah misses out on fifth consecutive distance double

Britain's Mo Farah missed out on a fifth consecutive major championships distance double as he finished second in the world 5,000m.

The 34-year-old, who won 10,000m gold at the start of the championships, was swamped by his rivals in the final lap, with Ethiopia's Muktar Edris breaking clear to win gold.

Farah kicked again to take silver at the London Stadium in his final major track championships.

USA's Paul Chelimo claimed bronze.

Four-time Olympic champion Farah will finish his track career with a record of 10 golds and two silvers in major championships.

He is set to focus on marathons after his final track appearance at the 5,000m Diamond League final in Zurich on 24 August.

Great Britain have now won two medals at London 2017, with Farah taking both, as the hosts look set to fall short of UK Sport's target of six to eight.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt will race for the final time in his career in the men's 4x100m relay final from 21:50 BST, with the British team hopeful of winning a medal.


Pearson roars back to win world 100m hurdles gold

LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Australia's Sally Pearson completed one of the great sporting comebacks when she overcame two years of injury agony to win the world 100 metres hurdles title at the age of 30 on Saturday.

Pearson, world champion in 2011 and Olympic gold medallist in 2012, missed the last two seasons through hamstring and achilles injuries and a badly broken wrist but blasted back to win in 12.59 seconds, screaming "oh my God" repeatedly after crossing the line.

"I've worked so hard, I don't know what has just happened out there. I'm so tired but I'm sure it will sink in soon," Pearson said.

Dawn Harper Nelson, who won gold at the 2008 Olympics and was one of four Americans in the final, took silver in 12.63 ahead of Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz (12.72).

Favourite Kendra Harrison, who set the world record in the London Stadium last year having missed out on Olympic selection, again clattered too many barriers as she did in the semis and finished fourth in 12.74.

Defending champion Danielle Williams of Jamaica failed to make the final while last year's Olympic champion Brianna Rollins is banned for a doping violation.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Frustrations of fourth place becoming all too familiar for Britain

LONDON -- Fourth is the bridesmaid placing of track and field, the position that is agonisingly close to the tangible reward of a medal. The margins between success and failure are often miniscule, but the attention goes to the three rivals in front who then stand proudly on the podium.

Yet for Britain, the host nation at these World Athletics Championships, fourth is fast becoming the story of London 2017.

Dina Asher-Smith was the latest British hope to experience being left on the outside looking in, just behind the medalists, in the women's 200 meters on Friday night.

She finished in a season's best of 22.22 seconds, just seven-hundredths of a second behind Shaunae Miller-Uibo, one of the prerace favourites, in third. While Dafne Schippers successfully defended her title ahead of Marie-Josee Ta Lou, Asher-Smith became the fifth British athlete to occupy fourth in their event at these championships, putting them one ahead of Jamaica and Kenya in that particular statistic.

Fourth is also comfortably the most common placing for the host nation, with three sixth places the next most. The reactions from the athletes, not surprisingly, have been mostly filled with confusion and contradiction.

"I was so close!" said Asher-Smith, who broke a bone in her foot last February and did not return to the track until June. "I had absolutely no idea that I could do that tonight.

"To do that, which is faster than I did last year in an Olympic year, I am over the moon with that. It hurts to just miss out but at the same time I am so happy to be that close.

"That was so close to my personal best that I am really happy. To finish fourth in world final after having a broken foot is really good and my best-ever finish [at a major championships]."

Asher-Smith was upbeat and smiling as she talked to reporters after her race but even she expressed mixed emotions, and it seems most athletes -- certainly those not used to medalling -- just don't know what to think of fourth.

Laura Muir was in tears after her 1,500-meter final, saying: "Fourth. That says it all." After taking a day to analyse things and then return later in the 5,000 meters, it was a different story. "Fourth in the world is bloody good," she said. "And it's the best I've achieved in a global final ... it's the closest I've been to the front. It's hard to take but fourth in the world is really good."

Callum Hawkins, fourth in the marathon, was disappointed because he had hoped to "sneak" a medal and was a matter or meters from doing so. Despite the fact that he had run a personal best and equalled the highest finish for a Briton, a record set 22 years ago, he said: "To actually see it [third place] as I was finishing was a bit tough."

Kyle Langford also recorded a personal best in the 800 meters to finish fourth, and the reaction of the Briton was a now-familiar one. "You sit down and say 'fourth, I'll take that,' but I know in myself and I know in my heart that I wanted to get a medal out here, so it is gutting not getting it."


The other Briton to feel the frustration of fourth was sprinter Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in the 200 meters, but he was unequivocal about what it meant to him. "Nothing's perfect in the sport," he said. "You just execute in the best way you can. At the end of the day, regardless of how I feel about the race, it wasn't enough to get a medal."

At the rate the British team are going, you might expect them to finish fourth in the medals table, too, but right now that looks unlikely.

They were joint 13th -- with one gold medal -- at the end of Friday, with Lithuania, New Zealand, Greece, Norway, Belgium and the Czech Republic for company. Mo Farah's gold in the 10,000 meters, the very first of the championships, remains the solitary British medal and the pre-event target of 6-8 medals appears way off beam with two days to go.

If Britain achieve such a medal haul -- and there are still 14 finals to come before the championships close on Sunday -- they will have to have quite a weekend. All they can do now is be bold, and go forth.


Bartoletta Blew Up Her Whole Life

It's genuinely difficult to find inspiration in athletics today, but for all of the mendacity and malfeasance, there are still some truly amazing stories to tell. One example is that of Tianna T. Bartoletta, an American track and field athlete specialising in the long jump. Today she won bronze at the World Championships in London, having won gold at the same event two years ago.

Not that she was disappointed at the result. In an emotional Facebook post, Bartoletta said that this was the "most special medal" she has ever won, and revealed the plight she has endured in the build-up to this tournament.

She has been the victim of an abusive relationship, and today, she revealed how she left everything behind to escape.

Here's the post:

I knew defending my title would be difficult. And you may find it hard to believe but this Bronze medal is THE most special medal I have ever won. Because just three short months ago I had to run away from my own home, I had to decide which of ALL my belongings were the most important, I had to leave my dogs, I had no money, I still have no actual address, all to give myself a chance at having a life and the love I deserved--one that didn't involve fear or fighting, threats, and abuse.

To stand on the podium today after not even being in the mix for 4 rounds means the world to me. I took a huge gamble blowing my life up in such an important year for me career-wise. But it was about time for me to see that I was worth it. It was worth it. Thanks so much for riding with me.

She is the reigning Olympic champion, but this is her most amazing victory thus far.


Here’s why track and field needs to change

LONDON — Coming into these 2017 IAAF world championships, the American Fred Kerley was the next big thing in the men’s 400.

More precisely, Fred Kerley of Texas A&M was the next big thing. He came to London having run 15 individual 400s in 2017. He had won 15.

It didn’t go Kerley’s way in the 400 final. He finished seventh, a result pre-figured in the semifinal, when he just barely qualified for the final on time. This is not to beat on Kerley. Just the opposite. It’s to pay him respect. He’s 22, and — counting the rounds and the final here — he ran 18 400s this year, plus a bunch of relays, plus some 200s to boot.

The NCAA system is the world’s diamond polisher. It doesn’t send up just Americans every two years to the world championships or every four years the Olympics. A great deal of the entire world sends its best to the United States, and in turn the NCAA sends its best back to the world, or the Olympics.

But take a good look around at these 2017 world championships in London. This may be a last go-around for the way a lot of things that have traditionally been the case in track and field.

The sport is looking at a great number of changes. To be candid, and with sincere respect for that tradition, it needs to change.

Change has been the hallmark of IAAF president Seb Coe’s first two years in office and any reasonable observer can see that change to the way track and field does things, in particular its presentation and its calendar, have to be on the agenda, and sooner than later.

Purists may shudder. That’s OK. All change is hard. All interest groups have interests. That’s understood.

Track and field has a historic opportunity in the United States owing to the 11-year timeline between now and the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. If the sport can make a powerful move in the U.S. market, it could and should prove transformational.

It’s also the case that the post-Usain Bolt era, which literally begins Sunday, after his final race Saturday (the men’s 4×100 relay), offers a clean break.

The London 2017 championships are a sell-out, which traditionalists can well cite as evidence that matters are on course. They’re not. Track and field simply can’t keep keeping on and expect to keep its self-identified position as the No. 1 Olympic sport, much less emerge a dynamic sport for the 21st century with appeal to young people.

Track and field has two options. It can change. Or it can have change forced upon it in crisis.

Better to choose option A.

The worrying signals are there for all track and field lovers, and this is the big one: aquatics will have more medal events at the Tokyo 2020 Games, 49, than track, 48. Swimming, along with gymnastics, is now what the International Olympic Committee calls for revenue distribution purposes a Tier A sport. Track used to occupy that category all by itself. Volleyball, which just concluded a hugely successful beach volleyball worlds in Austria, is banging on the Tier A door, and hard.

Better, again, to choose option A.

Teen girls, for instance, want to see Snapchat stories in which, say, the runners are adorned with stickers as they fly down the track.

They love the bright-pink colors of the sweatshirts that are part of the uniforms here.

But that ‘70s and ‘80s classic rock over the stadium loudspeakers? Come on, that’s when people who are literally in their 40s and 50s, ohmigod, were in school. Old. In case there is any doubt, and there should not be: old is not good.

Why are there three “semifinals”? Semifinal means two. Everyone knows that. (Trying to explain to teen girls that there are three so that athletes and officials from around the world can go back home with the pride of saying they were a world “semifinalist” when back home very few not in and of the track and field world understand it was made comparatively easier to make a semifinal because there are three, not two — this draws blank stares from a teen audience.)

And every night! For 10 nights! Too much, and too long! Like even Coachella, the music festival, runs on consecutive three-day weekends in April. Who really wants to hang out at a track meet (maybe with parents or grandparents, ugh) for 10 nights?

Friday’s “afternoon session” started at 5 p.m., with the high jump portion of the decathlon. It picked up again at 7:05 p.m., with (the three) semifinals in the women’s 100 hurdles. It ended just before 10, with the only final that anyone under 21 might reasonably care about, the women’s 200, because that race takes about 22 seconds and is easily Instagrammable — or, to use the lingo, good for the ‘gram.

It’s Friday night! There should be a headliner. Is that so difficult?

And why oh why are there so many events going on at the same time? It’s like going to the gym and watching people do stuff. It’s not a show! A show has a beginning, a middle and an end. It tells a story. There’s no thematic story to whatever it is that was out there. Just blips: in the race just before that 200, Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs of the United States went 1-2 in the women’s steeplechase (why is it 3000 meters? why is water at some of the jumps?). So many rules. So many places to try to look at, all at one time. It’s super-confusing for someone new, and when the announcer has to tell you what screen to look at, that’s a problem.

A big problem — like, at an NFL game, even if you don’t know the first thing about football, you know to watch the quarterback.

The central question, as ever: is track and field a made-for-TV event in which the stadium and audience serve as backdrop, or is the thing the stadium experience?

Indeed, presentation and time are at the core of many of the track world’s pressing — alternatively, most creatively intriguing and constructively provocative — challenges.

Those tensions make for a fascinating impact on athletes, coaches and more.

And they serve as an important driver as key players study what to do next.

Take Kerley and his Texas A&M coach, Pat Henry. (No tension there, to be clear.)

“I was ready to go,” Kerley said of the 400 final. “Coming home, I didn’t have that push like I normally did. I didn’t have no nerves. My body didn’t tell me to go like four or five weeks ago.”

The NCAA grind affects different people differently. Christian Coleman, a Tennessee junior, took silver in last Saturday night’s men’s 100, behind Justin Gatlin, ahead of Bolt. Trinidad & Tobago’s Jereem Richards, a junior at Alabama, grabbed third in Thursday night’s men’s 200.

And, as Henry pointed out, Kerley not only “still felt like he had something in the tank” before the 400 final,” what “got him here was running those [17 prior] 400s.” He added, “Without those, he wouldn’t have been here. It’s that time in his life. It’s that time to learn who he is, what his capabilities are. If you don’t run races, you don’t get that figured out. Many people might say it’s too many races. Sure. If the young man knew who he is and what his capabilities were — that’s track.”

As Henry also stressed, college track and field is not about getting an athlete ready for the world championships. It’s about aiming to win an NCAA championship.

“For a young man or any member of a team to be a contributor to a team sport, that’s first,” Henry said, and he’s right.

“What athletic department,” he asked rhetorically, “is going to support a track program if it’s all about the individual? That cannot be.

“I will be criticized for saying that. I am always criticized. That’s OK. We are at a point where we have to make those decisions.”

One of the factors likely to force such decisions is the next IAAF world championships, in Doha, Qatar, in 2019.

Here’s a secret: the big whisper backstage here in London — from athletes, delegates, officials and media — is all about Doha. In sum: who’s going, and why?

In an intriguing way for the IAAF, that creates opportunity.

The downside to Doha is that the meet is scheduled for September 28 to October 6, 2019. That’s obviously because of the heat.

Putting aside the heat issues, and looking at Doha from the downside of a bigger-picture calendar perspective:

Having a world championship in October in the year before an Olympic Games, when the track meet at the Games will be held the first week of August 2020, means everything will be askew in 2019. Television-wise, at least in the United States, the track and field worlds will be up against the NFL. If you like to bet, you might bet that the NFL will kill the track meet in the ratings.

Now, switching it up:

The upside to Doha is that the meet is scheduled for September 28 to October 6.

That means the IAAF, finally, can take a look at a long-overdue re-do of its calendar.

The track and field calendar has always been totally screwed up.

What sense does it make to hold your world championships and then carry on with more meets — like nothing happened?

Only track and field.

Do you see more NFL games after the Super Bowl? More basketball after the NBA Finals? More baseball after the World Series?

Yet year after year, track holds its worlds, or the Olympics, and then carries on with more Diamond League meets in Europe. What sort of business model is that?

A central question, going forward, is what is — or ought to be — the one-off? 2019? Or 2020?

To view this from a USA Track & FIeld perspective, and wrapping back to the NCAA issues:

Of the 138 athletes on the U.S. squad here in London for the 2017 championships, 23, including those who turned professional after the college championships, were NCAA-eligible. Of those 23, all were Division I with the exception of one, Chris Belcher, the 100-meter sprinter from North Carolina A&T.

Hypothetically speaking: even if those 23 were to take part in whenever (and wherever) the U.S. selection meet was to be held in 2019, in all likelihood none of them would be on a 2019 U.S. team going to Qatar that September and October because they would be in fall semester (or quarter) at school.

Granted, those numbers would vary because, for instance, 13 of the 23 are seniors now. But no matter because, of course, in just a few days or weeks U.S. colleges will welcome freshmen. Case in point: Sydney McLaughlin, the Rio 2016 400-meters sensation who this fall becomes a freshman at the University of Kentucky and by September 2019 would be a junior.

Bigger picture, at least for the Americans:

How many “emerging elite” and “development” athletes, as USA Track & Field calls the categories, will still be competing at a possible mid-August championships and, even more so, at a September 28 to October 6 world championships?

Doesn’t the question answer itself?

Because of projected lower numbers of entrants in a potential if not likely late summer nationals, the USATF championships format and time schedule could be radically different.

Same for the IAAF.

Knowing heads-up from Snapchat sticker corner: that is not rocket science.


1st Lesson From London: There Is No Next Usain Bolt

Attempts to anoint Wayde van Niekerk were doomed to fail. As for exotic gastric viruses, there is no link to the London Stadium’s wretched food

It is not uncommon for athletes contractually obliged to address the media to sound like disciplined hostages being paraded by their captors: name, rank, serial number, monosyllables, grunts. When Wayde van Niekerk attended his press conference after winning the 400m on Tuesday night, he sounded more like a hostage with Stockholm Syndrome. “How does it feel to be the most well-known person in track and field?” an American journalist asked.

“It’s always an honour … massive responsibility … continue performing … continue winning medals … continue the great legacy … important for each and everyone to build a positive image for our sport … a massive honour and I thank the Lord every day … it’s a journey, it’s life … embrace every moment … thank the Lord.”

Nothing has epitomised the sense of desperation that lies close to the surface of the World Athletics Championships so much as the ludicrous attempt – not only by the press but also by officialdom – to anoint Van Niekerk as the new Usain Bolt. Perhaps nothing quite so mad has been seen since Australian cricket spent about half a century trying to unearth the next Don Bradman.

There was no next Bradman and there is no next Bolt, whose combination of freakish physique, focused determination and PR genius has been matched only by Muhammad Ali. Van Niekerk is a lovely mover, a seemingly honourable and sweet young man and someone whose physical and mental vulnerability is being tested beyond reasonable endurance, as if he were a real hostage.

By Thursday night, having come within a blink of an eye of completing the 400m-200m double, he needed a live-TV hug, lasting about 20.09 seconds in itself, from the BBC reporter Phil Jones before he could jabber again, and this time the desperation had fallen entirely on him: “I worked for tonight [sniffle] … just as hard as every other competitor [sniffle] … I show everyone else respect [sniffle] … I think I didn’t get respect tonight … I feel it is very unfair.”

Then he thanked God and walked sadly away. In due course he may thank God for the defeat. It may do something to deflect unrealistic expectations and allow him to chart his own course without having to do Sebastian Coe’s job and save this benighted sport from its own outrageousness.

Football’s corruption, like the Great Wall of China, can be seen from space. But at least as the season starts we can be confident that on the field there will be fair cheating all round. At these championships officials and pundits have been thanking God for the absence of world records as a sign that perhaps the sport is becoming a little less doped up. It is a sort of motif for a planet on which progress has been abolished.

London hoped for a mini-reprise of the 2012 Olympics. But athletics, served singly, cannot provide it. JB Priestley described marriage as “a long, dull meal with pudding as the first course”, a quote that came to mind on day two when the schedule, having served up Bolt and Mo Farah in the first 48 hours, had little left to offer, which explains much of the pressure that was heaped on poor Van Niekerk.

This is not easy to remedy. You cannot easily Twenty20-ise athletics: “Hey, the 100m is way too long – can’t we make it 25?”

Much of the narrative has revolved around exotic gastric viruses, as in the tropics. Yet the weather has been parodically British: 2012 took place in a fine spell after a dismal midsummer; this time the reverse has happened. I have had wetter sporting experiences than Wednesday night in the stadium (Pontypool rugby, Folkestone races, where you could get drenched at the back of the stands); I have been colder (Nottingham Forest). But it is hard to remember wet and cold combining quite so malevolently, at least not in August.

The crowd trudged through the beckoning lights of the shopping centre, past a joint called Potbelly and a branch of Fatface, getting damp even under the roof, out on to a route that was like the steeplechase course in reverse – one long watersplash with the occasional island. If there was an Olympic-style party scene round that windswept and dystopian open space known as the park, then I never found it this week (story of my life) but colleagues assured me they never found it either.

Nonetheless, the turnout has been very good, if not quite a sell-out (£155 Sunday night tickets were still gettable through the official website on Friday). This should ensure the event is not a financial disaster, as will the price of the wretched stadium food: not very hot dog + not very hot Bovril = £8.50.

I first realised that Londoners were now willing to put up with, and turn up to, absolutely anything at Will and Kate’s wedding in 2011. It became obvious, talking to the crowds on the streets, that this was not a massive outpouring of support for royalty: it was an expression of an urgent need, by people who experience life through screens, to be part of something, no matter what. They would have been just as happy to watch the monarchy overthrown.

This was followed, most obviously, by the mass suspension of disbelief that constituted the Olympics as well as the vast numbers who stood all day to watch several seconds of the Tour de France in 2014 and the huge crowds that support American football’s increasingly frequent invasions of the capital. The public manifestations of Corbynmania may fit the same template.

The BBC coverage of the week started at peak hysteria (“We’ve got the rights to something! How special is THAT?”) but seems to have become more measured. The commentariat have still been at pains to praise the knowledgeable crowd, and indeed the spectators do seem to have grasped the essentials: that the medals are normally won by those who travel the fastest, jump the highest or throw the furthest, and any variation on that usually comes to light only after they have all gone home.

Frankly, athletics is either very simple or exceedingly technical, and there is not much scope for the kind of halfway-house knowledge possessed by followers of most sports.

The shortage of British medals has obviously been a calming influence: “It’s another fourth for Great Britain!” This takes one back to the balmy days of Olympic reporting when it was possible to go out for a dinner that did not comprise tepid dogs and Bovril without fear of missing yet another British gold.

Is there perhaps a growing realisation of the extent of the con-trickery that lay at the heart of the entire London Olympics phenomenon?

On Friday the Directory of Social Change, a charity that services the voluntary sector, issued a press release to mark the 10th anniversary of what it called “the Big Lottery Fund raid”, the diversion of £425m earmarked for charities to finance Olympic costs. This was supposed to be repaid by the sale of Olympic assets after 2012. “So far,” said Rachel Cain, senior researcher at the Directory, “little has been sold off to reimburse the Lottery.”

The middle-class takeover of the East End was happening anyway. And we now know the fate of the promised post-Olympic boom in sporting participation.

The age of Blair and Cameron, the PR PMs, is over and the country is notionally governed by a woman who has some trouble grasping public relations at all. One advantage of this may be the end of an era when Britain treasured gold medals for their own sake, and funded elite sport and stadiums at the expense of necessary facilities.

Every time I have looked at a medals ceremony this week, the honours were being handed out by a member of the IAAF council. Lord Coe and his No2, Sergey Bubka aside, they tended to look exceedingly well-fed: no stadium grub for them. Perhaps they worry about their deeply troubled sport, perhaps not too much.

Over the weekend we can all sit back and say a final farewell to Bolt and Farah. And that is unmissable. West Ham can then return to their stately home, a gift from a generous nation. And the rest of us can return to watching something else on our multiple screens, and paying occasional visits to Potbelly and Fatface.


Hurting Blake Doubtful For Men's 4x1 Final

(Reuters) - Jamaica's Yohan Blake is a doubt for the 4x100 metres relay final at the World Athletics Championships and will be assessed by medical staff before Saturday's final, head Coach Maurice Wilson said.

Blake has not been able to train at full pace in the leadup to the race, which will be sprint great Usain Bolt's last on the track.

“Well I cannot speak definitively on it until I have had conversations with the medical staff,” Wilson told Television Jamaica.

"The possibility exists that we may have some niggles."

The coach was asked whether Blake had trained with the team in relay practice on Saturday.

“Well he did some hand offs today at about half-pace and we’re expecting that if there is a problem he’s a professional athlete, he’s an experienced athlete; he will have that conversation with the medical staff, he will also be examined by the medical staff if there is a problem,” the coach said.

The Jamaican men’s quartet of Tyquendo Tracey, 100m semi-finalist Julian Forte, debutant Michael Campbell and 11-time world championship gold medallist Bolt clocked 37.95 seconds, the third fastest time to advance to the final.

The U.S. team featuring Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman, logged a world leading 37.70 seconds to win the first heat, followed by Britain on 37.76 seconds.

Reporting by Kayon Raynor; Editing by Toby Davis


Reese Wins Tightest Long Jump Final Ever

He had one failure and skipped two rounds before reaching 5.95 metres where he was agonisingly close on his second attempt, clearing the bar but nudging it on the way down.

Lavillenie then opted to move to 6.01 where his challenge ended.

Titleholder Shawn Barber of Canada struggled all evening and never looked in contention.

He had one failure at the lowest height of 5.50 and only just avoided elimination at 5.65 which he cleared at the third attempt despite clipping the bar, before going out at 5.75.

Germany's Raphael Holzdeppe, who won the title four years ago in Moscow, fared even worse as he was eliminated in the very first round at 5.50.

Belgian's Arnaud Art made an unfortunate exit at the first height, falling on his third attempt after his hands slipped from the pole. (Editing by Ed Osmond)


Van Niekerk defends world 400m title

- South African Wayde van Niekerk got his bid for an audacious 200/400m double off to a flying start when he defended his one-lap title. Van Niekerk, who also set the world record when winning Olympic gold in Rio last year, was in imperious form, running a devastating final bend to finish in 43.98 seconds, easing up a full 15 metres from the line. Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas claimed silver in 44.41sec, with Sudan-born Qatari Abdalelah Haroun taking bronze (44.48).


Jenny Simpson Savors Another Silver (Video)

She kicked past two runners in the final 100 meters to win her third medal at a world championships.

In what was one of the greatest women’s 1500-meter fields ever assembled, Jenny Simpson claimed a third world championships medal in London tonight, the 30-year-old American unleashing her trademark finishing kick to finish a superb second in 4:02.76.

With a field of intimidating quality in opposition—including Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya, Olympic 1500-meter champion Faith Kipyegon, and world No. 1 Sifan Hassan—Simpson ranked as an underdog for a medal, but she toed the line with remarkable confidence.

“I said to myself: You have to be a mountain, you have to be unshakeable, because everybody here is fit, everyone is in good shape, so what’s going to make the difference is who is the most confident,” Simpson said. “You’d be surprised how confident I am in myself. I really believed I could do it.”

The early pace was slow, with British heroine Laura Muir taking the field through 800 meters in 2:17.11. But with 600 meters to run, Hassan sprinted to the front, which set off a chain reaction in the pack.

Simpson assumed pole position behind Hassan and Kipyegon, who hit full throttle out front with 300 meters left, leaving Simpson to battle with Muir and Semenya for the minor medals. While Kipyegon came home strongly to win in 4:02.59, Simpson had to summon all her courage in the home stretch to overtake Hassan, edge past Muir, and hold off the late charge of Semenya to take silver.

“I went down the stretch and thought: Just run your guts out, run the hardest you’ve ever run in your life [even if] you black out,” Simpson said.

The moments after the finish were just as nerve-wracking as the start line, with Simpson unsure if she had won a medal and gazing up at the big screen to see her fate. When her name flashed up in second, she erupted in celebration.

“It felt amazing,” she said. “I had a slow start to the season but my coaches really prepared me to be ready late in the season and it paid off. I wanted to win tonight, but I look back and get to say I’m lucky. I’m really proud of it.”

Simpson, the 1500-meter world champion in 2011, the silver medalist at the world championships in 2013, and the Olympic bronze medalist last year, had defeated not just the local favorite in Muir, the world’s best half-miler in Semenya, or the fastest athlete this season in Hassan, but also the controversial figure of Genzebe Dibaba, the 1500-meter world record holder whose coach, Jama Aden, is awaiting trial in Spain after being implicated in a doping scandal.

Afterward Simpson was adamant her performance showed it was possible to win clean.

“I want a clean sport so it feels amazing to come out and beat people [under suspicion],” she said. “If I’m second in this race, you beat cheaters because there’s not zero cheaters in the race or the world. But they’re not all stealing my moment. I’m so lucky I get to have those moments on the podium.”


Gatlin: "Athlete Of His Time, Not A Villain"

The sprinter Justin Gatlin is a tailor-made stand-in for the doping ills of track and field.

He served a four-year suspension after testing positive for steroids. He came back and continues to run fiercely in his 35th year, laying down the fastest times ever for a runner his age. Last weekend, in London, he spoiled the retirement run of the great Olympic champion Usain Bolt, whom some writers revere as the symbol of a clean sport. Gatlin ran 9.92 seconds in the 100 meters on Saturday night at the world championships, and took the gold medal. Bolt settled for the bronze.

Fans showered Gatlin with boos; British sportswriters waxed righteous about their pantomime villain (“Gatlin is a shameless fraud” was one of the milder takes); and Sebastian Coe, president of track and field’s international governing body, was beside himself for having to award a medal to Gatlin.

“I’m not eulogistic at the thought of somebody who has served two bans in our sport walking off with one of the biggest prizes,” Coe said.

This narrative is fractured and self-righteous. Gatlin has sinned, but the outrage, particularly from those who know better, edges toward the absurd.

Let’s start with what is, by now, the standard indictment: Gatlin is a “two-time drug cheat,” with “unrepentant” added as the adjectival chaser.

This is inaccurate. His first offense was no offense at all.

In the summer of 2001, after his freshman year at the University of Tennessee, Gatlin tested positive for a very small trace of amphetamine after running as an amateur in an event sponsored by USA Track & Field. Amphetamines are ingredients in Adderall, for which Gatlin has carried a prescription since he was 7 years old and learned he had an attention deficit disorder. He took Adderall while preparing for summer midterms three days before the race.

His decision was consistent with N.C.A.A. rules and guidance given to professional athletes. Nonetheless, Coe’s organization, the International Association of Athletics Federations, handed down a two-year ban. Gatlin appealed and got the suspension cut to a year. The grand executioners in the press corps might want to page to the decision’s conclusion:

“Mr. Gatlin neither cheated nor intended to cheat,” the appeals panel wrote. “He is certainly not a doper.”

So Gatlin is a one-time doper. In 2006, he tested positive for a steroid and was suspended for eight years, a sentence reduced to four years after he cooperated with federal investigators. He would lose four peak years and millions of dollars in earnings, a considerably tougher penalty than those meted out to athletes in pro baseball, basketball or football. (World soccer has adopted the Olympic Code and consequently levies tough penalties).

That seems a suitably stiff sentence for a first offense.

Let me now back off a step or three and interrogate my own righteousness.

A month ago, I talked with the American high jumper Chaunté Lowe about the moment last November when she learned she had won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. The international antidoping agency, taking advantage of technological advances, retested the blood of three jumpers (two Russians and a Ukrainian) who finished ahead of her at those Games. It disqualified all three. Lowe learned of this by Facebook and felt caught between elation and sorrow, aware of opportunities lost, not least that joyous moment atop a podium.

A year ago, I sat atop a mountain outside Oslo and heard two top American biathletes, Susan Dunklee and Lowell Bailey, talk about the frustration of competing to their lung-straining best and suspecting that some of the athletes a few paces ahead of them might have a chemical advantage.

These athletes work too hard to think we can just slap them on the back and murmur que será, será. They enjoy precious few years at their peak. Several of them told me they would like to see career suspensions for first doping offenses.

There is, too, the peculiar challenge presented when nations or Olympic committees cover their eyes, with all the advantages and subterfuge that implies. The United States Olympic Committee, for many years in the 1980s, enabled a pervasive doping problem. Its leaders knew that American swimmers, runners and jumpers were doping with the complicity of top Olympic coaches.

The United States has cracked down hard. But Russia has taken on the mantle and gone far beyond, running a state-sponsored doping program with a thuggish insistence that gives its athletes and coaches little choice. This represents an existential threat to clean sport.

I called Max Cobb, the president of U.S. Biathlon and an insistent reformer, and asked about the question of appropriate penalties for athletes like Gatlin. He is not by temperament the sort who favors blanket lifetime suspensions, and he sees considerable mitigating factors in Gatlin’s case. He also sees a place for lifetime bans as a threat.

“If you are engaged in systematic blood manipulation, you are deliberately trying to cheat the system,” Cobb noted. “It cannot be an accident, and that’s where the option of a lifetime ban would really help.”

Track and field’s reputation as irreparably tarnished by doping may be unfair and owe paradoxically to its growing ability to ferret out offenders. The doping era may have reached its body-distorting peak at the turn of this century, when athletes from many nations imbibed all sorts of steroids. Olympians break records with less regularity now; some women’s records set in that period have stood for decades. Scientists speculate that cheating athletes now take smaller doses to avoid detection.

As for Bolt and Gatlin, too many reporters and fans remain invested in fairy-tale dichotomies. Bolt is a glorious runner and a joyous showman for the ages, and he has passed every drug test without a glitch. So writers fit him for a crown as the king of clean sport.

What, however, explains the urgency in fitting Gatlin for the crown of thorns? Gatlin is an athlete of his time and place. He finished third in the 100 meters at the 2012 London Olympics. Five of the eight men who ran that day have served doping bans. There were runners in London last weekend who had served doping suspensions and returned to competition.

Track and field offers a complicated world.

Coe’s rhetoric is steely, and he has accomplished some good since becoming chief of the international federation. He was also forced to acknowledge in 2015 that Nike had paid him $150,000 annually to serve as a company “ambassador.” French prosecutors are examining whether anyone bribed top international track officials to steer the 2021 world championships to Eugene, Ore.

Shadows, too, have fallen across the sporting goods companies, which wield great influence over the sport. Nike, its pre-eminent power, runs a top track program out of its facilities in Oregon, and its coach Alberto Salazar has faced repeated reports suggesting his approach is tainted by chemicals.

My intention here is not to throw up a cloud and allow Gatlin to slip untouched off the stage. His athletic history is a cross of his making. After a four-year absence, he returned overweight and slow, turning in embarrassing times in places like Finland.

He found a new coach, who had himself once tested positive, and dismantled and reworked his form. He began to explode out of the blocks with surgical precision. By 2015, he was laying down eyebrow-raising times, peaking at 9.74. That led even sober analysts like Ross Tucker, whose website Science of Sport is much respected, to wonder aloud if he was doping again, or had ever stopped.

That moment likely has passed.

The championship race in London was an old man’s affair. Gatlin won with a 9.92. Had he run that time at the world championships in Beijing in 2015, he would have finished far behind Bolt. He is tested randomly by the United States Anti-Doping Agency; screeners checked his blood four times and his urine 10 times last year before the Olympics.

He passed all of those.

Age is the runner that will track Gatlin to earth. When I saw him in Oregon in May, he acknowledged mental fatigue and hamstrings and thighs that growl like old hounds.

He is a personable man; he is flawed. There’s no need to turn him into a hero. But the villain stuff plays like the cheap tricks adults use to distract from bigger problems.


Britain's WC Woes Based On "Mentality"?

British athletes are underperforming at the World Championships because of issues with their mentality, says ex-Olympic champion Darren Campbell.

UK Sport's target is between six and eight medals but, after five days of competition, Britain have one - Mo Farah's gold in Friday's 10,000m.

While Campbell believes there is "hope" for the future, he told BBC Radio 5 live: "Clearly there's something wrong.

"We can't pretend it's not happening. If medals are not won, funding is cut."

On Monday, Britain's Laura Muir just missed out on a medal by finishing fourth in the 1500m, while Olympic bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon was seventh in the hammer throw.

The previous day, Katarina Johnson-Thompson finished fifth in the heptathlon, Holly Bradshaw was sixth in the pole vault and Andrew Pozzi failed to qualify for the final of the 110m hurdles.

"I am the last British sprinter to win an individual global medal, at the 2003 World Championships in Paris, but the talent we have is better than that," said Campbell.

"The problem we have is the mental side of things."

Many high-profile athletes missed the British trials in July, which formed part of the selection process for the World Championships in London.

Campbell said: "We were told that the top athletes who weren't there were being rested for the Worlds. Well now we're here, where are they producing what we were told they would?"

Campbell, who won 4x100m gold in Athens in 2004, said the experience of former athletes such as Brendan Foster, now a BBC commentator, should be utilised.

"You've got Brendan up here, in five minutes you can see his experience. We're not tapping into that? Wow."

'A reminder that sport is brutal'

UK Sport funding is already set for the Olympic cycle up to 2020 - with athletics the second-highest Olympic recipient behind rowing.

When the funding was announced in December, UK Sport CEO Liz Nicholl said the decision to cut funding from several sports was "based on a judgement of potential number of medals".

"With only one medal at the halfway stage, it's not going to plan," former Olympic javelin thrower Steve Backley told BBC Sport. "That is the simple message.

"There have been some marginal performances that went the wrong way. With medal hopes like Hitchon, Muir, Bradshaw, Johnson-Thompson, we could have had three or four medals in the bag by now.

"But sport is brutal, and this is a reminder of how tough it is out there. There aren't that many more chances left."


Will Usain Bolt win his final career race?

Your last chance to watch Usain Bolt race is very likely Saturday.

Bolt, one week after being upset in the world championships 100m final, is expected to anchor the Jamaican 4x100m relay team during NBC’s live coverage from London from 3-5 p.m. ET.

Bolt and the Jamaicans crossed the finish line first in all seven Olympic and world championships relays dating to the 2008 Beijing Games.

However, the island nation is losing its sprint dominance. Not only was Bolt relegated to 100m bronze by Americans Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman, but Jamaica also lacks depth.

Former relay stalwarts Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter have aged and didn’t make the world team. Yohan Blake, the primary global rival to Bolt in 2011 and 2012, was a respectable fourth in the 100m last Saturday, but the Jamaicans are lacking depth.

Like in the 100m, the U.S. could spoil Bolt’s farewell party yet again in the relay.

Add up the 100m times from Gatlin, Coleman and U.S. bronze medalist Christopher Belcher, and the Americans were a net .01 faster than the Jamaican trio of Bolt, Blake and Julian Forte last Saturday.

The key will be clean baton handoffs. The Americans have botched the relay consistently, missing the podium due to bad exchanges or disqualifications at five of the last six global championships.

Jamaica is much cleaner passing the stick, plus it has the biggest intangible in its favor: Bolt on anchor, which could intimidate whoever is running the last leg for the Americans if it’s a close race.


Tori Bowie follows her instincts to 100-meter gold at worlds

LONDON -- Lying on the track, shoulder and hip burning from her fall after crossing the 100-meter finish line, Tori Bowie had no idea what to expect.

"I was just trying to get to the finish line," Bowie said. "I knew I was in the mix, I knew I was in the top three. I didn't know if I had won or not."

The 26-year-old American used a furious charge over the final 20 meters to close in on the frontrunner, Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast. Bowie leaned so hard at the tape, she tumbled forward, ripping the skin off her shoulder and bruising several other parts of her body.

When Bowie stood up, the winner still had not been announced. When the scoreboard flashed her name in first place at 10.85 seconds, .01 ahead of Ta Lou, the moment knocked her back down.

The fastest woman in the world lay on her back and covered her face with her hands. "I was like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe this just happened. This is the greatest night of my life,'" Bowie said.

Bowie is a slender, shy country girl from rural Sand Hill, Mississippi. At several points during interviews after Sunday's race, she was overwhelmed by emotion and took some time to compose herself. But there is steely determination beneath her reticence, which fueled her devastating late-race charge.

"I don't know where the finishing comes from. I guess, just hungry -- a determined, motivated moment," she said. "It just comes from instinct, from wanting it so bad."

The favorite Sunday was Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, who won the 100 and 200 in Rio, the first woman to complete that double since Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988. On Sunday, Thompson stumbled slightly when Bowie passed her halfway down the track. She finished fifth in 10.98, well off her season best of 10.71. Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands finished third in 10.96.

"Honestly, I don't know what happened," Thompson said. "I came out here with a brave heart and a strong mind. It didn't go as I planned, but you have to give those other girls a lot of credit."

Last year at the Rio Olympics, Bowie used another closing burst to move from fourth place to second, losing by a step to Thompson. On Sunday, Ta Lou led the entire race from Lane 4, and had no idea Bowie was bearing down on her from Lane 7. Ta Lou did not lean at the tape, and looked to her left with a shocked expression as Bowie flashed past.

"I didn't see her coming," Ta Lou said. "But it's OK, I have a medal."

Bowie, though, has the gold. She specialized in the long jump at the University of Southern Mississippi, and many consider the 200 to be her best event. Yet she insisted on focusing on the 100 in London.

"I'm probably the only person in the world who thought I could come out here and win the 100 meters tonight," Bowie said. "I learned a lot from tonight. I learned to always follow your heart."


"Mr. Silk" Omar McLeod Brings Joy To Jamaica

LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - As Usain Bolt takes his leave of athletics and the desperate hunt grows to find charismatic new trailblazers for the sport, another young Jamaican, Omar McLeod, demonstrated in winning the 110 metres hurdles title on Monday why he may fit the bill.

He's young, cool, bright, very fast and likes to style himself as "Mr Silk" with the smooth hurdling technique.

After a weekend where it was all doom and gloom back home after the 100 metres losses of Bolt and Elaine Thompson, 23-year-old Mcleod chose the perfect night to bound headlong to world championship glory and cheer his nation.

"Happy Independence Day, Jamaica! I love you guys!" he declared with a laugh, recognising that everyone was watching him on the island's public holiday as he became the first man since American Allen Johnson in 1997 to pull off the Olympics/World Championships 110m hurdles double in successive years.

"I'm elated, completely overcome with emotion and I especially wanted to dedicate this win to Usain. I felt it was up to me out there to bring the boost back to Jamaica and I think I've done that."

Yet while he saluted his peerless hero Bolt, who was only able to win bronze in his final individual 100m, he also looked and sounded every inch the sort of talismanic figure who could ensure swiftly that Jamaica has a new male superstar to savour.

For after comfortably defeating what he considered the best 110m hurdles field in history in 13.04 seconds, the U.S.-based speedster made it clear that he felt this was just the beginning of something even more spectacular.

NEW WORLDS

Nobody is suggesting that Bolt is anything but irreplaceable but here is an athlete who actually has strings to his bow that even the great Usain never had.

For not only is he already the only man ever to have run under 10 seconds for 100 metres and under 13 seconds for the 110m hurdles, he can also spread his talent across events as varied as the 400m hurdles and the 200m.

Next year, he declared after his victory, would be the time to see him spread his wings.

"I've got new worlds to conquer now," he beamed. "I really, really want that world record now so we'll see what happens next."

The man who holds the 12.80 seconds mark that he is after, American Aries Merritt, could only finish fifth in the final and the future of the event now lies in McLeod's quicksilver feet.

He is the only top high hurdler still taking eight steps to reach the first hurdle and, though he was planning to move down to seven this season, he put that plan back to next year to ensure he did not mess with his world championships ambitions.

Next year, though, he will definitely experiment.

"It was probably the best line up in history tonight. I knew in order to win I had to do it the Omar McLeod way," he said.

"I had to bring my own spark back. I had to get out and take control of the race. And just go out and have fun. And I did that."

There was, he said, a special reason to deliver. "My mum is here, so I had to do it for her," he said, after having given her a big hug at trackside. McLeod looks to be a breath of fresh air for the sport. (Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Ken Ferris)


Laura Muir refuses to enter Caster Semenya debate after heartbreak

• Briton pipped to 1500m bronze by Olympic 800m champion 
• London organisers close hotel floor over gastroenteritis outbreak

Laura Muir was close to tears after missing out on a world championship 1500m medal by seven hundredths of a second to South Africa’s Caster Semenya.

Muir had led for much of the race but ran out of gas down the home straight and was beaten to bronze by Semenya, the Olympic 800m champion. South Africa’s Semenya later attempted to shut down debate over hyperandrogenism, the medical condition she has which is characterised by excessive levels of male sex hormones such as testosterone.

Athletics’ world governing body, the IAAF, is putting together a case to convince the court of arbitration for sport that Semenya’s condition gives her an unfair advantage over her rivals. Semenya could be forced to undergo hormone replacement therapy or face being unable to compete in the future.

“I really don’t have time for nonsense,” she said. “I do not think about something that might happen in eight months. I don’t focus on the IAAF. It’s not my business. My business is to train hard and see what I come up with in competition.”

Muir refused to be drawn into the complex debate round Semenya’s participation in these championships. “I’ve not got anything to say about that,” she said.

The race was won by Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon in 4min 02.59sec while experience proved valuable for the 30-year-old American Jenny Simpson who ran an exquisitely judged race to take silver.

London 2017 organisers have ordered a floor in one of the hotels used by competitors to be quarantined after an outbreak of gastroenteritis.

Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, a medal prospect in the 400m, was given medical dispensation to withdraw from the 200m heats after throwing up in the call room.

A number of other athletes staying at the same hotel also have gastroenteritis, including the Ireland 400m hurdler Thomas Barr. “I’m gutted to have to withdraw from the semi-final. My whole year has been focused on the world championships. To not be able to go out and compete for Ireland is beyond disappointing.”

An organisers’ statement read: “Those affected have been supported by both team and local organising committee medical staff. In addition we have been working with Public Health England to ensure the situation is managed and contained.

“As a result, further advice and guidelines have been issued to team doctors and support staff – standard procedure for such an occurrence where a number of teams are occupying championship accommodation.”


Kipyegon wins world 1500m, Semenya bronze

Faith Kipyegon of Kenya added the world title to her Olympic crown after sprinting to victory in the women's 1500m on Monday.

In a fantastic race that erupted on the final lap, Kipyegon held off allcomers down the home straight to clock 4min 02.59sec.

American Jennifer Simpson claimed silver, at 0.17sec, with South Africa's 800m specialist Caster Semenya taking bronze (4:02.90).

Defending world champion Genzebe Dibaba finished 12th and last, more than 4sec off the winning pace.

Laura Muir, one of two Britons in the field led from the off, laying down a 65sec first lap, with Kipyegon a constant companion on her outside shoulder.

Semenya was her usual comfortable self in the middle of the pack, with Dibaba behind her and the Netherlands' world indoor champion Sifan Hassan, who took bronze two years ago in Beijing, bringing up the rear.

They went through 800m in a relatively sedate 2:17 before Hassan moved up the field and kicked, Kipyegon following.

Suddenly the pack split, Hassan and Kipyegon looking to have the battle for top of the podium to themselves.

But it was not to be, at least for the Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman.

Semenya left it late for her attack, eating up the yards from ninth place with 200 metres to run.

As they hit the home stretch, Hassan tied up in dramatic fashion, 2011 world champion Simpson timed her tactically astute race to near perfection and Semenya powered through for bronze on her coattails.

Muir pipped Hassan for fourth, while world record holder Dibaba could muster nothing worthwhile in the sprint finish as she went backwards.


5 Gator Alums Qualify For World Champs Finals

Kerron Clement is into his sixth 400 hurdles final, and Novlene Williams-Mills became the oldest woman in history to make a 400 meters final

LONDON – Five Gators advanced to finals, and incoming freshman sprinter Hakim Sani Brown qualified for the 200 meters semifinals Monday (Aug. 7) night at the IAAF World Championships.

For a second consecutive day, 400-meter hurdlers Kerron Clement (2004-05), the reigning Olympic gold medalist and a two-time world champion in the event, and TJ Holmes (2015-17), this year's USATF Outdoor Championships bronze medalist, won their respective heats.

Clement, who could become the first man in history to win three 400 hurdles world titles, posted the fastest overall time (48.35 seconds) to qualify for his sixth World Championships final. His six finals are the second-most appearances in meet history.



Jamaican team captain and six-time World Championships medalist Novlene Williams-Mills (2003-04) finished third in her heat, but advanced to the final as the fastest non-automatic qualifier. At age 35, Williams-Mills is the oldest woman in history to make the World Championships 400 meters final. Russia's Tatyana Alekseyeva (33 years, 301 days in 1997) was the oldest prior to Monday. This will be Williams-Mills' sixth final, the most in meet history.

Two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion Christian Taylor (2009-11) only needed one attempt to automatically make Thursday's (Aug. 10) triple jump final. Fellow American and reigning two-time Olympic silver medalist Will Claye (2010-11) also qualified for the final, posting the fifth-best jump of the night.

Sani Brown's bid to become the youngest 200 meters finalist in World Championships history continues, as he finished second in his heat and automatically qualified for the semifinals.



Tuesday's events do not feature any Gators. Clement, Holmes, and Williams-Mills all compete in Wednesday (Aug. 9) finals Sani Brown's 200 meters semi is Wednesday as well.

Two-time steeplechase Olympian Genevieve LaCaze (2009-12) and 2015 World Championships long jump silver medalist Shara Proctor (2007-10) begin their respective events Wednesday. Proctor is making her sixth World Championships appearance, trailing only Williams-Mills' seven for the most by a female Gator.


Clement eases into position for third hurdles gold

Olympic champion Kerron Clement put himself in pole position to win a third world title as the American went through the gears before cruising into the final of the 400 metres hurdles at the London Stadium on Monday.
The gifted 31-year-old, who won his first title a decade ago and has made such a revival late in his career that he struck Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro last year, won his opening heat to ensure he was the fastest qualifier in 48.35 seconds.

It had looked briefly off the final bend that the Trinidadian-born Clement might have his work cut out.

Yet he actually timed his run in lane seven with considerable precision to reel in the field, headed by the second automatic qualifier, powerful young Norwegian hope Karsten Warholm, in what was to prove by far the fastest heat.

It left Clement delighted as he seems to have rediscovered his best form at just the right time after an indifferent season, having also won at the London Stadium in last month's Diamond League meeting.

"I trust my strength and I know I am the best off that last hurdle. If anyone is within arm's length of me at the last hurdle, it's a wrap," said Clement, who despite the titles to his name is still seen as a slightly unfulfilled talent.

"I just need to concentrate on the turn because that can be my Achilles heel. I need to make sure that goes smoothly for the final."

Clement's US colleague TJ Holmes won the slowest, faintly shambolic, heat in 49.12 seconds, but did look to have enough in reserve to be a potential threat to his illustrious compatriot in Wednesday's final.

However, American hopes of having a powerful three-pronged assault on gold were thwarted by national champion Eric Futch's poor run on the inside lane in the other heat dominated by two of the sport's growing legion of 'allegiance transferees'.

Heat winner Abderrahaman Samba, who won in 48.75, now runs for Qatar, having switched his allegiance from Mauritania, while Turkey's European champion Yasmani Copello, who eased home just behind him in 48.91, used to run for Cuba.


Stat Blitz: World Championships Day 4

(from K. Ken Nakamura)

Day 4

WTJ

Rojas became 4th TJ to win both World Indoor and World Championships

2cm is the smallest winning margin in the history of WC WTJ; previous min was 4cm in 1997 and 2003

Difference of 35cm between 3rd and 4th is the largest ever in WC WTJ; previously, 18cm in 1995 and 2003 were max

WIth a silver medal tonight, Ibaguen now has a complete set of WC medals at WTJ

Rojas won the first medal of any kind for VEN at WC WTJ

W1500m

Kipyegon also became third (after Liu Dong and Genzebe) runner to win both WOrld and WOrld Junior at W1500m

Kipyegon also became third runner to win both Olympics and WOrld Championships (after Masterkova and Bulmerka) at W1500m

Kipyegon won first gold for KEN at WC W1500m

Difference between 1st and 3rd was 0.31 second, smallest ever for WC W1500m, replacing 0.44sec from 2009

Faith Kipyegon become the first CWG champion to win World Championships at W1500m

Faith Kipyegon become the first World Youth champion to win World Championships at W1500m

110mH

McLeod also became fifth hurdler to win both WC and World Indoor

McLeod won first gold for JAM in 110mH at WC

Baji won first medal for HUN at 110mH in WC

Shubenkov won silver, thus he joined Jackson and Liu as one of the three hurdlers with complete set of medals.

McLeod joined Allen Johnson and Liu as one of the three hurdlers with both Olympic and World Championships gold

WHT

For the first time in the history of WC, a nation (this case POL) won two medals (Wlodarczyk & Kopron) at WHT

77.90 is the British all comers' record improving her own mark, 77.60 from the Olympics

Wlodarczyk won third gold in WC WHT, tying Moreno for the most gold in this event at WC

It is also fourth medal for Wlodarczyk, also tying Moreno with a number of medals in WC WHT


GOLDEN MUM Who is Jessica Ennis-Hill? Olympic heptathlon gold medallist who’s pregnant with a second child – all you need to know

The 31-year-old is one of the most-decorated British sportswomen in history, but has now retired from competition

JESSICA ENNIS-HILL DBE is one of the most decorated British sportswomen in history, having conquered the world as a heptathlete.

As a professional, she has won gold medals in the Olympics, the World Championships, the World Indoor Championships and the European Championships.

However after last year’s Olympics in Rio, she retired from competing, leaving behind a glittering career that brought her vast amounts of success.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 31-year-old…

How old is Jessica Ennis-Hill? What’s her background?

The superstar was born on January 28, 1986 in Sheffield, where she is one of two daughters to father from Jamaica, and a mother from England.

Both her parents had an interest in athletics – her dad was a keen sprinter, whilst her mum preferred the high jump – and they introduced her to the sport as a child taking her to the Don Valley Stadium to watch events.

She ended up joining the City of Sheffield and Dearne Athletic Club aged 11 where she excelled, and attended King Ecgbert School, before graduating from the University of Sheffield with a 2:2 in psychology.

What was Jessica Ennis-Hill’s career record?

In junior competitions, Jessica won two silver medals in the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games, and won in the heptathlon at the 2005 European Athletics Junior Championships.

Her professional career took off when she took home a bronze in the Commonwealth Games in heptathlon in 2006 at Melbourne.

In 2009 she won the gold medal in World Championships, a whopping 238 points ahead of Jennifer Oeser in second, and in 2010 took won the gold in the World Indoor Championships and the European Championships.

In 2011 she won a silver medal in the World Championships, although this has now been upgraded to a gold medal after Tatyana Chernova was proved of being a drugs cheat. She also won at the World Championships in 2015.

After winning a silver medal at the 2012 World Indoor Championships Jessica cemented herself in Great British folklore after picking home the gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

However, she couldn’t defend her title in Rio last year as she had to settle for a silver.

When did Jess get married? How many children do they have?

In 2013, Jessica Ennis married Andy Hill in Derbyshire, and announced she would be known as Jessica Ennis-Hill.

She was forced to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Commonwealth Games as she was pregnant with her first child – her son Reggie was born in July 2014.

On March 16 Jess announced she’s pregnant again on Instagram with a photograph of Reggie holding a book entitled “I’m Going to be a Big Brother!”.

She wrote: “Someone’s going to be a big brother ? Another little Ennis-Hill on the way. So happy.”

What does DBE mean?

In 2017, Ennis-Hill was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2017 New Year Honours list.

The 31-year-old was awarded the second highest class for her services to athletics in which she has achieved so much success.

What is Jessica doing now?

Since retiring from athletics in October 2016, she has put her focus on spending time with her family after ten years as a professional competitor.

Before announcing that she was pregnant, Jess was rumoured to be in the running to be a contestant in the next series of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing in the autumn.


Damage Control: IAAF Considering A Name Change?

  • Atheltics' governing body contemplating changing its name as part of overhaul
  • Ex-president Lamine Diack was found to have collaborated with drug cheats
  • Organisation has sunk so low that it may need a new name to market the sport
  • They plan on considering all branding issues during this calender year

Athletics' governing body, the IAAF, is considering a name change in an attempt to overhaul its tainted reputation.
The IAAF name was dragged through the mud two years ago when it was revealed disgraced former president Lamine Diack collaborated with Russian drugs cheats.
Current president Lord Coe has repaired some of the damage from Diack’s regime with a reform programme, but the IAAF name has sunk so low that some within the federation believe a fresh title such as World Athletics would help market the sport.

The IAAF will consider all branding issues this year with a possible name change on the agenda, especially as what IAAF stands for is not widely known outside athletics — the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The sport still has to cope with the fall-out from the full disclosure of Diack’s actions, which have yet to reach court. He is currently under house arrest in Paris. There is also an international arrest warrant for his son Papa. He remains a fugitive in his native Senegal, who will not agree to his extradition.
When Diack was arrested in Paris, his son was on the runway in Dakar on a flight bound for Paris. Papa was quickly off the plane and has not risked leaving Senegal since.

It seemed remarkable that Sky could announce a revamped Soccer AM — the breakfast programme will include former Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard — without mentioning the departure of excellent presenter Helen Chamberlain, the original ladette, after 22 years.


But Sky say Chamberlain, whose contract was not renewed, did not want any fanfare.

Athletes are concerned about the number of people who have gained access to the practice track at the London Stadium. 
The area is swarming with agents, team delegates and friends and family, forcing runners to dodge idle spectators crossing the lanes as they warm up.

Olympics president Thomas Bach’s decision to go on holiday after only attending the first weekend of the World Athletics Championships did not break any IOC obligations. 
But his absence was all the more conspicuous because his predecessor Jacques Rogge is staying on a lot longer.

Stadium strikes a chord

The London Stadium is gaining ground on Wembley as the best outdoor music concert venue in the capital. 
Depeche Mode, Guns N’ Roses and Robbie Williams all played shows there before the championships. 
Promoters like the Stratford base because it has more room for standing on the pitch and large gangways mean concert-goers can get out of the stadium within six minutes.
After the West Ham security nightmare at the start of their tenancy a year ago, the biggest problem for stewards has been keeping order among women of a certain age who had queued all night to be in the front row for Robbie’s show.

Brendan Foster brings an end to a great broadcasting career at the weekend and calling Mo Farah to another triumph on Saturday night would be the perfect send-off. 
Foster targeted the championships in London — and the Farah races in particular — as his TV swansong in the knowledge that there won’t be another athletics occasion as big until Tokyo in 2020, which is in the wrong time zone to attract BBC audience peaks like the 7.5million who watched Farah’s 10,000m win.

It is difficult to see why athletics fans at the championships have been forced to put up with money-saving expert Martin Lewis as their trackside athletics pundit. 
Lewis, who has been doing a similar role at lower-profile British Athletics meetings, is a friend of BA chief executive Niels de Vos. 
In contrast, the stadium commentary, in the hands of athletics expert and experienced broadcaster John Rawling, has been top class.


Sore Bolt To Run In The 4x1 Heats

Usain Bolt will run in the 4x100 metres relay heats for Jamaica on Saturday despite being a bit sore after winning bronze in the 100m final at the weekend, he told Reuters on Monday.

"We'll see, we haven't done any baton changes as yet with the guys, but I feel we are ready," said the 11-time World Championships gold medallist.

"I have talked to Julian Forte (100m semi-finalist) a little bit. I haven't really talked to the youngsters so we'll see when it comes to the baton changes, but I'm always excited to run relays and we see what the guys are prepared and ready to do."

Yohan Blake is the only other experienced member of Jamaica's sprint relay pool to have won medals at the World Championships or Olympics.

"Physically I am alright, there is a little bit of pain, but nothing a massage can't cure, I'm taking it easy," Bolt said of his condition two days after clocking a season's best equalling 9.95 seconds in the 100m final.


Omar McLeod preserves Jamaican glory; U.S. shut out of 110m hurdles

Omar McLeod finally gave Jamaica a gold medal to celebrate at the world track and field championships.

After Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson lost 100m finals, it was McLeod who won the 110m hurdles title in London on Monday night.

The Rio gold medalist prevailed in 13.04 seconds, one tenth ahead of Sergey Shubenkov, who was part of Russia’s exclusion from the 2016 Olympics. Shubenkov, the 2015 World champion, competed as a neutral athlete in London.

Hungary’s Balazs Baji grabbed bronze, while 2012 Olympic champion and world-record holder Aries Merritt was fifth.

The U.S. failed to earn a world 110m hurdles medal for the first time, one year after failing to earn an Olympic 110m hurdles medal for the first time (excluding the 1980 Moscow Games).

Full worlds results are here.

In other events Monday, Kenyan Faith Kipyegon took gold in the women’s 1500m, .17 ahead of a hard-charging Jenny Simpson. Scrutinized South African Caster Semenya earned bronze with a late surge.

Kipyegon, the Rio gold medalist, became the first Kenyan woman to win a world 1500m title.

Simpson captured her fourth global medal following her 2011 World title, 2013 World silver medal and 2016 Olympic bronze medal.

Semenya, scrutnized after a gender-testing controversy in 2009, made the podium in her first 1500m outside of Africa since 2011. Semenya is an overwhelming favorite in the 800m (final Sunday) after taking Olympic gold in that event.

Allyson Felix and Shaunae Miller-Uibo set up a rematch in Wednesday’s 400m final. Felix topped Miller-Uibo for the 2015 World title, but Miller-Uibo edged Felix in Rio with that famous finish-line dive.

Wayde van Niekerk, looking to join Michael Johnson as the only men to sweep the 200m and 400m at an Olympics or worlds, headlined the qualifiers from the 200m heats.

Van Niekerk races the 400m final Tuesday, the 200m semifinals Wednesday and, if he advances, the 200m final Thursday.

Both the 200m and 400m are lacking superstars. Neither 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt nor 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James is in the 400m final. Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin skipped the 200m this year, and Olympic silver medalist Andre De Grasse withdrew before worlds with a strained hamstring.

Olympic champion Kerron Clement led the qualifiers into Wednesday’s 400m hurdles final.

Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk repeated as world champion in the hammer throw, one year after repeating as Olympic champion. Wlodarczyk, who last lost in June 2014, threw 77.90 meters to win by six feet, but she was 17 feet shy of her world record from last August.


Justin Gatlin: From Despair To Destiny

LONDON — They introduced Justin Gatlin to the Olympic Stadium crowd here Sunday evening, just before they put a gold medal around his neck, before The Star-Spangled Banner played in his honor, and along with some cheers a chorus of boos rang out.

The cheers — great. The boos — this fell somewhere between disappointing and reprehensible. Olympic-style sport is not the English Premier League, the NFL or NBA. It is supposed to be about promoting three key values: friendship, excellence and respect.

Saturday’s men’s 100-meter final immediately became arguably the biggest gold-medal victory in the history of the event. Gatlin defeated the sport’s biggest legend, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. It’s how the race will forever be remembered: who beat Bolt, and in Bolt’s last individual 100? Gatlin. And who, before Saturday, was the last guy ever to beat Bolt? Gatlin, in Rome in 2013.

None of that takes anything away from Bolt. It does, however, catapult Gatlin. The two respect each other, unequivocally.

The sport’s establishment and significant segments of the British media nonetheless remained fixated Sunday on the same tiresome narrative (cue boos): Bolt and Gatlin as a clash of good and evil, even though that narrative holds no factual support.

How about — the truth?

The truth does not care about demonizing a champion for the sake of a grotesque caricature of a narrative. Instead, the truth turns to a real story about a real person who learned to overcome, as all of us must, to succeed. It includes, in measure, acceptance, gratitude, humility and, centrally, love. With love — for each other and what we do — anything is possible.

The truth tells us all how Justin Gatlin went from despair to what destiny had in store for him Saturday night in 9.92 seconds.

On July 4, Gatlin ran a 9.98 for the win in the 100 at a meet in Budapest.

That night, he, along with his longtime coach, Dennis Mitchell, and Dave Pascal, a Cary, N.C.-based chiropractor who focuses on severe neurological injury and whose practice also includes an extensive sports background, piled into a van to drive to Vienna. Pascal’s track roster includes a host of other superb U.S. athletes, including Sunday’s women’s 100 winner, Tori Bowie.

Mitchell was riding shotgun; Pascal in the middle bench of the three rows; Gatlin in the way back, on the driver’s side.

Twenty minutes into a two-and-a-half hour trip, on a pitch-black two-lane road, a truck traveling in the opposite direction crossed the center line. Both vehicles were traveling roughly 70 miles per hour. That’s a combined closing speed of 140.

Mitchell saw the crash coming. He knew the truck did not have enough time to get all the way back onto the right side of the road. He slumped back into his seat, resigned to whatever was next.

Bam!

A head-on crash? No. At the last possible moment, the truck, in fact, slid over — just enough.

The driver of the van slowed and then pulled over by the side of the road to assess the damage. The driver’s side mirror — gone. Truck from the paint ran down the side of the van, heaviest just outside the third window, right where Gatlin had been.

Everyone was sick to their stomachs. Everyone called home. Everyone was alive.

No one was seriously hurt.

Two nights later, on July 6, Gatlin ran in one of the sport’s traditional summer highlights, a meet in Lausanne, Switzerland.

You want mentally tough?

Gatlin won, in 9.96. That was his final tune-up before London.

The cosmos whisper to us. The trick is to listen.

Gatlin, Mitchell and Pascal had of course known each other for years. Now, though — they had this. Pascal’s daughter had years before been in a serious car crash herself. On the side of the road, there was talk about her crash, and how she had survived: “I told this story to Justin,” Pascal recalled Sunday. “He was like — thank you. That helped him.”

“That incident,” Pascal said, “gave us a bond, a commonality, that we will always have.” Indeed, in the moments after Gatlin’s victory Saturday, Pascal managed to find Mitchell: “You could feel the weight come off him. You could literally feel that … someone like Dennis, who has been put through it — to feel it come off, it was really cool.”

Both Mitchell and Gatlin have had encounters with the doping authorities. Accounts in the press typically have done neither any favors, in Mitchell’s case tending to downplay his testimony for the government in the BALCO matter and in Gatlin’s this vital detail: he never intended to cheat:

Gatlin’s first positive test was for Adderall, which he assuredly was not hiding, in 2001. His second, in 2006, was for testosterone; how it got into his system remains entirely unclear, according to a voluminous record on file in federal court in Florida.

To call for lifetime bans for doping offenses, as some did here Sunday, ignores the World Anti-Doping Code rules that since 2015 include assessments of intent and proportionality. Ask Gil Roberts, who won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. 4×400 relay team last year in Rio; on July 10, an arbiter ruled he had ingested the masking agent probenecid unknowingly by “frequently and passionately” kissing his girlfriend just hours before a March 24 test; she had swallowed sinus medication powder; this was thus not a case of intentional doping.

In the doping arena, facts, rules and process matter.

During the four years he was ordered to take off, 2006 to 2010, one of the things Gatlin did was train 8-year-olds in Atlanta. It is a long way from training 8-year-olds to defeating Usain Bolt on the world stage.

“It takes a special person to endure all this,” Gatlin’s longtime agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, said Sunday.

Asked if during those long four years he ever envisioned a moment like Saturday night, Gatlin paused and said, “I would just say — no.”

At first, Nehemiah said, it was enough for Gatlin just to get back onto the track with an eye toward being competitive:

“He loves what he does. For him, it is not about money or fame. This is his safe haven — the track.”

After connecting with Mitchell, Gatlin worked his way back to bronze in the 100 here in 2012 in London, behind Bolt of course.

Then at the 2013 worlds, silver, again behind Bolt.

The 100 at the 2015 worlds in Beijing should have been Gatlin’s race.

He came in on a hot streak — including a 9.74 that May at a race in Doha, Qatar.

That Beijing 100, however, went Bolt’s way, by one-hundredth of a second, Bolt crossing in 9.79, Gatlin breaking form about five meters from the line and finishing in 9.8.

In Beijing, the good vs. evil theme got big play.

That race in Beijing, Gatlin reflected Sunday: “That was a hard loss.” Physically, he said, he was ready. But: “Emotionally, I wasn’t there. Mentally, I wasn’t there. That’s what stopped me from winning. Emotionally and mentally, I wasn’t connected.”

That is, he said, he was running perhaps too selfishly — he wasn’t feeling part of something bigger, at least enough to make a difference.

Last year, in Rio, Gatlin again took silver, behind Bolt.

Gatlin has said many times since that he was injured in 2016. Nehemiah said Sunday it was something even more.

About three weeks after the Games, Nehemiah said, he called Gatlin and said, what happened? You faded at 80 meters — that’s not like you.

Gatlin is not one to complain. Even with Nehemiah — with whom he has worked since 2003 — he is not an excuse-maker.

Food poisoning, Gatlin said. I was sick the entire time I was in Rio.

“The previous two lessons,” Nehemiah said softly Sunday, meaning 2015 and 2016, “were about realizing that he was the only thing that was in his way.”

This 2017 season did not start auspiciously. Gatlin, who turned 35 in February, battled a succession of injuries. On May 5 and May 21, Gatlin ran two races in the 10s. On May 27 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, which is a fast track, he ran a wind-aided 9.97, good only for fifth — with the U.S. nationals, and a spot on the line for the worlds, coming up just three weeks later.

After the first round of heats at the nationals in Sacramento, California, Gatlin texted Pascal.

The two had first started working together in 2003. This is the nature of Gatlin’s world — a close inner circle and longstanding relationships. With Pascal, the work has not been every year. But now Gatlin was again reaching out, asking if they could connect while simultaneously offering a heartfelt apology for wrongs he might have committed over the course of their years together.

“He deeply apologized,” Pascal said, “then he said he was hoping we could work together that day. I said, yes, of course.

“If you look at his form, to me, I’m biased, in his semifinal, he looked dramatically better and his final he won,” Gatlin going 9.95, NCAA champion Christian Coleman 9.98.

That had maybe taken care of Gatlin’s physical connection. Now — emotionally and mentally?

Before the race, Mitchell had turned to Gatlin. Understand that Mitchell is not the sort who demands of his athletes, I need x or y. This time, though, he said to Gatlin, I need 9 seconds.

“Something inside of me just rose up,” Gatlin said Sunday, adding a moment later, “When my coach said, ‘I want those 9 seconds, it turned something on in me I haven’t felt in a long time. I said, ‘OK, I am going to give it to you.’ “

Mitchell said Sunday, “A cup can only hold so much water. We had walked this walk together for so many years. He found comfort in sharing with someone.”

He also said of Gatlin, “Humility is about life and humility is what you make of it. He got to the point where he wanted to do something that was bigger than himself. You have to share it or lose it. At this point in his career, he was willing to humble himself enough to give some of it away to keep all of it.”

Mitchell added, “It’s a love story,” in part the love the two men had for each other after all they had been through and in part their shared passion for the sport.

No one in the Gatlin circle is uncomfortable speaking like this. They love track and field. They love competing.

“Gat gave me — his love for track and the person he is gave me back my love for track,” Pascal said.

“‘I love it,’” Gatlin would tell Nehemiah, meaning everything about track and field. “‘I missed it so much.’ And,” Nehemiah said, “the thought of losing it weighed on him tremendously …”

That near-death experience on the highway in Europe? Gratitude for being alive. Humility that everyone had been given more time. The sense that there had to be a reason. Right? Why else?

“Spiritually,” Nehemiah would say Sunday, “it wasn’t his time the last two seasons.

“This was his season.”

Bolt came into London ranked only seventh in the world. Coleman was the world No. 1, with a 9.82 in Eugene at the NCAAs.

Team Gatlin had something of a stealth plan through the rounds: just do enough to get to the finals. No need to run too fast.

Which is exactly what Gatlin did, a 10.05 in the heats, then a 10.09, second in his semifinal, enough to get through to the final, where he drew Lane 8 — way out on the outside.

Bolt drew Lane 4, Coleman 5.

“Me and Dennis got quiet,” Gatlin said, when the lane draw came out, and they were looking at 8. “I was like, it’s going to be a glorified time trials again — it can work in our favor … I can set my own pace and no one is going to see me coming.”

Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

When Gatlin lined up, the boos rained down. Each and every round.

“Normal people might have folded or used the booing as naysaying or why didn’t you win? Everyone was wanting Usain to win,” Gatlin said. “I just dialed it out.”

In the final, when the gun went off, Gatlin’s mind was calm. He was not running solely for himself. He was, he said, running for, in no particular order, Pascal; for the USA Track & Field medical staff; for Nehemiah; for Mitchell; for the crew he trained with day in and out in Clermont, Florida; for his U.S. teammates here and in years gone by; for fans here and at home; for his family; for anyone and everyone who had supported him on this journey.

He was feeling the love.

He ran free and easy. He surged over the last half of the race, the way he did in the 100 in Athens in 2004, 13 long years ago, when he won Olympic gold: “That’s what got me to the line. That’s what took away the pressure. That’s what got me to the line first.”

A moment later, he bowed to Bolt, out of — genuine — respect. They embraced, again out of — real — respect.

Then, while the crowd chanted Bolt’s name, Gatlin, wrapped in the American flag, went over to the side of the stadium, to find his parents, Willie and Jeanette.

“For years the agony,” his father said Sunday. Now: “Just total redemption.”


Bowie Was Rare In Thinking She Could Win

LONDON- Tori Bowie admitted she felt like she was in the minority. Other than her, not many people believed she would win the 100-meter final at the IAAF World Championships on Sunday.

“I’d bet I’m probably the only person in the world who thought I could come out and win the 100 meters,” Bowie told Excelle Sports. “Tonight, I learned a lot. Always follow your heart. Everyone in the world was telling me, ‘Oh my god, why are you choosing the 100 over the 200?’ I was like, ‘This is how I’m feeling, this is the event I want to be the world champion in,’ and it happened.”

The American sprinter, who turns 27 later in the month, can claim the moniker of “World’s Fastest Woman” after sharply leaning on her final stride to the finish line to edge Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Cote d’Ivoire by .01 seconds. London Olympic Stadium fell silent for a minute or two, as the athletes gasped for air on the track, waiting for the results of the photo finish. Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands won the bronze medal a tenth of a second behind Bowie and Ta Lou.

“The last 40 meters are the best part of my race,” said Bowie. “I am currently working on the others. It’s slowly getting better. I was happy with the finish because I thought I was the top three, but when I saw my name on the board, I couldn’t believe it.”

The result finally vaulted the former long jumper at the University of Southern Mississippi to the top of the podium at a major event. Bowie won the 100-meter bronze medal in the previous World Championships two years ago in Beijing, losing to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. At the Rio Olympics last summer, she placed silver in the 100 and bronze in the 200 before anchoring the 4-by-100 relay team to a gold medal. Elaine Thompson of Jamaica defeated her in both individual sprint events in Rio and was a disappointing fifth on Sunday, as she was the world leader again this season.

“They all deserved to be on that podium, they worked hard and deserved it,” Thompson told Excelle Sports. “Tonight didn’t go as planned. I’ll have to watch the video because I don’t know what went wrong. I didn’t execute my race, which is a shame.”

Heats for the 200 are on Tuesday night, with the semifinals and final on Thursday. Joining Bowie in the field are Americans Deajah Stevens and Kimberlyn Duncan, plus Schippers – the reigning champion. The Olympic champion Thompson is not running the 200 meters.

Bowie’s 100-meter victory also came one night after Justin Gatlin upset Usain Bolt in the men’s final of track’s marquee event. This means the U.S. now claims both world titles simultaneously for the first time since Gatlin and Lauryn Williams achieved the feat at Helsinki in 2005. Since then, Jamaica won 14 of the 16 World and Olympic 100-meter gold medals. With all of the hype over Bolt’s retirement and the end of an era in men’s track, perhaps there is a changing of the guard for the women, as well.


Thompson Shocker Adds To Bolt Heartbreak

LONDON, England:

For the first time since 2005, Jamaica has been kept off the top of the medal podium at a major championship in the 100m events.

There was no Jamaican winner in the men's 100m and, last night, with double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson finishing fifth in 10.98 seconds, no winner in the women's 100m.

For fans of the 'Sprint Capital' of the world, it is a bitter pill to swallow, a rude awakening of what might become in the continued absence of intervention.

Thompson did not make much of it, but a pre-race vomiting incident had her rivals worried about her, with silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, who ran 10.86, noting, "I am sorry for her (Thompson). I think before the race, she was sick. I hope she gets better and I have respect for her. She is a big, big athlete!"

The Jamaican was still struggling to find the answers after what was her first non-top-three finish since June 2014.

Push Me Harder

"I don't know what happened. I have to go and watch the replay. I stumbled and tried to get it back. I wasn't getting the form I wanted to and I tried not to panic," said a smiling Thompson, who also alleviated fears she had suffered an injury mid-race. "I am healthy. I came out here brave, strong and ready to go, but that didn't happen. This defeat will push me harder and help me to work harder."

American Tori Bowie took gold in 10.85 seconds, with Ta Lou taking silver in 10.86. Dafne Schippers was third in 10.96 seconds.

This was Thompson's fourth loss in 35 races over 100m.

Yesterday's third day of competition inside the London Stadium actually started well enough for the Jamaicans, who will today have four athletes competing in finals.

Rich in quarter-mile history, Jamaica has had five different finalists in the men's 400m at these championships. The last one was Jermaine Gonzales, who finished fourth in 2011 in Daegu, South Korea.

The island, however, has never had two men qualifying for the final of the one-lap event at the same championship, an accomplishment achieved by the ever-improving pair of Nathon Allen and Demish Gaye.

Allen glided to a second-place finish behind Bahamian Steven Gardiner, 43.89, with a personal-best mark of 44.19 seconds in his semi-final, and Gaye matching that effort, finishing second to Botswana's Isaac Makwala, 44.30, also in personal-best fashion with a time of 44.55 seconds.

"It's a great feeling representing my country. To make the final is a great feeling and I am just focused on going out there and doing my best," Gaye told The Gleaner after his run. "It means a lot to me to see that I can go out there and represent my country well along with my teammate Nathon Allen. It's a great feeling.

Any Issues

Allen, for the second straight day, was taken straight to the medical area for a check-up, but was later cleared of any issues.

The final will take place tomorrow at 9:50 p.m. (3:50 p.m. Jamaica time), with Allen drawn to compete in Lane Six beside South African Wayde Van Niekerk, the world record holder, and Gaye lining up in Lane Eight.

There will also be two Jamaicans in the 110m hurdles final, with Olympic champion Omar McLeod and Beijing 2015 silver medal winner Hansle Parchment both securing lanes in the medal round.

"I remember in 2015, I had just turned pro. I was paying my dues. I got a sixth place and it was, honestly, like a gold medal for me, so this year is like a redemption. I just have to go out there and focus on me, have fun and execute," said McLeod after his all-qualifiers-leading 13.10 seconds win in last night's semi-final.

McLeod has won all but one of his 10 races this season and will enter the final as the strong favourite for a second straight gold medal at a major international championship.

Parchment has been less convincing this season, but has a history of showing up when it matters. He is looking for another big-race run in tonight's 9:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.) final.

"When I come out, I tell myself that I am the best. I know I need to show that, so I keep motivating myself every time I step on the track because I know Jamaica is looking for me to give them good performances. I want to surprise myself with strong times as well," said Parchment.

All three Jamaicans are through to tonight's men's 400m hurdles semi-final at 8:20 p.m. (2:20 p.m.)

Jaheel Hyde, 49.72, was second in his heat, with Ricardo Cunningham, 49.91, and Kemar Mowatt, 50.00, both taking fourth spot in their respective heats.

Novlene Williams-Mills, 51.00, was the fastest Jamaican qualifier in women's 400m and the fourth fastest overall, with Chrisann Gordon, 51.14, Shericka Jackson, 51.26, and Stephenie-Ann McPherson, 51.27, all comfortably advancing as well.

Kimberly Williams and Shaneika Ricketts will compete in the women's triple jump final at 8:25 p.m. (2:25 p.m.), with Yohan Blake, Rasheed Dwyer and Warren Weir taking the track a bit earlier in the men's 200m heats at 6:30 p.m (12:30 p.m).


"BBC Happy To Ignore (British) Elephant In The Room"

Treatment of Gatlin in stark contrast to the refusal to ask questions about Mo Farah’s coach

here are cheerleaders in every sport but not all carry pompoms. It seems that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has decided to reserve all critical analysis in relation to any controversy, past or present, drugs or otherwise, for ‘Johnny Foreigner’ when it comes to the World Athletics Championships in London.

The victories of Somali-born, Brit superstar Mo Farah (men’s 10,000 metres), American Justin Gatlin (100 metres), and Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana (women’s 10,000 metres) invoked pride and prejudice but unlike the title character in Jane Austen’s novel, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, the BBC commentary and analysis principals haven’t come to realise the important difference between the superficial and the essential.

There is a latent jingoism that’s front and centre when it comes to dear old Auntie and its coverage of the world of athletics, so tut-tutting about impartiality or restraint when there’s a red, white and blue filter on every screen image is a little naïve. They’re entitled to be bullish.

Accepting the partisan nature and the cloying emotional sentiment invested in the glory of the land of hope is one thing but the BBC ought to have a professional journalistic responsibility not to run a mile from discussing uncomfortable issues pertaining to one of their own.

Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar is currently being investigated as there have been allegations leaked in a 329-page report by the US anti-doping agency (Usada) into Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project training group.

The report alleges Salazar abused prescription medicines and used prohibited infusions to boost testosterone levels of his athletes. It also claims UK Athletics ignored warnings from a doctor that Farah was receiving potentially harmful treatments from his coach on moving to the US to join Salazar’s training group (2010).

Usada’s investigation continues but Farah and Salazar have always vehemently denied any wrongdoing. No one expects this to be woven into the race commentary but it’s germane to any pre- or post-race discussion, especially as Farah declined to do any media interviews prior to the 10,000 metres final to address the accusations.

Instead the task of defence fell to Neil Black, the UK Athletics Performance Director, who claimed he had looked in the eyes of Farah and Salazar and asserted that they weren’t cheats. He may be employing the black arts, so to speak, but a more likely suspicion is that it’s another mumbo-jumbo assertion drawn from the lexicon of sporting bureaucrats.

Stunning triumph

The post-race discourse relating to Ayana’s stunning triumph in the women’s 10,000 metres was also oddly incongruous given the circumstances; her first 10,000m race of an injury-plagued season saw her decimate a field of the best athletes in the world by a margin of 46 seconds.

This comes a matter of days after the Guardian newspaper ran an article by Martha Kelner under the headline, ‘Inside the doping hotspot of Ethiopia: dodgy testing and EPO over the counter’.

The allegations made in the article are eye-opening but it should be stated that there is no correlation whatsoever between Ayana’s triumph and its contents other than that the issues raised would merit some reference in any middle distance running discussion. To pick at one strand might have unravelled others and the BBC weren’t willing to take that chance.

But the Beeb had no problem fixing Justin Gatlin in their crosshairs. A twice-banned drugs cheat ruins Usain Bolt’s swansong championship appearance by winning the 100-metres title. The crowd bayed at and booed the villain; the BBC verbally and pictorially ignored the winner to focus on Bolt, exuding a moral righteousness as if adopting a tone from those in the stadium.

The BBC didn’t contemplate for one instant that Gatlin might win and so Steve Cram and his buddies were at a loss for words; well, until he had a chance to arrange his thoughts and have them beamed into the Twittersphere by BBC5 live.

The gist of his contribution on Gatlin’s triumph was that the London crowd were perfectly entitled to boo the American, that the sprinter’s primary fame is for being a drugs cheat and that he must accept and understand it when people articulate their displeasure.

Cram concluded: “And that’s just people explaining and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in that, in explaining to athletes, explaining to the IAAF, explaining to journalists, explaining to us as broadcasters how they feel about this man [Gatlin].”
No critical analysis of either Farah or Ayana has turned the BBC coverage into a ‘fawnzine’.

So ethics are to be decided by a public vote, sport’s version of reality television, a popularity contest defined under narrow parameters, where nationality is key and as long as the elephant is prepared to sit quietly in the corner of the room, there is no need to reference its presence, or think about it. It’s the modern way, live in the moment.


Centrowitz The Best American Miler Ever?

He’s running for the American record and another world championship. But first, he needs to check his Twitter timeline.

For once, Matthew Centrowitz didn't know what to do when he crossed the finish line.

He had copied a LeBron James celebration after winning the U.S. title in the 1,500 meters in 2015 and dabbed like Cam Newton after winning an indoor mile in 3:54.02 last year in Charlotte. But after finishing first to become the first American to win Olympic gold in the 1,500 meters since 1908, a stunned Centrowitz could only extend his arms and hold his palms up to the sky as if to ask, “Did that just happen?”

Centrowitz won silver at the 2011 world championships and bronze in 2013, but a win in Rio seemed out of the question going up against Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop, one of the best metric milers of all time. Centrowitz controlled the race from the gun, however, and blitzed through a last lap of 50.6 seconds as his family and close friends celebrated by yelling and attempting to crowd surf in the stands.

One week after the race of his life, Centrowitz was still in disbelief. If he could break the American record in the 1,500 or the mile, he told me then, he would have claim to the title of greatest American miler of all time.

“There’s definitely been a lot of talk about me getting the American record in the 1,500 before my career is over,” Centrowitz says. “At least for my mindset, that would kind of put the nail in the coffin.”

One year later, his gold medal tour hasn’t been the record-breaking celebration he hoped it would be. Injuries and other setbacks have turned the year into a tour of so-so races. He nearly didn’t run the U.S. Championships because of injury. He did just enough to qualify for the world championships, where he’ll compete in London in the 1.500-meter event beginning on Aug. 10. There, he will have a chance to redeem what can be best described as a hangover of a season.

Centrowitz is on borrowed time if he is going to set records, inching over to the wrong side of his prime at 27. As the glow of his Olympic gold fades, his mission to become the greatest American miler is ongoing, but losing steam.

With less than three weeks until the 2017 U.S. Track and Field Championships, Centrowitz wasn’t supposed to be in Las Vegas. Like the rest of the top runners in the country, he should have been on the track. But a slight tear in his right adductor — one of his many setbacks in 2017 — left Centrowitz dejected.

Centrowitz dyed his hair blonde and bought a one-way ticket to Las Vegas. His season, he decided, was over.

The members of Centrowitz’s inner circle — his father, coaches, friends, and training partners — don’t stop him from reaching NBA levels of pettiness on social media, like when he calls out a Twitter troll for running a “pedestrian” 4:46 mile. They don’t mind his finish-line antics. They do, however, hold him accountable, and they weren’t going to let him wallow away in Vegas.

Centrowitz arrived in Vegas on a Saturday. His coach, agent, and some family members called him on Sunday to convince him he could still race at the national championships. He flew back to Portland on Monday and received a platelet-rich plasma injection to help his adductor that day.

Centrowitz is very close with his family. His dad, Matt Centrowitz, was a 1976 Olympian and made the Olympic team in 1980 when the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Games. His mother, Beverly Bannister-Centrowitz, is in the Hunter College Athletics Hall of Fame for track. His older sister, Lauren, was an All-American runner at Stanford.

“All my kids were great runners,” Matt says, “but Matthew took it much more seriously.”

Matt recalls how his son had a penchant for history at a young age. Matt ran with Steve Prefontaine at the University of Oregon and used to tell his son stories about the legendary runner. Centrowitz studied all of the sport’s greats.

Jim Ryun above all. Ryun was the first high school runner to break four minutes in the mile, an Olympic silver medalist, and a world record holder with a 3:51 mile. He was, and still is, Centrowitz’s favorite. “For him to run those times in the 1960s and ‘70s,” Centrowitz says, “it’s just incredible.” He pored over Ryun’s In Quest of Gold, his dad calling it his bible.

Centrowitz still geeks out when he talks about his heroes. “I think my favorite part of winning gold,” he says, “was just kind of seeing all the legends of the event, the mile—guys like Jim Ryun, Sebastian Coe, Hicham el Guerrouj — and seeing how excited they were for me. These are guys I’ve looked up to and still look up to, and for them to give me any kind of credit, is just humbling and honoring. It’s honestly surreal.”

Centrowitz started building his legacy as a 21-year-old at his dad’s alma mater, Oregon, winning a bronze medal in the 1,500 at the 2011 world championships. He turned pro the following year, joining the Nike Oregon Project under coach Alberto Salazar. He missed out on a medal at the 2012 London Olympics by 0.04 seconds. He made up for that heartbreak and then some in Rio, leading nearly wire to wire in a slowly paced race to win a shocking gold.

After that race, Coe, the British runner who won the 1,500 at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, presented Centrowitz with his gold medal. “Welcome to the club,” Coe said. Centrowitz’s father went even further. At some point in the weeks following his gold medal race, he told his son: “You’re the best American miler ever.”

Two weeks before the 2017 U.S. Championships in Sacramento, however, the gold medalist was struggling after his return from Vegas. “I couldn’t break 33 [seconds] for 200 meters,” Centrowitz says of his first workout after his injection. He kept at it, and ran a 1,000-meter time trial five days later. The result, a 2:21, wasn’t his best (Centrowitz has run 2:16.67), but it was progress.

Less than a week later, he hopped on a plane to Sacramento and ran a preliminary race that he says “shook off the rust.” Two days later, he finished second in the final to qualify for the world championships.

Did you see the Andy Bayer one?” Centrowitz asks me over the phone from St. Moritz, Switzerland, where he was training at altitude throughout July. In quick, excitable bursts, he’s talking about another Twitter beef.

He laughs them all off, like the 20-year-old college student who tweeted a month before the Olympics that he’d get a tattoo of Centrowitz’s face if he medaled in Rio. Centrowitz called him out on it. A tattoo of Centrowitz holding the American flag now covers the student’s left shoulder blade.

Centrowitz’s finish-line celebrations, which he likens to end-zone dances, are ripped from other sports. He’s partial to the LeBron celebration in which he mock-fired a pistol into the sky before reloading and holstering it. Centrowitz jokingly modeled it in front of training partners in the weight room while watching 2015 NBA Finals highlights before unleashing it on the track. Despite knowing the dab had already lived a life in full, Centrowitz honored Cam Newton at an indoor meet in Charlotte.

Like those NBA and NFL superstars, Centrowitz is a different athlete from his peers.

The best basketball and football athletes do things that mere mortals can't dream of, whereas almost everyone in the world can run. In track, fans want to know what elite athletes are doing so that they can apply it to their own training. Because of this, many runners, like 2016 Olympian Brenda Martinez, have staid public personas, tweeting out workouts and pictures of their runs. Others, like American 10k record holder Galen Rupp, are almost absent from social media, like NBA players who “go dark” in the playoffs.

The thought of Ryun imitating Joe Namath or talking trash in the 1960s seems absurd. Centrowitz, however, enjoys trolling.

Even Centrowitz’s gait has flash. It appears smooth, and powerful, and effortless even as he’s running a 3:50 mile pace. His stride eats up the track when he breaks into his finishing sprint, like James turning on the jets for a chase-down block.

“The moves he makes in races are almost violent,” Johnny Gregorek, Centrowitz’s teammate in the 1,500 in London, said after the Olympic Trials last year. “They are so sudden and decisive.”

Like James and Newton, Centrowitz isn’t for everyone, and he’s not immune from controversy. Training with the Nike Oregon Project comes with its own set of headaches. While it is considered one of the best training groups in the world, it is also dogged by drug allegations. A BBC and ProPublica report in 2013 alleged that Salazar was leading a win-at-all-costs training regimen that included the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The group is under USADA investigation, and the FBI is reportedly involved.

Salazar adamantly denied the accusations on multiple occasions. Centrowitz, too, has continually denied taking performance-enhancing drugs. Centrowitz was the most drug-tested U.S. track athlete in 2016, with 17 out-of-competition tests, and has never failed one.

Centrowitz doesn’t let drug tests or online haters faze him. He seems to thrive off doubt and loves talking back — especially when he can back it up.

“Same as Kevin Durant after the Warriors won the title,” Centrowitz says. “As long as you’re taking care of business then you can have some fun.”

Centrowitz tries to be humble about his legacy, but he agrees that he is close to being considered the American GOAT — he just can’t put himself above his idol Ryun just yet without a record.

When it comes to hardware, no one matches up with Centrowitz. Other than Mel Sheppard (1908) and James Lightbody (1904), he’s the only U.S. runner with Olympic gold in the 1,500. In fact, since 1952 only Ryun (1972) and Leonel Manzano (2012) have won medals.

His times, however, aren’t quite the stuff of legend. His 3:30.40 in the 1,500 makes him the third-fastest American of all time at the distance. In the mile, Centrowitz’s 3:50.53 makes him the ninth-best.

Faster runners include Alan Webb, the American record holder in the mile at 3:46.91, and Bernard Lagat, the Kenyan-born American who won the 1,500 and 5,000 at the 2007 world championships and has the American record in the 1,500 at 3:29.3. Steve Scott had the American record before Webb and ran a world record 136 sub-4:00 miles. Sydney Maree had the 1,500 record before Lagat.

Ryun, meanwhile, has a resume that’s hard to match: He held the world record in the mile for almost 10 years. Dr. Michael Joyner is an expert in human performance at the Mayo Clinic — back in 1991, he predicted that a human could run 1:57:58 in the marathon, long before Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge ran 2:00:25 in a controlled, Nike-sponsored race in May — thinks Ryun’s 3:51.3 world record in 1966 was one of the most impressive runs of all time.

At 27, Centrowitz is about to leave what many consider his prime. A 2011 French study concluded that athletes start to see physical declines at age 26. Centrowitz hasn’t set a personal best in the 1,500 since 2015, or the mile since 2014. The American mile record has been broken 16 times by seven different runners since 1955, and the average age of the runner on each record-breaking run was 23 years and 243 days. Only two of the seven — Jim Beatty and Jim Grelle — were 27 years or older when they set the record.

This isn’t to say Centrowitz is washed up. Thanks to better training, injury prevention, and earning opportunities (athletes were amateurs in the 1950s and ‘60s), more and more runners are extending their careers. Lagat, for example, won U.S. Olympic Trials at 5,000 meters last year as a 39-year-old and set the current 1,500 record in 2005 when he was 30.

But age isn’t the only factor. Racing for time is a different beast than racing for place. Tactical races like the Olympic finals are all about positioning and strategy.

Centrowitz’s gold medal time in Rio was more than 20 seconds off Lagat’s record, for example. He won in large part because he is a savvy racer. With about 450 meters to go, Ayanleh Souleiman briefly took the lead from Centrowitz, but only for an instant. Almost immediately, Centrowitz slithered by Souleiman on the inside, brushing him with his elbow. If Centrowitz hadn’t responded so quickly, he could have been swallowed up by the pack. Instead, he was clear of the field and had the inside track for the final 400 meters.

Most record-breaking races occur when the runners are in a single file, with pacemakers leading the way for the first half of the race or more. Instead of worrying about timing a finishing sprint or getting tripped up by an opponent, runners can focus on efficiency.

Comparing records to medals is a little like comparing rings to stats. If you’re an NBA fan, would you rather have Russell and his 11 rings or Wilt Chamberlain and his preposterous numbers? It’s a difficult question. Until Centrowitz has numbers on his side, his legacy will be the subject of similar debate.

The morning after the night in Rio that changed everything for Centrowitz — after NBC cameras caught his family’s bombastic celebration in the stands, after the blur of the victory lap and the medal ceremony, after decompressing with those closest to him at a small restaurant in the early hours of the next morning — he woke up early to his father asking if he was awake. They had to get to a morning show on NBC.

“Yeah, Dad,” he said. “What’s up?”

“My son, Olympic champion,” Matt said. “I still can’t believe this is real.”

“Me neither, Dad,” Matthew said with a grin as he pulled the gold medal out from under his pillow.

It was one of the few moments of calm for Centrowitz in the immediate aftermath of his gold medal run. He spent the next few weeks answering media requests and making appearances with his new piece of hardware. Almost one year later, he is still answering questions about the gold medal — the price of being an Olympic champion. His dad published a book called Like Father, Like Son, and Centrowitz has become a headliner at races where he used to be an also-ran.

Centrowitz believes he’s handling the extra pressure. His attitude hasn’t changed. The hardware hasn’t altered his off-track or post-race antics, even if the circumstances are different.

One thing remains the same 11 months after the Rio win: There is still a sense of disbelief. Centrowitz says he and his dad still talk about the race, citing that moment with about 450 meters to go as the turning point in a career-defining race.

They also talk about his legacy and what else he can do on the track and the American record. Not that they need to. Centrowitz is getting older, and breaking records is hard. By winning gold the way he did, Centrowitz did plenty to get the world talking.

“Is Michael Jordan better than LeBron?” Centrowitz says. “You’re gonna have that talk for the rest of our lives. I won’t be able to race Jim Ryun or Alan Webb — at everyone’s peak especially. I think it’s entertaining to talk about it.”

To be considered among the best ever isn’t easy. Centrowitz knows his history, and he knows he has a place in it. Staring down the American record, he is exactly where he wants to be.


Unrepentant Gatlin Rejects "Bad Boy" Label

Justin Gatlin insisted his pariah status was undeserved as the least popular world 100 metres champion in history still refused to see his triumph over Usain Bolt as a setback for the sport.

The two-time drug cheat's victory on Saturday night in 9.92 seconds was greeted by a cacophony of boos, as his every appearance at the London Stadium has been.

There is no hiding from the embarrassment that the unrepentant American's victory will cause to a sport still struggling to regain credibility in the wake of repeated doping scandals.

The retiring Bolt, cast as the 'saviour' of athletics in his battles with Gatlin, had his goodbye gatecrashed - and by the one man almost no one wanted to spoil the party.

Gatlin was effusive and gracious in his praise of bronze medallist Bolt after the race, bowing down to him on the track and lauding him in interviews, but for the 35-year-old sorry still seems to be the hardest word.

His first ban in 2001 he blamed on an amphetamine contained in attention deficit disorder medication. The second in 2006, which resulted in a four-year suspension, reduced from eight on appeal, he attributed to a testosterone massage cream applied to his body without his knowledge.

Remorse has not been forthcoming - and still, at least publicly, is not.

Asked if he could understand why his victory was seen as a disaster for the sport, he said: "I really don't need to understand.

"I can understand the rivalry that I have with Usain, but it's not a bitter rivalry. I respect the man and every time we come across the line I've shaken his hand, given him a hug and told him congratulations and that's all the really matters for me.

"I'm just a runner, I'm back in the sport, I've done my time.

"I've come back, did community service, I talked to kids and inspired kids about the right path. That's all I can do.

"Society does that for people who have made mistakes and I hope track and field can understand that to. That's why I'm back in the sport and that's why I'm still running."

Gatlin has Bolt's backing - "he deserves to be here, because he's done his time," said the Jamaican - and he is of course far from alone in having a doping past.

Plenty of athletes have returned from bans and won medals and received far warmer receptions.

Asked about his "bad boy" reputation, Gatlin said: "What do I do that makes me a bad boy?

"Do I talk bad about anybody? Do I give bad gestures? I don't. I shake every athlete's hand. I congratulate them, I tell them good luck. That doesn't sound like a bad boy to me.

"It seems like the media want to sensationalise it and make me a bad boy because Usain is the hero. That's fine, I know you've got to have a black hat and a white hat, but guys, come on.

"I keep it classy and I never talk bad. I try to inspire other athletes. I don't see where the bad boy comes from."

"I'm just a runner, I'm back in the sport, I've done my time."
The fact is, though, that the 100m is the blue riband event and has been particularly beset by drug problems.

Of the 30 best 100m times in history, 21 have been achieved by athletes who have served drug bans - with the other nine all coming from Bolt.

It is grovelling rather than winning that Gatlin has to focus on if he wants to silence the boos.

There will inevitably be more when he returns to the stadium on Sunday to take to the top of the podium, a ceremony that has been brought forward from 8.00pm to 6.50pm.

And, after landing the 100m crown 12 years after his last global title, Gatlin looks set to be around for some time yet.

While Bolt, at 30, has run his last individual race and will hang up his spikes after Saturday's 4x100m relay final, Gatlin has no retirement plans. Indeed, he indicated the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 could be a goal.

"One millisecond when I crossed the line, I was like, 'I'm retiring'," he said.

"My son wants (me) to go to Tokyo 2020, so I'm just going to take it year by year, race by race, and work hard."