Thursday, 27 July 2017 17:11

Does running really harden your arteries?

On Tuesday, the journal Circulation published three articles—two new studies plus an editorial—that answer some longstanding questions and raise new ones about the link between high levels of running and the health of your coronary arteries. The news is mostly reassuring for runners, but it’s worth taking some time to understand what the new data tell us.

For many decades, the relationship between exercise and heart health was presumed to be simple: the more you do, the less likely you are to suffer heart problems. But in the last decade, that orthodoxy has been questioned, in part because we now have, for the first time, a generation of adults reaching retirement age who have been running (and doing other forms of endurance exercise) for nearly their entire adult lives. Being “active” is one thing; but if you’re running multiple marathons a year for four decades, does that eventually take a toll on your ticker?

For a general overview of this issue, check out my in-depth feature in Runner’s World from last fall. What the new studies in Circulation deal with is one particular aspect of the debate, related to the likelihood of developing blockages in the arteries leading to your heart.

In 2008, contrary to conventional wisdom, a study in Germany found that a group of marathon runners had higher “coronary artery calcium” (CAC) scores than a matched group of controls. CAC scores, which use CT scans to assess how much calcium has accumulated in your coronary arteries, quantify the degree to which artery-hardening plaques have built up in your blood vessels.

There were some questions about the German study, though. For example, the subjects had all completed at least five marathoners in the previous three years, but their earlier exercise history wasn’t considered, so it wasn’t clear whether the marathoners had been long-term athletes or more recent converts who “got religion” after a dissolute youth. More than half of the marathoners were former smokers, which tended to hint at the latter possibility. Still, it flagged the issue and sparked the launch of several other studies.

In the years since, as more data has emerged, the idea that I’ve heard from numerous sports cardiologists is that high levels of vigorous endurance exercise over many years may indeed increase coronary artery calcification, but that the pattern of plaques that form in athletes tends to be a healthier and more stable form of plaque, less likely to causes serious problems like a heart attack.

And that is, indeed, what the two new studies in Circulation suggest.

One study, from a group in Britain, compared 152 masters athletes (average age 54, 70 percent male) to 92 non-athlete controls. The athletes and non-athletes were equally likely to have elevated CAC scores, with roughly 40 percent in each group.

The bad news for athletes is that those who did have elevated CAC scores tended to have higher (i.e., worse) scores, and the higher scores were associated with the number of years of training.

The good news is that about 70 percent of the plaques in male athletes were hard, calcium-rich plaques, whereas about only 30 percent of the plaques in the controls were calcific. These hard plaques do narrow your arteries, but they’re much less likely to break off and cause a complete blockage that triggers a heart attack. (For more on this, see my description of this data from when it was first presented as a conference abstract a few years ago.)

The second study, from a group in the Netherlands, looked at 284 middle-aged men who competed in recreational sports. About half the participants were runners or cyclists, but the cohort included lots of different sports, including soccer and tennis.

The subjects completed detailed questionnaires reporting their lifelong exercise histories, and were divided into three groups based on their typical weekly exercise dose averaged over their adult lives. About half the athletes had non-zero CAC scores, but the prevalence was higher in the highest training group (68 percent) than the lowest training group (43 percent). And once again, the highest training group was more likely to have stable calcific plaques than the lowest training group.

In the comparison above, the lowest training group averaged less than 1,000 MET-minutes per week of exercise through their lives after the age of 12, which is equivalent to the higher end of public health guidelines for how much exercise everyone should get. (“MET” stands for metabolic equivalent of task, and is a way to measure the energy cost of differing activities.) The highest training group was getting above 2,000 MET-minutes per week, which is roughly equivalent to running 20 miles a week at a pace of 10:00 per mile.

This study also broke down the data by intensity of exercise, and found that intensities above 9 METs seemed to be associated with higher CAC score. For comparison, running at 10:00-mile pace burns about 10 METs in the average person, though habitual runners probably don’t have to work as hard (relatively speaking) to maintain a given pace.

For now, we don’t really have enough data to draw any conclusion about specific intensities or patterns of exercise and their link to arterial health. Still, taken together, these studies strengthen the picture that long-term endurance training is associated with more plaques but of a less dangerous type. So what message, in practical terms, should we take from this?

The accompanying editorial is by Aaron Baggish, of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Ben Levine, of the University of Texas Southwestern—both leading researchers in this area as well as sports cardiologists who are in the trenches dealing with masters athletes. They make three key points in their discussion.

The first is the old correlation-versus-causation caveat. Does endurance exercise really cause plaque build-up? There are some plausible hypotheses—that the turbulent, high-pressure blood flow through arteries during exercise contributes to plaque formation, or that hormones associated with intense exercise play a role.

But these studies don’t prove that link—and more than half the athletes in the two studies had no evidence of any calcification at all, despite their decades of hard training. So clearly training on its own isn’t enough to directly cause plaques.

So the second point Baggish and Levine raise is the potential role of unmeasured confounding variables. Do hardcore lifelong endurance athletes—or at least some of them—tend to eat poorly, without realizing the hidden consequences because their training keeps them thin? Do they overuse anti-inflammatory medications? Are they chronically stressed out? We don’t know.

The third point is the most important: the absence of data on clinical outcomes. In the average sedentary person, we know that high CAC scores are associated with an elevated risk of future cardiovascular events. And we know that prolonged endurance exercise seems to be associated with higher CAC scores in some people. But we don’t have any data linking high CAC scores in athletes with elevated risk of cardiovascular events.

Both the British and Dutch studies offer convincing evidence that plaques in athletes are “different” from those in other people—so we still need to figure out what they mean in practice.

For Baggish and Levine, who deal with lots of endurance athletes in their clinics, CAC scores simply aren’t a high priority compared to more conventional and well-understood risk factors like cholesterol levels and blood pressure (which can be managed with lifestyle changes and drugs), and exercise capacity testing (which can be managed with, well, exercise). When they see patients with high CAC scores, they don’t currently recommend reducing training—instead, they discuss the current state of knowledge about risk factors, and offer guidance on some of the other ways of lowering risk.

That seems to me like a pretty good place to leave things. Obviously we all want better information and more certainty, and hopefully further research will get us there. But until then, it’s not clear what CAC scores really mean in endurance athletes.

In fact, it reminds me of a spoof article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal a few years ago: “Cigarette smoking: an underused tool in high-performance endurance training.” Numerous studies show that smokers have higher lung volume and higher hemoglobin levels—factors associated with endurance performance, but also with respiratory problems. So should runners smoke in order to get faster? Of course not: the meaning of a measurement depends on who it’s measured in.

This article first appeared on Runner's World.

Bolt's Agent Hopes His Client Will Visit Ireland

Ricky Simms - who also has Mo Farah on his books - reveals he dreams of bringing his pal to his hometown of Milford

USAIN Bolt’s Irish agent is hoping to get the superstar to the hills of Donegal when he hangs up his spikes.

Ricky Simms, who has been by the side of the charismatic Jamaican for the past 14 years, says TV, movies and even football are all in the horizon for Bolt after he retires from running after the World Championships in London.

The sports agent, who also has Mo Farah on his books, told how he dreams of bringing his pal to his hometown of Milford, Co Donegal when he finally has some free time.

Ricky, who runs Pace Sports Management, said: “He will not be disappearing from the public eye. I expect you will see a lot more of Usain Bolt in the years to come.

“It is up to him. He has many opportunities. He is still very much in demand as a brand ambassador. He has several other business interests. The International Association of Athletics Federations would like him to be an ambassador.

“He will work more for the Usain Bolt Foundation. He plans to establish a world class medical facility in Jamaica. And then there is the lure of other sports, particularly football, TV, movies.

“Although he will retire from competing he has a million other things going on. His diary is already heavily booked until the end of 2017.”

He added: “Hopefully he will make it to Donegal one day.”

The Donegal man has had a front row seat at the side-lines watching the history-making sprinter repeatedly smash records winning millions of adoring fans along the way.

But he said the champion has managed to remain down-to-earth despite his global fame.

He said: “It is simple. Usain is genuinely a nice guy. He respects people and people respect him back.”

Runner assaults coach after missing worlds team

(AP) -- An Ethiopian athlete has been banned for two years for attacking his coach after learning he didn't make the team for next month's world championships in London.

Ethiopian Athletics Federation spokesman Sileshi Bisrat says 21-year-old steeplechase runner Chala Beyo, who competed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, punched coach Yohannes Mohammed when the team was announced.

The coach needed medical treatment for an injured left eye, and Bisrat says police are searching for the runner.

Bisrat says Chala was carrying a rock when he assaulted his coach, but didn't use it.

Chala ran for Ethiopia in the 3,000 meters steeplechase at last year's Olympics. He didn't qualify for the final.

The federation says it has banned him for two years from all competitions

Acne Doesn't Mean She Dopes, Says Schippers

Dafne Schippers: 'I hate when people see my skin and say I'm a drugs cheat, acne doesn't mean I dope'... as Dutch sprinter labels her frosty relationship with Elaine Thompson as 'very bad'

  • Dafne Schippers converted from heptathlon to sprinting two years ago
  • She stunned the world in the World Championships in Beijing to win 200m gold
  • However the 25-year-old has grown frustrated with questions over steroid abuse
  • The Dutch Athlete is adamant she follows the strictest routine and diet to the law

For Dafne Schippers, a mention of the World Championships provokes pain and pleasure.


First to the pleasure. Two years ago in Beijing, Schippers emerged as the young sensation. Within three months of becoming a full-time sprinter — having previously competed in the heptathlon — she stunned athletics by claiming gold in the 200metres with a jet-heeled time of 21.63 seconds.
Only Florence Griffith Joyner, who set the world record of 21.34sec in 1988, and Marion Jones, who ran 21.62sec in 1998, have run faster than Schippers.

Those times are shrouded in doubt, as Joyner’s later career was overshadowed by unproven drug allegations and Jones has admitted to doping. So should the IAAF succeed in wiping all pre-2005 world records, Schippers will become the fastest female 200m sprinter.
Yet the immediate jubilation of a record-breaking sprint in Beijing soon gave way to cynicism. Athletics is a sport dogged by corruption, and mistrust intensified due to Schippers’ complexion. The Dutch athlete, 25, has suffered from acne on her face and back, which is regarded as a sign of steroid abuse.

Two years on, Schippers grimaces. ‘I hate it,’ she admits. ‘I hate it when people ask me those questions. I work so hard as a really good athlete, do my diet, follow the sleep patterns and live my life for the sport. When someone asks you things like that, it’s really hard. What can you say?

‘It’s hard with my skin. It’s me and who I am. Acne is something that runs in the family, even our mother had acne until she was 30 or 40. Some people say, “Oh that’s a typical sign of doping”.’

Schippers admits her confidence has suffered in an image-conscious world. ‘As a woman, it’s not so funny to suffer from acne. It’s hard to have that and hard to have people say things about that on a personal level. People are questioning your sporting integrity and then your personal side with your skin in one go.’

Schippers is also aware of a different suspicion. She is a white female sprinter breaking records and that does not happen often. A white woman has not won the 200m Olympic gold medal since East German Barbel Wockel in 1980, a victory that remains under suspicion due to the country’s doping programme.

Schippers lets out a wry smile. ‘It’s more difficult because everyone knows white girls in the 1980s were not all clean. That makes it more difficult. Everyone thinks, “Oh you are white, it’s not possible”.’

It is why she supports the IAAF proposal. ‘Some of those world records — they are just too difficult to run for that period. I think there were 12 or 13 world records in the 1980s. That’s a lot. Normally you think the track and spikes are better now. We want the sport as clean as possible.’

Growing up in Utrecht, Schippers started sprinting as a nine-year-old, where she became accustomed to raising eyebrows.

‘I was always faster than the guys,’ she laughs. ‘When I played football in school I just ran with the ball past everybody. Before track and field, I had a race and beat all the boys in the class in a sprint. The boys weren’t happy!’

In Rio, Schippers suffered a setback as the Jamaican Elaine Thompson claimed gold and she made a changeover error that led to the Dutch relay team going out in the heats. The rivalry with Thompson is one of the most competitive in the sport.

‘It’s very bad,’ Schippers says of their relationship. ‘I don’t know why. Maybe because we are both big talents. If she says “Hi”, I will say “Hi”. I am more of an easy person. With the European athletes, I can have fun with them. I am an easy person to talk to. If she won’t do that, then OK.

‘When I did heptathlon, it was friendlier. I spent a week in Sheffield with Jess Ennis when I was 18. Jess was a hero for me. I heard a story that nobody thought she could become the best but she really fought for it and she made it. That’s really special.’

Schippers is the Dutch answer to Ennis. She admits to being ‘probably one of the most famous women in Holland’.

‘At the beginning it was very difficult,’ she says. ‘My life totally changed. Now I feel much better.

‘My mood was not great after Rio. I came for gold and didn’t get it. It renews my motivation. When I win, the focus is on the next race. There is always the next gold. Starting in London!’

Big Long Jump By Lanae-Tava Thomas At JOs

LAWRENCE, Kansas -- With multi-events and race walk complete, middle distance runners and sprinters took their turn on the oval in the 400m hurdles, 800m and 200m on the third day of USATF Hershey Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships. Field events took a dramatic turn in the women’s 15-16 long jump with a new national record.

Watch on demand video of today’s events on USATF.TV+ and follow competition live all week.

In dominating fashion, Lanae-Tava Thomas (Henrietta, New York; USATF Niagara) smashed the girls’ 15-16 national record with the ninth-best jump overall this year. Thomas stormed down the runway and lept 6.68m/21-11. Her jump puts her one spot behind 2016 Rio Olympian Keturah Orji on the top marks of 2017.

Competition began under grey skies with the first round of 400m hurdles, along with several final field events. In the boys’ 15-16 division, Jarrett Flaker (Scarborough, Maine; USATF Maine) was the top qualifier with a time of 55.82, followed by Mason Anthony (Elbert, Colorado; USATF Colorado) and Matthew Harris (Atlanta, Georgia; USATF Georgia) just behind in 56.41 and 56.43.

Imagine Patterson (Summerville, South Carolina; USATF South Carolina) marked herself as a favorite in the women’s 17-18 and posted the only time under 62 seconds to qualify with the fastest time of the day in 1:01.86.

In the field events, shot putter Joshua Sobota (Knoxville, Tennessee; USATF Tennessee) nearly clinched Dwight Johnson’s 1987 national record with his final throw of 19.85m/65-1.5. Sobota, who was recently crowned Gatorade Tennessee Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year, held the men’s 17-18 lead from the second round and catapulted to almost 20m on his sixth attempt.

Kassadi Avent took home girls’ 9-10 high jump gold by clearing 1.30m/4-3.25. Avent competed neck-and-neck with second place’s Kyara Fite but ultimately prevailed to win top honors.

Following an hour-long weather delay in the early afternoon, the 800m preliminary heats provided close finishes across age groups and a new national record. Grant Reynolds (Conyers, Georgia; USATF Georgia) ran 2:33.55 to break the previous boys’ 8 & under record of 2:33.73 set by Tristan Page in 2013.

Cha’iel Johnson (Miami Gardens, Florida; USATF Florida) cruised through her girls’ 11-12 prelim in 2:21.33 to advance to Saturday’s final. Johnson holds the national record in her age group at 2:14.80, set earlier this year.

As rain continued in the late afternoon, young athletes overcame wet conditions to complete the first round of 200m heats. In the 17-18 girls heats it was a Texas showdown as Kynnedy Flannel (Alvin, Texas; USATF Gulf) and ShaCarri Richardson (Dallas, Texas; USATF Southwestern) raced neck in neck to the finish in 23.95. Flannel of Track Houston Youth Club taking the win by .002.

Follow along with #JOTF on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

For full results click here.

Boys Triple Jump 13-14 
Johnny Brackins Jr., The Doors, 12.75m/41’ 10”

Girls High Jump 9-10 
Kassidi Avent, Willis/Camden PAL, 1.30m/4’ 3 ¼”

Men’s Shot Put 17-18 
Joshua Sobota, GymTek Academy, 19.85m/65’ 1 ½”

Girls Javelin Throw 11-12 
Jasmine Hampton, Sequoyah Youth Track, 35.23m/115’ 7”

Girls Javelin Throw 8 & Under
Isabella Allison, Phoenix Flyers, 17.79m/58’ 4”

Girls Pole Vault 13-14
Kyla Davis, Unattached, 3.50m/11’ 5 ¾”

Boys Triple Jump 15-16
Cameron Hudson, Club Nitro Flyers, 14.57m/47’ 9 ¾”

Girls Shot Put 15-16
Faith Bender, Unattached, 12.97m/42’ 6 ¾”

Women’s High Jump 17-18
Sydney Sapp, OKC Sprinters, 1.70m/5’ 7”

Boys Javelin Throw 11-12 
Max Berger, Rainier Beach Track, 41.95m/137’ 7”

Boys Javelin Throw 8 & Under 
Brady Galligher, New Jersey Striders, 25.42m/83’ 4”

Men’s Long Jump 17-18
Jakobe’ Ford, Seattle Speed Academy, 7.47m/24’ 6 ¼”

Women’s Shot Put 17-18
Veronica Fraley, Junior Striders T&F, Inc., 13.83m/45’ 4 ½”

Girls Long Jump 15-16 
Lanae-Tava Thomas, Maximum Velocity Track Club, 6.68m/21’ 11”

Would 11-Year Wait Be A Blessing Or Curse For LA?

LOS ANGELES — For several years Los Angeles city leaders have focused on winning the 2024 Summer Olympics, supporting a $5.3 billion plan to host the event seven years from now.

Those seven years might soon turn into 11, after the International Olympic Committee’s recent decision to award the games to both Paris and Los Angeles, with one city getting 2024 and the other 2028.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that Los Angeles appears unlikely to be selected for 2024. But the IOC is making the later date “financially so attractive, we would be stupid not to take 2028,” Garcetti said.

The longer window could prove helpful to L.A. — giving the city more time to complete the Purple Line subway to the west side and perhaps providing leverage to extract concessions from the IOC. It might also mean the value of sponsorships and other revenue sources could increase.

But experts familiar with Olympic bidding say an ­11-year wait could present both economic and political hazards. Some have expressed concern that the public will not have time to scrutinize a revised deal before the city must sign a host contract.

“Whoever is taking the 2028 Games is taking a much greater risk,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, who served on the L.A. City Council during negotiations for the 1984 Summer Olympics. “There’s more economic uncertainty.”

For example, it is difficult to predict ticket revenue for an event 11 years out, ­Yaroslavsky said.

As Los Angeles and Paris bid negotiators work with the IOC to decide which city will go first, a Garcetti spokesman said the city is financially protected.

“Garcetti does not believe that waiting four more years would increase our risk profile,” spokesman Alex Comisar said. “Whether we host in 2024 or 2028, our low-risk plan remains the same — using existing infrastructure, and controlling costs.”

Paris bid organizers have dismissed the idea of waiting four additional years. Paris also has a possible advantage for 2024 because that year marks the 100th anniversary of the last time the City of Light hosted the Games.

The budget released by LA24 — the bid committee — for the 2024 Games was called “substantially reasonable” in an independent analysis by the accounting firm KPMG.

Relying on existing venues such as the Coliseum, Staples Center and Pauley Pavilion, L.A.’s proposal is a “low-cost, low-risk approach,” according to a state Legislative Analyst’s Office report.

The mayor and city council formally backed the bid earlier this year, but that agreement was specific to the 2024 Games. City leaders would have to authorize acceptance of the 2028 Games, Sharon Tso, chief legislative analyst, said last week.

That process should also reopen discussions at City Hall over how the event will affect the city and its residents, said Jonny Coleman, an organizer with NOlympics LA, a local group opposed to the games.

“You don’t get to just cross out ‘2024’ and replace it with ‘2028,’” Coleman said. “You actually have to renegotiate it with the public.”

Garcetti said Wednesday that details about a possible bid for 2028 would be released next week.

With an IOC selection announcement coming as soon as August and a formal signing ceremony possibly set for September, there may be little time to consider a new deal.

A key issue for Olympic host cities has always been cost overruns.

Los Angeles, as the only viable bidder for the 1984 Games, had leverage over the IOC allowing it to escape responsibility for cost overruns. L.A. voters also had passed a charter amendment barring city leaders from using taxpayer funds to cover such costs unless they were reimbursed.

L.A. was not able to drive such a hard bargain for 2024. The city agreed to cover the first $250 million in extra costs, the state the next $250 million, with the city responsible for anything above that.

Comisar, Garcetti’s spokesman, said in a statement that refusing to accept financial liability for the 2024 Games “would be a nonstarter for the IOC.”

Given of the prospect of a 2028 Olympics, a July Legislative Analyst’s Office report on L.A.’s bid questioned whether the state’s $250 million guarantee was enough.

“Put simply, due to the time value of money, $250 million from the state will buy less stuff in 2028 than it would in 2024,” the report noted.

The report, which studied a recent IOC evaluation of L.A.’s bid, noted that many Olympic events will take place at privately owned venues, where rental costs could rise in coming years.

Other expenses are also expected to rise.

For instance, the LA24 committee budgeted about $84 million for city services during the 2024 Olympics. Those services, such as police overtime, could be more expensive in 2028.

At the same time, an IOC study shows that global Olympic sponsorships have become more lucrative over time.

The 2024 Host City Contract — the binding agreement that the city must sign if it is picked by the IOC — is publicly available. The agreement for 2028 has not been released, an IOC press representative said in an email.

The representative called the dual award bid a “unique situation” and said the “IOC is currently working on getting the relevant documentation ready.”

An IOC poll found that 78 percent of L.A. residents are in favor of the Olympic Games coming back to the city, which hosted them in 1932 and 1984.

Waiting until 2028 allows more time for possible opposition to build against the games, said Andrew ­Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Massachusetts. “The support base could fracture,” he said.

Millar sprinting well despite knee injury

New Zealand sprinter Joseph Millar is confident he'll be in the best shape of his life for next week's World Athletics Championships in London, despite a knee injury affecting his buildup.

Millar has been competing and training in Belgium and London for the past two weeks which has meant he has not had consistent treatment on his knee.

He has now joined up with the rest of the New Zealand squad in Cardiff, where has received regular treatment and was noticing a difference, he said.

"I've been able to start to get on top of it. On my good days I'm moving really well, faster than I've ever moved before."

"It's just the days where it's feeling a little bit iffy where I'm not able to move as fast as I've been doing in training and unfortunately most of those times have happened on race days," he said.

"I have my good days and bad days, but I'm having more and more good days now I'm having treatment on it."

Millar said he would not be competing in anymore races before the World Championships, where he has already qualified for the 200 metres.

He was keen to run the 100 metres if the numbers allowed and he would know in the next 24 hours if that would happen.

If Millar competes in the 100 metres, there was a chance he could race against Usain Bolt with the Jamaican great competing in his last event before retirement.

Canadian Coverage Of WC Will Be On CBC

CBC Sports will be Canada’s exclusive home for live coverage of the top track and field athletes on the planet as they compete at the IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, August 4–13 in London, England. CBC Sports will have weekend afternoon and prime-time coverage on TV as part of ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES, as well as daily streaming live at, and on the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices throughout the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. In addition, CBC Sports has announced a four-year media rights partnership with Athletics Canada that will see the network provide exclusive coverage of marquee national athletic events including National Championships, NACAC Regional Championships and the 2020 Olympic Team Trials, among others.

Scott Russell will host CBC Sports’ live afternoon and prime-time TV broadcasts on Aug. 4, 5, 6 and 12 and an additional afternoon broadcast on Aug. 13. He will be joined by several veteran broadcasters, Olympians and former national team members, including: reporter, Olympian and World Champion hurdler Perdita Felicien on-site in London; Gemini Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mark Lee; analyst, Olympian and two-time Commonwealth Games decathlon champion Michael Smith; contributor, two-time Olympic Games gold medallist and three-time World Champion Donovan Bailey; veteran athletics analyst, Olympian and former world record-holder David Moorcroft; and analyst, Olympian and World Championship sprinter Anson Henry, who will provide additional reports for the network’s digital and social media platforms throughout the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Canada will be well-represented at the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS with a team of 48 athletes led by Andre De Grasse in the men’s 100-metre, 200-metre and 4x100-metre; Melissa Bishop in the women’s 800-metre; decathlete Damian Warner; Crystal Emmanuel in the women’s 100-metre and 200-metre; reigning Olympic Games and World Champion Derek Drouin in high jump and reigning World Champion Shawn Barber in pole vault.

In addition to Canadian stars, there are a number of intriguing storylines surrounding international athletes at these WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. Foremost is Jamaica’s legendary sprinter Usain Bolt, competing in his final World Championships where he’ll run the men’s 100-metre and 4x100-metre, looking to add to his 13 career medals. Great Britain’s long-distance superstar Mohamed Farah will also run in his final World Championships where he will attempt to win a fourth-consecutive 5000-metre gold and a third-straight 10,000-metre gold.

CBC Sports will have live broadcast and streaming coverage of the men’s 100-metre heats beginning at 3:20 p.m. ET (12:20 p.m. PT) on Friday, Aug. 4, followed on Saturday, Aug. 5 by the semifinals at 2:05 p.m. ET (11:05 a.m. PT) leading up to the final at 4:45 p.m. ET (1:45 p.m. PT). This event represents the final opportunity for Andre De Grasse to face Usain Bolt head-to-head at this level. CBC Sports’ full broadcast and streaming schedules can be found here. In the days ahead of the World Championships, will post an interactive feature that will allow users to explore the history of Bolt’s accomplishments over the course of his legendary career.

Partnership with Athletics Canada
CBC Sports has further extended its commitment to showcasing Canada’s high performance athletes through a four-year media rights partnership reached with Athletics Canada, announced today.

With the agreement in place, CBC Sports is the exclusive home of upcoming National Team events, including the 2018 and 2019 Canadian Track and Field National Championships, the 2018 NACAC Regional Championships and 2020 Olympic Trials. CBC Sports will also work with Athletics Canada to provide coverage of several other Canadian track and field events over the next four years.

“We are excited to partner with Athletics Canada over the next four years. As evidenced last summer, Canada’s track and field athletes are reaching new heights on the world stage and CBC Sports is proud to continue to share their stories with Canadian fans,” said Greg Stremlaw, executive director, CBC Sports, and general manager, Olympics. “This partnership with Athletics Canada is another example of CBC Sports’ dedication to providing audiences with more access to high-performance sport, and Canada’s athletes in particular, in the months and years between Olympic Games.”

“CBC has always carried the torch for the Olympic and Paralympic movement in Canada,” said Mathieu Gentès, chief operating officer, Athletics Canada. “Athletics Canada is thrilled at the possibilities of this partnership. A resurgence of track and field paired with CBC Sports’ outstanding broadcasts, reporting and reach on various platforms, will serve as an important factor in extending track and field’s reach to a whole new generation of fans. In the short term, we are looking forward to CBC Sports’ expansive coverage of the upcoming IAAF World Championships.”

IAAF name podium moments at London 2017

Jess Ennis-Hill is among the cheated athletes to receive medal upgrades at IAAF World Championships

Jess Ennis-Hill is one of 11 individual athletes and five teams who will get their rightful medals from previous World Championships in London next month.

Ennis-Hill, who was beaten into second in the heptathlon by Russian drugs cheat Tatyana Chernova at the 2011 World Championships, will get her gold on Sunday August 6 at the London Stadium, with the ceremony accompanied by the national anthem and flags.

The United States women’s 4x400m team will also receive their gold medals after being beaten by the now disgraced Russian team at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, while 10,000m runners Kara Goucher and Jo Pavey will get a deserved upgrade to silver and bronze respectively after being beaten in Osaka in 2011 by Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse, who later failed a drugs test.

British 400m record-holder Christine Ohuruogu is set to receive a total of three relay medals.

IAAF president Seb Coe said: “I’m delighted that the athletes are properly honoured for their achievements and what better way than in front of passionate athletics fans at a major championship.

“For those receiving gold medals their moment in London will be all the more special as they will hear their national anthem played. Whatever their nationality clean athletes worldwide will celebrate with them.”

The reallocation of medals will be at the following times:

Friday August 4

4x400m women – Berlin 2009 – Great Britain (Lee McConnell, Christine Ohuruogu, Vicki Barr, Nicole Sanders) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

400m women – Daegu 2011 – Francena McCorory (USA) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

4x400m women – Daegu 2011 – GBR (Perri Shakes Drayton, Nicole Sanders, Christine Ohuruogu, Lee McConnell) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

400m women – Moscow 2013 – Stephanie Ann McPherson (JAM) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

4x400m women – Moscow 2013 – United States (Jessica Beard, Natasha Hastings, Ashley Spencer, Francena McCorory) (promoted from silver to gold); Great Britain (Eilidh Doyle, Shana Cox, Margaret Adeoye, Christine Ohuruogu) (promoted from bronze to silver); France (Marie Gayot, Lenora Guion-Firmin, Muriel Hurtis-Houairi, Floria Guei) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

Saturday August 5

10.000m women – Osaka 2007 – Kara Goucher (USA) (promoted from bronze to silver); Jo Pavey (GBR) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

1500m women – Osaka 2007 – Irina Lishchynska (UKR) (promoted from bronze to silver).

Long jump women – Daegu 2011 – Ineta Radevica (LAT) (promoted from bronze to silver).

Sunday August 6

Shot put men – Osaka 2007 – Rutger Smith (NED) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

Heptathlon women – Daegu 2011 – Jessica Ennis (GBR) (promoted from silver to gold); Jennifer Oeser (GER) (promoted from bronze to silver).

Sunday August 13

20km race walk men – Berlin 2009 – Eder Sanchez (MEX) (promoted from bronze to silver); Giorgio Rubino (ITA) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

Tags: IAAF World Championships, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Jo Pavey, Kara Goucher, London 2017, Seb Coe

USATF Athlete Of The Week: Ajee' Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS (USATF)-- After her record-breaking 800m performance at Monaco Diamond League on Friday, 2016 Rio Olympian and World Indoor silver medalist Ajee’ Wilson is awarded USATF Athlete of the Week honors.

Wilson (Neptune Township, New Jersey) matched up against the world’s most acclaimed 800m competitors and immediately battled for first position. It came down to the final steps, where Wilson finished third in a time of 1:55.91, shattering the American record and improving on her personal best by over two seconds.

Wilson finished behind 2016 Olympic champion Caster Semenya (1:55.27) and Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba (1:55.47). In total, the impressive field set four national records and seven personal bests.

Wilson told the media afterwards, “U.S. record? Woah! I hadn’t seen the time yet! It felt so good to be competitive again, it was great! Now [I’m] going home in Philadelphia to prepare for London.”

After capturing the 800m USATF Outdoor title, Wilson is set to compete for Team USATF at the 2017 World Outdoor Championships in London, Aug. 4-13.

Other notable performances:

  • Jordan Geist (Cabot, Pennsylvania) easily crushed his competition in the shot put with a second round throw of 22.02m/72-3 to win gold and set an American Junior record at the Pan American Junior Games.
  • 2016 Olympic silver medalist Evan Jager (Portland, Oregon) won his first Diamond League title in Monaco on Friday in the steeplechase after crossing the line in a world leading time of 8:01.29, and a six second lead on the next finisher. His performance fell just short of his American record (8:00.45) but marks the second-fastest time in American history and the first American to win a steeplechase Diamond League title.
  • Alyssa Wilson (Jackson, New Jersey) smashed the high school national record in the women’s shot put with a best throw of 17.70m/58-1 on opening day of Pan American Junior Championships.

Now in its 16th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2017 Winners: January 5, Miranda Melville; January 12, Leonard Korir; January 19, Jordan Hasay; January 26, Keni Harrison; February 2, Michael Wardian; February 9, Mikey Brannigan; February 16, Ajee’ Wilson; February 23, Kathy Martin; March 2, Keturah Orji; March 9, Noah Lyles; March 16, Christian Walker; March 23, Allen Woodard; March 30, Bob Lida; April 6, Anna Rohrer; April 12, Sydney McLaughlin; April 19, Ben True; April 26, Jordan Hasay; May 3, Clayton Murphy; May 10, Gwen Berry; May 17,

Christian Coleman; May 24, Joe Kovacs; May 31, Christian Taylor; June 7, Sydney McLaughlin; June 14, Christian Coleman; Tianna Bartoletta, June 21; Ryan Crouser, June 28; Sam Kendricks, July 6; Allyson Felix, July 12; Julia Hawkins, July 19; Ajee’ Wilson, July 26.

U.S. Olympians receive medal upgrades after doping punishments

U.S. Olympians Kara Goucher and Francena McCorory are among more than a dozen athletes set to receive retroactive medal upgrades in ceremonies at the world track and field championships next month.

The results changes were made due to positive retests of past doping samples from athletes since stripped of their medals.

Goucher, a 2008 and 2012 Olympic distance runner, will be promoted from bronze to silver from the 2007 World Championships 10,000m in an Aug. 5 ceremony at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Original silver medalist Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol in a retest of a sample she gave at the 2007 World Championships, it was announced in March.

Abeylegesse also won Olympic silver medals in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Games.

American Shalane Flanagan stands to get the silver medal in the Olympic 10,000m, but that has not been announced yet. The medal upgrade ceremonies at worlds include past world championships but no past Olympic events.

U.S. 400m runner Francena McCorory will receive two medals on Aug. 4 — bronze in the 2011 World Championships 400m and gold as part of the 2013 U.S. 4x400m relay team with Jessica Beard, Natasha Hastings and Ashley Spencer. Joanna Atkins also ran in the preliminary heats of the relay.

Original 2011 World 400m bronze medalist Anastasia Kapachinskaya was retroactively disqualified in June after a doping sample from the 2011 Worlds was retested and found to contain banned steroids. McCorory originally finished fourth in that final.

Russia was stripped of its 2013 World 4x400m title in February after relay member Antonina Krivoshapka was retroactively banned for a doping offense. Russia beat the U.S. by .22 in that world final.

The biggest cheer at London Olympic Stadium for one of 11 medal upgrade ceremonies will come on Aug. 6, when Brit Jessica Ennis-Hill receives her 2011 World heptathlon gold after Russian Tatyana Chernova was stripped for doping.

Barshim & Schippers Join Field For Birmingham DL

Reigning 200m world champion Dafne Schippers will go head-to-head with Britain’s finest sprinters in a post-world championship celebration showdown at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham on Sunday 20 August.

A host of Olympic and world medallists will compete at the IAAF Diamond League meeting, which will include Mo Farah’s last ever track race on home soil.

Schippers will take on Britain’s fastest ever woman Dina Asher-Smith and European Indoor 60m champion Asha Philip over 100m at the Alexander Stadium.

The Dutch sprint star will be hoping to have added more world medals to her collection over both 100m and 200m in London the week before.

“The Müller Grand Prix Birmingham will be a fantastic celebration for the athletes and a fitting end to an amazing season of athletics in the UK," Schippers said.

“It will be great to have a race later in the season against the best sprinters in a fun and celebratory atmosphere and I know the athletes will put on a spectacular show for the crowd.”

Olympic high jump silver medallist Mutaz Barshim of Qatar will also compete at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham, against home favourite and long-term rival Robbie Grabarz. Barshim has a fantastic record in Birmingham -- he won this event in a stadium record 2.38m in 2014 and also cleared 2.37m in 2016.

Grabarz finished in joint fourth behind Barshim in Rio last year and was joint Olympic bronze medallist with the Qatari athlete and Derek Drouin of Canada at London 2012.

Barshim and Birmingham-based Grabarz will each want to come out on top at both the IAAF World Championships and the Diamond League meet on 20 August.

Barshim, the 2013 world silver medallist, said, “I love competing in the UK so to have another chance to compete there at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham is fantastic.

“I hope I will be celebrating winning another World Championship medal by the time I get to Birmingham and I will be trying my best to jump well.”

Organisers for the IAAF

2017 IAAF Diamond League calendar:
5 May – Doha, QAT
13 May – Shanghai, CHN
27 May – Eugene, USA
8 Jun – Rome, ITA

15 Jun – Oslo, NOR
18 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
1 Jul – Paris, FRA
6 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
9 Jul – London, GBR
16 Jul – Rabat, MAR
21 Jul – Monaco, MON
20 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
24 Aug – Zurich, SUI
1 Sep – Brussels, BEL

Alum Kayla Warren Joins Washington State Staff

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Cougar alum Kayla Warren has joined the Washington State University Track and Field staff as the Operations Coordinator, Wayne Phipps, Director of Cross-Country/Track & Field, announced Tuesday. Warren, 24, replaces Andrea Sabbatine who left the program last month to pursue other interests after two seasons at WSU.

"Kayla will be an excellent addition to our track and field program," Phipps said. "Kayla is highly motivated and possesses both a strong work ethic and a strong understanding of the administrative and athletic goals of our track and field and cross country programs. Her role will be a huge benefit to our coaching staff and as well as our student-athletes."

Warren was born in Seattle when her father Chris Warren, a three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, was playing for the Seattle Seahawks. She graduated from Seattle's Holy Names Academy in 2011 and competed for the WSU Track and Field team from 2011-13 and 2014-16.

Warren scored two sixth-place finishes in the triple jump at the Pac-12 Championships and qualified and competed twice at the NCAA West Region Preliminary Rounds.

Warren earned a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences with a minor in Forestry in December 2016. While completing her degree, she served as an intern/volunteer at the WSU Bear Center as well as at the WSU Arboretum. In addition to her academics and athletics endeavors, she worked at the renown Cougar Country Drive-In for five years, including more than two years as the head supervisor.

"I care a lot about the Cross Country and Track and Field program because of all it did for me while I was a student-athlete," Warren said. "Being a Coug was the best decision I ever made and to be able to return to serve the program that I am so passionate about is amazing. I am so thankful for this opportunity."

Rai Benjamin Transfers From UCLA To USC

Rai Benjamin will turn 20 Thursday.

If he seems older, it might be because the former Mount Vernon track and field star has certainly packed a lot into 19 years.

One of the nation’s top high school athletes, Benjamin has fast become one of the nation’s top collegiate athletes.

Last month, running for UCLA, the sophomore finished second in the NCAA Division I men’s 400 hurdles championship — second only by 1/100th of a second to a fifth-year senior.

His time, 48.33, was a personal best that was 1.64 seconds faster than when he won New Balance Nationals in 2015 as a Mount Vernon senior and 3.53 seconds faster than when he won New York’s high school championship as a junior.

It is also the third best time ever run by a UCLA 400 hurdler.

Benjamin’s improvement is marked by the invitation he received and declined last year to compete in the Rio Olympics for Antigua — his parents’ birthplace.

THIS SEASON: Rai Benjamin sets PR in the dash at the Armory

ALL-STARS: UCLA and world beckon Rai Benjamin, top area track star

OLYMPICS: Rai Benjamin declines Rio invite to rest from injury

He was not satisfied with his times coming off a broken foot that sidelined him for two months his freshman year at UCLA, a school that embraced him and a school he embraced.

But Benjamin is moving on — away from UCLA and away from Antigua’s track and field program.

The political science major has transferred 15 minutes away to USC. This follows UCLA’s hiring of a new track and field director and its subsequent dismissal of Bruin sprints and hurdles coach Darrell Smith.

The un-updated UCLA website still credits Smith for directing “one of the top recruits in the country in Rai Benjamin” to a sixth-place 400 hurdles finish at last year’s NCAA Championships.

Leaving was not an easy decision.

“I was really happy at UCLA,” he said by phone from Los Angeles. “Under no circumstances did I think I would leave at all … The best thing was the friendships I made here. I was comfortable, happy being so far away (from home) and at the same time being at home.”

“But with my coach being let go, structurally, I needed to be somewhere else. I just felt more comfortable being somewhere else.”

To UCLA’s credit, it granted Benjamin and two other athletes who decided to leave in response to Smith’s departure, waivers, so, instead of sitting out a year, Benjamin can immediately compete for USC.

“They just wanted me to be happy,” Benjamin said.

And seeking the same for himself, Benjamin, who has represented Antigua in some international events, also intends to compete instead for the U.S.

Benjamin’s 400 hurdles time would have qualified him for the U.S. team competing at the World Championships in August. But the International Association of Athletics Federations has blocked all country-to-country transfers until it sets up a new system to combat country-jumping, particularly African athletes being recruited to run for other nations.

New rules should not affect Benjamin, however, since he’s U.S.-born.

Explaining the switch to the U.S., Benjamin referred to his desire to be in a “more competitive atmosphere.”

Benjamin described himself as being in limbo but said he’ll soon meet with USC coaches to discuss his future there.

And he seems optimistic, mentioning USC possibly claiming a national championship.

“We should have a pretty good team next year,” he said. “If everyone does what they’re asked and if everyone performs the way they should, we could possibly win it.”

Jenny Simpson relishing London return

The American runner is looking forward to the IAAF World Championships due to the UK’s middle-distance heritage

At 1500m, Jenny Simpson won the world title in 2011, plus world silver in 2013 and Olympic bronze in 2016 – and she feels London is an appropriate place for her to try to win another global medal in the metric mile.

“Speaking as a 1500m runner, you have to recognise that some of the richest legacy and heritage of our event comes out of the UK,” she says. “I’m thinking of people like Steve Ovett and Seb Coe and those who came before us and really made the mile, the 1500m and 800m, to me, the most exciting spectator events in track and field.”

The American adds: “A lot of other British women have contributed to that legacy in a really meaningful way – like Laura Muir, Hannah England and Lisa Dobriskey.”

Simpson competed in the 2012 Olympics as reigning world champion but failed to do herself justice, going out in the semi-finals.

“I was young. It was my first summer as a professional athlete,” she remembers, “and having had that success it can be really hard to continue and out-do it the next year. It was a big disappointment but also a big growing experience.”

It gives her additional motivation for London 2017, as she explains: “I’m really excited about the chance to go back and compete in London because I know the event is going to be organised so well and there will be an enormous amount of interest and fan attendance.

“The logistics and fan interest is really something that can mark your experience and make it a really memorable event. Because I was disappointed with my 2012 Olympics, I’m looking forward to returning to the stadium and possibly getting some personal redemption.”

“Speaking as a 1500m runner, you have to recognise that some of the richest legacy and heritage of our event comes out of the UK”

With the last two World Championships and the Rio Olympics often short of spectators, London’s expected full houses will make a positive change. While Simpson explains that she does not need a capacity crowd to motivate her, the atmosphere does make a difference.

“I have great memories of Rio, Moscow and Beijing and of feeling really happy about my performances but I remember the Olympics in 2012 just being blown away by the feeling that my sport is so important here and what I achieve really mattered to people in the stands,” she says.

“For me the atmosphere in the stadium due to the interest and enthusiasm of the fans really makes a difference to how I remember the event.”

3 Tracksters Named To Baylor Hall Of Fame

WACO, Texas – Highlighted by NCAA champions Benjamin Becker, Steffanie Blackmon and Jennifer Jordan Washington, Baylor’s 2017 Hall of Fame class includes eight outstanding former student-athletes representing six different sports.

The 58th class of inductees also includes Ron Francis and Bill Hicks from football, Bill Payne and Jeff Jackson from track and field and Melanie Hagewood Willhite from women’s golf.

This year’s class, along with Wall of Honor recipient Jim Daniel, will participate in on-campus enshrinement activities during the Oct. 20-21 weekend. In addition to the Hall of Fame banquet, the 2017 class will be introduced during the Baylor-West Virginia football game on Saturday, Oct. 21 (kickoff time TBA) and ride in the school’s Homecoming parade prior to the game.

Tickets to the 2017 Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame banquet, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in the Brazos Room at the Waco Convention Center, are $50 per person and may be purchased by contacting the “B” Association at 254-710-3045 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Table sponsorships (seating for eight) are also available for $750 (individual) or $1,000 (corporate).

Organized in 1960, the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame recognizes and honors individuals whose participation and contributions have enriched and strengthened the university’s athletics program. Student-athletes are required to wait 10 years after completing their eligibility before they can be nominated for the Hall of Fame.

Beginning with the inaugural 1960 class that included coach Floyd “Uncle Jim” Crow and baseball’s Ted Lyons, 228 honorees have been elected or already enshrined in the Hall of Fame, while another 24 have been added to the Wall of Honor.

Baylor’s record-holder for career singles (141) and doubles wins (104), Becker was a three-time singles All-American, a four-time All-Big 12 pick and won the 2004 NCAA singles championship while leading the Bears to the school’s first-ever team national championship.

A native of Orscholz, Germany, Becker earned Big 12 Freshman and ITA Region IV Rookie of the Year honors in 2002, when he was 37-9 in singles and 21-8 in doubles and finished the season ranked 11th nationally. Capping off an incredible junior season, Becker defeated Tulane’s Michael Kogan, 6-4, 7-6(8), to win the NCAA singles title after helping the Bears defeat UCLA, 4-0, in the team final.

After earning All-America honors the next year, leading Baylor to the ITA Indoor Championship and a runner-up NCAA finish, Becker began a pro career that has seen him earn more than $4 million. Between 2006 and ’15, he ended the season ranked in the top 100 eight times, attaining a career-high mark of No. 35 on Oct. 27, 2014.

Blackmon (2002-05), a key cog on the Baylor Lady Bears’ 2005 national championship team, was a two-time All-Big 12 pick and third-team All-American as a senior when she averaged 15.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-2 post had 22 points and seven rebounds in the 84-62 win over Michigan State in the national championship game.

The Dallas native set school records for career blocks (159) and free throw attempts (656) and still ranks in the top 10 in points (1,955), rebounds (936), free throw percentage (.788) and games played (133). A double-figure scorer in each of her four seasons, Blackmon averaged 17.6 points for a WNIT runner-up team in 2003, then 15.6 and 15.4 the next two years when she was a consensus first-team All-Big 12 selection.

Drafted in the third round by the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Blackmon played overseas in Korea, Israel and Italy and has worked in the Dallas Independent School District for the last nine years. She was inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

A two-time All-Southwest Conference cornerback, Francis (1982-86) was named the SWC Defensive Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American as a junior in 1985, when he had six interceptions, 12 pass breakups and 64 tackles for a pass defense that ranked third nationally.

Originally recruited as a blue-chip running back out of the tradition-rich La Marque program, Francis was one of just two true freshmen to play during the 1982 season, making four starts at cornerback. Switched back to running back after a redshirt season, he led the Bears in rushing in 1984 with 558 yards and five touchdowns on 127 carries.

Despite playing just two full seasons at cornerback, he still ranks among the top 10 in career interceptions (14) and pass breakups (29). A second-round draft pick in 1987, Francis played four years with the Dallas Cowboys and made four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown as a rookie starter.

Hicks’ time at Baylor covers four different decades as a player and coach, making back-to-back bowl games as a player (1958-61) and winning a pair of Southwest Conference championships in his 13 years as the Bears’ defensive line coach.

A three-sport letterman and three-time all-state pick in football at Little Rock (Ark.) Central High School, Hicks came to Baylor as a freshman in 1958 and earned All-SWC honors as a senior center in 1961. He played on teams that lost to Florida in the 1960 Gator Bowl and beat Utah in the 1961 Gotham Bowl, earning a spot on the Bears’ All-Decade team of the 1960s.

After stints as a freshman coach at Baylor (1962-63) and assistant coach at Texas A&I (1964-65) and West Virginia (1966-68), Hicks had a 13-year run as the Bears’ defensive line coach (1969-81) under Bill Beall and Grant Teaff, being part of the 1974 and 1980 SWC championship teams. He capped off his career as the head coach at Howard Payne from 1982 to ’84.

Baylor’s all-time best in the short-sprint hurdles, Jackson (1993-96) was a five-time All-American and three-time Southwest Conference champion who was the national runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and 55-meter hurdles at the 1996 NCAA Indoor Championships.

Still the school record holder in the 110 hurdles (13.20), he also placed fourth at the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets and fifth at the 1993 outdoor meet. Jackson’s SWC titles came in the 110 hurdles (1993), 55-meter hurdles (1995) and 4x400 relay (1995).

Jackson went on to a pro career, competing at the World Championships and Pan Am Games in 1999 and the Olympics in 2000 in Sydney, Australia. He was inducted into the Garland Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and is the head girls track and field coach at North Garland High School.

A world-class pole vaulter with two marks over 19 feet, Payne (1987-91) was a six-time All-American who still holds the school indoor and outdoor records. He set the indoor record of 18-4 ¾ at a 1990 meet in Norman, Okla., and broke his own outdoor mark with a winning vault of 19-2 ¾ at the Southwest Conference Championships in Houston.

Part of a golden era of Baylor pole vaulters, Payne followed previous All-Americans David Hodge, Todd Cooper and Mike Shafe and preceded Kurt Hanna and Jim Autenreith. Indoors, he finished fourth in 1989, fifth in 1990 and third as a senior in ’91, while his outdoor finishes were fifth in 1988, seventh in 1990 and second in ’91.

He also won four SWC titles and still holds the top five indoor and outdoor marks at Baylor. A FedEx Operations manager, Bill also coaches the PVC Club, helping mentor his daughter, Demi, to the 2015 NCAA championship at Stephen F. Austin.

A record-setting quarter-miler in the 1990s, Washington (1995-98) was a nine-time All-American and ran anchor leg on the 4x400 relay team that won the 1998 NCAA indoor national championship. With nine All-America honors and five conference titles, she is tied for the second-most in program history.

At one point, she held school records in five events – the indoor (53.11) and outdoor 400 (51.85), the indoor (3:33.93) and outdoor 4x400 relay (3:29.11) and the 600-yard run (1:17.66). Washington still ranks third all-time in the indoor and outdoor 400, and the outdoor 4x400 relay time has stood for 19 years.

Individually, she placed third in the 400 at the 1995 NCAA Indoor Championships and seventh the next year and won conference titles in the same event in 1995 and ’98. Her relay success included six top-six NCAA finishes, including winning the national indoor title as a senior in 1998 with Angelique Banket, Alayah Cooper and Yulanda Nelson.

The 2001 winner of the LPGA Dina Shore Trophy, which recognizes a female collegiate golfer who excels both academically and athletically, Willhite (1999-2003) was a two-time Academic All-American and two-time All-Big 12 pick. She was the program’s first first-team All-Big 12 pick as a senior in 2003, when Willhite had a then-school-record scoring average of 74.83 per round.

A three-time all-state golfer at Montgomery Central High School in Clarksville, Tenn., Willhite led Baylor in scoring in each of her last three seasons and finished with a then-record 76.69 career average. She won the Verizon “Mo” Morial Classic as a senior, recorded a pair of top-10 finishes at the Big 12 Tournament and still ranks in the top three in career top-10 (21) and top-five finishes (12).

After playing 4 ½ years on the Duramed Futures Tour, Willhite worked as a civil engineer at O’Brien Engineering and a product test analyst for Nike Golf. She is married and has two daughters, Megan and Laurie.

The Wall of Honor annually recognizes Baylor letterwinners and graduates whose meritorious accomplishments in public or private life following graduation have brought positive public recognition, credit and honor to Baylor and its athletics department.

Daniel, a former baseball letterman, originally came to Baylor out of Oklahoma City on a baseball, basketball and academic scholarship. He earned a BBA degree from Baylor with a major in finance (1962) and went on to get a degree from SMU’s Graduate School of Banking.

A lifelong Oklahoma City resident, Daniel has been involved in the banking industry for nearly 60 years, serving as CEO of Friendly and Bank One from August 1964 to October 1997. Also a civic leader, he is past president of Integris Health of Oklahoma, a past officer and executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention, past director of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club President.

Daniel has funded two endowed scholarships at Baylor and also gave a lead gift earlier this year for the Baylor “B” Association’s Letterwinners Legacy Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of his former baseball coach, Dutch Schroeder.

Schippers More Relaxed For London After Rio Flop

July 26 (Reuters) - Dafne Schippers failed to live up to expectations at last year's Olympic Games but the Dutch sprint queen says she is much more relaxed going into next month’s World Championship in London after learning the lessons of a frenetic year.

Ahead of the Rio Games, Schippers had been expected to complete the 100m and 200m sprint double but collected a lone silver in the 200m after finishing fifth in the 100m final.

"Looking back, it was chaos. Everyone wanted a piece of me. The whole year was full of appointments with the sponsors and media. Everything was new," she told reporters at a function for the Netherlands team headed to London.

"But now I have weeks with nothing on and therefore I'm a lot more relaxed, which I really need. The attention has waned but it has also been a question of self preservation for me to stay out of the spotlight. This is my career, I want so badly to do well."

Schippers, 25, has a new coach in American Rana Reider, who has put less emphasis on competing in the Diamond League and more on peaking in time for the World Championship, where Schippers says she is aiming for two medals.

In the women's 100m, Schippers will have to get the better of Jamaica's Elaine Thompson, with whom she already has an edgy rivalry. Thompson has the best time of the year.

"If you don’t believe you can win, then there is no point lining up at the start. But you must also be realistic. If I run a time of 10.75 in the 100m and finish sixth instead of second if I had run 10.72 secs, then there is not much you can do about it."

In the 200m, Thompson is not running, which sets Schippers up against American Tori Bowie for potential gold. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Jaylen Bacon "Really Excited" To Be On Team USA (video)

A 21st birthday is a big milestone in a person’s life and Jaylen Bacon won’t forget his.

The former Lower Richland High School standout and Arkansas State senior will compete with the Team USA Track & Field 4x100 relay team at the IAAF World Championships Aug. 4-13 in London, and Bacon turns 21 on Aug. 5.

Bacon qualified by finishing fourth in the 100 at last month’s USA Championships. The top three finishers earned a spot in the 100 and on the relay team, with fourth through sixth place getting a spot in the relay team.

Bacon is unsure which leg of the relay he will run, but will be part of the squad which includes five-time Olympic medalist Justin Gatlin.

“Competing in the USA championships was one of the best experiences that I have ever had,” Bacon said earlier this month in Columbia before heading back to Arkansas. “We had to run three rounds and every round there was anxiety trying to get to the next round. When I got to the finals, all I wanted to do was qualify. It hasn’t fully set in yet, but it makes me proud to represent my country.”

The World Championships are going to draw plenty of media attention because it will be the final meet of Usain Bolt’s illustrious track career. The world’s fastest man is expected to retire after winning nine Olympic gold medals. Bolt will run in the 100 on Aug. 5 and is expected to be a part of Jamaica’s 4x100 relay team.

Bacon admits he might be a little star struck seeing and competing against Bolt, but knows he can’t let it get in the way of his first crack in competing for Team USA.

Bacon, whose nickname is “The Baconator,” has been training in Arkansas to get ready for the World Championships. He ran third on Team USA’s red squad which finished second in the 4x100 relay Friday in Monaco, a tune-up for the World Championships.

“It gives me a new type of feeling. When I go back to Arkansas State in the fall, it gives me a whole type of mentality,” Bacon said. “I grew up watching guys like Justin Gatlin, and now I can call them teammates. I can say I’m here and I can do this.”

Bacon hopes this summer is the first step on his way to his goal of competing for the USA’s Olympic team for the 2020 Summer Games in Japan. He thought about turning pro after the end of his junior season but has some unfinished business at Arkansas State, including a desire to win a national championship.

The sprinter finished fifth in the 100 and eighth in the 200 at this year’s NCAA Championships to earn All-American honors. It was the first time an Arkansas State athlete earned multiple honors at indoor or outdoor championships.

At Lower Richland, he was South Carolina’s Gatorade Boys Track and Field Athlete of Year his senior season, winning the 100, 200, 400 and 4x100 relay in the state meet.

At Arkansas State, Bacon is the two-time Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Male Track Athlete of the year. He won the 100 and 200 at this year’s SBC championships. His time of 10.0 in the 100 broke a 41-year-old school record set by Ed Preston in 1976.

Bacon set the conference mark in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.35 seconds.

“Being completely healthy, I feel like I’m finally reaching the full potential as far as what I can do. I feel like I’m only getting started,” Bacon said. “It is just living my dream and reaching my goals. It is something I am really excited about.”

Usain Bolt is back in Birmingham! Olympic legend in city ahead of his final championships

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Usain Bolt is back in Birmingham!

The fastest man on Earth is doing his training for the IAAF World Athletics Championships at Birmingham University.

Together with his Jamaican track and field team colleagues, he is based at the Edgbaston campus ahead of the championships which start in London on August 4.

It is a welcome return for the top athletics team who based themselves at the university in 2012 ahead of the London Olympics.

But this time it will be Bolt’s swansong as he has announced he is to retire after the event.

The Jamaicans were due to arrive in Birmingham last Saturday, July 22, and there will be around 50 of them and the campus will be their base for around 12 days.

But so far they are lying low and training hard and have not been seen.

They will be the first to use the new eight-lane athletics track which was only completed in time for their arrival.

The track, in Edgbaston Park Road, replaces the old one they used back in 2012, which has been dug up to make way for a new library.

As well as the athletics track, the team will have the use of the university’s new £55 million sports centre and 50m swimming pool which opened in May.

The team are hoping returning to Birmingham will bring them the same good luck they enjoyed in 2012, when they won a record-breaking four gold, four silver and four bronze medals.

As well as Bolt, the team will include fellow 100m contender Yohan Blake and the 100m and 200m women’s Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson.

After his last visit to Birmingham, Bolt personally thanked the university for the support and facilities which helped win his second “triple” gold in London.

Ahead of their arrival, Zena Wooldridge, the university’s director of sport, said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have such amazing new facilities on campus, and we are very excited to have the opportunity to share our new track and indoor facilities with our Jamaican friends.

“We hope we can contribute in some small way to their success in London by creating an ideal preparation environment here in Birmingham.”

The Jamaicans’ visit also coincides with Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, for which the university’s campus would provide a range of training venues, including athletics, and also competition venues for hockey and squash.

Tactics, Salazar & Gold: Matthew Centrowitz's Training

“My bottom end speed is usually pretty good, so like 200’s, 300’s, 400’s – they come around pretty quick – but that 800, 1000 kind of rep, that’s my weakness and what I tend to work on a lot.” -Matthew Centrowitz

‘Centro’ doesn’t really need a lead in. His potent finishing kick has already netted the street smart American Olympic Gold in Rio, and two World Championships minor medals; all over 1500m. We took a look over the training that has helped mould this 1500m superstar.


D.O.B: October 18th, 1989, Beltsville, Maryland, USA.
Residence: Portland
Coach: Alberto Salazar
Height: 1.75m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight: 60kg (133 lb)


Olympic 1500m Gold, Rio, 2016.
World Championship 1500m Silver, Moscow, 2013.
World Championship 1500m Bronze, Daegu, 2011.
World Indoor Championship 1500m Gold, Portland, 2016.
2011 NCAA 1500m champion.

Personal Bests

800m: 1:44.62
1000m: 2:16.67
1500m: 3:30.40
Mile: 3:50.53
3000m: 8:20.09 outdoors – 7:40.74 Indoors
5000m: 13:20.06

Salazar & Nike Oregon Project’s Mental Edge

“In my eyes, it’s the best professional training group in the world.” -Matthew Centrowitz

Centro is a core member of Alberto Salazar’s stable and he attributes the group environment to a lot of his success:

“They taught me not just what I am capable of in these workouts physically but also a lot of stuff mentally and psychologically from these guys and I think that’s a bigger piece really than a lot of these workouts and the physical preparation.” -Matthew Centrowitz

Centro’s goes as far as stating that when it comes down to something like an Olympic final, with a bunch of close to equally talented athletes, that it is more a mental thing than physical:

“I think a lot of it is more mental than physical. The best way to work on that for me over the years was just a lot of races – every race from college to post-collegiate was a culmination of all those races that got me to where I was in Rio and I was able to respond to that slow, tactical race, and be able to handle that type of calibre of field.” -Matthew Centrowitz


A common training method of Salazar is to add speed repetitions to the end of workouts. Centro’s thoughts on this after he had just met Salazar:

“Working with Alberto for a few weeks over in Europe, he noticed that I don’t work on my speed as much as I should for a 1500-meter guy. So those last couple of weeks over in Europe after London, at the end of workouts I was sprinting when I was tired and doing shorter stuff that I’d never done before. He believes that this is going to mean huge improvements for me over the next couple of years. I expect to see myself have a stronger last 50 meters.” -Matthew Centrowitz

Periodisation – The Salazar Way

“Arthur Lydiard was a revolutionary coach, a great coach. My training system is very different. My belief is that the human body likes continuity, it likes doing things repetitively.” -Alberto Salazar

Like many of the world’s leading coaches, Salazar is a believer in periodisation.

“We have two 20 week periods (cycles) per year.” -Alberto Salazar

A summary of his method of periodisation is outlined below:

  • Two 20 week cycles per year.
  • Two peaks per year at the end of each cycle (usually for the indoor season and then outdoor season).

  • “Within those 20-week cycles we are usually looking for about 5 weeks of building up gradually, and then having about 8-10 weeks at the very maximum level volume and intensity. Then we will go with a 4-5 week taper period into the championship races.” -Alberto Salazar
  • At the end of each 20-week cycle, Salazar’s athlete’s have 4 weeks recovery (2 weeks completely off then 2 weeks of jogging).

Training Specifics

“We do a lot of under and over distance stuff. We’ll go 4-5 miles at a time, maybe 6, a lot slower than race pace. And then we do a lot of repetitions of 800m, 1000m at race pace – over and over.” -Matthew Centrowitz

Semenya breaks silence over gender verification

Athletics superstar Caster Semenya has opened up about the gender verification process that rocked her illustrious career.

The Olympic 800m champion was interviewed by Dr Ali Bacher on SuperSport channel yesterday.

Semenya spoke openly about the scandal in an interview that was aired on Friday and repeated last night.

The revered Limpopo-born runner revealed that when the officials were speaking of chromosomes and questioning if she was a woman or a man, she was confused.

Semenya said the whole process of verification felt like being stripped off her clothes and made to walk in public.

Semenya said she was confused when they said she had an edge over other female athletes because of the higher testosterone in her body.

“I don’t understand when you say I have an advantage because I am a woman.

“When I pee, I pee like a woman. I don’t understand when you say I am a man or I have a deep voice,” Semenya said.

“I know I like man’s stuff, that is not a question, the question is where do I fall in? I am a female that is not a question, that is how I have been raised since I was young.”

Semenya said even after she was banned from running for eight months, she never allowed the scandal to get into her.

However, she criticised the way the matter was handled because her parents were not informed about the verification process.

“My mother was affected because she was the one who was changing my nappies when I was young.”

Semenya said at that time, there were even reports that she might have changed her gender.

“How the hell can you change gender in the rural areas? I’m a woman. We don’t have good doctors, we are not rich to do such procedures.”

She added that she still believes that she was living testimony, and has touched many people’s lives.

Semenya is among athletes who will represent SA at the IAAF World Championships in London next month.

Steve Cram's top 10 tips for running a mile faster than ever before

For runners both amateur and professional, the mile has failed to last the distance. In the Olympics, middle-distance stars like Mo Farah compete for the 5km and 10km golds. On the streets and in the parks, joggers work on their (considerably slower) times for the same distances.

Enter Steve Cram, who along with Steve Ovett and Seb Coe formed the British trio of middle distance runners who led the global field in the 1980s. Cram, now 52 and a coach, presenter and commentator, advocates the mile as a good distance for amateur runners.

Mastering the mile, he says, requires working on your sprinting and endurance, giving your training more variety – which in turn means your body will get more out of it.

1. Use your longer-distance times as a guide

Whatever your 10km pace is, knock 20 per cent off it. If you're running eight miles per hour over a 10km distance, for instance, that's a six-minute mile. If you haven't got a longer-distance personal best, be ambitious with your mile target. A lot of people are a bit timid about what they can do.

2. Give yourself time

Everyone wants results quickly. But a golfer can't change their swing in a day and, likewise, a runner has to be patient. It takes about three weeks for any training effect to show. The more time you give yourself, the better you'll get.

3. Vary your training

The biggest mistake people make in their mile training is doing the same thing each time. You've got to vary your running: pace, and type of runs, and types of training.

4. Do pure speed work

Get someone to have a look at your basic form. Fast running uses your toes and arms more. A good way to introduce that is to do low level hill sprints to teach you to drive with your knees and your arms in a way you don’t normally. Get some strength in, generate a bit more power.

5. Watch fast runners

Look at the way someone like Usain Bolt trains. It's all about being ballistic, being quick, and being explosive. Watch them practise their stride length.

6. Do interval training

This will help your speed endurance. Alternate effort with recovery a few times a minute.

7. Work on your legs at the gym

Plyometrics – an intense form of training based on jumping – will help give your muscles a little bit of extra strength. At the gym, work on your hamstrings, quads and calves.

8. Keep up your stretching

The danger, when you change your training, is that you're asking your muscles to go through a range they haven't got yet. Stretching is really important.

9. Practise the course

If you want to run a six-minute mile, go to a track where it's measured and learn what a 90-second lap feels like. That should be part of your interval training.

10. Concentrate on your third lap

If you're trying that four-lap, six-minute mile, the first and second laps should feel comfortable. People normally speed up on the last lap – which often means they get it wrong in the third lap. You've really got to concentrate on keeping your pace up in that third lap.

Russia Will Pay Its "Neutral" WC Athletes

(Reuters) - Russia on Tuesday told athletes set to compete as neutrals at next month's world championships that they will be paid by the state despite not officially representing their country.

Nineteen Russian athletes were on Monday entered into the competition being hosted from Aug. 4-13 in London.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said athletes who compete at the championships will not miss out financially.

"Salaries and bonuses will be kept in spite of the neutral flag," TASS news agency quoted Kolobkov as telling Russian track and field athletes at a training facility outside Moscow.

Russia's athletics federation remains suspended over a 2015 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report which alleged state-sponsored doping in the sport, something the Kremlin denies.

However, the world governing body, the IAAF, has so far cleared 47 Russian athletes to compete internationally this year under the neutral flag after they demonstrated that their training environment met its anti-doping standards.

The International Association of Athletics Federations told Reuters in an e-mail on Tuesday that all athletes, including neutrals, "have the opportunity to earn money in athletics so long as those payments do not breach the integrity rules of the sport.

"Specifically there is over $7 million prize money on offer to all athletes competing at the London World Championships," the IAAF said.

Yelena Orlova, a Russian athletics federation official, told R-Sport news agency on Monday that it had entered 19 athletes to compete at the competition as neutrals.

The list included hurdler Sergey Shubenkov, who will defend his world title in the 110-metre hurdles, and world champion high jumper Maria Lasitskene, whose personal best of 2.06 meters is three centimeters off the world record set in 1987.

Russian athletes competing as neutrals will not be allowed to wear their country's colors and the Russian national anthem will not be played if they win an event, according to IAAF rules.

The IAAF told Reuters it could not confirm any entry information for the world championships until the ranking process was completed.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; Editing by Ken Ferris

Inside Athletics With Ato Boldon: Tianna Bartoletta

The 12th episode of the current season of IAAF Inside Athletics is available to watch online now and features an exclusive interview with 2016 Olympic and two-time world long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta.

Bartoletta, 31, is also a two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 4x100m relay. At the 2012 Games in London, Bartoletta ran the lead-off leg on the victorious relay quartet that set the still-standing world record of 40.82.

No, Usain Bolt is not donating $2 million to Grenfell Tower fire victims

Fake news about the Grenfell Tower fire incident in London has still been circulating.

After last month's hoax alleging a baby "miraculously" survived 12 days in the charred building, another story is making the rounds on social media.

This time it's relating to claims that the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was donating $2 million to Grenfell Tower fire victims:

It claims Bolt "presented a receipt of bank transaction" to British sprinter CJ Ujah after the Diamond League meeting in Monaco on 21 July. The receipt is "to be presented to authorities in London ahead of the IAAF Championship".

However, no other media outlets outside of reported on such big news.

Later on, a representative for Usain Bolt told Storyful the story was "fake news".

However, that didn't stop many people from sharing it on Twitter:

RIP: Margaret Bergmann Lambert, 103

Margaret Bergmann Lambert, a world-class high jumper who was best known for her nonparticipation in the 1936 Berlin Olympics — she was kept off the German team because she was Jewish — died on Tuesday at her home in Queens. She was 103.

Her niece Doris Bergman confirmed her death.

In June 1936, just a month before the Olympics, Ms. Lambert, then known as Gretel Bergmann, won a meet against some of the best German high jumpers with a leap of 5 feet 3 inches. That height tied a German record and would have been good enough to win the gold medal.

But that she was allowed to take part in the meet was, as she later said, a “charade”: a propaganda tool to show the world that Germany was unbiased in its Olympic team selections. It was a cynical response to organized movements, particularly in the United States, that were urging nations not to send teams to Berlin unless the Germans demonstrated that they did not discriminate.

In fact, the Germans had no intention of sending her to the Olympics, and Ms. Lambert had been coerced into training. Threats were made against her family if she refused.

“It was a terrible shock,” she told Newsday in 2015, “because I was the best.”

Margarethe Minnie Bergmann was born on April 12, 1914, in the small town of Laupheim, in southwest Germany, about 65 miles from the Swiss border. She was an outstanding all-around athlete, excelling in the shot-put, the discus and other events as well as the high jump. “I was ‘The Great Jewish Hope,’ ” she often said.

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With anti-Semitism on the rise in Germany — she recalled signs in shops declaring, “No dogs or Jews allowed” — she left home at 19 and moved to England, where she won the British high-jump championship in 1935. But when the Nazis pressured her father to bring her home, she returned to Germany to seek a position on the Olympic team.

Shortly after winning that June meet, held at Adolf Hitler Stadium in Stuttgart, she received a letter from Nazi officials informing her that she had not qualified. “Looking back on your recent performances,” the letter stated, “you could not possibly have expected to be chosen for the team.” Her accomplishment was removed from the record books.

Hurt and angry, she turned down the officials’ offer of a standing-room ticket, “free of charge,” for the Olympic track and field games. Travel expenses and hotel accommodations were not included in the offer. “I never replied,” she said.

In 1937, Gretel Bergmann was able to obtain papers that allowed her to emigrate to the United States. She landed in New York City with no more than $10 — all the money the Germans would allow her to take out of the country. She worked as a masseuse and a housemaid and later as a physical therapist. In 1938, she married a fellow German refugee, Dr. Bruno Lambert, who was a sprinter, though not a world-class one. They had met at an athletic training camp in Germany.

Dr. Lambert died in 2013. She is survived by two sons, Glenn and Gary; two grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Ms. Lambert continued to compete in track and field events, but for only a few more years. She won the United States women’s high-jump and shot-put championships in 1937 and the high jump again in 1938. She was preparing to try out for the 1940 United States Olympic team when war broke out in Europe, after which she focused her attention on trying to get her parents out of Germany, which she was eventually able to do.

She never forgot what might have been. In 1996, she spoke of watching an important pre-Olympics meet on television at her home in Jamaica Estates, Queens.

“And suddenly I realized that there were tears just flowing down my cheeks,” she said. “I’m not a crier. But now I just couldn’t help it. I remember watching those athletes, and remembering what it was like for me in 1936, how I could very well have won an Olympic medal. And through the tears, I said, ‘Damn it!’ ”

Continue reading the main story

That spring Ms. Lambert received a letter from Walter Troger, the president of the German Olympic Committee, inviting her and her husband to be guests at the Atlanta Olympics.

“We feel that Mrs. Lambert was not treated adequately at the time of the Berlin Olympics,” Mr. Troger later told The New York Times. “We wanted to do something for her; we felt she deserved it.” She accepted his invitation.

“I don’t hate all Germans anymore, though I did for a long time,” Ms. Lambert said. “But I’m aware of many Germans trying to make up for wrongs as well as they know how. And, yes, I felt that the young people of Germany should not be held responsible for what their elders did.”

Although she had once vowed never to set foot in Germany again — and had been gone so long, she said, that she could barely speak the language — she was persuaded to return in 1999, when the stadium in Laupheim, where she used to train, was renamed in her honor. (A sports complex in Berlin had been named for her in 1995, and in 2010 the athletic field at Francis Lewis High School in Queens was renamed for her.)

Ms. Lambert said of her decision to attend the Laupheim ceremony, “I was told that they were naming the facilities for me so that when young people ask, ‘Who was Gretel Bergmann?’ they will be told my story, and the story of those times.”

Ms. Lambert’s story was also told in a 2004 HBO documentary, “Hitler’s Pawn,” and, in partly fictionalized form, in the 2009 German film “Berlin 36.” A memoir, “By Leaps and Bounds,” was published in 2005.

Her German national high jump record was restored in 2009. “It’s very nice,” she said at the time, “except I wouldn’t have committed suicide if it didn’t happen.”

Brit Head de Vos Sees A Bright Future

Niels de Vos has not slept much over the last six months, working 18-hour days as he combines being the chief executive of UK Athletics and London 2017. We meet on the top floor of a Stratford hotel, overlooking the stadium which has just hosted 300,000 spectators over 10 days of the World Para Athletics Championships.

“We sold more tickets than Wimbledon did and more than the Open golf,” says De Vos. “For a para athletics event that is incredible.”

There will be another 700,000 in attendance for the IAAF World Championships starting on 4 August, for which Usain Bolt is the headline act. Despite the quick turnaround between championships, De Vos is in a buoyant mood. He is particularly pleased having signed the biggest sponsorship partnership of his decade as CEO of UKA, a deal which will be announced next week and which he hopes will underwrite the core costs of the governing body for the next 10 years.

He is also energised by plans to bid for the European Athletics Championships in 2022 and to host the World Para Athletics Championships again in 2019.

“People are now starting to come to us saying: ‘Can we put our event into your stadium because it’s the best stadium in the world and you’re the best team in the world at putting events on.’ So that’s pretty cool,” says De Vos, “We really want this month of athletics in the London Stadium every year to be synonymous with the summer in the same way that Wimbledon is,” he adds. “There are a couple of one-day events which we hope to host next year. I think those will be real game changers, to appeal very much to the future generation. We offered £9.58 tickets for the World Championships the nights Bolt is running and that wasn’t because we couldn’t sell them at a higher price. It’s because those kids will be inspired to watch, participate and officiate in the future. That’s the more precise legacy.”

With Jessica Ennis-Hill’s retirement and Greg Rutherford unable to compete at the World Championships through injury, the number of bona fide gold medal contenders among Great Britain’s number is dwindling. De Vos admits that beyond Mo Farah they will be hard pushed to win any titles but warned against judging the team too harshly even if God Save the Queen is not ringing out too often.

“You can see at the moment that in most disciplines of athletics there is one person way above the rest and everyone else is fighting for the minor medals,” he says. “Certainly Wayde van Niekerk looks nailed on for a gold medal in the 400m and everyone else could pick up smaller medals.

“From a British perspective most of our medal shots could finish anywhere between eighth and second or third.

But very few are likely to emerge and hit gold. There are one or two unfortunate injuries and often expectations are too high because winning a global track and field medal is brutally hard, probably more difficult than any other Olympic sport. But they go in buoyant and what we know is that they’ll be phenomenally well prepared and won’t let anyone down with their level of performance. I’m not discomforted by where we are right now.”

While booming ticket sales for London 2017 are rightly highlighted by De Vos as a triumph of organisation and marketing, the wider health of athletics as a spectator sport in this country is not so certain. At the British Championships in Birmingham in June one former athlete said it was the worst crowd she had seen in 16 years. It has been suggested a credibility crisis, with widespread doping scandals and corruption at the heart of the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, has put off the crowds.

But this is not a narrative De Vos recognises.

“People still trust in athletics,” he says. “I don’t buy that people are not interested in the sport because they’re still piling in to watch. People are aware that actually the sport is the cleanest it’s ever been and they definitely believe in British athletics.

“I just don’t buy this caricature,” he adds. “I don’t think there’s a credibility issue and some of the issues we’re talking about are quite historic. I think we’re in a great place in the UK, with more kids wanting to do athletics than ever before.”

Jamaica "Removes" 3 From London Team

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) dropped three members it said was “inadvertently” named to represent to country at the London 2017 World Championships.

World Youth sprint hurdles champion Dejour Russell, 200m sprinter Kenroy Anderson and 400m hurdler Andre Clarke, all fourth place finishers at the Jamaica Trials, are the athletes taken off the team.

In a release very early Tuesday morning, sent by Director of Records Leroy Cooke, read: “Please note some alternate was inadvertently named to the team, those names have been removed. Sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

The London 2017 World Championships will be held between August 4 and 13 at Olympic Park.

Elaine Thompson, Simone Facey, Jura Levy, Natasha Morrison, Sashalee Forbes, Christania Williams, Jodeen Williams, Shericka Jackson, Chrisann Gordon, Novlene Williams-Mills, Anniesha Mclaughlin-Whilby, Anastasia Le-Roy, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Natoya Goule, Jazmine Fray, Danielle Williams, Megan Simmonds, Yanique Thompson, Rushelle Burton, Rhonda Whyte, Ristananna Tracey, Leah Nugent, Aisha Praught, Kimberly Williams, Shanieka Thomas-Ricketts, Kellion Knibb, Shadae Lawrence, Tarasue Barnett, Danniel Thomas-Dodd.

Yohan Blake, Julian Forte, Senoj-Jay Givans, Usain Bolt, Michael Campbell, Tyquendo Tracey, Rasheed Dwyer, Warren Weir, Demish Gaye, Nathon Allen, Rusheen McDonald, Peter Matthews, Steven Gayle, Jamari Rose, Omar McLeod, Ronald Levy, Hansel Parchment, Jaheel Hyde, Kemar Mowatt, Ricardo Cunningham, Ramone Bailey, Damar Forbes, Clive Pullen, Fedrick Dacres, Travis Smikle, O’Dayne Richards, Kemoy Campbell

How to Fix Professional Track and Field

What’s Wrong with Pro Track and Field + How to Fix It

Professional track and field is broken and badly needs a lot of help. And I have some ideas.

I say that having been a competitive runner for more than 20 years, the last 12 of those as a professional track and field athlete, as well as a big fan of the sport. I haven’t always loved running. In fact, I would say it has mostly been more of a love-hate relationship for me. However, I can say with absolute certainty that I love running today more than I ever have. To be honest, a big reason for that is because I recently retired from professional track and field.

Don’t get me wrong—I am so very grateful for everything professional track and field gave me. I appreciate the experiences, the travel, the money, the friends and the memories. But there are also a lot of things that I didn’t love about professional track and field. Things like corruption, doping, the inability to clean up the sport, and the blatant greed and mismanagement within the sport. Of these negative factors, it is the mismanagement that poses the largest threat to the future of professional track and field.

It’s clear that pro track and field as a business is totally broken. And I’m talking about it both on a global basis, but also from a U.S. point of view. I have witnessed dozens of meets disappear over the past decade because of declining fan and sponsor interest. Opportunities that used to be available for pro athletes to compete no longer exist, and the new meets popping up are not outpacing the ones that are closing up shop. Those who remain in the sport fight for the few scraps still available.

In my opinion, as a former professional athlete and as a businessman, the problem is not with the product, but rather with the way that product is packaged. Most meets are still being produced and marketed as if this were the 1980s. I have been to many track and field meets—big ones, small ones and meets in many different countries. Nearly all have been painfully boring and out of touch with the modern world, and I’m a guy who loves track and field!

The majority of track meets are long, confusing and oftentimes meaningless. I really mean that. Except for championship races at the professional level, most races are totally meaningless, and are really just glorified practice sessions. Fans don’t understand everything that is going on, they don’t understand what is at stake, and they certainly shouldn’t be paying to watch hurdles being set up for 15 minutes during a break in the action.

With a very few exceptions, the old model of track meets isn’t working. Of all the track meets I have been to in the world, there is only one that I would classify as having a true party atmosphere: the Weltklasse Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland. This popular annual event, held on a warm summer night in late August, is a black-tie affair that people pay thousands of euros to attend. Think Kentucky Derby, but for track and field. And just like the Kentucky Derby, there are three things other than the races that people come for: great food, copious amounts of alcohol and, yes, even gambling.

If you’ve ever been to a horse race, you know that it would not exist without these three things. So why do we expect human racing to be any different? Fans love the Weltklasse Meeting because it’s entertaining. Athletes love Weltklasse because they get paid really well. Who knew alcohol sales and gambling could generate so much revenue?!

Track and field is losing popularity because it no longer transcends the mainstream the way it used to and hasn’t attracted new—and younger—audiences. In this digital revolution, people’s attention spans are a lot shorter and they need to be constantly stimulated. That’s why any successful event in today’s world is full of fast-paced excitement. Young millennials aren’t going to sit through a boring track meet when they don’t understand the old-school nuances of it, and quite frankly neither would I. They want to be constantly entertained, something has to be drawing their attention away from their digital devices or the many other entertainment options out there.

When people go to professional baseball, basketball or football games, they go to be entertained. They go for more than just the game itself—they go for the food, the drinks, the halftime show, the action on the Jumbotron, the T-shirts being flung in the stands, the chance to win stuff and the party.

They also get to see the stars of the sport—LeBron James, Tom Brady or Aaron Judge—in action for the entire two to three hours of the game. If there was a Nick Symmonds fan at a track meet, they’d see me for 1 minute, 45 seconds and that’s it. And that’s another problem with track and field: Most people—especially casual sports fans in America—don’t know enough about the stars outside of the very elite competitors like Usain Bolt.

The bottom line is that we have to think outside the box and do something entirely different.

If I could raise $2–3 million, I could put on the world’s greatest and most modern track and field meet. But first things first, it would have to be in Nevada because gambling is legal there, so ideally that means Las Vegas. The additional revenue from gate receipts, food and beer sales, and gambling proceeds would be key to making it work.

Breaking it down on a very basic level, I’d use $1 million for expenses and $1 million for prize money. There would be 10 events each, with a $100,000 winner-take-all prize. Every athlete in the world would show up to compete—except maybe Usain Bolt, who can command a $250,000 appearance fee. But you’d have marquee names and top-tier competition in every event, and that’s important.

Of all of the things I have suggested, yes, the quality of competition is important, the music and entertainment are important, the food and the booze are important, and the fun atmosphere is important. But the No. 1 thing is gambling. It is the most critical component and I wouldn’t even think about an event production without it. I know there are purists out there who think track and field doesn’t need these things to be popular. I’m sorry, but those people are wrong. Football would be a much less popular sport in America if gambling wasn’t such a big part of it in so many ways. And anyone who says fantasy football isn’t gambling is delusional.

If I told everyone in the stadium and on TV what the athletes were racing for and actually presented a suitcase full of cash at the finish line so people could see what it was all about, that would be meaningful. As it is now, every May people tune in to NBC Sports or happen to land on that channel to see the Prefontaine Classic from Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., and they have no idea who the athletes are, what the races mean or what the athletes are actually racing for—even though there might be tens of thousands of dollars on the line.

My event would be two hours long, with a 30-minute pre-meet show that includes eating, drinking, music, Jumbotron videos and a chance to place bets. It would start at 7 p.m. and go to until 9 p.m. and it would be full of fast-paced action from start to finish.

When there is a transition and they’re setting up starting blocks or changing events, there will be music with a big sound system and the hottest hits, dancing, more videos and flinging T-shirts into the stands. Ideally, there would also be an interactive app that engages fans in the stands and around the world with the chance to comment and connect, consume and share content on social media and, of course, win stuff from sponsors.

It’s got to be fun, almost like the atmosphere of a concert, but with track and field taking place.

For kids, we’d have an 18-and-under zone where only they can go in and get photographs and autographs of the top athletes. The bottom line is it would have to give fans a lot of bang for their buck, make it exciting and memorable, all while celebrating the very highest level of track and field.

The meet would include only a limited schedule of events so it could be kept tight and full of nonstop action. I think at the Olympic Games you have to have all 32 standard events because that’s what the Olympic Games is all about. But when you’re talking about a for-profit event, that is specifically about raising the level of the experience, increasing exposure and making money, you’re not going to have the women’s hammer throw or the men’s 10,000-meter run.

Of the 10 events, you’d start with the men’s and women’s 100-meter dashes, maybe the women’s 800m, the men’s mile and men’s and women’s 400m, plus some of the best field events like long jump and pole vault. We might have a couple of relays, too, because those can be exciting and fun for fans, especially with the gambling aspect. I don’t think the men’s 800m would make the cut, and that sucks because it’s my favorite event, but I’ve got be brutally honest here, and we’ve got to have events that will put people in the stands and keep the excitement level high.

When fans leave, they’ll head for the Las Vegas Strip and carry on with whatever else they want to do in Vegas, but they’ll leave thinking, “Wow, that was really cool!” They still might not be able to tell you much about a single athlete they saw competing, but they’ll be stoked to have won $300 after they bet on a long shot who wound up winning the women’s 100. And then they might go home and Google that athlete and learn their backstory, and that’s just one way interest can grow among casual, mainstream fans. But they’ll also tell friends about the experience and want to come back next year.

You want to fix professional track and field in America? You want to make it popular again? Then make it a decadent party. If anyone agrees with me and wants to help me make it happen, drop me a line.

Quiz: Can You Name All The Men's WC 100 Champs?

Usain Bolt will finally hang up his spikes at the World Championships in London in August and we have taken a look back at some of the previous winners of this race.
Keep an eye on the time - you only have five minutes to complete this one!
85% or more is a top effort.

The Check The quiz Here: QUIZ

Coe Not Being Proposed For IOC Membership?

France's Jean-Christophe Rolland and Belgium's Ingmar de Vos are each set to be proposed for membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this year as representatives for International Federations (IFs), insidethegames understands.

Rolland is President of the World Rowing Federation (FISA) while de Vos holds the same position at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

This means that Sebastian Coe and Gianni Infantino, the respective heads of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and football body FIFA, are expected to be overlooked once again.

Candidates for membership are drawn up by the IOC Programme Commission before being formally proposed by the ruling Executive Board.

They are then rubber-stamped at an IOC Session.

This final stage is due to take place in Lima between September 13 and 16.

It is possible that the Executive Board could delay their announcement until their meeting scheduled for between September 10 and 12, or it could be formally announced in August.

Rolland officially replaced IOC Executive Board candidate Denis Oswald as FISA President in July 2014.

The 49-year-old Frenchman claimed a coxless pairs Olympic rowing silver at Atlanta 1996 before winning gold four years later in Sydney.

If approved, he would become the third current French member of sport's most exclusive club alongside two other Olympic gold medallists in Montreal 1976 110 metres hurdles winner Guy Drut and three-time slalom canoeing champion turned IOC Athletes' Commission vice-chair Tony Estanguet.

It comes with Paris widely expected to be confirmed as host of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games during the same Lima Session.

De Vos, meanwhile, was elected to replace Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein in December 2014 as FEI President after serving three years as secretary general.

The 53-year-old spent the previous two decades working in equine roles including at the Belgian Equestrian Federation.

He would become the European nation's second current member of the IOC after Baron Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant.

A maximum of 15 IOC members at any one time directly represent the IFs.

Thirteen of these positions will be filled if Rolland and de Vos are approved.

Coe and Infantino were both also overlooked for IOC membership last year, when Italy's International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation President Ivo Ferriani was appointed as the only new IF representative.

IOC President Thomas Bach said then that four places were still free for IF Presidents, adding that "we wanted to wait until we had a full picture".

It is therefore possible that Coe and Infantino could still be added this year, although there has been no indication that this will happen.

Infantino was elected FIFA boss to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter in February 2016.

Coe replaced Lamine Diack as IAAF head in August 2015, shortly before his predecessor was implicated in a scandal which included the alleged covering up of Russian doping cases.

The Briton, who spoke alongside Bach as a fellow athlete representative at the 1981 Baden-Baden Congress, presided over the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation later in 2015.

This deviated from the IOC policy, championed by Bach, which allowed Russians to compete at last year's Rio Olympic Games under their own flag so long as they fulfilled specific eligibility criteria.

Other IF Presidents to have been overlooked for IOC membership include International Judo Federation boss Marius Vizer.

He publicly criticised Bach at the 2015 SportAccord Convention in Sochi before being swiftly maneuvered out of his position as SportAccord President.

The IOC will not confirm the list of candidates for membership or the number of appointments due to be proposed.

National Olympic Committee and individual representatives are also expected to be named this year.

There are currently 95 IOC members, although one - Ireland's Patrick Hickey - remains temporarily self-suspended following his arrest on ticketing charges at Rio 2016.

This remains 20 short of the maximum ceiling of 115.

insidethegames has contacted Rolland and de Vos for a reaction.

Australia Announces World Champs Team

Forty-eight of Australia’s best will don the green and gold to compete at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships, commencing 4 August 2017.

The biggest team to compete at an able-bodied world championship since Seville (ESP) in 1999 and the largest ever squad to duel in the year prior to a Commonwealth Games, the contingent features Rio 2016 Olympic Games medallists Dane Bird-Smith (Qld, 20km walk) and Jared Tallent (Vic, 50km walk) alongside former IAAF World Championships podium finishers Fabrice Lapierre (NSW, long jump), Dani Stevens (NSW, discus throw) and Sally Pearson (Qld, 100m hurdles).

“As the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast fast approach, it’s with excitement that we confirm a team of 49 athletes for the IAAF World Championships. To see so many of our best qualified to compete in the months before a major competition on home soil is fantastic and our hope now is that this team can build upon the sensational result of our para-athletics team in London,” Dion Russell, Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors, said.

Nick Andrews (NSW, 4x100m relay), Rohan Browning (NSW, 4x100m relay), Jack Colreavy (NSW, marathon), Ella Connolly (Qld, 4x400m relay), Tom Gamble (Qld, 4x100m relay), Georgia Griffith (Vic, 800m, 1500m), Josh Harris (Tas, marathon), Morgan McDonald (NSW, 5000m) and Brad Milosevic (NSW, marathon) will compete at an open age international championship for the first time.

“The competing squad not only features household names like Sally Pearson and Jared Tallent, but also nine debutants including Ella Connolly, a medallist from the Commonwealth Youth Games and the youngest team member, Georgia Griffith, who’ll compete in the 800m and 1500m double and Morgan McDonald, a starter in the 5000m after a very impressive qualification performance as recently as this past weekend,” Russell added.

“In the first year of an Olympic cycle, this is a commendable result. We also have 20 debutants from the Olympic Games in Rio last year returning to compete for Australia again, ensuring that we are likely to see a competitive few months ahead as athletes seek nomination for selection to the Australia Commonwealth Games Team.”

Team Australia has now begun to arrive at the Tonbridge School in Tonbridge (GBR) for a preparation camp that continues until 1 August. The squad will then move to the host city of London for competition across ten days at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 4 August.

Team Australia is expected to expand in the coming days via the IAAF Roll-Down Process, a system which sees desired event quotas filled via specific invitation to athletes based on international rankings. The Selection Philosophy of Athletics Australia is to accept invitations when extended to eligible athletes, before confirming the entry of the athlete via consultation between them, their personal coach and the Head Coach dependant on the athlete’s current form and fitness.

At the IAAF World Championships in Beijing two years ago, Team Australia won two silver medals by Jared Tallent (50km walk) and Fabrice Lapierre (long jump), with three athletes featuring in the top-eight. The year following at Rio 2016, Team Australia won two medals in race walking, with 28 athletes placing in the top-16 for their event.

FEMALE (23):
200m: Ella Nelson (NSW)
400m: Morgan Mitchell (Vic)
800m: Georgia Griffith (Vic)
1500m: Zoe Buckman (Vic), Georgia Griffith (Vic), Linden Hall (Vic)
5000m: Madeline Hills (NSW), Eloise Wellings (NSW)
10000m: Madeline Hills (NSW), Eloise Wellings (NSW)
100m hurdles: Sally Pearson (Qld)

400m hurdles: Lauren Wells (ACT)
3000m steeplechase: Genevieve La Caze (Vic)
Long Jump: Brooke Stratton (Vic)
Discus Throw: Dani Stevens (NSW)
Javelin: Kathryn Mitchell (Vic), Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT)
20km walk: Regan Lamble (Vic), Beki Smith (NSW), Claire Tallent (SA)
Marathon: Milly Clark (NSW), Sinead Diver (Vic), Jess Trengove (SA)
4x400m Relay: Ella Connolly (Qld), Morgan Mitchell (Vic), Ella Nelson (NSW), Anneliese Rubie (NSW), Jess Thornton (NSW), Lauren Wells (ACT)

MALE (25):
400m: Steven Solomon (NSW)
800m: Peter Bol (Vic)
1500m: Ryan Gregson (Vic), Luke Mathews (Vic)
5000m: Morgan McDonald (NSW), Sam McEntee (WA), Patrick Tiernan (Qld)
10,000m: Patrick Tiernan (Qld)
110m hurdles: Nicholas Hough (NSW)
Long Jump: Henry Frayne (Qld), Fabrice Lapierre (NSW)
Pole Vault: Kurtis Marschall (SA)

Shot Put: Damien Birkinhead (Vic)
Javelin: Hamish Peacock (Tas)
Decathlon: Cedric Dubler (Qld)
20km Walk: Dane Bird-Smith (Qld), Rhydian Cowley (Vic)
50km Walk: Jared Tallent (SA)
Marathon: Jack Colreavy (NSW), Josh Harris (Tas), Brad Milosevic (NSW)
4x100m Relay: Nick Andrews (NSW), Rohan Browning (NSW), Tom Gamble (Qld), Alex Hartmann (Qld), Trae Williams (Qld)

Nina Kennedy (pole vault) and Chris Erickson (50km walk) have both withdrawn.
Claire Tallent comes in to replace the injured Rachel Tallent
Jack Colreavy comes in to replace the self-withdrawn Jeff Hunt
Ella Connolly, Anneliese Rubie and Jess Thornton have been added to 4x400m.

Russia enters 19 athletes into world track and field champs

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia plans to send 19 athletes to the world track and field championships in London next week despite its suspension from international competition for widespread doping.

The 19, including three world champions, have been given exemptions from Russia’s suspension after the IAAF reviewed their history of drug testing.

Maria Lasitskene is the overwhelming favorite to retain her high jump title, following an unbeaten season in the Diamond League. No other woman has leapt over two meters this year, but Lasitskene has done it at 11 different outdoor competitions.

Sergey Shubenkov leads the charge for Russia’s men as he tries to win a second world title in the 110m hurdles.

Russian Athletics Federation director Elena Orlova told TASS news agency on Monday that, besides the 19, it also filed paperwork for doping whistleblower and 800m runner Yulia Stepanova, but the federation isn’t in contact with her and believes she doesn’t intend to compete.

Since they’re officially “neutral athletes” under IAAF rules, the Russians won’t be allowed to wear national colors and the Russian anthem won’t be played if they win gold.

A total of 38 Russians had exemptions that could have allowed them to compete at the championships, but many didn’t make the qualifying standards. Eleven more were approved only for youth events, and 106 applications were declined.

Russia has been suspended since November 2015, when the first in a series of World Anti-Doping Agency investigations alleged drug use and cover-ups were common on its track team.

Bolt, Thompson lead Jamaica's world championships charge

(Reuters) - Usain Bolt is among three Olympic champions leading a strong Jamaican team at the athletics world championships in London next month.

Bolt will chase his fourth successive 100 metres world title and a fifth consecutive 4x100m relay gold at the Aug. 4-14 meeting, his last international competition.

Olympic double sprint champion Elaine Thompson and Omar Mcleod, who won Jamaica's first 110 metres hurdles gold at the Rio Games, were also included in the 59-member squad announced by the Jamaica's athletics administration (JAAA) on Monday.

Hansle Parchment, who won 110m hurdles silver at the last world championships in Beijing, and rising star Ronald Levy join world leader Mcleod in the event.

Reigning 100m hurdles world champion Danielle Williams, who set a new personal best of 12.56 seconds to win the Jamaican title last month, was also included, along with Olympic and world 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson.

The Jamaican team have started their warmup camp inBirmingham and will aim to improve on the 12 medals secured at the 2015 world championships in Beijing.

(Reporting by Kayon Raynor; Editing by Ian Ransom)

Big Grants By The USATF Foundation

NEW YORK CITY – In two weeks athletes from across the nation will band together with pride to represent Team USA at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, England. In preparation for this momentous event, the USATF Foundation announced 25 Stephen A. Schwarzman grant awards in the amount of $25,000 to members of Team USA today, announced Foundation Executive Director Tom Jackovic and Chairman Bob Greifeld.

Earlier this year, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, became the largest individual donor to the USATF Foundation and made an unprecedented $2.5 million donation in support of elite track & field athletes. The gift is meant to provide financial support to the most promising track & field athletes as they train for the World Championships and Olympic Games.

“I’m proud to support these world-class athletes so that they have the opportunity to compete at the highest level and do our country proud. They represent the best the United States has to offer and are people of tremendous drive and determination. As a devoted follower of the sport and former track and field athlete myself, I’m excited to see all that they achieve as they go for the gold at the World Championships and the Olympics,” stated Stephen A. Schwarzman.

As athletes are gearing up for their trip to London to compete at the highest level, they know the world will be watching. The stakes are high and the pressure is on as they attempt to realize their dream of becoming a World Champion.

Along with the stress of competing often comes the financial burden the athletes must undertake to make their dream a reality. These grant funds can be used to ease the stress of expenses of coaching, training, equipment, medical treatment, recovery, and travel. These grant funds will dramatically affect the athletes’ ability to compete and allow them to focus on winning medals.

The grant amount awarded to these elite athletes is $25,000, which marks a record high in giving for an individual USATF Foundation elite grant. The USATF Foundation has always focused on providing financial aid to athletes with a lower income threshold, but with this generous gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Foundation is able to support athletes at a new level.

The 25 talented athletes to receive funding in the amount of $25,000 each are:

Nia Ali                          100m Hurdles
Chris Benard                 Triple Jump
Gwen Berry                  Hammer Throw
Erica Bougard               Heptathlon
Hillary Bor                    Steeplechase
Daniella Bunch             Shot Put
Michelle Carter             Shot Put
Paul Chelimo               5000m
Will Claye                   Triple Jump
Ryan Crouser              Shot Put
Vashti Cunningham     High Jump
Kendra Harrison         100m Hurdles
Quanera Hayes          400m
Sam Kendricks           Pole Vault

Joe Kovacs                 Shot Put
Shamier Little             400m Hurdles
Charlene Lipsey          800m
Christina Manning      100m Hurdles
Dalilah Muhammed    400m Hurdles
Bryshon Nellum        4x400m Relay
Deanna Price           Hammer Throw
Michael Stigler         400m Hurdles
Ameer Webb           200m
Kendell Williams      Heptathlon
Drew Windle           800m

Why Cathy Freeman Broke Down After Olympic Gold

YOU won't find many Australians who don't remember where they were when Cathy Freeman won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

If you were older than 10 (let's say), we'll bet the image of Freeman in her green, gold and silver body suit storming down the straight and crossing the line first in the final of the women's 400m race is scorched in your memory forever. It's one of the most famous moments in Australian sport.

Freeman was the darling of the 2000 Games and one of the most popular athletes in the country. It's why the Australian Olympic Committee offered her the honour of lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony.

Coming off a silver medal in her pet event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, hopes were high the then 27-year-old would go one better on Australia's east coast. And she did.

Freeman was in the middle of the pack when she exploded out of the final bend to take a lead she never relinquished. Jamaica's Lorraine Graham (silver) and Great Britain's Katharine Merry (bronze) couldn't catch her.

Freeman crossed the line, unzipped her suit, crouched down on her haunches, shook her head, put her hand up to her face and closed her eyes.

Australia saw it as her being overcome with emotion. After all, winning Olympic gold was something Freeman had dreamt of doing for years. But Australia was wrong.

Speaking to Mark Howard in an episode of the broadcaster's podcast series The Howie Games, available on PodcastOne, Freeman opened up about why she reacted the way she did after her win. She wasn't emotional or overwhelmed - she was disappointed.

"Another thing that burns away at me is I know I could have run faster than what I actually have, but that's fine," Freeman tells Howard.

"I actually crossed the line, looked across at the time - 49.11 (seconds) - I was immediately disappointed because I would have loved to have run 48 (seconds).

"I just remember leaning over, putting my hands around my knees and just shaking my head."

Howard asked: "So that head shake was disappointment at your time?"

"Yeah," Freeman replied. "I was not happy.

"It's a mighty occasion. I don't mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, but that's just who I am."

Freeman's disappointment was mixed with surprise that none of her rivals took the fight to her when she was down on pace.

Usain Bolt sledged his fellow runners after winning gold in the 200m event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, saying he would have run faster if those alongside him had been able to push him harder. Freeman was clearly being honest rather than disrespectful, but you get the feeling she was thinking the same thing.

"I was surprised nobody forced it, pushed it a bit," Freeman says.

"I was surprised that Lorraine Graham from Jamaica who got the silver didn't go ahead but in that moment people are hesitant because no one really, really committed against me. Nobody really believed they could beat me.

"When I look back at the footage, nobody really believed that they could win and I think it shows because the pace at which I was running when I was back in the field - it shouldn't have been that way. For a real contest there should have been more of a fight earlier on for that stage of the race. That wasn't the case."

One person who may have pushed Freeman - had she been there - was Marie-Jose Perec. The Frenchwoman won gold in the 200m and 400m in Atlanta and in the 400m in Barcelona in 1992, but exited the Sydney Games in bizarre circumstances.

She left Sydney days before the opening ceremony and later claimed it was because she was being threatened and harassed in the lead-up to the Olympics. But many believe Perec simply felt the pressure and freaked out.

"I was really sad," Freeman says of Perec's withdrawal. "My initial reaction was, 'That's too bad,' because I would really have loved to have had the chance to have raced her and of course to have beaten her.

"But I'll never have that chance and that's one thing that really gets to me, always."

On that September day nearly 17 years ago Freeman's fellow runners may not have believed in themselves, but she sure did. The proud indigenous Australian had the natural talent but perhaps more importantly, the killer instinct to boot.

"I wanted to be an Olympic champion and I didn't care about the goings-on around me," Freeman tells Howard. "In my heart and with all of my soul I was ready, willing and I was very able.

"I had a deadly sense of self-belief. I'd go to another level and say I had a deadly sense of self-conviction where you can say whatever you want, you can do whatever you want but you're not going to touch me.

"No one could ever get into this sacred space that only I'm allowed in.

"You really do live your life like you are the only person in the world."

Freeman tells Howard how calm she was during the 2000 Olympics and how little she was affected by pressure. "It's easy, it's really easy, Howie," she says as she described being in her "natural element", completely confident all her work would pay off when the time came.

"It was the most natural space for me to be in and to move through."

But Freeman does deviate from the narrative that details her aura of invincibility to reveal there were a couple of times when she wasn't entirely in control of everything. One such time was several months before the Games when she just lost it without knowing why.

"I had a little panic attack that lasted for three or four seconds - a very private moment - where I thought, 'F*** this, I can't do this, why am I doing this?'" Freeman says.
"I remember my cats were keeping me company and I was having a conversation with my cats.

"I just wanted to not be here, and it didn't last for very long - I think it's very natural for the body to consider other options.

"I still had a very acute awareness of the situation, of the reality that my life was. Just because I act all, 'La, la, la, la, la' and nonchalant it doesn't mean I'm not aware."

The other was the feeling she says every runner experiences on their way to the call room.

"You feel like you're a lamb going off to slaughter, and I mean that," Freeman says. "You're so vulnerable and it's like, 'Oh s***, oh s***, oh s***.'

"I felt scared - not scared where everything's falling apart - it's a feeling of, 'This is it, there's no turning back.'"

Once Freeman was on the track in front of 110,000 screaming fans, that "deadly" self-belief took over. The rest is history.

"My Greatest Challenge" w/ Tyree Washington

Tyree Washington won the world indoor and outdoor titles over 400m in 2003. Here the US sprinter talks about the difficulties he has endured throughout his life battling asthma.


“Many people don’t know that I have suffered from asthma for my whole life. I almost died from it on numerous occasions. As a baby the doctors told my grandmother, who raised me, I had 72 hours to live. My family was very spiritual and I made it through.

“When I was aged 14 or 15, I suffered smog inhalation in my home city of Riverside, California. My mother rushed me to hospital and I was taken to ER. My lungs were literally collapsing and everything was shutting down on me. For a while, I didn’t know if I was going to make it. Thankfully, I improved, but I remember when I left the hospital bed for a couple of weeks I couldn’t walk. It was very humbling.

“My asthma has been a constant battle through the years because my breathing capacity is at only 75 per cent. My doctor helped me maintain my asthma and I am just grateful I made it and excelled on the track. My doctors always joked and said they couldn’t understand how I had such bad asthma and yet I could run one of the hardest events on the planet. Both scientifically and medically they couldn’t explain it. I wasn’t supposed to win World Championships and become the fastest man in the world during my time in the 400m.

“My asthma made every year of my career very unpredictable. I often had to change my routines because the stresses of being involved in a high intensity sport like track and field would causes my asthma to flare up. I remember racing in Osaka in 1998 and enduring an asthma attack during the race. I wanted to stop at 200m and was telling myself to stop after the next 50 metres. Then I got to 300m and thought, ‘screw it, I’m going to finish the full race’. That race I ran 45.14 for third and I collapsed after the race. I was very stubborn. I wouldn’t go and see a doctor. I just wanted to race.

“Another time I couldn’t find one of my inhalers at home. I was on my hands and knees trying to find one, there was nobody home and I didn’t have my cell phone with me. Thankfully, I found an inhaler at the back of the cupboard. If I hadn’t, it would have been lights out for me.

“My career was always a constant battle. I guess pollen is my enemy – like kryptonite.

“For a long time when I looked back on my career, I felt really hurt I never made an Olympic team because of injury and illness. But over time, I realised that by winning the world indoor and outdoor titles in 2003 I had beaten all the best athletes in the world that year. Once I started to accept this, I could look back and think that despite my illnesses, I had a glorious and blessed career. I am part of a select group of athletes that have won world titles; my talent for track was a gift from God.”

Injured Nicholas Bett Won't Defend World 400H Title

World 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett will not defend his title during the World Championships due August 4 to 13 in London.

Bett, who made history as the first Kenyan to win gold in sprint events a World Championships, accomplishing the feat during the 2015 event, has been ruled out with a right leg injury.

Bett’s manager, Jukka Harkonen, has to that effect written to Athletics Kenya, briefing them about Bett, who has a serous stress fracture on his fibula bone.

Harkonen said that Bett experienced a sharp pain in his right leg during the Diamond League in Doha on May 5 this year and upon discussion, his athlete took a few days leave.

“The pain came again after the Shanghai meeting on May 13 and he started treatment in Nairobi,” said Harkonen.

Even though the doctor in Nairobi, who conducted an MRI indicated that Bett had no problem, Harkonen decided to take him to Lahti, Finland for further check-up and treatment.

“We took a high quality MRI on June 8 and it was discovered that Bett had a serious stress fracture,” explained Harkonen.

Bett would start two weeks of full rest and then another four weeks of pool work before starting easy jogging after six weeks. He missed the National Championships and Trials on June 23-23 at Nyayo National Stadum.

“It’s after he started to jog that the pain recurred and that is why we decided to have another MRI can on July 31 in Lahti, Finland. He won’t be able to compete at that level in London since it will be risky and the possibility of breaking the fibula bone is too big,” said Harkonen, adding that he has not been able to train well as the world champion.

Harkonen confirmed that Bett will be able to resume training effectively and prepare for the 2018 Commonwealth Games after the results are out on July 31.

“It’s disappointing since my main target was to defend my title,” said Bett, at Team Kenya's training camp at Kasarani where he is still having treatment. “I hope to be back healthy and stronger for the Commonwealth Games.”

Head coach Julius Kirwa said it’s quite unfortunate that Bett will not be travelling to London to defend his title.

“I know how he is feeling now but it’s good that he focuses on treating the injury so as to come back stronger,” said Kirwa, who now remains with one athlete Haron Koech, Bett’s brother in the discipline.

Koech managed to qualify on July 16 at a race in Modova, Italy, where Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist Boniface Mucheru, who is also the reigning Africa champion, withdrew mid-race owing to an injury.

Koech clocked 49.39 seconds.

Team Kenya is set to leave the country on August 1 for the London Championships, where the country hopes for a replica of the 2015 Beijing competition by topping the medal standing again.

Makwala/van Niekerk Can Light Up Post-Bolt World

It was as the men’s 400m field exited the final bend in last Friday night’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco that a tantalising glimpse of the Post-Bolt athletics world was revealed.

Having made a point of catching and passing Isaac Makwala midway down the back-straight, South Africa’s world and Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk discovered that the job was not done as the Botswana athlete in the pale blue vest to his right, arms pumping, was now actually edging ahead.

The 25-year-old world record holder, whose first two races of the season – a 300m world best of 30.81 and a 400m in 43.62 – had been relatively unopposed victories, suddenly found himself in a harsher environment, and responded as champions do.

Without losing his form, Van Niekerk moved ahead once again to win in 43.73, although the puffing of his cheeks testified to the late effort that had been required.

Makwala was rewarded with a personal best of 43.84 just a week after his remarkable performance at the Madrid meeting, where he became the first man to run a sub-44sec 400m (43.92) and a sub-20sec 200m (19.77) on the same day, the latter time replacing Van Niekerk’s 19.84 at the top of this year’s world list.

Metres beyond the finishing line, the two men had their arms over each other’s shoulders, emphasising that this is a relationship involving sportsmanship as well as rivalry.

The Botswana athlete is five years Van Niekerk’s senior – indeed, he is only a month younger than the imminently retiring Bolt. But unlike the Jamaican sprint legend, Makwala, whose first IAAF World Championships were in 2007, clearly feels he has important things still to achieve in his career.

With the 200m still to run in Madrid, he had told the press: “I’m satisfied, but I know I can run faster. My goal in London is the gold medal; I can do it.”

In the immediate aftermath of his run on the Stade Louis II track, he was even more expansive: “This race felt good from start to finish. I have now decided I will be doubling 200 and 400 in London.”

So Van Niekerk will have swift company in both the events.

“It was great performance today, I’m feeling positive about it,” the South African responded after the race. “My body feels to be in great shape and this win from behind gives me lot of confidence.

“We still are not peaking, we trained hard last week, all should be OK for London and my double. I was forced to change my plan when I saw Isaac in front in last 100m. All went well. Now we’re ready for the big plan.”

At the previous day’s press conference, Van Niekerk had said he had held a little back in both of his previous 2017 outings. He had no such leeway in Monaco – and will surely not expect it in London either.

Asked about Makwala’s Madrid double, the South African provided a response that sportingly acknowledged the quality of his rival’s effort while also underlining his own determination to do better.

“It’s not the first time he’s done it,” Van Niekerk said. “I’ve got lots of respect for him planning to double up. The times he has run and what he did in Madrid show the quality he has as an athlete. It’s something you can’t take lightly. At the same time it’s something you can use to improve your own performance.

“So I’ve got the utmost respect for Isaac, and I’m sure we can continue improving one another’s times. It’s the kind of competition that’s good for the sport.”

Makwala’s first experience of a global championship in Osaka was as a member of Botswana’s 4x400m relay team, which was knocked out in the heats. Ten years on, the Botswana quartet will arrive in London with strong chances of finishing on the podium at least.

In Beijing two years ago, Botswana – boasting London 2012 800m silver medallist Nijel Amos, Makwala’s friend and sometime room-mate, missed a place in the final by one place as they set a national record of 2:59.95.

Now their team has been strengthened by the addition of 20-year-old Baboloki Thebe, who finished third in Monaco in 44.26 and looks a huge prospect for the coming years.

In the meantime Makwala will doubtless be reflecting again upon one of his favourite pieces of advice from his coach, Justice Dipeba, who regularly reminds him: “Champions are not born, champions are made.”

Makwala added: “I like this because he is saying anything can be achieved through training hard and hard work.” It looks as if all of this Botswana athlete’s hard work is about to pay off in London and beyond.

Rudisha to lead strong Kenyan team to London 2017 World Championships

Athletics Kenya (AK) have confirmed that Kenyan superstar athlete David Lekuta Rudisha will defend his men’s 800m title at the IAAF World Championships in London from 4-13 August, 2017.

The announcement ended intense speculation in local media that the two-time Olympic and world record-holder at distance would not make the final squad for the global track and field signature event.

“It is no-brainer. He is the world record holder, world champion and big time performer at big championships. He has to be in team,” AK vice-president, Paul Mutwii told journalists in Nairobi on Thursday.

AK announced the final squad on Friday at which the omission of US based Michael Saruni – one of the five athletes named into the 49-member provisional squad in the men’s 800m with only four eligible to be entered into the competition – caused a huge stir.

US-based Emmanuel Korir, who caused a major upset to win the men’s 800m in 1:43.86 at the Kenya trials, World Under-20 800m champion Kipyegon Bett, 2nd in 1:44.04; and Saruni, third in 1:44.61; and 2016 IAAF Diamond League winner Ferguson Rotich were all named in the preliminary team.

David Rudisha opted out of the Kenyan selection trials for London 2017 on 24 June to focus on regaining his shape after an underwhelming season, and initially, his name was missing from the provisional team.

However, he was included in the squad after reports he was missing from the team circulated on social media drawing a huge backlash on the AK.

Rudisha and Rotich had wild cards to the 16th edition of the global event but the Athletics Kenya boss insisted the federation reserves the right to decide the final squad.

With the top two across the line assured of automatic entries as per the rules of the AK Trials, Saruni and Rotich, who finished in fourth place, were contending for the final slot in the team following Mutwii’s announcement on Rudisha.

Rudisha will be returning to the stadium where he won his first Olympic gold medal in the blistering 1:40.91 world record at the London 2012 Games.


Men 400m Hurdles: Haron Koech, Kiprono Kosgei, Nicholas Bett

Women 10,000m: Agnes Tirop, Irene Cheptai, Alice Aprot

Men 200m: Mark Otieno

Women 5000m: Hellen Obiri, Margaret Chelimo

Men 5000m: Cyrus Ruto, David Kiplagat

Women 400m: Maximilla Imali

Men 400m: Raymond Kibet, Alphas Kishioyan, Collins Omae

Men Javelin: Julius Yego

Men 1500m: Ronald Kwemoi, Timothy Cheruiyot, Elijah Manangoi, Asbel Kiprop

Women 1500m: Faith Chepn’getich, Winnie Chebet

Women 3000m steeplechase: Cellphine Chepsol, Beatrice Chepkoech, Purity Kirui, Hyvin Kiyeng

Men 3000m steeplechase: Conseslus Kipruto, Birmin Kipruto, Jairus Birech, Ezekiel Kemboi

Women 800m: Margaret Nyairera, Eunice Sum, Emily Cherotich

Men 800m: Emmanuel Korir, Kipyegon Bett, Michael Saruni, Ferguson Rotich, David Rudisha

Men triple jump: Elijah Kimitei

Men walk race: Samuel Gathimba, Simon Wachira

Women race walk: Grace Wanjiru

Men Marathon: Daniel Wanjiru, Geoffrey Kirui, Gideon Kipketer

Women marathon: Edna Kiplagat, Helah Kiprop, Flomena Cheyech

Eilidh Doyle to captain Great Britain at World Championships

Eilidh Doyle will captain the Great Britain athletics team at next month's World Championships in London.

The 400 metres hurdler was voted into the role by her fellow team members.

She said: "I'm absolutely chuffed to bits. It's a huge honour to have been elected by my peers as the team captain for British Athletics at London 2017.

"To lead your team at a home World Championships is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to have your team-mates vote that they want you to do it makes it even more special."

The Scot is a two-time outdoor world medallist in the 4x400m relay and also won bronze in the event at the Rio Olympics last year.

British Athletics performance director Neil Black said: "I'm delighted for Eilidh. She's a fierce competitor and a fantastic role model for younger athletes in the team.

"Eilidh is Scotland's most decorated athlete and has won a medal at all of the majors. She knows what it takes to win. That's the type of athlete and mindset we need to lead us into a home world championships."

The World Championships get under way at the London Stadium on August 4.

Fitness Doubt Weighs Heavily On Yohan Blake

The city of London holds good memories for Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake.

At the 2012 Olympic Games he won silver medals in the 100m and 200m, finishing behind his friend and training partner Usain Bolt on both occasions. The 200m was especially memorable as his other training partner, Warren Weir took the bronze in a 200m medal sweep for Jamaica.

A year before in 2011, Blake became the youngest-ever World Champion over 100m after Bolt false-started, and he went on to win in a time of 9.92s in Daegu, South Korea.

Since the London Olympic Games, however, Blake has had a terrible time with injuries, pulling his hamstring in 2013 and again in 2014, before finally making his way back to fitness in time for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

His 4x100m gold medal at the games has reignited his taste for success, and he has one final opportunity to win international medals alongside Bolt at the World Championships in London next month.

Blake won both the 100m and 200m at the National Senior Championships in June, signalling a full return to form and fitness. But just when all seemed set to go, he pulled out of the Rabat Diamond League in Morocco a few days ago, reportedly with a sore groin. While it was said to be a precautionary measure, the timing of the injury could not be any worse for the 27-year-old.

The return from injury has been a tough task for Blake, and he has spoken of how difficult it has been mentally for him. So it begs the question, will this latest setback take a toll on the youngest 100m World Champion ever?