1500m Women Heat 3 IAAF World Championships London 2017







Watch Usain Bolt’s top Olympic 100m moments

 

Usain Bolt is ready for the last races of his career. What a series of incredible moments he leaves behind as the fastest man in history.

Bolt is the 100m favorite at the world track and field championships in London, with the final on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, NBC and NBC Sports Gold). One week later, Bolt is expected to anchor the Jamaican 4x100m relay team in his last race before retirement.

The curtain will come down on a decade of memories, from world records to world-class celebrations, charm and charisma. That was never more evident than on sport’s biggest stage — the Olympic Games.

In 2008, a 21-year-old from the rural Jamaican sugar town of Trelawny, shocked the world by breaking the 100m and 200m world records at the Beijing Games.

As Michael Phelps wrapped his eight-gold-medal opening week in China, it was Bolt who kept viewers glued. Not only did he win in record fashion, but he also did so with cocky style, turning his head and slapping his chest before crossing the 100m final finish line in 9.69 seconds.

Bolt, criticized by some for disrespectfully celebrating mid-race, then ran hard through the line to win the 200m in 19.30 seconds four days later, lowering Michael Johnson‘s world record.

After breaking his own world records at the 2009 World Championships, Bolt came back for an Olympic encore at the 2012 London Games. He ran faster in London than in Beijing by aggregate and became the first man or woman to sweep the 100m and 200m at back-to-back Olympics.

Soon after London, Bolt said the 2016 Rio Games would be his Olympic farewell. He came to Rio to set his legacy as a legend along the likes of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Pelé. He did not disappoint, winning both sprints and the 4x100m relay again.

After Rio, Bolt chose to race one more season — “for the fans” — and will fittingly cross the finish line one last time at an Olympic Stadium, the site of his 2012 London Games triumphs.

Track and field, and the Olympic Games, will not be the same without him.


New Poster Girl Muir Taking It All In Stride

The various promotional material around London Stadium for the World Athletics Championships demonstrates just how far Laura Muir has come. Alongside the likes of Mo Farah and Usain Bolt -- who lit up the same track at the London Olympics in 2012 -- is Muir, the new poster girl of British athletics.

The 24-year-old's profile is rising fast. She has set five British and two European records over the last 12 months, won European indoor gold at both 1500 meters and 3000m in March, and was the fastest woman in the world outdoors over 1500m last year.

At last month's London Anniversary Games, she narrowly missed out on breaking Zola Budd's 32-year-old British record for the mile at an event where only Farah attracted more attention from home fans. And in the build-up to the World Championships, she was scheduled to give 19 interviews in one very busy media day.

"I take it all in my stride," said Muir, the pun seemingly unintended. "It's kind of expected when you do well. It kind of comes with the job, and it's nice, people recognising I'm doing well and wanting to find out a bit more.

"Media training is available but I've never been able to make it with being busy in Glasgow. I go with it as I am."

Muir is bright, articulate and -- as someone who has combined the life of a veterinary student at the University of Glasgow with elite-level track training - hard-working. She has taken a year out of her studies to focus on running, culminating in these championships, but plans to return to complete the final year of her course.

The complexities of a veterinary degree, and the rigorous scientific thought processes involved, appear to have had a beneficial side effect for her 'other' career. Muir used to get nervous and struggle around race time. That was until the end of the 2014 season, when she "flicked a switch" and decided she needed to enjoy herself more on the track and trust in her training.

Having tried and ultimately decided not to continue working with a sports psychologist, Muir now views the pressure on her to win medals as nothing other than positive support. That includes bearing the burden of expectation at a home championships in the same way Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill famously did at London 2012.

Muir's quest begins in the first female event on the track on Friday's opening night, the 1500m qualifying round, and she also has hopes for the 5000m later in the championships. She will, however, have her work cut out even to medal in either. There are six women who have run faster than her this year over 1500m, and that doesn't include Caster Semenya, who only recently confirmed her participation in the 1500m as well as defending her 800m title.

It is a similar story in the 5000, where Kenya's Hellen Obiri has set the fastest time in the world this year, more than 30 seconds quicker than Muir's best -- and that was set indoors.

"I'm ready for whatever is going to come," she said. "I just see it as a privilege to be competing at the level of sports that I'm at. I'm happy to be where I am and if I can get anywhere near the likes of what Mo and Jess have done, I'll be very, very happy."

Perhaps Muir's mature attitude is the result of coming to the track relatively late. She started running as an 11-year-old but didn't take it too seriously until she teamed up with her current coach, Andy Young, seven years later. In the absence of any elite Scottish athletes to look up to, it was Andy Murray and Chris Hoy -- each Olympic gold medal winners in tennis and cycling -- who were her childhood sporting heroes.

"I never really saw myself as being an elite athlete and never aspired to be like that because I thought I was so far off the mark," said Muir. "In athletics there was Paul Radcliffe and so on and I'd know the names but could never believe that I could get to where they were at."

Now it is Muir who aspiring young athletes are aiming to emulate, something that is not lost on her. "It's important kids have someone they can look up to and [through whom] they can see a path -- how they can do things and what they can strive to achieve," she said.

"I try to get into schools and I went back to my old high school a couple of months ago telling them: I was where you are just a few years ago and there's no reason, if you work hard, you can't get to where I'm at."

The pointers to becoming a big UK star are all there: Muir is talented, level-headed and mindful of the responsibility that comes with her rising profile. She's also fortunate that she has a good source of advice should she need it: Jessica Ennis-Hill.

"I have spoken to Jess a few times and we've got the same agent so we cross paths now and again," Muir said. "I don't know if I'll fill her shoes or not but she was a great role model for girls of my age. If anybody can deal with pressure, she's the No. 1 person."

Yet Muir now stands where Ennis-Hill once was, the literal poster girl of British athletics. Her chance has come to prove who the new No. 1 is.


Usain Bolt at London 2017: What time is his heat, what TV channel is it on and when is the World Championships final?

What is it?

Usain Bolt will run his final competitive race in the men's 4x100m relay next Sunday, as the Jamaican calls time on his illustrious career.

Before then, though, Bolt will be hoping to qualify for the individual men's 100m final - his last solo effort.

What time is the first round?

Heats begin at 8.20pm.

Should Bolt qualify for the final of the men's 100m, the Jamaican will compete in his last individual event at 9:45pm on Saturday evening.

What TV channel is it on?

The BBC have live coverage of the London World Athletics Championships. This 100m first round race will be on BBC One. Alternatively, you can follow the action here.

Who is he up against?

His main rivals are expected to be fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, Justin Gatlin of the United States, Canadian Andre de Grasse and 21-year-old American Christian Coleman, who has the fastest time this year of 9.82 seconds.

Speaking in his final press conference, Bolt said he wanted to be remembered as the ‘unstoppable’ fastest man in the world.

Bolt has had an underwhelming season coming into the games and is only the joint-seventh fastest man over 100m in 2017.

But Bolt moved to play down any fears over his form.

"The last race I ran was a 9.95, so that shows I am going in the right direction. After the two rounds leading up to the 100m final, which always help me, it's all about who keeps their nerve," he said.

"I have been here many times. I know I am ready."

“Along with Beijing in 2008, these are the best crowds I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“In 2012, London came out even for the morning sessions. I’ve never seen that before."


Longhorns Hardee & Carter Captaining Team USA

AUSTIN, Texas – Today marks the start of the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, and Longhorns will lead both the men and women of Team USA. Athletes for Team USA voted on team captains prior to the start of the meet with Michelle Carter and Trey Hardee chosen to lead their teams.

Carter went to Instagram to thank her teammates for their support.

"I am so honored to be #TeamUSA Team Captain with @treyhardee. #HookEm Thank you to all of my teammates! I can't wait to see all the great things we will do!"

Both are competing at the fifth world championship and have a long history of success at major international competition.

Hardee winning gold in the decathlon at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships. He also claimed silver at the 2012 Olympic Games. Hardee returns to the same stadium he won that silver medal when the decathlon starts next week.

Carter won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in the shot put, becoming the first American woman to win the event. She also won bronze at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing and won gold at the 2016 World Indoor Championships.

Carter has been a leader for Team USA in the past, being elected to serve as a team captain at the Olympics last summer. Some athletes voiced their opinion on who they wanted their captain to be on social media, including hurdler Nia Ali, who tweeted, "USATF sent an email to cast votes for team captain when they KNOW we gon' choose Michelle!! No debate."

Texas Head Coach Mario Sategna is in London as the men's head coach for Team USA. He said it is an honor and a testament to the character of both Carter and Hardee to receive an honor like this.

"What a special honor for Michelle and Trey to be team captains together for Team USA," Sategna said. "They both have had such great careers and they have represented themselves, their country and The University of Texas with pride and grace the entire way. I couldn't be more proud to head into this world championship meet with Longhorns leading the way for us as team captains."

The world championships start today with seven Longhorns set to compete over the 10 days of competition. Morolake Akinosun and Ryan Crouser join Carter and Hardee on Team USA. Rushelle Burton, Senoj-Jay Givans and Chrisann Gordon will run for Jamaica.


One Thing To Watch For On Day 1: Everything!

Day one of a World Championships is always light on finals with one, or at most two, gold medals being decided. But against that, you get to see every athlete in each of the events on the day’s schedule.

On day one at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, that includes you-know-who in the men’s 100m first round. With the number of major championship ‘Bolt nights’ rapidly reducing to zero – they won’t be making any more after this year – that alone is worth the price of a ticket.

Then there’s the women’s 1500m. True, there is only one medal final for a track event, but every middle-distance preliminary round is like a final for all but the most gifted of athletes. With fields of about 15 runners and as few as five or six advancing to the semifinal round automatically, the average runner has to focus on being in the right place at the right time and then just run like hell.

Then there are a couple of field event preliminaries where, again, every contender gets to show their form. Many field eventers would endorse the view of Australia’s former high jumper Tim Forsyth who reckoned qualifying was about as much fun as a trip to the dentist. Think nothing bad happens? Well, what about women’s discus qualifying in Rio last year where eventual gold medallist Sandra Perkovic got through only on her final attempt with her one valid throw.

MEN’S 10,000M FINAL
If, despite the above, you still think the only thing that glitters is gold, consider the men’s 10,000m, the day’s only final. Local boy made very, very good Mo Farah will be seeking his third straight title and the first leg of a fifth consecutive world or Olympic distance double. Moreover, he will be doing it where it all began at 10,000m, the stadium where the Olympic 10,000m started this stream of double distance gold.

Many will seek to stop him – dual world cross-country champion Geoffrey Kamworor and Kenyan teammates Paul Tanui and Bedan Karoki; an Ethiopian trio led 19-year-old newcomer Abadi Hadis, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, maybe other newcomers like Australia’s Patrick Tiernan.

But they’ve been trying to stop Farah for years and none have found the key. His combination of endurance, tactical nous and closing speed has seen off all challengers since Ibrahim Jeilan got the better of him in Daegu in 2011. It’s held that you can’t beat Farah for speed but, ironically, Jeilan got past him in the final straight then.

BEST OF THE REST
The women’s 1500m heats will be tight. Sifan Hassan has taken all before her so far this year, including a win over Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon in Paris. Kipyegon and defending champion Genzebe Dibaba are near top form, Poland’s Angelika Cichocka is a big improver, the home crowd will raise the roof for Laura Muir, and Caster Semenya’s decision to double is intriguing.

There is qualifying in the men’s long jump and discus. South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga leads the long jump this year, which misses defending champion Greg Rutherford but sees the return of the 2013 winner, neutral athlete Aleksandr Menkov. Daniel Stahl leads the way in the discus this year, the only man beyond 70 metres.

Olympic champion Ekaterini Stefanidi and last year’s new entrant in the five-metre club, Sandi Morris, will be in action in women’s pole vault qualifying, while the men’s 100m kicks off with a preliminary round early in the evening before the appearance of Bolt, Justin Gatlin, Andre De Grasse and many others in the first round.


Can South Africa Go 1-2 In Men's Long Jump?

Team South Africa could open their IAAF World Championships account with a gold and silver medal in the men's long jump on Saturday evening.

In Luvo Manyonga and Rushwal Samaai, South Africa possesses the bookmakers' top-two favourites for the gold medal.

Manyonga can be backed at 3/10 for the gold medal, while Samaai is joint second-favourite alongside American Jarrion Lawson at 6/1.

Manyonga is the reigning Olympic Games silver medalist, having finished as runner-up to American Jeff Henderson by a single centimetre in Rio de Janeiro last year.

Of note is that Henderson will not be competing in London this weekend.

Manyonga owns a personal best leap of 8.65m.

Samaai, meanwhile, took bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the gold medal at the 2016 African Championships in Durban.

Samaai's personal best is an impressive 8.49m.

The men's long jump final will be contested at 21:05 (SA time) on Saturday.


Merritt bids for golden climax to miraculous journey at world champs

London (AFP) - Aries Merritt thought he had run his last race two years ago as he underwent a kidney transplant, but against the odds he is a contender to add the 110-metre hurdles world title to his 2012 Olympic gold.

The 32-year-old American -- who enjoyed an annus mirabilis in 2012 by taking gold in London and then breaking the world record with a time of 12.80 seconds -- has shown some smart form this campaign.

He returned to winning ways, including in the London Diamond League meet on the same track where he won the Olympic title and where he will bid to win the world crown.

Victory in London might even outdo Merritt's bronze in the 2015 world final in Beijing when he was just days away from the transplant -- the kidney donated by his older sister LaToya Hubbard.

"A lot of it was because I thought it was probably going to be my last time running ever again," Merritt told the New York Times last year, referring to the effort he put into winning bronze in Beijing.

"And so I just pulled a rabbit out of a hat, essentially."

The slightly-built Merritt's performance in China even had Leslie Thomas, his kidney specialist at the famed Mayo Clinic, in awe of the achievement.

"He had almost no kidney function, terribly anaemic, running against the Chinese fog or smog, and he came in third!," Thomas told Sports Illustrated in 2016.

"Don't you think that's amazing? I mean, that's, like, crazy."

LaToya said she didn't think twice about donating her kidney to Merritt, whose illness was a a rare congenital kidney disease called collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), first diagnosed in 2013.

- 'You can't give up hope' -

Indeed back then she was pregnant, with her daughter Lela, but contemplated terminating her pregnancy so as to donate her kidney -- however that radical step was avoided as Merritt's condition improved enough to delay the procedure.

"I'm not going to say I was disappointed," Hubbard told the New York Times last year.

"It was more like, wow, what can I do to help my brother? I just decided to do what I could do."

Merritt, who despite a lack of race fitness only narrowly missed out on a place in last year's Olympic team, says LaToya has always been there for him even if in the early days it was tough love.

"She was really tough on me as a kid, growing up as an African-American in Atlanta, in the ghetto; well, not in the ghetto, but not in a rich area," he told Sports Illustrated.

"It was tough and she made me see things I wouldn't normally see. She toughened me up for the harsh reality of the world in the USA. I love my sister to death."

Their mother, though, intervened to get LaToya to ease up on her brother.

"When I'm gone, it'll only be you two," she told the Washington Post.

"You have to look out for each other."

LaToya took the message to heart and Merritt, who had to undergo further surgery later in 2015 to have the kidney pushed deeper inside his body, could reward her extraordinary gesture with gold in London.

Indeed Merritt's mindset has completely changed from two years ago when he contemplated life without athletics.

"I was told, 'you'll never come back to the sport with the medications you have to take that are life long'," said Merritt, who will take three different medicines daily for the rest of his life.

"It was something that went in one ear and out the other.

"No matter what someone may tell you, whether it's a doctor or not, you can't give up hope. You always have to stay positive and look at the brighter picture."


World Leader Coleman Ready For Spotlight

LONDON -- "I am just concentrating on staying in my own lane." This was the focal point of the USA Track and Field team's final press conference before the start of the IAAF World Athletics Championships on Friday, a phrase that emphasized introspection and blocking out external distractions. For Christian Coleman, this mantra has become relevant than ever.

The 21-year-old turned professional in June after becoming the fastest man in the world this year, clocking a 9.82 in the 100 meters at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. After a race like that, it's impossible to avoid the spotlight.

As the track world wonders where it will stand without Usain Bolt, many will look to Coleman and other aspiring talents to fill the void when the Jamaican star hangs up his golden boots after this year's championship.

But for all the drama and accolades surrounding Bolt's 100-meter farewell, there will be seven other sprinters on the track on Saturday evening, all of them confident confident they can gate-crash the party. With Andre de Grasse now out of the competition due to a hamstring tear, Coleman -- who has run a sub-10 100 meters six times this year -- has emerged as the man who could burst Bolt's balloon. Yohan Blake owns the next-fastest 100 meter time this year (9.90).

"To be one of the guys in contention to win and to upset Bolt, that would be crazy," Coleman said. "If that happens it would be great.

"I know from watching previous championships what the atmosphere is going to be like, from the fans to the Usain Bolt show, so to just be a part of history is a great feeling. I've not got to think about the atmosphere and go and compete."

This is all new for Coleman. He was part of Team USA's roster at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but his involvement was limited to running in the qualifying heats of the 4x100 relay (he sat out the final). When he lines up in Friday's 100 meter prelims, it will be the first time he has competed individually at the international level.

Yet as he faced the press on Thursday in the depths of the same Olympic Stadium where Bolt has achieved so much success, Coleman did not seem remotely overawed by the upcoming duel. He was the least experienced of the six athletes at the top table -- Allyson Felix, Christian Taylor, Jenny Simpson, Ryan Crouser and Tianna Bartoletta sat alongside him -- but he seemed largely comfortable, sidestepping most questions about Bolt and remaining in his own lane instead.

"I'm locked in and focused in, and when you do that, special things happen," he said. "To be able to come out with a win -- that's everybody's goal, so I will be ready."

He will likely line up alongside fellow American Justin Gatlin in Saturday's final. Gatlin has been something of a mentor to Coleman. The two are University of Tennessee alumni, and Coleman holds the unique quartet of 60m/200m indoor and 100m/200m outdoor U.S. titles, just as Gatlin did before him.

After an arduous year of competing both indoors and outdoors for Tennessee, Coleman will not compete in the 200 in London (he clocked 19.85 in Lexington, the third fastest time this year). Instead, he will focus all his efforts on the 100.

Though he dodged any moniker of being "the next Usain Bolt," he will be racing against the man he dubbed "the greatest of all time" on Saturday, assuming all goes according to plan. But Coleman will be looking to carve out his own niche in 100-meter history.

"Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin ... to have my name up there with those types of guys is a blessing and a humbling feeling," Coleman said. "I feel I've worked hard and deserve to be on the stage and I'm ready to compete."


Salazar's Absence Won't Affect Farah

British Athletics performance director Neil Black has never seen anything which has made him doubt Sir Mo Farah's defence against doping claims.

Four-time Olympic champion Farah has been dogged by allegations -- he strenuously denies any wrongdoing -- ahead of the start of the World Championships in London, which get under way on Friday.

Farah's coach Alberto Salazar is reportedly not attending the showpiece event as he continues to be under investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

Last month hackers Fancy Bears released documents they claimed were from the sport's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations [IAAF], and the collective released a tranche of documents on its website claiming it wanted "to show the scale of doping violations in track and field" and shine a light on flaws in the current doping measures.

Tthe IAAF later apologised to the athletes involved and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Farah.

The 34-year-old is aiming to defended his world 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres World Championship titles again after double triumphs in Moscow and Beijing. He begins his quest in the 10,000m on Friday night, and Black continued to back his athlete.

"Of course you look people in the eye, we all do it, and you have to work out and ask the question, 'Do I believe is there is anything that suggests otherwise?' There is nothing at all that suggests otherwise to me," Blake said.

"I understand if you read information and if you talk to people, it is very easy for people to fall into the trap of seeking fault and blame -- talking negatively and building this picture. It seems to be a natural human trait that we all do -- we make something into something else.

"It is important the only person who can answer why he is not here [at the Championships] is Alberto. It concerns me things get leaked, it concerns me things can be and are written in a way which can make things appear bad.

"There was nothing in the leaked report which was a surprise or a shock to me personally."

Black dismissed the significance of Salazar's absence and insisted it will not affect Farah.

"The thing which is so special about Mo is he doesn't need any of us. He can do it himself but he enjoys the fact people support him, want to work with him and give him direction," he said.

"He does take on board what everybody says but at the end he makes the decisions. That's what makes him a special, multiple global champion."

Farah will end his track career at the Diamond League final in Zurich later this month as he looks to focus on the marathon having also won 10 world and European titles.

Black has known Farah since he was 15 years old and believes the defending champion is ready to retain his crowns.

"I have worked with and supported a young prank-ish boy who still calls himself 'Mad Mo'." he said.

"I don't think you can make comparisons or really describe it, but what you will see is someone who hasn't lost that passion.

"It's about winning for Mo Farah. Every year certain things happen where it gets to a point where suddenly Mo Farah knows that he's ready. Last year it was the Anniversary Games.

"This year it was probably about 12 days ago. And he did something in training without killing himself that confirmed to him and the rest of us that you're ready. He then takes his shoes off and says, 'That's it, job done'. You'll see something special."


‘Sport needs to sell itself better’

Athletics needs to shake itself out of the Dark Ages and be much better at presenting what is a great product, according to world and Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford.

The injured Briton is unable to defend his title at the World Championships, which begin in London on Friday, but will have a different view on proceedings in his new role as an expert analyst for Eurosport.

Rutherford’s career high when he was one of the golden trio to triumph on Britain’s “Super Saturday” at the 2012 Olympics was fully appreciated by the sellout crowd and worldwide TV audience but he, like many field event participants, has also seen the other side of the coin when his event has been virtually lost in the often-chaotic spectacle of a full athletics programme.

“Sometimes when you are down there competing it’s hard even for us to know what’s going on, knowing what our rivals are doing,” Rutherford told Reuters in a telephone interview on Thursday.

“There’s often so much going on that some events can get a little lost. I actually think in some ways the sport is in the Dark Ages in terms of presenting itself; we could be much better because there is so much great stuff to see.”

Rutherford said he had really enjoyed competing in the City Games held in Manchester city centre in May and said other similar innovations could help meet the challenge of “remaining relevant” that IAAF head Sebastian Coe said this week was the sport’s No 1 challenge.

“We’ve been blessed to have had Usain Bolt but I think we could have done more to use his appeal to spread the news about the other great performers," he said.

Rutherford, who also has Commonwealth and European titles to his name and an Olympic bronze from Rio last year, said he was immensely frustrated to have missed out on defending his title but had to take the long-term view after failing to overcome an ankle injury sustained in June and further complications from a sportsman’s hernia.

“In this sport you have to be 100 percent fit, especially in my event,” he said.

"You can’t be 99 and a half percent, not with the quality of opposition around, that’s not going to be good enough. I’m devastated that I won’t be able to compete in that stadium which is such a special place for me, the place that changed my life. But there was no choice in the end so I’ll just have to focus on recovery and look to next year and trying to become the first to win three European titles in a row.”

In his absence Rutherford said there could well be a South African 1-2 in London with Luvo Manyonga, the world leader and stand-out performer this season, and Ruswahl Samaai the men to beat.

However, with four Americans in the field, including Olympic champion Jeffrey Henderson, he said their competitive juices mean it would not be a surprise if one of them pulled out a big one on the day.

“I’m really looking forward to watching the event through different eyes and hopefully bringing some insight to Eurosport viewers,” said the 30-year-old.

“It’s a role I’m really excited about. I’ve always enjoyed that media interaction and it’s something I want to learn about and maybe one day I would love to make that transition. But I’d like to think I’ve got a few more big competitions in me yet.”


Jamaican authorities back Russia's failed attempt to have doping ban lifted

(Corrects to 166 countries voting in favour in para 2, changes byline)

By Kayon Raynor

London, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Jamaican athletics authorities are in the firing line once again after voting in favour of a bid to lift Russia's ban from international competition for doping.

The attempt at the IAAF's Congress to overturn the ban, imposed since November 2015 after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report found evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russia, fell well short of the two-thirds majority needed, with 166 countries voting in favour of keeping it.

But Jamaica was among 21 countries, including Nigeria, Peru, Romania and Sri Lanka, which voted in favour of ending Russia's suspension.

This decision comes eight months after the Warren Blake led-JAAA executive abstained from a vote on sweeping reforms of the IAAF.

Last November's "Time for Change" proposals were aimed at moving athletics forward from a tainted period in the sport's history, encouraging greater integrity and disciplinary functions, along with giving a greater voice to athletes in the organisation and promoting gender balance.

(Editing by Julian Shea)


Great-granny turns into supercoach

Ans Botha's transformation from one minute being a 75-year-old cooing over her 10-month-old great grandson to the next playing 'supercoach' to the greatest new talent in athletics is one of sport's more extraordinary makeovers.

Yet as Wayde Van Niekerk runs the 400 metres heats at the World Athletics Championships in London on Saturday, eyeing more athletics landmarks, he would not want anyone but this "amazing woman" to be guiding him.

Botha has three children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. "Oh yes, I'm a great-grandmother – but not of Wayde!" she laughs, when asked how they gel with their 50-year age gap.

South African Van Niekerk says he teases his Namibian mentor for her stubborn ways and Botha gives him old-fashioned looks about his blaring music. "She's strict," smiles Van Niekerk, yet, clearly, their relationship comes with deep affection, trust and respect.

It has worked famously in the five years since Van Niekerk enrolled at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein and asked to join the training group of Botha, their athletics coach of 25 years.

Under her tutelage, not only has he become a world record breaker and Olympic champion at 400 metres, clocking 43.03 seconds in Rio last year, but also the only man ever to break 10 seconds for 100m, 20secs for 200m and 44secs for 400m.

In London, he could become the first man since Michael Johnson in 1995 to achieve the 200m/400m double at the world championships.

Botha smiles that, actually, like the rest of her training group, she cannot help but see Van Niekerk like one of her "children". From schoolchildren to veterans, they all call her 'Tannie Ans' – Auntie Ans in Afrikaans.

"There are 32 of them and I treat them the same. They're an exceptional group of children," she said in an interview with Reuters.

"Wayde really loves to be in the group because they're like a family. When he has to train on his own, he always complains 'Tannie, I'm alone, I want my friends, my other athletes here with me.'"

Van Niekerk's dramatic rise over the past year has proved a real culture shock for Botha, finding herself at the centre of a media fuss.

After a fifty-year self-taught coaching career which began back in Namibia when she couldn't find a coach for her daughter Herma, Botha, once a long jumper and sprinter herself, said: "In a way, it's a really difficult experience for me at 75.

"In another way, I'm still the same person, still a great grandmother who loves gardening and all my other activities. So it's not made any difference to me as a human being.

"It is physically demanding at my age but I enjoy it. I'm walking a lot and then stretching. I've found when you have the enthusiasm and the love and passion for something, it's no big issue.

"I'm just so blessed and am so grateful to do the things I love at my time of life."

Van Niekerk feels blessed to have her guiding him too.

"She's an amazing woman," he told reporters on Wednesday. "I don't think she's as scary as some people think but she is a tough lady.

"She's fixed in a lot of her ways but if you approach her with love and respect, then you can win her heart quite easily.

"Once you step on the wrong side then you can find it's quite difficult to win her over. I haven't stepped over that mark, but I do like to tease her which she is not used to."

The ageless Botha loves guiding Van Niekerk, but what does she prefer – being the perfect coach or the perfect great grandma?

"I think it's both. When I have the opportunity to be with my family, I try to make it really, really quality time," she smiled, before adding with a glint in her eyes: "Yet when I'm busy coaching, I have a one-track mind."


Doping charge against Hylton thrown out

Jamaica's 4x400m world championship bronze medalist Riker Hylton has been cleared of an alleged doping violation by an independent anti-doping panel in Kingston.

The Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission(JADCO) claimed the 28-year-old, part of the team that came third at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, had failed or evaded to submit a sample requested by a collection officer in April 2016.

After a three-day hearing, the three-member panel ruled that JADCO had "not discharged its burden proving that Riker Hylton committed a doping violation under article 2.3 of the JADCO rules, 2015 to the comfortable satisfaction of the panel."

Hylton's representative Emir Crowne said he and his client were "grateful for the ruling".

"As you can imagine these proceedings weighed quite heavily on the athlete and he’s relieved to have this matter put to rest, especially as the eyes of the world will be on Jamaica and Jamaican athletes for the current IAAF World Championships," he said.

"At the end of the day the panel was not comfortably satisfied that Mr Hylton was in fact notified (by JADCO),” he added.

This is the second high-profile ruling to go against JADCO in recent times.

In June, Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion Kaliese Spencer was also cleared by the Independent Anti-doping Disciplinary Panel of charges she had refused to provide a sample for testing.

That panel ruled it was "not persuaded by the standard of evidence provided" by JADCO, which had accused her of committing the offence in April 2016, the same time as Hylton.


Puma To Offer Bolt A Big Job?

BERLIN, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Puma could make Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt the head of its Caribbean business once he retires from athletics, the head of the German sportswear firm was quoted as saying on Thursday.

"Usain Bolt could be even more important for us when he stops running," Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden told the Handelsblatt daily in an interview. "I can even imagine that he could run our business in the Caribbean."

Gulden has previously said Bolt, who has been sponsored by Puma since he was 15, could be just as valuable for the brand off the track, adding he would have more time for product development.

Bigger rival Nike has built a multi-billion dollar brand with retired basketball player Michael Jordan, while Adidas still uses former England soccer star David Beckham to promote its products.

Bolt is due to run his last races at the World Athletics Championships in London this week and next - aiming to sign off with a fourth 100m title and a fifth 4x100m relay gold – taking his world haul to 13 to add to his eight Olympic golds.

Bolt, who turns 31 later this month, said earlier this week he was looking forward to a new chapter.

"It's going to be hard, as track and field has been everything for me since I was 10 and it’s been a rush – but we'll see where life takes me."

He intends to stay close to athletics and is eyeing some sort of roving ambassadorial role, inspiring the world's youth to get involved in a sport he says is on the up after reaching "rock bottom" with the Russian doping crisis of two years ago. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Keith Weir)


Merritt Sees Gardiner As A 400 Threat

LONDON, England — One of the more accomplished and decorated athletes in the history of the men's doo meters (m) is taking note and watching closely all of his chief competitors, including Bahamian national record holder Steven Gardiner.

American LaShawn Merritt, a former World and Olympic Champion in the men's doom, has done it all in his discipline in the sport except broken the world record. He is a former two-time world champion in the men's doom, a former Olympic Champion, and a former World Junior Champion. In history, he is the sixth fastest over that distance.

Merritt, who was working out simultaneously as the Bahamian team at the practice track at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park yesterday, said that young Gardiner is one of the athletes he is looking out for in the men's doom. Merritt didn't run the event at the USA Track & Field (USATF) National Championships in June, but has a bye into the world championships as a result of his Diamond League victory last year. He was second to new world record holder Wayde van Niekerk, of South Africa, at the Beijing World Championships two years ago, and finished third to van Niekerk and Grenadian Kirani James at the Olympics last year.

Merritt is looking for gold at the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Championships in London this year. "I feel pretty good," he said. "I'm glad to be back here in London. I missed out in 2012 for the Olympics because of an injury but now I'm here. I've been training hard, and looking forward to this."

As it relates to Gardiner, Merritt said that he's a tough competitor, and one who he will definitely be keeping his eyes on. "He's running very well." Gardiner was the world leader for a portion of the year until getting past by world record holder van Niekerk, Americans Fred Kerley and Gil Roberts, and Isaac Makwala and Baboloki Thebe, both of Botswana. Gardiner is now ranked as number six on the LAAF's Top Performance List for 2017. "He's a great competitor, and he's running very well," said Merritt yesterday. "He's been around for a couple years, and he's one of the guys to look out for. He's in good form this year, and I look forward to him going out and doing some good things." Gardiner lowered his national record to 44.26 seconds at the Grenada Invitational in early April. It was his first meet of the season.

However, apart from van Niekerk who appears to be on a level by himself right now, many feel that the field is wide open in the men's doom this year. That should create some interesting scenarios in that event. and the men's 4xdoom relay this year.

"There are some guys who haven't been in the low 44s in a while who are running well this year. It's all about who is going to line up, and who is going to perform when it's time to perform," said Merritt. It is estimated to take about a 44.5 run to make the final of the men's 400m here in London. The slowest qualifying time for the final in the semi-finals of last year's Olympics was 44.49 seconds. Each athlete in the final ran 44.61 seconds or faster. Van Niekerk set the world record of 43.03 seconds in the Olympic final last year.

Merritt, a 12-year veteran as a senior athlete, was third in that Olympic final, in 43.85 seconds. He will certainly be among the medal contenders this year.

As for Gardiner, in all likelihood, he will have to run a new national record just to get into the final of the men's doom at these world championships. He is The Bahamas' only hope in an event that has certainly had its fair share of success among Bahamian sprinting over the years.


Simpson Wants Faster Reallocation Of Medals

Olympic 1,500 metres bronze medallist Jenny Simpson has urged the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to reduce the time it takes to reallocate medals stripped from doping cheats.

Simpson, third in the 1,500m at last year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, also praised the IAAF for recognising athletes who have been cheated out of podium finishes at previous World Championships by holding medal ceremonies at this year's event in London, which begins tomorrow.

The 30-year-old American also called on the IAAF to take similar steps at future editions of the World Championships.

A common complaint is that drug cheats deny the rightful winners a podium celebration in front of a full stadium and the IAAF has moved to address the issue.

Some of the athletes who will receive medals here have been waiting a decade to be given their prize, however.

"It is difficult to watch an award ceremony that is 10 years worth of correcting," Simpson said here today.

"You can be retired and long gone and then finally be given what you deserve.

"The sport has to care about that and fix that.

"There is a little bit of an ache in my heart when I see that but certainly it is fun to be able to celebrate setting the record straight.

"My emotions are split between the ache and that joy.

"They are making a big deal out of it to have an award ceremony at a World Championships.

"It is exciting and is right.

"Hopefully this is a model for how they will correct things as we move on in the future."

Medals from 11 different World Championship events from four editions of the flagship IAAF event - Osaka 2007, Berlin 2009, Daegu 2011 and Moscow 2013 - are due to be re-issued here.

The American 4x400m team from Moscow 2013 - featuring Jessica Beard, Natasha Hastings, Ashley Spencer and Francena McCorory, will be awarded gold tomorrow.

Russia had originally won the title on home soil, but Antonina Krivoshapka received a two-year doping ban in April.

British and French quartets, promoted to silver and bronze respectively, will also attend the ceremony.

American 10,000m runner Kara Goucher will receive silver from Osaka on Saturday (August 5), with Britain's Jo Pavey collecting the bronze from the same race.

British heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill will receive the gold medal from the event in Daegu six years ago.

It was won by Russia's Tatyana Chernova, who was stripped of thetitle in November 2016 following analysis of her athlete biological passport.

Ennis-Hill, the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist who is now a triple world champion, will be given her crown here on Sunday (August 6), while Jennifer Oeser of Germany will pick up her upgraded silver.

Other medals to be presented tomorrow include British bronzes from Berlin and Daegu in the women's 4x400m relay.

McCorory will also receive individual 400m bronze from Daegu, with Jamaica's Stephanie Ann McPherson receiving a medal of the same colour from the same event at Moscow.

Ukraine's Irina Lishchynska will be awarded 1,500m silver from Osaka and Latvia's Ineta Radevica will collect long jump silver from Daegu.

The Netherlands' Rutger Smith will be given shot put bronze from Osaka on August 6, with race-walkers Eder Sanchez of Mexico and Giorgio Rubino of Italy gaining their medals on August 13.

They will be presented with Berlin 20 kilometres silver and bronze respectively at The Mall, following the walking ceremonies in London.


How Usain Bolt became a 100m sprinter, convincing his coach

Usain Bolt might never have broken the 100m world record if he didn’t break the Jamaican 200m record first.

As Bolt prepares for the last 100m of his career at the world championships (NBC and NBC Sports Gold, Saturday, 3 p.m. ET), a look back at his first 100m race as a pro a little more than 10 years ago:

Recall that Bolt grew up a 200m/400m runner and made his first Olympics in 2004 solely in the 200m at age 17 (eliminated in the heats in Athens while slowed by a left hamstring injury). By 2007, Bolt was on the verge of successfully lobbying his veteran coach, Glen Mills, to let him race a 100m.

Even years ago, Bolt was a lazy trainer, so complementing his specialty 200m with the 100m rather than the 400m made sense to him.

Mills, who started coaching Bolt after the 2004 Olympics, preferred the 400m for the lanky teen with a long stride. But they made a deal going into the 2007 season that if Bolt broke the national 200m record, he could enter a 100m.

At the 2007 Jamaican Championships, Bolt lowered Don Quarrie‘s 36-year-old national 200m record by .11 of a second.

“After the race [Bolt] didn’t even say thank you,” Mills said, according to the Jamaica Gleaner. “He just said, ‘When is the 100m?'”

Three weeks later, Bolt was on the Greek island of Crete for the first 100m race of his career.

“[Mills and I] made a bet that if I did well … he would let me double in the 100m and 200m the following season,” Bolt wrote in one of his books, referencing the 2008 Olympic season. “If I didn’t do well I would do 400m and 200m. Training for the 400 meters struck me as hell on earth, so I wasn’t going to blow this opportunity.”

He won in 10.03 seconds. It was so lightly regarded that Bolt was the last line in a 180-word brief from The Associated Press. Still, Bolt won the bet.

“The only person in Jamaica running faster than that was [world-record holder] Asafa [Powell], so I told coach he had to give me the chance,” Bolt wrote.

The rest is history.

Bolt ran 9.76 in his third career 100m race on May 3, 2008, and then broke the world record four weeks later on that stormy evening in New York City.


Elaine Thompson Fit & Ready After Achilles Issue

LONDON, England:

Jamaican sprinting star Elaine Thompson says she is in good shape heading into the World Championships in London adding that she has fully recovered from an Achilles issue that was bothering her a few weeks ago.

Last month at the London Diamond League meet, Thompson had to compete in training spikes to protect her Achilles after a new pair of spikes, which were built for her by her kit sponsor Nike, caused discomfort in the area.

The double Olympic sprint champion told The Reporter on Thursday, that she is ready to compete and is looking forward to the test in London.

“I’m in good shape,” Thompson said from the team’s hotel. “I have to give God thanks. Since I got back from Eugene, I got some new spikes from Nike and they weren’t comfortable at all, they were giving my Achilles some slight discomfort so I got some training flats from them for London (Diamond League) just to try but I am back in shape now, the shape that I am supposed to be in.”

“Hopefully by Saturday you will see me in the spikes I’m supposed to be in so it’s all good now,” Thompson added.

Thompson, who will only be competing in the 100m at these championships, has been in terrific form this season, winning eight of her nine races in the event with a season best of 10.71 seconds.

She also again underlined her reasons for skipping the 200m at London 2017, noting the difficulties experienced in Rio last year.

“Last year the double was really difficult and I am excited and looking forward to competing in the 100m and 4x100m here,” Thompson said.

The women's 100m heats will get started inside the London Stadium on Saturday at 11:45 a.m.


Ryan Bailey received 6-month doping ban

Ryan Bailey, a 2012 Olympic sprinter and believed-to-be 2018 Olympic bobsled hopeful, last week received a backdated six-month doping ban that ended earlier in July.

Bailey, who was fourth in the 2012 Olympic 100m, tested positive for a banned stimulant on Jan. 10 at a bobsled race.

Bailey said the failed test was caused by taking a high-risk dietary supplement that did contain a banned stimulant, but not the one for which he tested positive.

The standard ban for Bailey’s infraction is two years, but it was reduced following a July 25 hearing “based on his light degree of fault.”

Bailey was provisionally suspended on Jan. 29, but the six-month ban was backdated to his Jan. 10 test date and thus ended July 9.

The arbitration decision was signed July 26. The following day, Bailey competed at the USA Bobsled national push championships, tying for 19th out of 26 men.


Who can beat Usain Bolt at world championships?

Usain Bolt is favored to win in his last career 100m race at the world championships on Saturday, even though four men in the field have run faster than him this year.

Bolt is known for turning it on at global championships. In 2015 and 2016, he laid down his fastest time of the year in the world championships and Olympic finals.

If that history is repeated, Bolt will run sub-9.9 seconds in London on Saturday (3 p.m. ET).

“I think it will have to be 9.8 seconds low, perhaps the same time it took me to win at the Olympics,” Bolt, who won in Rio in 9.81 seconds, said Thursday, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.

In three races so far this season, Bolt’s best is 9.95, his slowest-ever time heading into an Olympics or worlds.

In 2013, 2015 and 2016, the silver medalist behind Bolt (Justin Gatlin every time) ran between 9.80 and 9.89 seconds.

There’s reason to believe this year’s group of Bolt challengers is the weakest yet. Only one man has run sub-9.9 this season, compared to four Bolt challengers going into the Rio Olympics and seven going into the 2015 Worlds.

Canadian Andre De Grasse, the only man to join Bolt on both Rio 100m and 200m podiums, is also out with a hamstring strain.

A look at the four men with the best shot at handing Bolt his first defeat in four years on Saturday (some stats via Tilastopaja.org):

Justin Gatlin, United States
Personal Best: 9.74 seconds (2015)
2017 Best: 9.95 seconds
100m Accolades: 2004 Olympic champion, 2015 World/2016 Olympic silver medalist
100m Record vs. Bolt: 1-8 (Win: 2013 Rome)

Why he can beat Bolt: Gatlin was the world’s fastest man in 2014 and 2015, though he didn’t bring his top form to the 2015 World final and was edged by Bolt by .01. Gatlin has said he was slowed in the spring by injuries. If he’s close to fully healthy in London, expect him to run significantly faster than his best time of 9.95 this year. Gatlin and Bolt have the same best times of 2017, and it’s conceivable that Gatlin could be in for a greater time drop than Bolt on Saturday.

Why he won’t beat Bolt: Gatlin is old, 35 years old. So those leg injuries early this season could have taken their toll. Gatlin also declined in 2016 from his 2014/2015 peak, so 2017 may prove a further slowdown. The one instance Gatlin had a shot to beat Bolt on a major stage, he choked under pressure in 2015.

Yohan Blake, Jamaica
Personal Best: 9.69 seconds (2012)
2017 Best: 9.90 seconds
100m Accolades: 2011 World champion, 2012 Olympic silver medalist
100m Record vs. Bolt: 2-6 (Wins: 2011 Worlds, 2012 Nationals)

Why he can beat Bolt: Blake has the fastest personal best in this field aside from Bolt’s world record 9.58. Though it came all the way back in 2012, the longtime Bolt training partner is still just 27 years old. Plus, he has steadily improved the last two years since returning from career-altering torn hamstrings. Blake’s best time in 2016 came at the Rio Olympics, which indicates a sub-9.9 is possible in London.

Why he won’t beat Bolt: Blake hasn’t raced since June 25, pulling out of a meet in Morocco two weeks ago with a reported groin injury. He also hasn’t raced 100m outside of the friendly confines of Kingston since the Rio Games.

Christian Coleman, United States
Personal Best: 9.82 seconds (2017)
100m Accolades: 2017 NCAA champion
100m Record vs. Bolt: Never met

Why he can beat Bolt: Coleman is the fastest man in the world this year by a clear .08 of a second. Bolt’s final times at the last few Olympics and worlds have slowed from 9.58 (2009) to 9.63 (2012) to 9.77 (2013) to 9.79 (2015) and 9.81 (2016). If that trend continues, Coleman could repeat that 9.82 and win on Saturday.

Why he won’t beat Bolt: Coleman should be tired. Another 9.82 in London would be a surprise. He has been the busiest sprinter in the world this year, racing a full NCAA indoor season from January through March, then the NCAA outdoor season from April to June and then turning pro and contesting the 100m and 200m at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Plus, he has never raced individually outside of the U.S. and Canada or in a global championship aside from the Rio 4x100m preliminary heats.

Akani Simbine, South Africa
Personal Best: 9.89 seconds (2016)
2017 Best: 9.92 seconds
100m Accolades: Fifth at 2016 Olympics
100m Record vs. Bolt: 0-5

Why he can beat Bolt: He has broken 10 seconds a total of eight times this year, most of any man in the world. Simbine, at 23, is significantly younger than Gatlin and Blake and, unlike Coleman, has plenty of international experience.

Why he won’t beat Bolt: Simbine has the slowest personal best of the Bolt challengers. And he hasn’t broken 9.99 in six tries since April. He also lost to Bolt in each man’s most recent race on July 21.


U.S. Athletes To Train Ugandan Women

The U.S Department of State, in collaboration with Sports United has organised athletics clinics in Kampala in which two renowned American athletes will impart skills among Ugandan female youth.

US Olympic gold medalist Jeneba Sylvia Tarmoh and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Champion Kenyanna Jovonda Wilson will visit Kampala as Sports Envoys between August 4–14.

“The U.S. Sports Envoys will hold a series of athletic clinics with local athletes in order to increase female participation in track and field in Uganda,” a statement from the US Embassy said.

On August 9, the statement added, the athletes will have an engagement activity with professional Ugandan athletes at Namboole Stadium starting at 9:00 am.

The Sports Envoys will also focus on teamwork, effective communication, building self-esteem, and other lessons learned through athletics.

The U.S. Embassy in Kampala is working with a local athletics club, Tartan Burner Athletics Club, to coordinate the Sports Envoys’ Programme and to organize the activities in Kampala, Arua and Kapchorwa.

Sports Envoys are athletes and coaches who travel overseas to lead programs developed by U.S embassies and consulates.

The Sports Envoys hold clinics for young people and coaches, participate in community outreach activities, and engage youth in a dialogue on the importance of leadership and respect for diversity.

Sports United manages the Sports Envoy programmes, working in cooperation with the U.S Olympic Committee, U.S sports federations, and professional leagues.


Taylor & Felix On The Cusp Of History In London

Speaking at the USA team press conference at London Stadium on Thursday (3), a slew of reigning and past world and Olympic champions, which included Allyson Felix, Christian Taylor, Ryan Crouser, Tianna Bartoletta and Jenny Simpson, expressed cautious optimism on the eve of their appearances at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

TAYLOR CHASING WORLD RECORD
Christian Taylor has won two Olympic and two world titles in the triple jump but there is one omission on his otherwise imperious resume: the world record.

That record stands to Jonathan Edwards at 18.29m set at the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg. Edwards was 29 when he bounded out to that historic mark and while Taylor - at 27 - still has time on his side, the reigning champion is itching to surpass that record.

“I’ve wanted the world record since Daegu,” Taylor said. “I’m a little disappointed it hasn’t happened yet but I believe this is my time. It would be very, very sweet to do it on Jonathan’s soil and I know he’s going to be watching. He keeps giving me little hints that could help me get to that distance.”

Taylor has approached Edwards’ world record in the past - most notably at the last World Championships in Beijing when he bounded out to 18.21m in the sixth round to seal the title and secure the US record. And if he secures the world record, Taylor has hinted such a feat might precipitate a switch to the 400m.

“I love the 400m - I’ve done it through high school but I do need this [world record]. It’s really why I’m here - I’m so frustrated I’m just short of it every year. I don’t take winning for granted and I love being on top of the podium but now this is the thing that is outstanding.”

While Taylor is relishing the chance to create history, Allyson Felix was sanguine on the prospect of becoming the most bemedalled athlete in World Championships history. Felix has already amounted 13 medals - a tally surpassed only by Merlene Ottey (14) and equalled by Usain Bolt - but she could potentially overtake both of them by claiming medals in the individual 400m and both relays.

“For me, I honestly don’t think about the medal tally and what it means in history,” said Felix, who claimed her first medal at the 2005 World Championships when she won the 200m. “I always take each year and focus on the goals and I figure when my career is done, I’ll look back and appreciate everything.”

CROUSER, BARTOLETTA AIM TO BACK UP OLYMPIC GOLD
Ryan Crouser and Tianna Bartoletta also contributed to the United States’ bumper gold medal haul at the Olympic Games last summer and they were both confident of repeating at the World Championships.

“I’m pretty happy with my preparation, it’s been a really good season so far - I’m undefeated so I can’t complain,” said Crouser. “It’s my first full year as a professional so it’s been a learning curve. If I could throw a personal best, I would be happy with that but I would be extremely happy with a gold medal.”

Not only does Crouser lead the world lists with 22.65m, Crouser - like Taylor - has the ability to produce his best in the sixth round of competitions. In four of his eight competitions this year, Crouser has produced his best throw with his final effort.

“Those big throws - especially at the end - don’t happen on their own; there’s a lot of simulation training. Since I was in middle school, at the end of practice my dad would always mark my best throw of the day and say ‘it’s the last throw, you’ve got to beat your best on the day with your last throw.’ Having done that hundreds - if not in thousands of practices - it’s pretty routine so I know I can do it again,” he said.

Tianna Bartoletta pulled out a lifetime best of 7.14m in the sixth round to win the world title in Beijing two years ago before extending her PB to 7.17m to claim the Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro. In both finals, a seven metre-plus jump was necessary to reach the rostrum and Bartoletta is braced for another high quality competition.

“I believe it will be eerily similar to Rio. We’ll feel out the runway and get an idea of what sort of speed the runway can handle then rounds four, five and six will be pretty ridiculous,” said Bartoletta.

“Physically, Rana [Reider] has done an excellent job of peaking me for the right time. My speed is here - I know that based on Nationals it didn’t look like it was [Bartoletta didn’t reach the 100m final] but that’s part of the cycle - but I’m ready to go.”

SIMPSON COUNTING ON THE UNPREDICTABILITY FACTOR
Having raced in every major championships since 2007 when she first competed in the 3000m steeplechase in Osaka, Jenny Simpson brings a wealth of experience to the start-line for tomorrow night’s 1500m heats.

Simpson has claimed three medals from the last five major 1500m finals - including a gold medal in Daegu six years ago - and she believes her versatility could play to her advantage as she aims to claim her fourth major medal.

“For someone like myself, I feel like I can run a really strong and fast race if they get going and then I think I’m really threatening in a sit-and-kick race so for me, I like there’s the possibility it could be either way and a little bit of the unpredictability in the race really works in my favour because I can think on my feet.

“What would be most exciting in my mind is for a fast race to give the crowd something to cheer for - to give the crowd a real show so I think a sub-four race would be a lot of fun in the World Championships,” she said.


Ian O'Riordan: Why won’t Caster Semenya break world records?

Implications of intersex athletes and hyperandrogenism yet to be finally addressed

Consider this the hint of the century. There are a couple of women’s world records which either could or should be broken in the near future and, if or when they are, will be made permanently unattainable for the vast majority of other women.

The latest increasingly irrefutable evidence of that came inside the Bislett Stadium in Oslo on Thursday. In stretching her now unbeaten 21-month run, including 25 consecutive wins in the 800 metres, Caster Semenya again toyed with the field of women around her, waiting until the final 60 metres before making any sort of effort, then crossing the line in 1:57.59, her third Diamond League victory of the season.

With that Semenya slowed to a slightly less obvious jog, accepted the winner’s bouquet, and turned around to shake hands with the women behind her, most of whom were either sitting back on the track in utter exhaustion, or bent over, hands on their knees, the default position for any athlete swimming in a sea of lactic acid.

Only with two now familiar exceptions: Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi, who finished second in 1:58.18, and 21-year-old Kenyan Margaret Wambui, who took third in 1:59.17, both appearing marginally less winded than Semenya.

Familiar because Niyonsaba and Wambui also finished second and third behind the South African woman in the Olympic 800m final in Rio last summer, and since the IAAF was forced to suspend its ruling on intersex athletes and hyperandrogenism, in 2015, no other woman has finished ahead of these three.

The Bislett Stadium, first constructed in 1917, has rarely witnessed a race like it in the 100 years since. It’s known as the world record arena, 65 of which have been set here over the years; it’s not a place where athletes come to run within themselves. Is it that Semenya doesn’t want to try any harder? Or is perhaps told not to? And if so why?

What is certain is Semenya has given little impression she’s been racing flat out since that IAAF ruling was lifted, effectively at the end of 2015, which meant all intersex athletes were free to compete without undergoing hormone treatment to bring their testosterone levels within what is considered normal female range.

No one has ever said that’s a straightforward process, as the term “intersex” can apply to a range of variations in sex characteristics, or someone who does not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. It’s all part of that slippery grey sporting gender debate, also known as the either/or debate, or simply the is she/is he debate.

The IAAF, by way of reminder, introduced the testosterone limit following Semenya’s breakthrough runs in 2009, when as an 18-year-old she won the World Championship 800m in Berlin in 1:55.45; that was also followed by leaked reports of gender testing on Semenya, which revealed she had no womb or ovaries but internal testes and high levels of testosterone.


Testosterone limit

With that the IAAF introduced a sort of testosterone limit for women, requiring those over it to lower it with hormone treatment. The upper limit was set at 10 nmol/L (it found that 99 per cent of female athletes had testosterone levels below 3.08 nmol/L, so the upper limit was threefold higher to ensure it would apply only to those with hyperandrogenism, or else were doping.)

Around the same time, this IAAF policy on hyperandrogenism was successfully challenged by Indian sprinter Dutee Chand at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), in July 2015, who deemed her high testosterone levels to be natural, and gave the IAAF two years to produce more evidence to prove it was unequivocally performance enhancing.

The IAAF have until the end of next month to produce that evidence, president Seb Coe recently suggesting it was taking some time, as “it is not unreasonable for us to want to make sure we properly understand going forward why that decision was made and what we can do, if there is anything, to address it, as we do need to resolve this...”

Semenya, meanwhile, at age 26, is in her athletic prime, and given all of the above looks well capable of breaking the women’s 800m world record of 1:53.28, which has stood since 1983 to Jarmila Kratochvilova, of the former Czechoslovakia – the still longest standing record in the books, male or female, and widely considered to be the result of her artificially high testosterone levels and a relic of the old Eastern Bloc systematic doping

By cosmic coincidence, Jeré Longman of the New York Times tracked down Kratochvilova, now 66, at her home in rural Bohemia for an article this week, entitled ‘Track’s Most Resilient (and Suspect) Record Is in Danger’; strangely, it makes no reference to Semenya, but puts it to Kratochvilova her record might be erased under the new proposal for clean world records.

“It will still be in my head, and the head of others,” she replies, consistently denying she was ever doped, despite her name appearing in old Czech sporting files indicating as much.

Until, or indeed after, the IAAF and CAS make a final ruling on intersex athletes and hyperandrogenism, and whatever implications come with that, is it not at least right or fair to expect the likes of Semenya to be racing flat out? Or trying their best?

Consider say all three – Semenya, Niyonsaba, and Wambui – racing a mile, set up to pace each other and target the women’s world record of 4:12.56, which has stood to Russia’s Svetlana Masterkova since 1996. Might they actually come close to producing the first women’s sub-four? And if so might that be considered the race of the century?


IAAF World Championships: How Usain Bolt became a global superstar

By Tom Webber

Over the past 16 years, Usain Bolt has provided countless moments of majesty in a storied career.

The eight-time Olympic champion and reigning 100 metres and 200m world-record holder will retire after the IAAF World Championships in London.

He will be hoping to add to a record haul of 13 medals at the event - 11 of which are gold - before bowing out, but he has already cemented a legacy as one of the all-time greats, regardless of his performance in this swansong.

We take a look at the standout moments that led to Bolt establishing himself as a global icon.


2001

Bolt represented Jamaica at a regional event for the first time at the CARIFTA Games in Barbados in April 2001, taking silver in the 200m and 400m in the under-17 youth category. Three months later he made his maiden appearance on the world stage in Debrecen, Hungary, competing over 200m at the World Youth Championships. Bolt, aged just 14, failed to reach the finals despite clocking a personal best of 21.73 seconds.

2002

A return to the CARIFTA Games, this time held in Nassau, proved successful for Bolt, who took youth gold in the 200m and 400m and was part of the winning 4x400m relay side. His first world title came at the 2002 World Junior Championships in his native Jamaica when he won the 200m with a time of 20.61s - 0.03s slower than the personal best he set in the heats. Victory made Bolt the youngest ever junior world champion at 15 years and 332 days old.

2003

A haul of four gold medals in the junior level at the CARIFTA Games earned Bolt the Austin Sealy Award as the top performing athlete at the competition. He continued to dominate over the half-lap, winning at the World Youth Championships in Canada and at the Pan American Junior Championships, the latter by a time of 20.13s - an under-18 record that still stands. His time was quicker than the 20.30s registered by the reigning Olympic, world and European 200m champion Konstadinos Kederis that year, but the Jamaican Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) refused to let him compete at the senior 2003 World Championships due to his inexperience.

2004

Bolt turned professional and it quickly paid dividends as he became the first junior to break the 20-second mark with a time of 19.93s - another record that is yet to be beaten - at the CARIFTA Games in Bermuda, winning the Austin Sealy Trophy for a second time, having taken part in the 4x100m and 4x400m relay triumphs. Bolt was picked to represent Jamaica in the 200m at the Olympic Games in Athens, though a leg injury hindered his performance and he was unable to make it out of his heat with a disappointing time of 21.05s.

 

My Mom sent me these today.. Just a couple of the medals I won back in the days #Foreverfaster #borntorun

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2005

Now under the guidance of Glen Mills, Bolt was back on the top of the podium in Nassau by winning the Central American and Caribbean Championships in 20.03s, going even faster at the British Grand Prix despite being beaten by Wallace Spearmon. Injury once again proved Bolt's undoing on the biggest stage, though. After making it to the 200m final in his first World Championships appearance in Helsinki, he pulled up on the home straight and jogged over the finish line in last place with a time of 26.27s.

2006

A hamstring strain forced Bolt to pull out of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, which were held in March. The Jamaican was triumphant upon his return in Ostrava in May and a new 200m personal best followed in July, with 19.88s seeing him finish third in Lausanne. Bolt earned his first senior medal on the world stage in Stuttgart in September by taking bronze in the IAAF World Athletics final behind Tyson Gay and Spearmon, and he went one better at the IAAF World Cup by securing a place on the second step of the podium.

2007

Mills had promised Bolt he would let him train for the 100m if he could beat the national record in the 200m and he achieved that goal at the Jamaican Championships in June, clocking a time of 19.75s to outstrip the mark set by Don Quarrie 36 years prior. As a result Bolt was entered into the 100m in Rethymno the following month and was fastest on the night at 10.03s. At the World Championships in Osaka, Bolt again had to settle for silver, with Gay completing a sprint triple - a feat which lay just around the corner for the Jamaican...

2008

Bolt continued to forge ahead in the 100m and produced a sensational time of 9.76s at the Jamaica International Invitational in May, just two hundredths of a second slower than Asafa Powell's world record from a year prior. Bolt set his first senior world record later when he ran a 9.72s in New York City, establishing himself as the man to beat at the Beijing Olympics. The Jamaican proved unbeatable in China, lowering the benchmark in the 100m to 9.69s as he stormed to gold - famously slowing down and celebrating as he crossed the line - and surpassing American sprint icon Michael Johnson's 200m world record of 22 years when he sensationally won the final in 19.30s. A third gold followed in the 4x100m relay, although it was later rescinded due to Nesta Carter's doping violation. Bolt was named IAAF Male Athlete of the Year for the first of what would become six times and Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, an award he has won on four occasions.

 

Defining moment in history #tbt #Beijing #2008 #olympics #record

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2009

Bolt's preparations for the World Championships were hindered by a car crash in April, though the sprinter only suffered minor injuries. His domination looked set to remain unchecked as he completed a double at the Jamaican Championships despite confessing he was not in "the best shape". At the World Championships in Berlin, Bolt took 11 hundredths off his 100m world record with a sensational victory in 9.58s to defend his title, a time that is yet to be surpassed. A stunning 200m time of 19.19s, vastly improving upon his previous best in the event, provided another world record and with glory in the 4x100m relay, the Jamaican matched the sweep achieved by Gay two years prior.

2010

With no major championships in the offing, it proved a quiet year for Bolt. Following wins in Daegu and Shanghai he sustained an Achilles injury after running the 300m in Ostrava. Although he returned in victorious fashion in Lausanne in July, only competing in the 100m, he suffered a rare defeat in Stockholm, finishing second to Gay's 9.84s. The following week he announced he would not be racing again that year due to a back issue.

2011

Victories in Rome, Ostrava, Oslo, Paris, Monaco and Stockholm - including a world-leading 200m time of 19.86 set in Norway - sent Bolt to the World Championships in Daegu in a great position to claim three golds for the second successive competition. Bolt qualified for the 100m final but was left stunned when he was disqualified for a false start, fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake making the most of his absence by claiming the title. Bolt did not let the disappointment linger, retaining his titles in the 200m and 4x100m.

2012

Bolt's dominance appeared under threat as, despite victories over Powell in the 100m in Rome and Oslo, he was beaten by Blake's world-leading 100m and 200m times at the Jamaican Championships. Bolt made up for his defeat on the biggest stage, though. He won the 100m by improving on his Olympic record with a time of 9.63s and surpassing Blake's 2012 benchmark in the 200m by topping the podium thanks to a 19.32s run. The pair then teamed up to help Jamaica to a world-record 36.84s performance in the 4x100m as Bolt became the first man to complete the 'double-triple'.

2013

Defeat to Justin Gatlin over 100m in his first major race of the season in Rome may have led to concerns for Bolt with the World Championships just two months away and Gay the world leader heading to Moscow, having clocked 9.75s in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. However, Bolt was the quickest man over 200m courtesy of his 19.73s in Paris, and once more he was indomitable at the Worlds. With defending champion Blake injured, Bolt regained his 100m crown ahead of Gatlin - the only non-Jamaican in the top five. He completed another sweep after beating compatriot Warren Weir in his other individual race and participating in the 4x100m relay final triumph.

2014

The start of Bolt’s season proved difficult as a minor foot surgery in March resulted in him missing nine weeks of training, with a hamstring issue also causing problems. He stepped up his training ahead of the Commonwealth Games and was rewarded with a gold in the 4x100m relay, but after an exhibition race in Copacabana and a win under a closed roof in Warsaw, the Jamaican pulled out of a Diamond League race in Zurich to bring a year of sparse action to a premature close.

2015

Gatlin had dominated in Bolt’s absence and the Jamaican clearly had it all to do to retain his throne at the World Championships in Beijing. Season’s bests in the 100m (9.87s) and 200m (20.13s) for Bolt were short of Gatlin’s world-leading 9.74s and 19.57s. However, he defeated the American by one hundredth of a second in the 100m final, joining Carl Lewis and Maurice Green on three world titles in the event. Bolt was one better off in the 200m with his fourth gold - a feat he also achieved in the 4x100m relay - after overcoming Gatlin again, pulling out a world-leading time of 19.55s to triumph.

2016

Bolt opened his season with a 10.05s run over 100m at the Cayman Invitational and dipped under the 10-second mark in Ostrava the following week, but once again it was Gatlin who went to the year’s main event with the fastest time having produced a 9.80s in Eugene. In the 200m, Bolt recorded a 19.89s in London - slower than both Gatlin (19.75s) and LaShawn Merritt (19.74s). Neither were able to take any of the Jamaican’s Olympic crowns, though, as he became the first man in history to complete the triple-triple by triumphing in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m for the third successive Games, cementing his place as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

 

"Whenever you find yourself on the the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect" ~MT #Blessed

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2017

Bolt was stripped of his 4x100m relay gold from Beijing 2008 in January after Carter tested positive for a banned substance upon re-analysis of one of his samples. He won his final 100m race in Jamaica in front of 30,000 fans in Kingston, and despite coming first in Ostrava he did not get under 10 seconds until registering 9.95s with victory at July’s Diamond League meeting in Monaco. Bolt heads to the World Championships with the joint-seventh fastest 100m time this year, with Christian Coleman (9.82s) the world lead.


 Scientist Thinks IAAF Testo Stance Will Fail

Dr. Peter Sonksen is a retired Professor of Endocrinology from St. Thomas’ Hospital and King’s College, London and a Visiting Professor at Southampton University. He was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his contribution to the fight against doping in sport.

He was a principle investigator in the GH-2000 multi-national research team that laid the ground work for the biomarker test for detecting abuse with growth hormone and co-leader of the GH-2004 team that refined the test and took it to implementation in the 2012 London Olympic Games where it caught two athletes missed by the existing isoform test.

His area of expertise includes endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, health care informatics, dynamic tracer studies, doping in sport, human growth hormone, diabetic neuropathy and medical negligence.

In 2004, he co-authored Diabetes—at your fingertips with Dr. Charles Fox and Sue Judd

Christopher Kelsall: It must have been an honour to receive the Order of the British Empire OBE. Can you describe how that felt when you received the notice?

Dr. Peter Sonksen: Amazing! From Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth herself at Windsor Castle, one of the happiest days of my life. All dressed up with wife and two children on the hottest day of the year.

CK: I understand that you played a large role in creating the biomarker test, which was first used during the 2012 London Olympic Games. Can you describe the test and how it differs from the Isoform test?

PS: It relies on the measurement of two growth hormone (GH) sensitive substances (biomarkers) in the blood, IGF-I and P-III-NP. Their concentration rises after administration of GH and stays up for some time after administration stops. Levels rise to those not seen in normal people, only those given GH. The isoform test relies on being able to show that the GH in the blood is only one of the two common isomers – resembling the synthetic GH that is the major form of GH available for therapeutic use.

CK: Fans and athletes often can be heard saying something to the effect of, “drug testers will never be able to keep up with the cheats,” yet we know of extortion, bribes, payoffs and systematic doping that has gone on for likely 40 years. Are the drug testers really that far behind or has there just been a lack of an appetite to clean up the sport?

PS: It’s a war and it will run forever.

CK: In 2011, the IAAF and IOC began forcing athletes with hyperandrogenism to take testosterone-reducing medication. The Court of Arbitration for Sport rescinded the requirement because the IAAF failed to scientifically prove that women with serum testosterone >10 nmol/L benefited from the endogenous production of testosterone. Is this correct?

PS: The Indian athlete Dutee Chand and her advisors challenged her being excluded from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games on the basis of a test that had been introduced without a proper scientific basis.

CK: South African, Caster Semenya’s performances dropped considerably while she was on the protocol to limit her testosterone production, her performances returned once she was free from the medication. Does the drop in performance not demonstrate well enough, that her high testosterone levels result in higher performance levels?

PS: No – we know nothing about the drugs she was given or the effects they had.

CK: So are you saying that the IAAF administered drugs to temper her T production, after subjecting her to sex verification tests and yet they haven’t made available what product she was taking?

PS: No! I’m sure the IAAF didn’t administer drugs. It was presumably an endocrinologist and of course, it is private and confidential.

CK: Let’s just say that it may not be scientifically proven, but it is pretty clear that she does benefit from higher testosterone and her performances worsen without it. For women she races against who do not produce equal amounts of T, they would have to dope and would, therefore, face suspensions.

How does the IAAF et al, reconcile this?

PS: We don’t know the details of her medical condition but most likely she has a condition of androgen insensitivity where there will be an ‘error’ in building her testosterone receptor in all tissues in her body so that she cannot respond to testosterone.

CK: The issue seems very complicated.What would be your recommendation for the IAAF/IOC to resolve their concerns about so-called fairness in women’s events?

PS: It isn’t difficult – they should not have brought in the rule, they were ill-advised. All they need to do is withdraw it.

CK: You were saying that an article where I cited (the latest study) a peer-reviewed publication sponsored by IAAF shows a link between serum testosterone and performance in women, you said, “they found no correlation between serum testosterone and performance.”

You also went on to say:

“They then had to try and find some scientific justification for their hyperandrogenism rule so looked at a whole lot of hormones and metabolites until they found some things that appeared to relate to performance.”

In your mind, once the CAS looks at the latest results that they will turn them down, if so, will that be the end of the hyprerandrogenism debate between the IAAF and the athletes that endogenously produce high levels of T?

PS: That’s a fair summary – the rule they (IAAF/IOC) introduced involved the level of serum testosterone because their theory was that it explained the difference in performance between men and women. This was just a theory. CAS suspended the rule because IAAF/IOC failed to provide them with good enough evidence to support their theory. In these two recent papers, the authors have failed to find any relationship between serum testosterone level and athletic performance. I can see no evidence that will convince CAS to change their mind. This will result in the rule being removed.


Felix ready to forget 2016 nightmare and win more gold

LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - After a nightmarish 2016, Allyson Felix is hoping for "a redo" this year as the American defends her 400 metres title at the World Athletics Championships.

"I feel like I am in really good shape right now," America's most decorated female sprinter said following a U.S. news conference on Thursday. "So I am looking forward to seeing what I can do.

She goes into the championships the favourite and holder of the outdoor season's fastest 400 metres, 49.65 seconds.

"I wish I could have a redo of last year," she told Reuters.

"I think it is a different year, and I try not to bring any of that into this year."

"That" was tearing ligaments in her right ankle in a freakish gym accident that put her 2016 season in jeopardy before she rebounded to make the U.S. Olympic team in the 400 metres but narrowly missed out on a Rio spot in her favourite event, the 200 metres.

Then Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas lunged across the finish line in the 400m Rio final to deny Felix a second individual Olympic gold medal.

"It felt like a movie," Felix, the winner of six Olympic golds, said. "I never could imagine that many things would happen last year.

"But I am grateful that I went through it. I am grateful to see how strong I was and that I could really go up against things like that.

"There were points I didn't know if it was really going to happen," she said of going to Rio.

Only for that reason will another gold in the 400 feel special, Felix said.

Already with nine world gold medals, she hopes to round that total up to an even dozen with victories in the 400 and the 4x100 and 4x400 metres relays, where she also won gold in the Rio Olympics.

Now aged 31, she hopes to continue her career through the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which means she will have an opportunity to earn more world gold at the 2019 championships.

There might also be an opportunity to return to the 200 metres, where she was the London Olympic champion and three-times world champion.

But never will she try the 400 hurdles as a questioner hinted might happen.

"I love that I am a versatile athlete," Felix said. "I love to do the 1, 2, 4 and relays but the 4 is definitely where it stops for me. You won't see me in any hurdles." (Editing by Pritha Sarkar)


11 Athletes To Look Out For In London

We take a closer look at some of the biggest stars in action across the next two weeks

The 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships are almost upon us as the stars of track and field flock to London.

Usain Bolt and Mo Farah look set to be this year’s prime attractions as athletes from across the world strive for greatness at the capital's London Stadium.

But who are the other big stars to look out for? Here, we take a closer look at 11 athletes in action across the next two weeks:

Wayde van Niekerk, South Africa, 400m

Bolt’s retirement from athletics will leave a superstar vacancy and Wayde van Niekerk has said he is ready to become the Jamaican’s heir. The South African is less showbiz than Bolt but his shy and modest personality is a contrast to his strong and dominant performances on the track.

Van Niekerk sensationally broke the 400m world record to win gold at Rio 2016. He eclipsed Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old record to finish in 43.03 - 0.15 secs faster than the American’s time in 1999.

Katrina Johnson-Thompson, Great Britain, Heptathlon

Katrina Johnson-Thompson is in the best form of her life as she targets her first senior gold in an international competition. Johnson Thompson ran a personal best in the 100m hurdles in May and also achieved a personal best in the Heptathlon. Her stunning performances in Austria’s Hypo-Meeting perfectly set her up to challenge the best in the world in London.

Martyn Rooney, Great Britain, 400m

The popular runner missed the birth of his first son in 2015 while he was competing in the World Championships in Beijing. Two years on and his wife is due to give birth during the same competition again. This time around he is closer to home and British Athletics are making arrangements to get Rooney to his home in Loughborough so he doesn’t miss the birth.

Caster Semenya, South Africa, 800m and 1500m

In 2009 Caster Semenya hit the headlines when she improved her time in the 1500m by 25 secs and her 800m time by eight secs, prompting the IAAF to set a sex verification test. The results showed Semenya has intersex traits and she was cleared to continue competing in women’s competitions. IAAF studies show that 800m runners have a 1.8 per cent advantage over those with lower levels of testosterone.

Semenya is favourite to take the 800m title and is racing in the 1500m for the first time in a major international competition.

Nafissatou Thiam, Belgium, Heptathlon

The 22-year-old got one of Belgium’s two gold medals at Rio with a narrow win over Jessica Ennis-Hill. Nafissatou is starting to lead the way in the Heptathlon and added a European Indoor Championship gold medal to her collection in March.

The current world record is 7291 points and Thiam’s personal best is 7013 but her scores are consistently getting higher so a world record could be on the horizon.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Bahamas, 200m and 400m

Shaunae Miller-Uibo competed in her first World Championships as a teenager in 2013 when she finished fourth in Moscow and now hopes to be the first person to complete a 200m and 400m double in the World Championship since Michael Johnson in 1995.

In the Rio 2016 final Miller-Uibo dramatically dived over the line to beat Allyson Flelix by 0.07 seconds and take gold.

Allyson Felix, USA, 200m and 400m

Allyson Felix and Shaunae Miller-Uibo have been competing against each other all career and the former is out for revenge after victory in the 400m was snatched away from her by Miller-Uibo’s dive on the line.

Felix has Bolt-like credentials and is a superstar in athletics. Her friends include Michelle Obama and she has more Olympic and World Championship titles than Bolt.

Ryan Crouser, USA, shot put

In June of this year Ryan Crouser became the seventh best shot putter in history with a 22.65m throw - the furthest since 2003.

The American broke the Olympic record in Rio 2016 on his way to winning gold and beat rival, and 2015 World Champion, Joe Kovacs.

Aries Merritt, USA, 110m hurdles

America’s Aries Merritt set the world record in a Diamond League meeting in 2012 but has not competed in a major Championship since 2015 when he had a kidney transplant.

This year he secured a Diamond League victory in Rome and followed it with a win in the London Anniversary Games.

Laura Muir, Great Britain, 1500m and 5,000m

Laura Muir has been described as Britain’s next superstar in athletics and is targeting her first major international title.

The 24-year-old won gold in both 1500m and 3000m in March’s European Championships and holds the European record but will have to challenge Genzebe Dibaba who has been dominating at the top with Faith Kipyegon.

Elaine Thompson, Jamaica, 100m and 200m

In Rio 2016 Elaine Thompson proved she was the queen of the women’s sprint with gold in the 100m and 200m final.

Thompson will be looking for her first individual gold medal at the World Championships and could break championship records and even world records.


"I'm Not A Fan Of The 400," Says van Niekerk

He’s admitted it before, but it’s still somehow surprising after his Rio heroics to hear that Wayde van Niekerk doesn’t particularly enjoy running the 400m.

He’s the Olympic champion and world record holder in the event and this week, he’ll be aiming to defend the world title he first won in the one-lap event in Beijing in 2015.

But it’s the 200m he’s really looking forward to the most – and of course the opportunity to emulate the great Michael Johnson in doing the 200 and 400m double.

Speaking at an Adidas media event in London on Wednesday, Van Niekerk described the pain involved in running a 400m race.

“You want to retire early. That’s the best way to explain it. I’m not a big fan of it,” he admitted. “It takes me pretty much the entire European season to start feeling comfortable and confident – especially when it comes to the 400m. I think the heats and semis will help with that and hopefully by the final I’ll be totally relaxed and accept what’s waiting for me at the finish line.”

These World Championships were initially hyped as the opportunity to see Van Niekerk racing against eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt before the Jamaican star hangs up his spikes.

But Bolt withdrew from the 200m event to focus on the 100m and the 4x100m relay – something Van Niekerk was particularly diplomatic in discussing.

“I don’t think we can use the word disappointed because if you look what he’s done for the sport, then it’s the year of honouring him for what he’s done. It’s just not my time as a competitor to compete against him, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go out there and do very well. I think right now it’s time for us to honour Usain for what he’s done and then on that, build what I need to build to become the athlete I’d like to be in the future,” he said.

“Obviously I would have liked to race him – he’s a great athlete. It was definitely going to be a tough race because doing 100s and 200s against him – that’s what he specialises in, but it’s what I still need to work on. Eventually I’d love to reach the heights that Usain has.”

Bolt will be in action on the opening day of the championships with the 100m heats scheduled for Friday evening.

Van Niekerk, meanwhile, heads a team that is brimming with medal potential. While the 25-year-old star could contribute two of those, the country’s other Olympic champion, Caster Semenya, is after a double of her own – in the 800 and 1500m.

Sprinter Akani Simbine has shown great form already this season and could also be in the medal mix. Then there’s the wealth of long jump talent with three SA athletes, headed by Olympic silver medallist Luvo Manyonga, gunning for gold in that event. Fellow Olympic medallist Sunette Viljoen has disappointingly had to withdraw from the team with a back injury, but there are certainly others in with a shout.

And with Van Niekerk oozing confidence, there’s certainly a very good chance Londoners could be treated to the strains of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika on more than one occasion.

“I feel like I’m currently in the best shape I can be for the season. I believe I can do big things but it’s a new challenge, a new year – we just have to take it step by step. I’m in good shape and my coach is confident,” he said.


Proud Coe looking forward to fruits of his legacy labours

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - Sebastian Coe's stubborn insistence on the retention of a permanent running track at the London Olympic stadium gets its ultimate validation over the next two weeks when the venue hosts the World Athletics Championships.

In the long-running battle over what would become of the stadium after the 2012 Games - it's now the home of Premier League soccer club West Ham United - the removal of the track was a non-negotiable for Coe when he was head of the local organising committee and now as president of the IAAF he is delighted he held his ground.

"I do reflect on it all every now and then," he told Reuters on Wednesday. "We won the right to stage the Games by four votes. If it had gone the other way we wouldn’t have just lost the Games, we wouldn’t have had the Olympic Park or the stadium and wouldn't have been in a position to bid to stage a World Championships.

"So for me this has been a 12-year journey. We had the ignominy of having to hand the event back because we didn’t have a stadium (when Britain had to give up the 2005 worlds after funding was cut for a proposed Pickets Lock stadium in 2001) and now we are two days away from hosting the third biggest sporting event in the world having sold more tickets than any previous world championship."

While there is no doubting the popularity of the sport in Britain - with Usain Bolt saying on Tuesday he had been blown away by the unprecedented full houses for morning sessions during the 2012 Olympics - Coe also recognises that it faces a global challenge to remain "relevant" to the next generation in the face of so much competition.

He was speaking on Wednesday at a party event in central London organised by the IAAF's new major sponsor Asics as the Japanese sportswear manufacturer showcased its campaign to encourage more activity among the world's youth.

"I've just spent the day talking with what we call Athletics Connect, with people from 214 federations, talking about the big issues for our sport," Coe said.

"Yes, some of it was around integrity but, the vast majority was about how do we remain relevant. We realise we have to utilise the skill sets and expertise of great businesses and partners like ASICS to help us reach out to young people; they can help us really understand their world."

Coe said a balance was needed between the cry for innovation and the maintenance of a tradition based on "centuries of history".

He said he was hugely excited by technical innovations such as materials and clothing that can detect physical change such as when an athlete is dehydrated, while his colleagues are working alongside the newly-formed Youth Council to investigate how best to develop the use of supplementary screens to enhance the TV experience.

He also recognises that the governing body will have to work extra hard on the pressing issue of how to overcome the impending departure of Bolt, but says he is confident they can do so.

"We are going to see some fantastic performances over the next week or so," he said of the Aug. 4-13 championships. "I'm a fully paid-up member of the (U.S. 200m/400m specialist) Allyson Felix fan club - nine world championship gold medals - and Wayde van Niekerk, he's the quiet man of our sport at the moment and we need to make people understand what an extraordinary talent this guy is.

"Anyone who re-writes a Michael Johnson record, that's a pretty good starting point," he added of the South African who broke Johnson's world records over 400m and the rarely-run 300m and is attempting the 400m/200m double in London.

"Usain is staying with our sport, he's committed to helping us maintain his extraordinary reach, but the pressure is on us to get across that we have some of the God-given talents of any sport. We have to showcase them and show that athletics is not just about Usain."

Editing by: Toby Davis


China Targets Another Men's 4x1 Podium Finish

Two years after notching a surprise silver medal at the Beijing World Championships, the Chinese men's 4x100 meters relay team are ready to vie for a back-to-back podium finish at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.

"We stand a good chance of setting a new national record here in London," said Zhang Peimeng, who runs the anchor leg for China. "Our second leg and third leg- Su Bingtian and Xie Zhenye, are both in their best form this season. If the starting leg Wu Zhiqiang and I can sprint to our best level, a new national record is possible."

The quartet have already proven their worth at the IAAF Diamond League in Monaco two weeks ago when they registered a winning time of 38.19 seconds, 0.37 seconds shy of the national record set by Su, Xie, Zhang and Tang Xingqiang as the first baton at the Olympic Games in Rio last summer.

"We won a history-making silver medal two years ago in Beijing. But we know it will be quite hard to make a further breakthrough in London. So we will be happy to win a medal," Zhang added.

The men's 4x100m event will be contested next Saturday when the Jamaican phenomenon Usain Bolt will run the final race of his trailblazing career.


Bolt ready to race, and really ready to retire

LONDON (Reuters) - Just in the unlikely case that the world of athletics did not know what they will be missing once Usain Bolt walks away in less than two weeks, the Jamaican superstar's final eve-of-race news conference rammed home the message on Tuesday.

These events have become part and parcel of every global championship and though Tuesday’s version in east London lacked the dancing girl razzmatazz of his Rio welcome last year, it scored heavily on nostalgia as every aspect of his stellar career was raked over anew.

As always, journalists and TV crews, around 400 of them, from every corner of the world packed every available space and strained their arms in desperation to get their question answered by the great man, who playfully castigated one half of the auditorium for not giving him an enthusiastic enough welcome.

Bolt is an old hand of course and rolled out all the familiar answers, but always with grace. His proudest moment was winning the world junior title on home soil as a 15-year-old while his most satisfying performance was his 200 meters world record run in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he poured all his concentration into getting the mark he had always wanted, having earlier danced over the line when winning the 100m.

He explained how his motivation to keep putting his body through such a punishing regime was renewed each year by resetting his goals - with one often created for him by a casually "disrespectful" remark from one of his opponents.

His target in London is clear – to sign off with a fourth 100m title and a fifth 4x100m relay gold – taking his world haul to 13 to add to his eight Olympic golds - and then head off to play football with his friends and have fun.

"I’m ready," he said. "If I show up at a championships you know I’m fully confident and ready to go.

"I ran 9.95 in Monaco so it shows I’m going in the right direction. Going through the rounds always helps me and it’s then about who can keep their nerve.

"It’s go time, so let’s go."

The London Stadium, where he successfully defended his sprint double in the 2012 Olympics, will rise to acclaim him when he settles into his blocks for the last time on Saturday night.

Then, other than the relay a week later, he will be gone, leaving the sport without the man who has been its focal point for a decade.

Tuesday's event included big screen "farewell and thanks" messages from the likes of actors Samuel L. Jackson and Idris Elba, former France footballer Thierry Henry, model Cara Delevingne and India cricket captain Virat Kohli, underlining his status as probably the world’s most famous and arguably most admired sportsman.

Bolt, who turns 31 later this month, looked moved by the images, saying: "It’s just brilliant that people in other disciplines respect what you do as they know the work you have to do."

British TV had screened his "I am Bolt" film on Monday night, which opened a window on the rarely seen battles he has had to go through to overcome so many injuries and was a testament to his willingness to work himself back into shape year after year.

That is one thing he will not miss, and although he thrives on the pressure of the big race, he says he is looking forward to watching the next one from the sidelines.

"Oh yeah, sitting down, talking about it, no pressure," he said. "The next championship should be fun.

"It’s going to be hard, as track and field has been everything for me since I was 10 and it’s been a rush – but we’ll see where life takes me."

He intends to stay close to athletics and is eyeing some sort of roving ambassadorial role, inspiring the world’s youth to get involved in a sport he says is on the up after reaching "rock bottom" with the Russian doping crisis of two years ago.

While fans and the sport’s administrators will miss Bolt enormously, those lamenting his departure most of all will probably be his chief sponsor Puma, the German sportswear manufacturer which has shod him and ridden his glory for a decade while the rest of the sport has largely been dominated by rivals Adidas and Nike.

Bolt's parents were on hand on Tuesday to present him with his final pair of spikes – a combination of gold to mark his career highs and the purple of his school, William Knibb Memorial, where it all started after his cricket coach suggested he try out for the track team.

"I didn't know I would be a world record holder growing up, I had no idea," he said.

"So all I'll say now is, if you work hard, that anything is possible.


Muir Wants Happy Ending To Underdog Script

Laura Muir could be seen most days traipsing round her school playing fields in the gloomy depths of winter, all in the quest for that little bit extra – the relentless search to find an edge.

She has since developed a reputation as one of the most mentally resilient athletes in the world, grinding herself into the ground at every training session.

That desire to squeeze out every last drop of improvement remains as strong as ever and, as she prepares for her daunting 1500/5,000 metre World Championships double over the next week, it will be the silver screen that she looks to for inspiration.

“I like to watch movies that help psych you up,” says the 24-year-old veterinary student. “My favourite one is Seabiscuit. It’s about a racehorse and how he is small fry, yet he goes on to win.

“I try to find a film that’s inspiring and makes me go ‘let’s do this thing’ or that leaves me all psyched up. I think I’ve watched Eddie The Eagle a few times now.

“I definitely am naturally motivated. If I were watching a really sad movie, it wouldn’t quite have the same effect. I want something upbeat that leaves me raring to go and has me ready for the race.”

As much as she has emerged as one of Britain’s brightest athletics hopes for some time over the past year, there can be no denying Muir’s underdog status as she heads into the London championships.

A series of British and European records from 1,000m to 5,000m have propelled her into the upper echelons of global middle-distance running, but it is to her misfortune that the likes of Genzebe Dibaba, Hellen Obiri, Sifan Hassan and Faith Kipyegon have all stepped up their game this year.

The big home hope has quite a task to even make the podium. “It’s going to be fun, but it’s going to be tough,” she admits. “It’s a World Championships and both fields are very strong. But I’m going to give it the best shot I can. As long as I feel I’ve given 100 per cent on the day I’ll be proud of myself.

“I think my competitors realise that when they are up against me, they’ve got a hard race. I’m just going to run as hard and as fast as I can. If I can win a medal, that will be a great result for me.”

There was a time just a couple of months ago that Muir thought she would not even make it to the start line. Fresh off the back of her double gold medal-winning feats at the European Indoor Championships, she was given the galling news at the end of May that she had picked up a stress fracture in her foot.

“I pretty much thought: ‘Oh jeez’ – or maybe a little bit stronger than that,” she says. “The doctor showed me the scan and said I had a fracture and I was like ‘Ah, nae’. It was the first major injury of my whole running career, so it was very new to me. I prayed that things would heal quickly. I just gave my foot as much help as I could and, luckily, I appear to have got away with it.”

After weeks spent busting a gut in the swimming pool – “I was swimming front crawl as hard as I could to get the heart rate up” – she returned to the track in startling fashion with a huge 800m personal best at the start of July.

The dream remained alive – and with it the weight of expectation returned from the 60,000 who will fill the London Stadium for every session.

It is a position that Muir has been in before, only to crash out of the Commonwealth Games in her home city of Glasgow three years ago. “Glasgow was a difficult one because I got tripped with 100m to go,” she says, of finishing 11th in the 1,500m final.

“There wasn’t necessarily anything I could have done about that, but I certainly took a lot from Glasgow going forward.

“Knowing to stay calm and collected when the crowd goes up. Learning to cope with it all. It’s great to have that under my belt going into London.

“I struggled with pressure my first couple of years on the senior circuit. I found it quite overwhelming and didn’t deal with it very well. But in 2015, I flicked the switch, as it were, and tried to see the pressure as support.

“I really thrived after that and now going into races I’m a lot more relaxed and I perform a lot better. So, I’ll take it as it comes.”

Win or lose, she will head straight from her London exertions back home to Glasgow to continue her veterinary studies – just as she did after the Rio Olympics and just as she did after winning her two European Indoor golds.

No time to relax and no time to waste. A never-ending pursuit of excellence.


Farah In Line For 6-Figure London Marathon Deal?

  • EXCLUSIVE: London Marathon bosses are hoping to meet with Sir Mo Farah
  • Farah plans to retire from track racing at the end of this season
  • The 34-year-old wants to focus the rest of his career on road racing
  • He will not discuss a return to the Marathon before the World Championships

Sir Mo Farah will be invited to run the next two London Marathons and race officials are ready to offer him a six-figure deal after the World Championships.

Farah plans to retire from track racing at the end of this season and, at 34, focus on the road instead. London Marathon bosses are hoping to meet with the four-time Olympic champion and his representatives imminently.

But Sportsmail understands that Farah's agent, Ricky Simms, will not discuss a return to the streets of London before the World Championships.

Simms clearly hopes to go into negotiations in the strongest possible position — on the back of another world track double in the 5,000m and 10,000m in front of a London crowd. Farah has contested the marathon distance only once, finishing eighth in London in 2014 with an English record time of 2hr 8min 21sec.

Back in 2013, he had to defend claims he risked ruining his reputation when accepting a reported £450,000 to run half of the London Marathon.

Michael Johnson, the former 400m world record-holder, observed Farah's decision to pull out after 13 miles made it 'look like it is all about the money'.

In an interview with the Radio Times earlier this week Farah, who has refused to speak to British newspapers in the build-up to Friday's London 10,000m final, said: 'I will definitely be looking for a new challenge.

'I'll be racing at the Great North Run in September and then I'm hoping to transition to the roads. I'd love to win the London Marathon one day but it's a big change.'

It makes sense for the London Marathon to recruit Farah but there is understood to be some ongoing concern about the United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation into his coach, Alberto Salazar, and allegations made by the BBC about the Nike Oregon Project.

Indeed, concerns were initially raised by USADA about an L-carnitine infusion given to Farah before he ran the 2014 marathon. USADA investigators are looking at whether Salazar and some of his athletes have broken anti-doping rules by infusing more than the permitted limit of 50ml in six hours.

They were alarmed to discover that the Farah infusion was not properly recorded by then UK Athletics doctor Robin Chakraverty. At a parliamentary hearing in April, UKA chairman and London 2017 boss Ed Warner described Chakraverty's failure to correctly log the Farah infusion as 'inexcusable'.

Farah maintains he has never broken anti-doping rules.


London Offers Win-Win For van Niekerk

Sitting with the vast bowl shape of the London Stadium directly behind him, Wayde van Niekerk dealt with question after question about being ‘the next Usain Bolt’ as he faced the world’s media at a press conference ahead of the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

Being the quiet, humble soul that he is, the world and Olympic 400m champion dealt with each query patiently and politely.

Van Niekerk is so quiet, the assembled throng struggled to hear him when his microphone failed to work. When it comes to grabbing attention, it is fair to say that the 25-year-old South African is no Bolt. But in his own measured way, he got into his stride – and got his self-effacing messages across.

The fact is, like Bolt, Van Niekerk happens to be an engaging character in his own right. He is also an athletic phenomenon in his own right.

The manner in which he charged away from La Shawn Merritt and Kirani James in the home straight in the Olympic 400m final in Rio last year was as breath-taking as Bolt at his stunning best at the shorter distances.

Anyone who has raced 400m at any level knows only too well about the lactic build-up that seems to turn the legs to jelly in those final 100 metres. That night, running out in front, in a world of his own in lane eight, Van Niekerk looked like a man immune to the quarter-miler’s Kryptonite.

And yet he crossed the line in 43.03, reducing the world record Michael Johnson set at the 1999 IAAF World Championships in Seville (43.18) to rubble.

“I don’t think you have sentences to describe it,” Van Niekerk replied, deep in thought, when asked what it felt like to run through the lactic barrier in Rio.

“I think the best way is to say that God is good. He really just took me from a level of strength to a new level of strength within that last 100 metres. I went from feeling a bit of lactic to feeling nothing.

“When I looked at the video afterwards, I felt my heart beat in my throat. It was massive, looking at the race and how strong I looked.

“It’s a massive confidence booster, knowing I can still do so much better things for myself.”

Van Niekerk has moved on from Rio – from the night he stepped up a level above Merritt and James, the rivals he beat to win the 400m at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, and even above the great Johnson.

As the 2017 edition of the IAAF World Championships prepares to get under starter’s orders in London, it is Johnson that Van Niekerk is attempting to emulate, not Bolt.

Bolt has achieved three individual doubles at 100m and 200m at the IAAF World Championships; although this time, in his farewell to the sport, he will of course be concentrating on the 100m (as well as the 4x100m).

Only once has the double of the men’s 200m and 400m been accomplished. That was by Johnson in Gothenburg in 1995.

The Texan very nearly did it in record-breaking style. He won the 400m in 43.39, finishing 0.10 shy of the world record held by his US teammate Butch Reynolds, who took the silver in 44.22.

Then, in the 200m, Johnson stormed to victory in 19.79, missing Pietro Mennea’s world record by 0.07. In doing so, he became the first man to complete a 200m-400m double at an Olympic Games or World Championships.

Now, at 25, Van Niekerk has taken on the challenge of accomplishing what Johnson achieved at the age of 27.

In the process, despite his winter training under the direction of the remarkable 75-year-old Ans Botha having been disrupted by a back problem, Van Niekerk has continued to break down barriers.

Johnson never managed to crack the 10-second barrier for 100m. His best was a more than respectable 10.09.

Competing in Velenje, Slovenia, on 20 June Van Niekerk reduced his PB from 9.98 to 9.94.

Running in Kingston, Jamaica, nine days earlier, he had set a South African 200m record of 19.84. Then, at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava on 28 June, he proceeded to eclipse Johnson’s 300m world best by 0.04, clocking 30.81.

So now the South African who finished fourth in the 200m final at the 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton can claim to be the only man who has run sub-10, sub-20, sub-31 and sub-44 for 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m.

He has caught up with Johnson in person too. “We met at the Laureus Sports Awards last year,” Van Niekerk said. “It was just a quick chat.”

Asked whether he had seen footage of Johnson’s Gothenburg double, he confessed: “No, I haven’t seen it… I think Michael was a bit before my time. Back then, we really just wanted to be outside and enjoying ourselves as kids.”

In fairness, Van Niekerk was only three in 1995. But, then, having eclipsed Johnson’s 400m world record in Rio, had he not been tempted to take a peek at the 1999 final in Seville?

“I’ve definitely seen what he’s done,” Van Niekerk replied. “I’ve been advised quite a few times before to read his book as well, but I’m not a good reader… I wish he had a movie out or something.”

Perhaps one day there will be a movie called ‘I am Van Niekerk’. If so, don’t expect any of the extrovert larking that hallmarked the Bolt version.

“I’m a very relaxed person,” Van Niekerk said, when asked to compare his character to that of the Lightning Bolt. “I like using my alone time. I think I’m a massive introvert.

“I can be extrovert around the people that I’m quite close with. Yeah, I think that’s who I am… I’m very, very basic.

“But I love working hard and chasing my dreams.

“I feel quite honoured to be compared to someone as great as Usain Bolt. It shows growth in my performances, in what I’m doing as a track and field athlete.

“And it gives me a sense of appreciation from Usain Bolt for the recognition and respect that he gives me. Obviously, I’ve got mutual respect for him and what he’s done for the sport.

“But, like I said earlier, it’s one thing being mentioned as the next big thing. It’s a different thing working hard enough to maintain that title.

“I’m definitely putting in hard work, and hopefully in the next few years I can reach the heights.”

Starting with the challenge of what would be a huge double in London…

“I always wanted to have a go at the 200m and 400m,” Van Niekerk reflected. “At the beginning of this year, I thought, ‘I’ve done quite well in the 400m for the last two three years now. Why not challenge myself to win more and try to double up?’

“I think definitely my number one rival will be myself, because this will be the first time I’ve challenged myself at this level and go through six rounds of competing.

“I’m quite nervous, to be honest with you, but I’m quite confident in doing well.

“If it’s meant to be, the story will play out perfectly. But, at the same time, I see it as a massive learning curve for myself.

“So, if things don’t go my way, then eventually they will – because I will learn from this experience.”


Aaron Brown: Why not me?

'All it takes is that one breakthrough moment,' says Canadian sprinter

Very rarely do you experience moments in which you know, right then and there, that everything is about to change forever — a turning point that will be eternally etched in the timeline of your life.

Sometimes, however, there are instances where change is tangible. You can sense it while it’s still happening, giving you an almost out-of-body perspective. For me, this happened recently: the ephemeral moment in which I first realized I was about to be a world champion for the first time in my career.

It’s that feeling of knowing you have the race won, and the euphoria that comes over you, prompting you to express yourself in jubilation. It happened in the 4x200-metre at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas.

Those last 20 metres felt like a mile, and after I looked over and saw that I was clear of my competition, I had time to contemplate how to assuage my instinctive desire to celebrate. So I began thinking — what should I do? What is a symbol that encompasses all the years of hard work we’ve put in as a nation to earn respect from our contemporaries on the elite stage? Something that says: no matter how many times we fail, our faith in each other is unwavering and we will come back as a team united, despite all the outside noise. And then suddenly it became obvious.

Throw up the X: an expression of perseverance, while simultaneously crossing out all the negative energy reverberating from our past failures and the naysayers.


Flash! Hamstring Knocks De Grasse Out Of WC

Andre De Grasse announced today he will not compete at the 2017 IAAF World Championships, set to begin Friday in London, England. De Grasse suffered a hamstring tear on Monday during training. A second opinion on Wednesday confirmed the diagnosis which led to the difficult decision to pull out of the championships.

“The entire year this 100m race in London was my focus. I am really in the best shape of my life and was looking forward to competing against the best in the world. To not have this opportunity is unimaginable to me but it is the reality I am faced with. I am sad to miss this chance but I am young and will be back and better than ever in the near future.”

Glenroy Gilbert, Athletics Canada Head Coach, “I really feel for Andre, I know he really wanted to make a mark here at the World Championships. Injuries are part of the sport, obviously, the timing is terrible. As a team the focus doesn’t change, we need to be ready to compete starting Friday. We’ve been talking about the depth of the program, now is a chance for some of our other stars to shine, and have some of our up and coming athletes step up.”

Andre De Grasse won bronze at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in the 100-metres, and was part of the bronze medal winning 4x100-metres relay team. At the 2016 Olympic Games De Grasse won bronze in the 100-metres, silver in the 200-metres and bronze in the 4x100-metres relay.


Andre De Grasse to miss world championships

Canadian Andre De Grasse, arguably the top rival to Usain Bolt, will miss the world track and field championships due to a strained right hamstring suffered Monday.

“Andre had his final starting blocks session in preparation for Friday’s 100m heats,” De Grasse’s agent said in a text message. “On his final run of the day, Andre pulled up with what he described as ‘a grab’ in his right hamstring.”

De Grasse, who earned Rio Olympic 100m bronze and 200m silver medals behind Bolt, saw Bolt’s German doctor on Tuesday. The doctor ruled De Grasse out of worlds with a grade II strain.

“The entire year this 100m race in London was my focus,” De Grasse said, according to his agent. “I am really in the best shape of my life and was looking forward to competing against the best in the world. To not have this opportunity is unimaginable to me, but it is the reality I am faced with. I am sad to miss this chance, but I am young and will be back and better than ever in the near future.”

De Grasse ran the fastest 100m time of 2017, 9.69 seconds, but it didn’t count for ranking purposes because he had twice the legal tailwind.

De Grasse was due to run the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at worlds in London and was a medal hope in all three events.

Without him, Bolt faces an easier path to gold medals at his final career meet in the 100m (Saturday on NBC) and 4x100m (Aug. 12 on NBC).

The 200m favorite is South African Wayde van Niekerk, seeking to become the second man to win both the 200m and 400m at a single worlds. Bolt is not racing the 200m.

Two weeks ago, De Grasse’s coach reportedly claimed Bolt had meet organizers exclude De Grasse from a 100m race in Monaco to make it easier for Bolt to win. The following day, Bolt’s team, a meet official and De Grasse denied it.


What The Bookies Think About WC Women's Races

The world champs are set to kick off in London this Friday, and the sport’s star will be out in force. Even though it’s always a treat to watch true greatness, the most compelling races are those where the outcome is in doubt. Below we rank each of the ten women’s individual track events in terms of predictability—based on the odds from the bookmakers—from the free-for-alls to the foregone conclusions.

% WIN PROBABILITIES: WOMEN’S LEAST TO MOST “PREDICTABLE” RACES

Aggregated odds from Paddy Power, Bwin and Skybet on 1 August

1. WOMEN’S 1500M

Final: Monday, 7 August
Favourite: Sifan Hassan (39%)

Consider this recipe for a fantastic race: start with the world record holder (Genzebe Dibaba) and Olympic champion (Faith Kipyegon). Then mix in the world leader and pre-race favorite Hassan, a bronze medalist in 2015 who has reached a new level since joining up with coach Alberto Salazar. Now throw in the wild card of 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya racing the 1500m outside of Africa for the first time since 2011. Finally, add a dash of home medal hopefuls Laura Muir and Laura Weightman, and you have the most exciting race of the meet.

2. WOMEN’S 5000M

Final: Sunday, 13 August
Favourite: Hellen Obiri (40%)

This event will feature the 25-year-old world record holder at 10,000m matching up with the 26-year-old world record holder at 1500m. Such a tantalizing match-up should be one of the highlights of the championships. However, Almaz Ayana has yet to race in 2017 and Genzebe Dibaba only finished sixth in her most recent 5000m. The winner of that race, Hellen Obiri, has been on fire this year and should be a heavy favourite. The bookmakers seem to have some reservations about that, though.

3. WOMEN’S 3000M STEEPLECHASE

Final: Friday, 11 August
Favourite: Beatrice Chepkoech (42%)

The world leader is teenager Celliphine Chepteek Chepsol, who edged out Chepkoech at the Kenyan trials. The tables turned a week later in Paris, though, as Chepkoech won handily with Chepsol back in third. Finishing fourth was Olympic champion and world record holder Ruth Jebet. Those three will likely be your medalists, but the order is far from guaranteed.

4. WOMEN’S 400M

Final: Wednesday, 9 August
Favourite: Shaunae Miller-Uibo (52%)

Defending world champion Allyson Felix takes on defending Olympic champion Miller-Uibo. That duo will finish 1-2 for the third time in as many years—the only question is who gets gold and who gets silver.

5. WOMEN’S 400M HURDLES

Final: Thursday, 10 August
Favourite: Dalilah Muhammad (55%)

Olympic champion Muhammad appeared to be rounding into form right on time when she clocked a world-leading time at the US championships, but a DNF and a sixth-place finish in her last two races raise some red flags. If she slips up, compatriots Shamier Little and Kori Carter will hope to capitalise, while anyone who makes the final should be considered a threat.

6. WOMEN’S 200M

Final: Friday, 11 August
Favourite: Dafne Schippers (59%)

Olympic champion Elaine Thompson is solely focused on the 100m this year, but in her absence there are three other decorated sprinters vying to add a gold medal to their collections. Olympic bronze medalist Tori Bowie set the world lead in June at the Prefontaine Classic, where she defeated Thomspon, silver medalist Schippers, and Olympic 400m gold medalist Shaunae Miller-Ubido. However, Bowie underwhelmed at the US championships and almost missed making the 200m team entirely. As a result, Schippers has become the favourite, at least until the first two rounds are in the books.

7. WOMEN’S 10,000M

Final: Saturday, 5 August
Favourite: Almaz Ayana (63%)

Tirunesh Dibaba returns to the track for the first time since her third place finish in the Olympic 10,000m, and though the betting odds suggest otherwise, she should be considered the favourite after an excellent year on the roads. World record holder Ayana has also been off the track since last summer, but her hiatus has been due to injury.

8. WOMEN’S 100M HURDLES

Final: Saturday, 12 August
Favourite: Kendra Harrison (82%)

World record holder Kendra Harrison is the huge favourite, but weird things have been known to happen in the shortest hurdle race. For proof, look no further than Harrison’s failure to qualify for the Olympics last year.

9. WOMEN’S 800M

Final: Sunday, 13 August
Favourite: Caster Semenya (85%)

In Monaco, Semenya received her first real challenge in two years. Though she finished strongly enough to secure yet another victory, will Semenya have that same strength after (potentially) six races in ten days?

10. WOMEN’S 100M

Final: Sunday, 6 August
Favourite: Elaine Thompson (87%)

Thompson hasn’t lost a 100m final since May 2015 and has the world lead by over a tenth of a second. There should be no surprises here.

Note that the favourites and accompanying percentages were calculated using an average of betting odds on PaddyPower, Bwin, and Skybet as of 1 August. Obviously bookmakers don’t want you to make money, so the odds for the favourites are inflated somewhat (for example on one site the combined winning probability for three athletes in the women’s 200m exceeds 100%). This inflation is reflected in the numbers above. The actual predicted win probability by those bookmakers is therefore a bit lower.


The UCLA Bruins Lose Another Star Athlete

Hurdler Rai Benjamin is yet another example of a worrying trend at Drake Stadium.

The rising sophomore recently announced halfway through his stunning collegiate track and field career that he will be transferring from UCLA to USC.

Benjamin was the first Bruin to stand on a podium since 2014, placing second at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships with his second-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles.

And it’s not just him. With this move, one of the most talented sprinters to have set foot in Westwood for years will be the third member of the track and field team to leave the Bruins in the last year and a half.

Rising junior Julia Rizk, one of just three women to represent the Bruins at the same championship meet, announced that she too will be leaving UCLA in favor of Ohio State for the 2017-2018 school year.

Last year, then-freshman thrower Stamatia Scarvelis – who posted UCLA’s 2016 season-best marks in both the women’s discus and hammer throw – transferred to Tennessee after just one season.

So why can’t UCLA, a school that used to be an absolute track and field powerhouse, hold on to its best athletes?

One theory is that perhaps the schools that these athletes are transferring to simply place higher at big meets, but a quick look at the track and field results reporting system reveals this is not the case.

The women’s teams at Tennessee and Ohio State scored two points and one point respectively at this year’s Outdoor Division I Championship meet. UCLA wasn’t able to score any, but does a difference of one point really make transferring worth it? Common sense says no.

The story is slightly different with USC, whose men’s team was able to score 14 total points and tie for 20th place overall this year, whereas UCLA garnered just eight points this year and tied with eight other schools for 33rd place overall.

Still, hardly a good enough reason to make such a huge change.

So if the numbers cannot provide the reason for the change, it must be something else.

Benjamin said the reason he’s leaving is the recent change in coaching. The new director of track and field, Avery Anderson, fired sprints coach Darrell Smith and Benjamin said that change simply was not what he wanted.

[Related: Former Bruin Avery Anderson takes over as director of track and field]

UCLA’s athletic department has not done anything to breathe new life into its track and field team until this year, but getting rid of familiar faces and replacing them with brand new ones is not what the program needs.

It needs star athletes.

Furthermore, it needs to build the relationships between those athletes and their coaches.

Track and field has lost its allure at UCLA, and going from Jim Bush’s 13 NCAA championships in 20 years to zero in the last decade is proof of that. If this move to change the face of UCLA track and field doesn’t attract new athletes soon, the Bruins are frequently going to go longer than three years without someone standing on the podium at championship meets.


6 Burning Questions For Team USA

BY KAREN ROSEN | AUG. 02, 2017, 12:09 P.M. (ET)

LONDON -- Five years after the Olympic Games London 2012, the track and field world returns to the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The 16th IAAF World Championships will be the third-largest sporting event on the planet with more than 2,000 athletes from 205 countries.

After the scorching temperatures in Sacramento for the USATF Outdoor Championships, where the high reached 110 degrees, the forecast for London shows highs of about 70 degrees and lows in the mid-50s.

“It’s going to be perfect,” said decathlete Trey Hardee, a two-time world champion who won the silver medal at the London Games.

We’ll see if he’s right come Friday. For now, here are some burning questions facing Team USA:

1. Can Justin Gatlin – or anyone else – catch Usain Bolt?

The Jamaican sensation has declared that he will retire after this meet. Bolt, who will turn 31 on August 20, has dominated the international sprint scene since winning three gold medals at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008. He has won eight Olympic gold medals (actually nine, but one won in Beijing was stripped after a relay teammate’s doping suspension), and 11 gold medals and two silvers at worlds. Bolt won the 100-meter three times and the 200 and 4x100-meter four times apiece since 2009.

Justin Gatlin, 35, could be considered his top rival from the United State, but Gatlin has never beaten Bolt in a major championship. Gatlin was second to Bolt in the 100 at the last two worlds and also second in the 200 in 2015, though he won’t race that event in London.

Gatlin was the 2004 Olympic 100-meter champ, but since Bolt’s arrival, he was second last summer at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and third in 2012 on this same London track.

Gatlin’s lone victory against Bolt in the 100 came at the Diamond League meet in Rome on June 6, 2013, when Gatlin was on a hot streak.

This season, Gatlin won the national title, edging Christian Coleman, who pressed too hard at the finish. Coleman, 21, has had a long season for the University of Tennessee, starting indoors, but he still has the top time in the world of 9.82 seconds from the NCAA meet.

Yohan Blake of Jamaica, the world champion in 2011 after Bolt false-started and the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, is next on the worlds list at 9.90, while Gatlin and Bolt are tied for No. 7 at 9.95 seconds. Gatlin ran his season best at the U.S. nationals while Bolt didn’t post his best time until July 21 in Monaco, where he had a poor start.

Andre De Grasse of Canada, the 2016 Olympic and 2015 world bronze medalist, ran a wind-aided 9.69 seconds in Stockholm this year and will likely challenge for a medal.

2. Will Allyson Felix hold off Shaunae Miller-Uibo for her second straight title in the 400?

In one of the most dramatic finishes of the Rio 2016 Games, Felix appeared headed for her first gold medal in the 400-meter when Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas dove across the finish line. Miller posted a personal best of 49.44 seconds while Felix’s time was 49.51. Miller’s dive proved controversial. It was perfectly legal, but internet commenters claimed Felix was robbed.

A year earlier at the 2015 worlds, Felix had a commanding lead when Miller came on strong at the end to place second.

This season, Felix, 31, has the top time in the world of 49.65 seconds on this London track on July 9, while teammate Quanera Hayes is next at 49.72. Hayes won the national title as Felix sat out the 400 at nationals.

Miller, who is now Miller-Uibo, is next at 49.77, followed by Team USA’s Phyllis Francis at 49.96, which bodes well for Team USA winning its first 4x400-meter world title since 2011. The U.S. lost to Russia in 2013 and Jamaica in 2015.

Felix is already the most decorated female athlete in U.S. track and field history. She has nine Olympic medals – six of them gold – and 13 world medals – including nine gold.

She has a happy history on this London track. Felix won the 200-meter at the London Olympics for her first individual gold after two silver medals in the event. She also ran on both wining relays.

At worlds, Felix won the 200 three straight times from 2005 to 2009. While attempting the 200/400 double in 2011, she claimed the silver in the 400 and bronze in the 200. Disaster struck in 2013 when Felix, the favorite, suffered a hamstring injury on the turn and fell to the track in pain.

3. Can Aries Merritt complete his comeback after a kidney transplant by medaling?

Merritt won the gold medal at the London Games in the 110-meter hurdles and then shattered the world record a month later.

Merritt stunned the world when he announced that he would undergo a kidney transplant immediately after the 2015 world championships in Beijing, but the real shocker came when he subsequently captured the bronze medal. At the time, his kidney function was less than 20 percent.

Merritt did not qualify for the 2016 Olympic team, but placed second at the 2017 nationals, the world qualifier, behind Aleec Harris and ahead of Olympian Devon Allen.

Merritt, 32, has the top time by an American this season of 13.09 seconds – which came in London on July 9 – which puts him in a tie for fourth on the world list.

Olympic champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica is the world leader at 12.90 seconds.

4. Does Ajee Wilson have the speed and confidence to reach the podium in the 800?

The photo showing Wilson posing next to the scoreboard in Monaco after running an American record has the name of her event, but it looks like BOOM. And it was definitely an earthshaking moment for Wilson.

Although she placed third behind two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya of South Africa and Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, Wilson proved she belonged in the conversation in London. By running 1 minute 55.61 seconds, Wilson became the first American woman under 1:56. She smashed Jearl Miles’ record of 1:56.40 from 1999, and taking 2 seconds off her personal best.

But it will be tough to crack the top three in London.

Semenya hasn’t lost an 800 since she was eliminated in the semifinals of the 2015 worlds and has won every Diamond League race, usually followed by Niyonsaba or Olympic bronze medalist Margaret Wambui of Kenya.

5. Who will prevail among Team USA’s top rivalries?

Ryan Crouser vs. Joe Kovacs in the shot put:

Kovacs is the 2015 world champion while Crouser beat him for the Olympic title. They own the top nine marks in the world this season. Crouser won their duel at the U.S. nationals, but needed a personal best and meet record to do it, heaving 22.65 meters (74 feet, 3 3/4 inches) on his final throw.

Christian Taylor vs. Will Claye in the triple jump:

Taylor won the first of his two Olympic golds in London and again leads the world list.

Claye won silver medals in the last two Olympic Games and has two bronze medals in world championships.

Taylor has also been flirting with the world record in the event and has only lost twice since the 2015 worlds, once to Claye at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field and then in July to Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Cuba, who will not compete in London.

Brittney Reese vs. Tianna Bartoletta in the women’s long jump:

Reese won the Olympic title in 2012 and won three straight world titles from 2009 to 2013. She was battling injuries in 2015 and did not qualify for the final.

Bartoletta won the world title in 2015, which was an impressive 10 years after taking her first title in 2005 when she was just 19 years old. She then defeated Reese for the 2016 Olympic crown.

Bartoletta won their showdown at the U.S. nationals, but Reese leads the world list this year. She and Bartoletta have the top five jumps in the world, with Reese at 1, 2 and 5 and Bartoletta at 3 and 4.

6. Can the men’s 4x100-meter stop beating itself at the world championships?

Team USA has not won the gold medal in this event since 2007 in Osaka, with Tyson Gay winning his third medal of the meet. Bolt ran a leg on the silver-medal winning Jamaican team.

Due to various mishaps, Team USA failed to medal 2009, 2011 and 2015 and won the silver in 2013. The United States was also disqualified from the Olympic final in Rio.

Going back to the 2009 worlds in Berlin, no nation has gotten within 0.20 of Jamaica. The closest team was the United States in 2012 in London.

Jamaica and Team USA are tied for the record of four straight 4 x 100 titles. Team USA won in 1983, 1987, 1991 and 1993.


5 Women's Races To Watch At The Worlds

Not that Allyson Felix needs any more superlatives, but she is likely to finish these world championships with the most medals of any athlete in history.

Felix has 13 career world medals, tied with Usain Bolt and one shy of retired Jamaican Merlene Ottey‘s record. Bolt will race in two events at his last worlds. Felix will race at least two and possibly three, if she is placed on the 4x100m relay as has traditionally been the case.

Felix’s focus is on her opener, the 400m, where she has the most anticipated head-to-head showdown out of the women’s events at the London meet that runs from Friday through Aug. 13.

In Rio, Felix was edged at the finish line by a diving Shaunae Miller-Uibo. The move caused many to cry foul at the Bahamian, though it was perfectly legal and Felix did not criticize it.

Felix and Miller-Uibo are once again the class of the 400m this year.

Familiar faces dot the other key women’s events. None more scrutinized than South African Caster Semenya, who is eight years removed from her 2009 Worlds breakout and subsequent gender-testing controversy.

Semenya hasn’t lost an 800m race in nearly two years, but she has been pushed this season and is tacking on the 1500m at worlds for the first time.

Five women’s races to watch in London:

100 Meters
Sunday, 4:50 p.m. ET on NBC

Elaine Thompson has not lost a 100m race that she has finished since May 2015, according to Tilastopaja.org. It is the longest stretch of 100m dominance since Marion Jones‘ four-year winning streak from 1997 to 2001 (the last year invalidated and the entire streak dubious due to doping). Aside from Jones, you have to go back at least 30 years.

This season, Thompson is the only woman to break 10.80 seconds. She’s done it twice. Olympic silver medalist Tori Bowie beat Thompson in the Pre Classic 200m, but her best wind-legal 100m time this year is 10.90. Rio bronze medalist Dafne Schippers has four times broken 11 seconds in 2017, but none faster than 10.95.

1500 Meters
Monday, 4:50 p.m. ET on NBCSN

No clear favorite here. Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon is the Olympic champion. Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba is the world champion and world-record holder. Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan has the three fastest times in the world this year.

Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya is also entered in this event, but she hasn’t raced an international 1500m in six years. There’s also Jenny Simpson, the 2011 World champion and Rio bronze medalist. Plus British hope Laura Muir, who has the fastest time in the world since Dibaba’s record run two years ago.

400 Meters
Aug. 9, 4:50 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Allyson Felix and Shaunae Miller-Uibo haven’t gone head-to-head over 400m since Miller-Uibo’s famous dive across the finish line to win by .07 in Rio. This year, each is undefeated at 400m, though Felix has raced just twice and Miller-Uibo three times.

Still, Felix has the fastest time in the world in 2017. Miller-Uibo’s times rank Nos. 3, 4 and 5 behind Felix and U.S. champion Quanera Hayes. Felix is looking to join Cathy Freeman as the only women to win multiple world 400m titles.

100 Meter Hurdles
Aug. 12, 3:05 p.m. ET on NBC

Keni Harrison‘s only defeat since the start of 2016 was at the Olympic Trials (where she shockingly failed to make the Rio team). In that span, the middle child in a family of 11 kids has run the 11 fastest times in the world in this event out of those in the world championships field. That includes breaking a 28-year-old world record last year. She’s an even bigger favorite with Olympic champion Brianna Rollins suspended for missing three drug tests.

The pick for silver may be Australian Sally Pearson, who came back from a broken wrist in 2015 and torn hamstring in 2016 to post her fastest time since winning the 2012 Olympic title. Pearson and defending world champion Danielle Williams of Jamaica will try to keep the U.S. from sweeping the medals as it did in Rio.

800 Meters
Aug. 13, 3:10 p.m. ET on NBC

This event got a lot more interesting on July 21, when Ajee’ Wilson shattered the American record to become the first woman to disrupt Rio medalists Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui in nearly two years. Wilson got third in that race, .34 behind Semenya and .14 behind Niyonsaba as Wambui faded to ninth.

Now, Wilson looks to continue her ascent since turning pro out of high school in 2012. In 2013, she placed sixth at worlds. In 2014, she won the U.S. title and two Diamond League races. In 2016, she finished second at the world indoor championships (behind Niyonsaba and ahead of Wambui). Rio did not go as hoped as she was eliminated in the semifinals.


5 Men's Races To Watch At The Worlds

The intrigue in men’s events at the world championships is focused on the track, where Usain Bolt and Mo Farah say farewells and Wayde van Niekerk eyes a sprint double.

The 10-day meet begins Friday and runs through Aug. 13 at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Bolt plans to retire after worlds, where he will race the 100m on Friday and Saturday and the 4x100m the following Saturday. The 30-year-old has slowed every year since his 2009 world records, but his competition may be at its weakest ever this year.

Plus, Bolt has narrowed his focus. He will not be in the 200m field at an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2003.

Farah, too, looks to extend a lengthy winning streak in his major track farewell at home before turning to road racing. Unlike Bolt, he is not paring his workload. The Somalian-born Brit goes for a third straight 5000m-10,000m double at worlds. Nobody else has done it more than once.

Finally, van Niekerk looks to become the second man to win the 200m and 400m at one worlds. The first was Michael Johnson, whose 400m world record Van Niekerk snatched at the Rio Olympics.

Five men’s races to watch at worlds:

100 Meters
Saturday, 4:45 p.m. ET on NBC

No matter what Bolt says, he is largely seen as the favorite in a very slow year for men’s sprinters. Only one man has broken 9.90 seconds this year — American Christian Coleman‘s 9.82 in June — but Coleman hasn’t broken 9.93 outside of that, including in his last four races. And he has never raced individually outside of the U.S. and Canada.

The Olympic silver and bronze medalists — Justin Gatlin and Andre De Grasse — have also been unimpressive this year. Gatlin’s best time this season is 9.95 after a spring slowed by injuries. At this same time last year, he had run 9.80. In 2015, he had run 9.74. In 2014, he had run 9.80. Age may have finally caught up to the 35-year-old, the 2004 Olympic champion who is seven years removed from a four-year doping ban.

De Grasse has the fastest time under all conditions this year — a 9.69 — but it came with more than twice the legal tailwind. Aside from that, the Canadian hasn’t broken 10 seconds in five wind-legal races. However, De Grasse went into Rio with a season’s best of 9.99 and promptly ran 9.92 and 9.91 in the semis and finals to make the medal stand.

Then there’s Bolt, who didn’t break 10 seconds in two June races, then made his usual visit to his German doctor to work on his back. Bolt then ran 9.95 to win a race in Monaco on July 21, the fastest time this year run outside one’s home country.

400 Meters
Wednesday, 4:52 p.m. ET on NBCSN

In contrast, the 400m has never been faster. Three men broke 43.75 seconds before August. Never before has more than one man broken 43.75 before August.

Van Niekerk heads the field. The South African memorably lowered Michael Johnson‘s world record at the Rio Olympics, winning in 43.03 seconds from lane 8. Van Niekerk, 25, followed that up with the third- and fourth-fastest times of his life in July. He eased up in 43.62 seconds in Lausanne, then had to fight for a win in 43.75 in Monaco.

In most years, those times would make Van Niekerk an overwhelming favorite at worlds. However, two men are nipping at his heels this season.

Fred Kerley, who didn’t make it out of the U.S. Olympic Trials first round, ran 43.70 on May 26, the fastest time ever that early in a year. Kerley, 22, backed it up. He has five of the 11 fastest times in the world this year.

The latest challenger is Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, the man who nearly handed Van Niekerk defeat in Monaco. The 30-year-old didn’t make it out of the Rio Olympic semifinals but ran 43.72 in 2015 and, like Van Niekerk, has broken 44 seconds twice this year.

200 Meters
Aug. 10, 4:52 p.m. ET on NBCSN

The last time Bolt didn’t contest the 200m at a global championship was 2003, when American John Capel took the crown two years after being drafted by the Chicago Bears following a college career at the University of Florida under Steve Spurrier.

But Van Niekerk and Makwala are both entered, which will keep plenty of excitement around sans Bolt. Chances are one of the two will be racing to equal Johnson’s feat from 1995 of sweeping the 400m and 200m titles. Makwala has the fastest time in the world this year, a 19.77. Van Niekerk has run 19.84 and 19.90. Nobody else in the world 200m field has broken 19.95 in 2017.

De Grasse’s best time this year is 20.01, but don’t forget what he did in 2015 and 2016. Both years, De Grasse entered his major international meet without a sub-20. Then he clocked 19.88 at the 2015 Pan American Games and 19.80 in Rio, albeit in the semifinals, en route to silver.

The Americans owned this event pre-Bolt. From 2003 through 2007, a different U.S. man won this race at every worlds and the 2004 Olympics (where the U.S. swept the medals). But this year, it would be a surprise to see a U.S. medal.

The three fastest Americans this year are not entered in this event — Coleman, Noah Lyles and Christopher Belcher. Instead, the top hope to keep the U.S. from its first shutout since 1997 is Ameer Webb, who ranks ninth this year among men entered in London.

5000 Meters
Aug. 12, 3:20 p.m. ET on NBC

Every Olympic and world 5000m final since 2011 has gone almost like this: Farah stays with the pack, then accelerates near the front with a lap or two to go and puts the hammer down in the final 100 meters like nobody else to win.

This is the last chance for somebody to disrupt Farah’s strategy that has been unbeatable for nearly six years at the 5000m and 10,000m. It’s not that Farah is the fastest distance runner of all time — he ranks Nos. 31 and 16, respectively, on the all-time lists of 5000m and 10,000m personal bests — but he is the fastest finisher if the pace is reasonable.

At presumably his last worlds, the 34-year-old Farah will race the 10,000m on the opening night Friday, and then have five days off before the 5000m heats and his farewell 5000m final three days after that.

The men who will be chasing Farah include Ethiopian rival Hagos Gebrhiwet, a 23-year-old whose personal best is five seconds faster than Farah’s. But Gebrhiwet is 0-4 against Farah in global finals. Ethiopia also boasts the two fastest men this year — Muktar Edris and Selemon Barega — and the fastest man of 2015 — Yomif Kejelcha. Edris and Kejelcha have been routinely beaten by Farah, but the 17-year-old Barega has never faced the British legend.

Then there’s Paul Chelimo, the surprise Rio silver medalist who barely made the U.S. team at Olympic Trials by .06. Though Chelimo won this year’s U.S. title by a landslide seven seconds, he was nine seconds slower than Farah at the Pre Classic on May 27.

4x100m Relay
Aug. 12, 4:50 p.m. ET on NBC

Should be the last race of Bolt’s career. It is by no means a guaranteed victory lap, even though Jamaica crossed the 4x100m finish line first at every Olympics and worlds since 2008.

Bolt and the rest of the Jamaicans are slowing down. Their likely relay quartet’s top 100m times this year add up to 39.86 seconds. The U.S.’ projected relay team adds up to 39.70. But the Americans have botched the relay consistently, missing the podium due to bad exchanges or disqualifications at five of the last six global championships.

Consider this: Gatlin usually runs second or third leg for the U.S. 4x100m. If he’s again not anchoring, the U.S. will likely close with a sprinter who is green on the world stage. How would you like to be that man with a hard-charging Bolt next to you in the final sprint of Bolt’s career?


van Niekerk Chasing Standards Bolt Has Set

Usain Bolt has about 40 seconds of running left in his track career, the world's fastest man set to bow out at London 2017. Bolt will run the three rounds of the 100m as well as compete in the final of the 4x100m relay but has opted against the 200m.

How much is down to Wayde van Niekerk, Bolt will not say but the South African is bidding to trump athletics’ biggest name in his final hurrah with a 200m and 400m double.

The triple gold in Rio de Janeiro for the Jamaican will live long in the memory but Van Niekerk’s run to break Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world record from lane eight in the 400m was the stand-out display on the track at the Olympics. And the 25-year-old looks the likeliest candidate to be athletics’ next big thing as Bolt swaggers into retirement.

“We’ll see how it goes and where the sport wants to go with its image,” says Van Niekerk. “Hopefully I’ll be one of the bigger names going forward.”

But the world record holder over one lap is looking further ahead than just filling the Bolt void. He says: “I hope it should put South Africa on the map, too. We’ve got some great athletes coming through. So hopefully we can be the next Jamaica or America.”

Van Niekerk credits Bolt for leading him to the position he finds himself, facing the prospect of his own track double in London.

“I have so much respect for Usain,” he says. “He has motivated me to try to chase the standards he has set. That’s what he wanted to do, to try to inspire the world, and that’s what he’s done.”

Much like Bolt, Van Niekerk’s approach to athletics is built on his bond with his coach. In the case of Bolt, it is Glen Mills; for Van Niekerk, it is the 75-year-old Ans Botha, better known as Tannie Ans (“aunty” in Afrikaans).

It is an unlikely partnership but Van Niekerk gives total credit for his success to his coach who he first approached in 2012. Botha, a university athletics coach for 22 years, was initially reticent to work with a world-class athlete.

Botha has built her training on discipline but also athlete care, having the say in which races he runs but also limiting the number of interviews he can do. “She is as strict as ever,” he says. “That’s what you need. After 10 years of saying, ‘yes, you can do this or that,’ she’ll be the one to say, ‘no you can’t, you need to do this instead’.

“At the age of 75, that’s a really tough lady. I don’t just believe in myself individually but I believe in us as a team.”

Van Niekerk is keen to remain humble and is adamant “it is very important to stay the person I was before any medals came”. The question is whether he can back up the time from Rio, when he became the first man in Olympic history to win gold from lane eight.

Looking back on that record-breaking run of 43.03 seconds, he says: “It’s a humbling feeling to break the record but, at the same time, it feels like a stepping stone to so much more.

“As an athlete at the age of 25 there is more I want to achieve and there is so much more motivation and hunger to keep on performing well. So I’m not really too stuck on the world record.” That he struggled with a hamstring niggle beforehand makes the record all the more remarkable.

A year on the speed is clearly there. His season’s best for the 200m of 19.84sec is the second fastest in the world this year, while his 43.62sec from Lausanne in July puts him at No1 in the world in 2017 plus he has dipped under 10sec for the 100m this season.

“I’m glad the timing has now worked out so that I can do the 200/400m double as it was originally scheduled I’d have to have done the 200m heats just before the 400m final,” he says. “But either way I’ve got the hunger to compete in the 200m and hopefully in the 100m at major competitions. I’d love to do the 100m and 200m at the Commonwealth Games next year but I don’t want to lose focus on what I do.”

What chance of a sprint treble in the years to come, eclipsing even Bolt?


Despite the doubters, Farah bows out as the best

LONDON (Reuters) - Mo Farah will bring down the curtain on his championship career with a bid for yet another distance double in London but, despite his unmatchable palmares, the Briton still finds himself fighting for appreciation in some quarters.

Five years ago, when the same stadium produced that unprecedented rolling roar to help carry the home-town favourite to emotional Olympic victories over 10,000 and 5,000 metres, Farah was the golden hero.

Since then, he has successfully defended both titles at Rio, something only Lasse Viren had previously achieved, and kept his grip on the world championships.

He is seeking a third successive world double in London and a seventh world title, with his last global defeat coming in the 10,000m in Daegu in 2011. He also has five European titles to his name.

To put that in perspective, no Briton had previously won the 10,000 or 5,000m at the Olympics or world championships and no British track and field athlete managed more than two Olympic golds.

Yet, just as in the Tour de France, where the idea of a British victor was something of a joke for a century and now is so commonplace it's expected, Farah's accomplishments have somehow become so predictable that the blood doesn't pump the same way.

Perhaps, like Monaco-based and Africa-raised Chris Froome, the Somalia-born and America-based Farah is just not considered British enough.

To some fans it doesn't matter how often he grabs the microphone post-race to rave about loving London - where he lived after arriving at the age of eight - if he then jumps on the first plane out to return to his preferred training environment of Alberto Salazar's much-criticised Oregon project.

Among athletics aficionados too, there are sometimes murmurs of doubt. Farah's titles should brook no argument, but nagging whispers remain that he has somehow had it easy.

Critics say that he is lucky to be operating in a period when the best African talent has begun diverting to the lucrative marathon circuit at a younger age than previously and that his championship opposition is not in the class of previous champions such as Kenenisa Bekele.

Of course, Farah can only beat whoever lines up against him, even if they all too often play into his hands and allow him to dominate races. It is easy to shout from the sidelines that the best Kenyans and Ethiopians should try to run his finish out of him, but they just don't have the quality to do it for long enough to make an impact. Farah has also developed into a tactically astute operator and is always ready to mark and react to any moves.

A world record at 5,000 or 10,000 would silence all the doubters but, at 34, that now looks an impossibility - unless something very unusual happens over the next two weeks.

Farah will race twice more after London, in Birmingham and Zurich, before switching full time to the marathon.

He deserves and will get great support in his championship farewell and will hope to get the feel-good factor going early when he goes over 10,000 on the opening night on Friday.

Whether or not he triumphs then, and again over the shorter distance eight days later, he will depart as undoubtedly Britain's greatest track and field athlete and right in the mix for the title of the country's greatest performer in any sport.

Editing by Larry King


Bolt swansong dominates London athletics worlds

London (AFP) - Usain Bolt's decision to call time on his glittering career will dominate the IAAF World Championships in London that starts Friday.

The Jamaican sprinter, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist with 11 world golds to his name and world record holder in the 100 and 200m, will race just the 100m and 4x100m relay in the British capital.

The 30-year-old will leave a huge gap for track and field to fill, Bolt's startling on-track achievements having been accompanied by a charismatic yet humble personality that has never ceased to draw attention for all the right reasons.

In the past few seasons, that has often come with athletics at its lowest ebb thanks to doping crises and linked corruption at the very heart of the sport's presiding body.

"He is the best sprinter of all time," was IAAF president Sebastian Coe's blunt assessment of Bolt.

"Usain Bolt is a genius. I can't think, other than Muhammad Ali, of anybody that has so had an impact inside or beyond their sport.

"You can have the Friday-night-in-the-pub conversations about who is best footballer or tennis player, but there is no argument about this guy in sprinting."

Coe added: "What we will miss is the personality. We do want athletes with personality. It's nice to have someone who has a view and fills the room and fills a stadium."

Bolt insisted he would go into the defence of his 100m crown as an underdog.

"That's what I keep reading and what my team keeps telling me, so I've got to prove myself again," he said in a stark warning to potential rivals.

He added: "I'm comfortable saying I'm a legend because I've proved myself. Off the track, I'm as simple as can be."

With Bolt nearing the exit, much talk has focused on who could likely fill his large spikes.

One name pops up continually: that of South African Wayde van Niekerk, the current world and Olympic 400m champion who destroyed American Michael Johnson's world record when winning in Rio last summer.

"Wayde's doing a pretty good job," Bolt said, Van Niekerk having also broken Johnson's world record of the rarely-run 300m at Ostrava last month.

"He's now going to run the 200m, that's going to be exciting. He's a really cool person."

- Van Niekerk goes for double -

Van Niekerk's ambitious attempt at the 200-400m double, previously achieved only once - by Johnson in 1996, makes for six days of intense competition.

"Usain has been a massive inspiration," said the 25-year-old Van Niekerk.

"But I've still got quite a long way to go before I even get close to the heights that Usain has reached."

Another athlete sure to be a crowd pleaser will be Briton Mo Farah, who is seeking a 10th consecutive global title stretching back to 2011 and incorporating the 5000/10,000m doubles at both the London and Rio Olympics.

Farah, 34, honed his speed with victory over the 3000m at the London Diamond League, just after his medical records were hacked and leaked by the Fancy Bears group.

The Somali-born Londoner played down off-track distractions, saying he would give it all in his last track season before turning to marathon running.

"I love being on the podium, hearing the anthem and making people proud to be British. I love what I do and I'm good at what I do –- you can't worry about other stuff," he said.

Kenya, already hit by the absence of Olympic 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett, suffered a further blow when David Rudisha was a late withdrawal.

The 28-year-old, who ran an astonishing world record time of 1min 40.91sec to take gold at the 2012 London Olympics, said he was out "due to a quad muscle strain".

Doping-tainted Russia remains banned from international competition, although Coe confirmed that 19 Russian athletes had met the necessary criteria so as to compete in London as neutrals.


South Africans at the World Championships - events, race times and records

The World Athletics Championships begin in London on Friday and if you need some help digesting who to watch and when, we’ve got you covered. By ANTOINETTE MULLER

The second biggest athletics event after the Olympics will begin on Friday. South Africa's team selection hogged the headlines in the lead-up to the event, but with all of that out of the way, the country's best can focus on the task at hand.

South Africa should return with a reasonable medal haul with seven national record holders in the team. Akani Simbine (100m), Wayde van Niekerk (200m and 400m), Antonio Alkana (110m hurdles), Luvo Manyonga (long jump), Lebogang Shange (20km walk), Carina Horn (200m) and Caster Semenya (800m) will all be eyeing silverware.

But it's Van Niekerk gunning for the 200m and 400m double that will be of most interest. Caster Semenya, as it stands, is also doubling up doing both the 800m and the 1,500m. Sunette Viljoen is out of the javelin event through injury while Luvo Manyonga will continue his quest to become the first man to jump 9m, having recovered from an injury of his own.

The World Championships follows a similar format to the Olympics: prelim rounds preceding semis and finals. Daily Maverick will be offering a daily digest of who is running, but to get you started, here's a full list of competitors, their events, their best efforts in 2017 (as well as the world best) and all the scheduled times for all the events in that category.


Athletes: Akani Simbine, Thando Roto

Event: 100m

Time: 4 August, 20:00 (Prelim), 5 August 12:45 (Heats), 20:05 (Semi), 22:45 (final)

Best effort in 2017: 9.92 (Simbine), 9.98 (Roto)

World leading time in 2017: 9.82 (Christian Coleman, US)


Athletes: Akani Simbine, Wayde van Niekerk, Clarence Munyai

Event: 200m

Time: 7 August, 19:30 (Heats), 9 August, 21:55 (Semi-final), 10 August, 22:50 (Final)

Best effort in 2017: 19.95 (Simbine), 19.84 (Van Niekerk), 20.10 (Munyai)

World leading time in 2017: 19.77 (Isaac Makwala, Botswana)


Athletes: Wayde van Niekerk, Pieter Conradie

Event: 400m

Time: 5 August, 11:45 (Heats), 6 August, 20:40 (Semi), 8 August, 22:50 (Final)

Best effort in 2017: 43.62 (Van Niekerk), 45.15 (Conradie)

World leading time in 2017: 43.62 (Van Niekerk)


Athlete: Stephen MokokaEvent: 10 000m

Time: 2 August, 22:20

Best effort in 2017: Has not competed in the event in 2017, best time in 2016 - 13:23.66

World leading time in 2017: 27:08.26 (Abadi Jadis, Ethiopia)


Athletes: Lusapho April, Sibusiso Nzima, Desmond Mokgobu

Event: Marathon

Time: 6 August, 11:55

Best effort in 2017: 2:11:41 (April), 2:10:51 (Mokgobu), Nzima has not competed in 2017, best in 2016: 1:01:44

World leading time in 2017: 2:03:58 (Wilson Kipsang, Kenya)


Athletes: Antonio Alkana

Event: 110m hurdles

Time: 6 August, 14:15 (Heats), 21:10 (Semi), 7 August, 22:30 (final)

Best effort in 2017: 13.11

World leading time in 2017: 12.90 (Omar McLeod, Jamaica)


Athletes: Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai, Zarck Visser

Event: Long jump

Time: 4 August, 20:30 (Qualifiers), 5 August, 21:05 (Final)

Best effort in 2017: 8.65 (Manyonga), 8.49 (Samaai), 8.22 (Visser)

World leading distance in 2017: 8.65 (Manyonga) [Note: Manyonga and Samaai occupy nine out of the top ten distance for 2017]


Athletes: Orazio Cremona, Jaco Engelbrecht

Event: Shot put

Time: 5 August, 11:00 (Qualification), 6 August 21:35 (Final)

Best effort in 2017: 21.12 (Cremona), 20.63 (Engelbrecht)

World leading distance in 2017: 22.65 (Ryan Crouser, US)


Athlete: Victor Hogan

Event: Discus

Time: 4 August, 19:20 - 20:45 (Qualifiers), 5 August, 19:25 (Final)

Best effort in 2017: 64.18

World leading distance in 2017: 71.29 (Daniel Stahl, Sweden)


Athlete: Rocco van Rooyen

Event: Javelin

Time: 10 August, 20:05-21:35, 12 August 21:15

Best effort in 2017: 84.09

World leading distance in 2017: 94.44 (Johannes Vetter, Germany)


Athlete: Shange Lebogang

Event: 20km walk

Time: 12 August, 15:20Best effort in 2017: 1:21:00

World leading time in 2017: 1:17:54 (Kaihua Wang, China)


Athlete: Carina Horn

Event: 100m

Time: 5 August, 12:45 (Heats), 6 August 20:10 (Semi), 22:50 (Final)

Best effort in 2017: 11.05

World leading time in 2017: 10.72 (Tawanna Meadows, USA)


Athlete: Justine Palframan

Event: 200m

Time: 8 August, 20:30 (Heats), 10 August, 22:05 (Semi), 22:50 (Final)

Best effort in 2017: 22.84

World leading time in 2017: 21.77 (Tori Bowie, USA)


Athletes: Caster Semenya, Gena Lofstrand

Event: 800m

Time: 10 August, 20:25 (Heats), 11 August, 20:35 (Semi), 13 August, 21:10 (Final)

Best effort in 2017: 1:55.27 (Semenya), 2:01.50 (Lofstrand)

World leading time in 2017: 1:55.27 (Semenya)


Athlete: Caster Semenya

Event: 1500m

Time: 4 August, 20:35 (Heats), 5 August, 20:35 (Semi), 7 August, (22:50)

Best effort in 2017: 4:16.87

World leading time in 2017: 3:56.14 (Sifan Hassan, Netherlands)


Athletes: Mapaseka Makhanya, Jenna Challenor

Event: Marathon

Time: 6 August, 15:00

Best effort in 2017: No IAAF recognised times available for 2017, 2016 bests - 2:37:19 (Makhanya), 2:37:12 (Challenor)

World leading time in 2017: 2:17:01 (Mary Keitany, Kenya)


Athlete: Rikenette Steenkamp

Event: 100m hurdles

Time: 11 August, 11:45 (Heats), 20:05 (Semi), 12 August, 21:05

Best effort in 2017: 12.99

World leading time in 2017: 12.28 (Kedra Harrison, USA)


Athlete: Wenda Nel Event: 400m hurdles

Time: 7 August, 20:30 (Heats), 8 August, 21:35 (Semi), 10 August, 22:35 (Final)

Best effort in 2017: 54.58World leading time in 2017: 52.64 (Dalilah Muhammad, US)


Athletes: Justine Palframan, Gena Lofstrand, Ariane Nel, Zoe Engler, Caster Semenya, Wenda Nel

Event: 4x400m relay

Time: 12 August, 12:20 (Heats), 13 August 21:55, (Final)


The Best Running Stride? The One That Comes Naturally

Runners, if you have worried about your stride, relax. It is almost certainly fine, according to a comforting new study.

Researchers found that both experienced and beginning runners tend to settle into the stride that is most efficient for them. Tinkering with how you run is unlikely to be beneficial for performance and could make running more difficult, the study found.

As a species, humans are innately capable of running. Unless we are disabled, most of us start running as toddlers and continue, sporadically, throughout our lives, racing through airports or after the fast-receding bus we just missed. But because we can run, does this mean that we naturally run well?

Many experts, including running coaches and exercise physiologists, have debated that question in recent years, pondering whether there is a platonic ideal running form that everyone should adopt.

In particular, they have argued about stride length and cadence, or the number of steps runners take per minute. Stride length and cadence are intimately connected, and experts and runners have wondered whether altering these variables might make someone a better, faster runner. Many of us who run have been told at various times that we should shorten our strides in order to run faster, or maybe lengthen them, and perhaps aim for a cadence above 160 steps per minute.

But there has been surprisingly little scientific evidence that either reinforces or refutes the idea that modifying how we run is advisable, especially if we are newcomers to the sport.

So for the new study, which was published in May in the International Journal of Exercise Science, scientists at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, set out to closely examine the strides of both expert and inexperienced runners and see would happen if they tweaked them.

They began by recruiting 19 skilled, competitive runners, including 10 members of the university’s Division I women’s cross-country team. The researchers also gathered an additional 14 active people from other sports, including cycling and swimming, all of whom were fit but none of whom had done much if any running in the past two years.

They then had each volunteer run on a treadmill in the university’s human performance lab at whatever speed they felt to be most comfortable. For the experienced runners, this was their typical training speed. For the novice runners, it was the fastest pace that they felt they could maintain for at least 20 minutes.

The researchers manually counted each volunteer’s steps, a number that they verified with videotape, and then arithmetically determined the length of each person’s stride when they ran at their favorite speed.

Finally, during a second day at the lab, they fitted everyone with masks that determined their oxygen intake, in order to track their running economy.

Running economy is important. In physiological terms, economy is a measure of physical demand. If one form of moving requires less oxygen than another, it is more economical, less strenuous and will be easier to maintain. So, if one way of running is more economical than another, a runner employing that style will run longer and with greater ease than if he or she runs differently.

So on this second lab visit, the researchers began by having their volunteers run at the same pace and stride length that they had originally chosen as their personal favorite.

Then the researchers used a metronome to sneakily alter people’s strides by asking them to match their footfalls to the metronome’s tone — landing with their right foot every time the metronome sounded. The treadmill’s speed remained unchanged, but the researchers sped up or slowed the metronome’s cadence by first 8 and then 16 percent.

In order to keep pace, the runners had to shorten or lengthen their strides accordingly.

The researchers had them maintain these strides for two minutes, while tracking their breathing throughout.

Then they examined the data to see how the volunteers’ running economy had been affected.

They found that the effects had been considerable. When the runners modified their preferred running strides, whether lengthening or shortening them, their economy generally declined. The running became physically more difficult.

Interestingly, this finding held true for both the experienced and inexperienced runners, and to about the same extent. Despite their inexperience, the novices had instinctively chosen their most efficient pace and stride at the start of the study. Lengthening or shortening their strides subsequently had not made them more economical; it had, instead, made them less efficient.

These findings indicate that “our bodies know what they are doing” when it comes to choosing running form, even without the benefit of any instruction, says Iain Hunter, a professor of exercise science at B.Y.U. who oversaw the study and is also a staff scientist for USA Track & Field.

Of course, this was a one-time look at a small group of runners and focused on a single, sustainable running speed for each. It can’t tell us whether there are other situations in which runners might benefit from altering their strides, including to prevent injuries, or sprint madly toward a finish line in order to set a personal best or pass one’s spouse.

But the general message is encouraging and empowering, Dr. Hunter says. For most of us who run, our most efficient stride is not something we have to learn from coaches or other experts, he says. “It’s built in.”


Trey Hardee returns to world stage without Ashton Eaton

LONDON (AP) — Trey Hardee wants to set the record straight.

No, he’s not retired. Never has been. The thought really never crossed his mind.

The two-time world champion decathlete understands why everyone may have jumped to that conclusion.

He’s 33, has been sidelined by an assortment of injuries and did some broadcasting work for the Rio Olympics.

On top of that, his Wikipedia page actually listed him as retired.

“I still really love what I do,” he said.

With world-record holder and two-time Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton surprisingly announcing his retirement in January, the stage now belongs to the “other” American who, in virtually any other era, wouldn’t have been relegated to such status. Once the top rival of Eaton, Hardee could take his spot atop the medal stand at the world championships in London.

“I consider myself the bread in the Ashton sandwich,” Hardee joked about being around before Eaton’s arrival and still around now. “When we were (competing), we were always like, ‘Let’s finish 1-2.’ Neither of us cared. We were like, ‘Let’s dominate this event and represent the United States, make sure we show what the American decathlon stands for.’”

For years, it was the Eaton and Hardee Show in a 10-event competition spread over two days. At the 2012 London Games, Eaton took gold while Hardee grabbed silver. That despite Hardee having surgery on his throwing elbow a few months before the Olympics.

Another showdown loomed in Brazil. But Hardee was hobbled heading into the Olympic Trials and withdrew from the competition after aggravating his hamstring.

There went Rio for him as a competitor. Instead, he earned his way as an analyst and had a front-row seat for Eaton’s title defense.

“It was a bittersweet moment, watching my countrymen and cheering for them. But really, really in the bottom of your heart, you think, ‘I should be out there,’” Hardee recounted. “It was tough. It gave me more resolve to come back this year.”

A healthy Hardee turned in quite a performance at the USATF Outdoor Championships in June, when he won the decathlon with 8,225 points. He held off the next wave of American decathletes eager to take over — such as 24-year-old Zach Ziemek and Devon Williams. Both will accompany Hardee to London.

“It’s a nice time to be a decathlete in the U.S.,” Hardee said.

Hardee is part of a distinguished list, joining Eaton (2013, 2015), Dan O’Brien (1991, 1993, 1995), Tom Pappas (2003) and Bryan Clay (2005) as the only Americans to win the world decathlon title. Hardee captured his titles in 2009 and ’11.

“Whatever my legacy is, it’s not for me to determine,” said Hardee, who trains in Austin, Texas. “I was just led down the right path. All I needed to do was put in the work.”

His venture into the decathlon was almost by accident. Cut from his high school basketball team, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Hardee turned to pole vaulting and went to Mississippi State hoping to become the next Sergey Bubka. But Hardee was introduced to the decathlon and began to flourish. He transferred to Texas, where he became an NCAA champion.

Ever since, he’s been chasing that “unicorn,” which he calls the mythical perfect score in the competition. His personal-best mark of 8,790 points was set at the 2009 world championships in Berlin. In contrast, Eaton has set the world record twice — 9,039 points at the 2012 Olympic Trials, then 9,045, which he attained at the 2015 world championships in Beijing.

Recently, Hardee added another event to his plate — the getting-his-daughter-to-laugh competition. He scores big numbers in that area.

“She can smile at you, and turn you into a puddle on the floor,” said Hardee, whose wife — a retired pole vaulter — gave birth to their daughter, Frankie, on Dec. 5. “When she’s happy, we’re happy. I’ve never been more heartbroken than when I’m holding her and she’s crying.”

The family won’t be accompanying him to London. This is more of a business trip. He feels confident heading into London, though, even if he’s dealing with a nagging foot ailment.

“I’m dangerous, because I still got some pop,” Hardee said. “I’m the wild card.”

Asked when he might step aside for real, Hardee just laughed.

“If I do retire, it will be a pretty quiet and an uneventful affair,” said Hardee, who dabbles in real estate on the side. “They’ll be like, ‘Did Trey retire?’

“But I still go to bed every night thinking about the decathlon and I wake up each morning ready to practice.”


9 Americans To Watch In London

Young pros and veterans give Team USA a well-rounded squad

By Scott Bush, DyeStat Editor

The IAAF World Outdoor Championships get underway later this week and Team USA fields a squad as competitive as any we’ve seen. While there is plenty to cheer in the days ahead, we’ve listed nine of the top Americans poised for greatness in London.

Fred Kerley (400 meters)

Only 22 years old, Kerley took his talent to a whole different level this year, proving to not only be king of the one lap at the collegiate level, but setting himself up to truly challenge 400-meter world record holder Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa at Worlds.
Kerley currently owns five of the top 11 fastest marks in the world this season, including the second-best mark of 43.70. A U.S. title, signing a pro contract and continuing to remain sharp mark Kerley as an easy medal favorite in London. Now it remains to be seen whether or not he can truly challenge Van Niekerk for 400-meter surpremacy.

Keni Harrison (100-Meter Hurdles)

Few athletes in the world have been more dominant than Harrison over the past two years. The world record holder in the 100-meter hurdles has simply owned the performance list for the event, but the mark of not qualifying for the Olympics, where Team USA swept the medals, has the former University of Kentucky standout craving so much more.
Despite an injury earlier this season while falling in a warm-up session, Harrison owns the top two marks in the world this season. She is the only hurdler to dip under 12.40 seconds and has run four of the six fastest times in 2017, showing no signs of weakness this season. The 24-year old is on a mission to bring home the gold and it seems only she can prevent herself from earning that top prize.

Christian Coleman (100 meters)

While Kerley dominated the collegiate scene all season long in the 400 meters and 4x400 relay, Coleman took charge in the 100 and 200. The former University of Tennessee alum owns the fastest time in the world this season with a 9.82 effort at the NCAA Championships back in early June. He’s run sub-10 six times this season, tied for most in the world, and has proven time and again he’s capable of running rounds well.

While it remains to be seen how he’ll fair against the likes of Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, as well as South African Akani Simbine, finishing .03 behind Justin Gatlin for a runner-up finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships shows he can contend for a medal in London.

Tori Bowie (100 meters)

It would have been easy for Bowie to focus on both the 100 and 200 meters at the IAAF World Championships, but the 26-year old is zeroing in on just the 100 (and the 4x100 relay) this time around. Bowie currently ranks only seventh in the world in the 100, but winning the U.S. title with ease and dipping under 10.95 twice already this season shows she’s ready to challenge for gold in London.
Bowie knows she’s going to have to take down Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica and veterans like Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago, Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast and others, but after finishing third in Beijing at the 2015 IAAF World Championships and second in Rio last year, Bowie wants to take that last step forward and come home with gold.

Ryan Crouser (Shot Put)

It’s been a wild season for Crouser. After winning Olympic gold last summer in Rio and establishing himself as the star of the event, Crouser traveled to New Zealand back in February to compete in the throws circuit. Putting some big performances, Crouser has yet to slow down this season, owning seven of the top nine marks this year, including the top performance of 74-3.75 (22.65m).

Crouser’s 74-3.75 not only won him a U.S. title and earned him a new personal best, that mark is the best performance in the world since 1989, three years before he was born. Crouser will face familiar competition from fellow American Joe Kovacs, who is having a standout year as well, but the Oregon native has shown too many times over the past two years that to discount him is a big mistake.

Gia Lewis-Smallwood (Discus)

In 2014, a non-World Championship and Olympic year, Lewis-Smallwood was on top of the world. She crushed a huge PR toss of 226-11 (69.17m), won a Diamond League competition and showed the world that she was ready to challenge for championship titles. While 2015 was still a successful season in many respects, Lewis-Smallwood started to fade from the spotlight and struggled mightily in 2016.

Well, the 38-year old is back in London, ranked fifth in the world this season, earned another U.S. title and is throwing as well as she has since that magical year of 2014. While she clearly has some work to do in order to knock off Sandra Perkovic of Croatia, Australia's Dani Stevens, and Cuba's Yaime Perez and Denia Caballero, who are the four women who rank ahead of her, Lewis-Smallwood cannot be counted out.

Evan Jager (3,000-Meter Steeplechase)

When Jager won silver in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase last summer in Rio, it was quite the reason for American distance running fans to celebrate. Jager’s event had been locked down by east Africans for seemingly forever, especially Kenyans, so to be able to break through and earn silver was big.
But like any superstar athlete, finishing second isn’t enough. Jager was quiet for much of the early part of the season, racing little, but putting in the work with his Bowerman Track Club team. Jager earned another U.S. title in late June, but what makes him at least a co-favorite to win gold heading into London was his victory in Monaco in late July, running 8:01.29, his second-best performance of his career.

Tianna Bartoletta (Long Jump)

The reigning Olympic gold medalist in the women’s long jump doesn’t get nearly the respect she deserves in her event. The 31-year old has been a force the past few years and hasn’t slowed down this season with a win at the USATF Outdoor Championships, as well as ranking second in the world this season, trailing only fellow American Brittney Reese.
The Bartoletta vs. Reese rivalry will resume in London, as the two have clearly established themselves as the top two long jumpers in the world. While Reese has earned much praise and respect in the event, Bartoletta seems ready to chase greatness again this coming week.

Christian Taylor (Triple Jump)

Few track and field athletes have been more dominant than Taylor is in the men’s triple jump. The second-best triple jumper in history – although you could argue he’s the best – owns gold from the past two Olympics, as well as the past two World Championships. If he makes it three golds in London at the IAAF World Championships, he’ll become the first man in history to accomplish such a feat.

Taylor owns a triple jump best of 59-9 (18.21m) and has three of the top six marks in the world this season, including the world leader of 59-5 (18.11m). While he’ll find competition from the likes of fellow American Will Claye and a handful of others, Taylor is the clear favorite heading into London.


Williams-Mills Bracing For Emotional London Return

LONDON, England:

Veteran quarter-miler Novlene Williams-Mills is bracing for what she expects will be an emotional return to the London Olympic Stadium, five years after competing at the 2012 Olympic Games shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Williams-Mills, who despite the diagnosis, helped Jamaica to a mile relay bronze medal, will be competing in her seventh and final World Championships after featuring in Helsinki (2005), Osaka (2007), Berlin (2009), Daegu (2011), Moscow (2013) and Beijing (2015) and while she is expecting to face the memories, the 35 year-old is also looking to make a new mark at the championship.

"This is going to be like my sixth World Championships, for me just to go out there and come back here after five years ago in London; I know what London was for me like five years ago, so to be back in this place with not so sweet memories is going to be a challenge, but this time I want them to be better memories than the ones I had back then," Williams-Mills Says.

Williams-Mills, who has won six World Championships medals including individual bronze in Osaka and gold that followed a gutsy anchor leg from her in Beijing last time around will line up in the women's 400m heats on Sunday at 11:55 a.m. (5:55 a.m. Jamaica time).

Trying To Relax

"Right now I am just trying to relax but I know on Sunday it's going to be a different emotion once I get into the starting blocks again. It's going to take me back to memories that are a part of me but memories that I have to live with because it's something that will always be a part of my life, but I know it will be emotional when I get back into those starting blocks. So I know I will have to be mentally focused because that was then and this is now," said Williams-Mills.

Williams-Mills, who also competed at four Olympic Games throughout her career, says she will be closing her World Championships chapter here in London.

"The next World Championships will be in 2019 and I don't think I will be around for that one I think Jamaica has so many quarter-milers that are stepping up to the plate and will be there to represent Jamaica. As I have told people, I think I have represented Jamaica really well over the last few years and every year it's always someone else and we have some great ladies that are doing really well in the 400m," Williams-Mills said.


Is Asbel Kiprop Ready For The Worlds?

Reigning 1,500 world champion Asbel Kiprop yesterday revealed that delayed start to his preparations has hampered his form ahead of his title defence at the World Championships in London

Kiprop has struggled on the Diamond League circuit this season amid querries over his capability to win a fourth world title after disappointing sixth place at the Rio Olympics last year.

“I normally start training in November for the track season but there are a couple of issues I had to deal with and I ended up starting my programme in April. The results have been been poor but I stepped up my training in the last two weeks and I am in good condition to defend my title,” added Kiprop.

Kiprop best position in the Diamond League was fourth place in Stockholm in 3:33.17. At the Monaco Grand Prix, he came home 11th in 3:34.91 and in Eugene in May, he was placed 13th in 3:58.24. Kiprop added that he has learnt lessons from Rio and is looking forward to the championship.

“I have learnt my lessons from last year and with Elijah Manangoi, Ronald Kwemoi and Timothy Cheruiyot to keep me company, we have nothing to fear and we can conquer the world in London,” added Kiprop.

Head coach Julius Kirwa, however, expressed confidence that in Kiprop they have a man for the big occasion. “He is championship calibre and I am sure he will not disappoint. He has a point to prove,” added Kirwa.

Kirwa said race tactics will be key especially if the four are reach the final. “We will have to craft a plan if they four are to reach the final and look at the threats of other top runners. It has become a very tactful race and if we get it wrong we may lose medals in the race,” added Kirwa.

Kiprop said the withdrawal of world and Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha from the squad on Monday will not affect the team’s performance.

“We have a good crop of athletes in the 800m, who can step into his shoes and deliver,” he added.

Competition for the Kenyan quartet in the event at the world show is expected to come from Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz, Morocco’s Sadik Mikhou and Amman Wote of Ethiopia among others.


ITN seals athletics deal as it chases a lucrative role in TV sport

ITN has won a race to provide exclusive television coverage of international athletics by sealing a joint venture with the sport’s governing body.

The company, best known as the producer of news programming for ITV and Channel 4, hopes to use the deal to accelerate its push into lucrative sports coverage.

Understood to be worth in the tens of millions of pounds, ITN’s athletics deal is bigger than all its previous sport contracts combined.

The open-ended joint venture between ITN Productions and the International Association of Athletic Foundations (IAAF) is intended to deliver a revolution in how track and field is covered.

Lord Coe, the governing body’s president, aims to revive interest and participation in athletics after a series of doping scandals.

ITN aims to encourage the use of new technology to make the action more compelling for viewers. Long jump take-off boards could include digital sensors, for instance, that provide would data on speed and replace traditional foul judges.

IAAF chief executive Olivier Gers said the joint venture with ITN will “strengthen the relationship between our competitions and our fans.”

In common with gold and cricket, the IAAF is also seeking to increase online distribution of coverage to attract younger viewers and the sponsors seeking their attention. Sport governing bodies are increasingly structuring deals to keep some control over production rather than simply selling their rights off.

ITN is attempting to capitalise on the trend by challenging the only two major independent sport producers, Sunset+Vine, which produces football coverage for BT, and IMG, which covers Wimbledon.

It is part of a broader expansion by ITN beyond its traditional news business. The company, which is owned by TV, DMGT, Reuters and UBM, aims to draw half its revenues from other, more profitable productions by 2020 to secure its finances and plug a £159m pension deficit.

Hitting the target would mean matching its news revenues, which were £87m last year out of a total of £130m.

Mark Browning, managing director of ITN Productions, said: “We are one of a very few production companies that can combine live and outside broadcast production with editorial expertise, on a global scale.”

The company already produces coverage of some lower league matches for Sky, although with the rights now up for sale again its role could change. The English Football League is understood to be conducting a more complex auction that will sell off rights to the League Cup separately.

ITN is also seeking to win production business from the BBC, which has been forced to tender more of its programmes to outsiders. It is understood it bid to make Songs of Praise but lost out to a small independent producer.


A Revision To The Revamping WRs Proposal?

A controversial proposal to scrap all athletics world records set before 2005 is being reviewed following a negative reaction from competitors, such as Paula Radcliffe, who claim it could see their achievements discarded unfairly.

A European Athletics taskforce, established to consider the credibility of records following the sport’s doping scandal, put forward its recommendations in May.

The changes, which could have seen all pre-2005 records re-written, was expected to be discussed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at its biennial Congress, due to start here tomorrow.

But such has been the outcry among several former athletes, including Radcliffe, Britain's world marathon record holder who called the proposals "cowardly", that more consultation is taking place.

Others who criticised the idea were Britain's Jonathan Edwards, the world record holder in the triple jump.

European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen has admitted that more work should have been done before the recommendations were published.

"They are right," Hansen told insidethegames following a meeting of European Athletics here today.

"It's my responsibility.

"We did too little consultation beforehand.

"We have to listen to criticism from people like Jonathan and Paula."

Under the original proposals, a world record would only be recognised if it met strict criteria, including the doping control sample taken after the record being stored and available for re-testing for 10 years.

The IAAF has only stored blood and urine samples since 2005.

Hansen is now considering proposing that only records set before 1991, when out of competition testing was adopted as normal practice around the world, be scrapped.

"Maybe we have to put in some new criteria," he told insidethegames.

"For example, not starting in 2005 but 1991, when we started out-of-competition testing.

"That will be one of my proposals to the new recommendations."

If such a proposal were adopted, it would not affect any of the current men's world records, including Edwards' mark of 18.29 metres for the triple jump set in 1995.

It would also leave alone Radcliffe's world record in the marathon of 2 hours 15min 25sec, set in 2003.

It would though still remove some of the most controversial women's world records.

They are led the 100 and 200 metres marks of 10.49 and 21.34sec set by American Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988.

Also affected would be the 400m world record of 47.60sec set by East Germany's Marita Koch in 1985 and the performance of Jarmila Kratochvílová, the Czechoslovakian runner whose 800m performance of 1min 53.28sec has stood since 1983.

But the proposal could still cause anger as it would lead to Bulgaria's Stefka Kostadinova losing her world record in the high jump of 2.09 metres as it was set in 1987.

Kostadinova, now President of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee, had claimed the original proposal was "frivolous, incorrect, even mocking our work to delete everything that has happened so far in history".

However, Hansen is determined to take forward some kind of proposal.

"We have recommended this to the IAAF and we are putting together a group involving the other Confederations to see how we can move on," he told insidethegames.

"We are going forward with this and I hope, together with IAAF, we can bring something to the Council meeting in Monaco in November."


'Underdog' Bolt ready to fire in 100m defence

London (AFP) - Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt labelled himself the underdog as he seeks to round off his glittering individual track career with the defence of his world 100m title this week.

"That's what I keep reading and what my team keeps telling me, so I've got to prove myself again," the 30-year-old said in a warning shot to pretenders to his crown in the blue riband event of the IAAF World Championships.

Bolt started this season in sluggish form, running two 10sec-plus times before finally hitting some form at the Monaco Diamond League.

"The last race I ran was 9.95sec, which shows I'm going in the right direction," he said.

"It's a championships and the two rounds always help me. I've been here many times. It's go-time, so let's go!"

He added: "Usain Bolt has retired unbeaten in an individual event, unbeatable, unstoppable -- for me that would be the best headline!

"If I show up at a championships you know I'm fully confident and ready to go, and my coach, I'm ready to go."

Bolt refused to single out who would be his closest rival for the 100m, with heats on Friday before the semi-final and final on Saturday at the same stadium in east London where he won treble gold at the 2012 Olympics.

"The seven people who are going to be in that race with me, they're the biggest challengers," he said.

Bolt has dominated sprinting since taking double individual gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, going on to win a further six Olympic golds and also picking up 11 world titles.

He also holds world records of 9.58 and 19.19sec in the 100 and 200m, both set when winning at the 2009 Berlin worlds.

Bolt admitted that he hoped his records would last.

"I want to brag to my kids when they're 15, that I'm still the best," he joked.

- 200m in 2008 the best -

In a glitzy press conference organised by his long-term sponsors Puma and hosted by Welsh ex-hurdler Colin Jackson, Bolt picked out his then-world record breaking victory in the 200m at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 as the stand-out performance of his career.

"It's definitely Beijing (Olympics), the 200m, because I never knew I could break the world record," he said.

"That was my main dream growing up -- I always wanted to be Olympic 200m champion. When I broke the record I didn't know how to react."

And he insisted that motivation was not lacking despite having devoted his life to the track since the age of 10.

"Every year you find something else to motivate you," he said. "I love competition, I thrive on competition, and I want people to run fast to push me.

"I'm comfortable saying I'm a legend because I've proved myself.

"I didn't know I would be 100m world record holder growing up, I had no idea.

"Anything's possible, you've just got to put it in your head and work for it. There are no words to explain what I've done over the years, and I'm really proud of myself."

Sprinting has been mired by doping over the years, and track and field's governing body the IAAF has been on the back foot over widespread state-sponsored doping in Russia, whose athletes were barred from the Rio Olympics and will also miss London, although some have been cleared to compete as neutrals.

But Bolt insisted the sport was on the right path.

"You can't be happy about doping, but we're doing a better job and are catching up and if you cheat, you will get caught," he said.

"After the scandal on Russia, it doesn't get any worse than that. It's on its way back up now.

"Hopefully, athletes will see what they need to do to make the sport go forward."


Team GB set stiff medals target for World Athletics Championships

The British Athletics team have been set the formidable task of winning at least six medals at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.

UK Sport’s 2017 performance target for the sport is six-to-eight podium finishes at London 2017, only marginally fewer than the seven-to-nine from last summer’s Olympics.

That is despite Team GB narrowly avoiding missing that target in Rio courtesy of a pair of women’s relay bronze medals, with only the retirement of Jessica Ennis-Hill, who won heptathlon silver, seemingly taken into account.

The withdrawal from London 2017 of defending long-jump champion and Olympic bronze medallist Greg Rutherford through injury has made reaching this year’s goal all the more difficult.

Indeed, beyond Sir Mo Farah, who is widely expected to retain his 5,000 metres and 10,000m titles, there are no safe medal bets in the British team this time.

Laura Muir will need everything to go her way to snatch a podium place in the 1,500m, while Katarina Johnson-Thompson must avoid another major-championships meltdown to stand a chance of doing the same in the heptathlon.

Sophie Hitchon will therefore be under huge pressure to repeat her Olympic hammer bronze, as will the women’s relay teams.

However, both they and the men’s squad appear in worse shape than last year.

Failure to hit their medal target could have an impact on UK Sport’s funding for athletics, which was awarded £27.1 million in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics, money that can be cut if results fail to meet expectations.

British Athletics was already facing a huge challenge to replace London 2012 Super Saturday heroes Farah, Ennis-Hill and Rutherford on its track and field team going forward.

As well as Ennis-Hill’s retirement, Farah will move up to marathon after London 2017, denying Team GB at least one medal in Tokyo.

Rutherford has previously expressed a desire to compete in 2020 but on the proviso his body is up to it.


Thiam The One To Watch In WC Heptathlon

Nafissatou Thiam might have been a surprise gold medallist in the heptathlon at last year's Olympic Games, but a record-breaking performance two months ago suggests Rio was no fluke and she'll be the one to watch in the World Athletics Championship this weekend.

In Rio de Janeiro, the 22-year-old ended the long dominance of Jessica Ennis-Hill in a stunning upset that seemed to leave the Belgian more surprised than the spectators.

But any doubts about the validity of her achievement were dispelled in May when she racked up a massive 7013 points at a meeting in Gotzis in Austria to go third on the all-time list for the event.

It means Thiam will go into the World Championships in London, which start on Friday, as favourite for top podium spot in the seven-discipline event.

The gruelling schedule begins early on Saturday with the 100 metre hurdles and concludes on Sunday evening with the 800m race.

"Nafi is really serene and knows what she must do," Belgian athletics official Stephanie Noel said on Tuesday.

"She has great powers of concentration and knows she needs to be at her best in all seven disciplines. But we all know that to get gold is always a difficult task," Noel told the Belga news agency.

Thiam has also entered the women's high jump, as she did in Rio only to withdraw later. Her jump of 1.98m in Gotzis was the third best of the year.

She notched a total of four personal bests at the Austrian meeting in the 200m, 800m, 100m hurdles and javelin, after which she said: "It was an amazing competition, it's really unbelievable. I came to see where my form is at, and I was a little bit scared as I felt a little elbow problem in the javelin, but I was able to relax thereafter."

She recently revealed that she took gold in the Olympics despite torn ligaments in her elbow that left her in obvious distress after her javelin throws.

Thiam, who is studying geography at university, could end Belgium's lengthy wait for a gold at the World Championships, held every two years since starting in Helsinki in 1983.

The country's first silver came in Beijing two years ago when Philip Milanov finished second in the men’s discus to add to a scant tally of four bronze medals from 1987 to 2011.


LA for 28, Paris for 24: how it came to be

For weeks now, Olympic insiders have known that Paris would get the 2024 Games and Los Angeles 2028. On Monday, it happened.

Simply put, there was too much win-win-win at stake.

This phraseology is how the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, had come recently to term the 2024/2028 double — as a triple play, really, a win for the IOC, for Paris and for LA.

The full IOC membership must ratify this arrangement at an assembly September 13 in Lima, Peru. That will be a formality.

Of course, in 2017 we don’t know whether by summer 2028 that triple play will have come true. As ever, time will be the measure of all things.

Here, though, is what’s what:

— This deal achieves significant strategic objectives for the IOC. It gets two of the world’s most visible cities. It gets stability. The IOC also gets to grow its business where it matters most. That would be the United States, in case anyone has any questions, and they should not.

— This deal ought to be a win for France and president Emmanuel Macron. The hope is it will be the same, by extension, for the Olympic movement in Europe, the IOC’s base. At least in the very near term. For seven years — stay tuned. France and Paris are, to be blunt, the biggest risk in this three-way play.

— That leaves the big winner. No question, unequivocally, indisputably, this deal is a no-brainer, gangbusters win for the United States, for the U.S. Olympic Committee, for Southern California, for bid leader Casey Wasserman and, especially, for Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti. Two reasons. One, history proves it is all but impossible to bring a Summer Games to the United States. Two, like the 1984 LA Games, 2028 will — no hedging — prove a financial success. Like, big-time.

“This wasn’t a tough negotiation,” Garcetti said at a Monday afternoon news conference in the Southern California sunshine.

“Sure, we had to work out some details. But,” he added, referring to the IOC,” they saw the vision of Los Angeles.”

Short version of the deal:

One city (Los Angeles) has no reason not to wait and one city (Paris) really cares about not waiting. That’s a mismatch.

Longer version:

The 2024 race saw Boston give way to LA. Then Hamburg, Rome and Budapest dropped out. That left only Paris and LA.

The 2022 race had similarly gotten down to two, Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, the IOC ultimately voting in the summer of 2015 for Beijing.

For more than four years, over the course of the 2024 and 2022 campaigns, and all over the world but especially in western Europe, the IOC’s stronghold, taxpayers kept saying the same thing: no more big infrastructure projects tied to an Olympics.

Two races in a row with just two survivors made for a clear signal. The bid and campaign system the IOC had relied upon for a generation no longer worked.

The IOC does business with broadcasters and sponsors, true, but it genuinely only has one customer, and that is cities. The 2022 and 2024 campaigns proved the IOC was not per se running out of customers. Instead, it was running out of really good customers — that is, a city it to which, in the end, it could reliably turn to strengthen and protect the brand or, better, to grow it for the future.

An Olympics should be a celebration. In recent years, however, virtually every edition of the Games has attracted — for seven solid years — a slew of negative headlines and relentless opposition.

In September 2016, I became the first person in the world to propose publicly that the IOC award the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games at a single stroke. In June, its policy-making executive board took me up on my suggestion; in mid-July, its general assembly did the same.

That left only one issue: which city for 2024 and which for 2028?

Bach has staked his presidency on a 40-point reform plan dubbed Agenda 2020. If Agenda 2020 is real and not so many words, LA would get 2024. Most in the movement acknowledge LA is a better bid; that it would make common sense to unlock the value and security of LA for 2024; and that if LA got 2024, the IOC would wake up in 2025 with a bunch of customers, cities clamoring to replicate the success that an LA 2024 Games would have shown the world was possible. Just like in 1985, after 1984.

But no.

Paris for 2024 almost surely means the very same problems that have dogged, in turn, Tokyo for 2020, Rio for 2016 and London for 2012 — construction overruns, busted budgets, political snarls, nasty stakeholder fights and more. This is exactly why taxpayers are so done with the IOC.

The soil remediation issues sure to emerge in and around the $1.6 billion (as if) Olympic village; the battles over the metro link, part of the Grand Paris plan, near the village in Seine-Saint-Denis; the media village plan that even the IOC said in its so-called “evaluation report” was dumb. These and more battles are yet to be fought in Paris over the coming months and years.

Moreover, cue the hugely entertaining scenario now: how long will any or all members of the Paris 2024 bid team stay in position once it segues to an organizing committee, and Macron makes it a presidential priority? Imagine the drama sure to ensue between the political rivals Macron and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo if things go well for the project — and then, say two years from now when the typical Olympic honeymoon has run its course, if they don’t.

The IOC has made clear it is willing to take on these and other risks, including the heightened security situation in France. It downplayed all of them in its evaluation.

Why?

An IOC bid campaign is not about which city is “better.” It’s about which city can win. Bach knew all along that LA was no sure thing for 2024. At the same time, he knew he could sell the members on LA for 2028.

Why?

Because, in part, Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel represent a great many things to a European establishment of which the IOC is a part; and because, in a Eurocentric way, there’s a logic to the thought that because the LA bid is better, it can therefore afford to wait.

There’s more, of course.

The mainstream media likes to make a lot of Paris’ 100th anniversary for 1924. That’s not it. Athens ran for 1996 on the same idea — it staged the first modern Games, in 1896 — but Atlanta won. The IOC can’t be in the anniversary business. There simply are too many anniversaries in too many places.

This, though, does matter: the IOC dates to 1894, and Paris, and the French baron Pierre de Coubertin.

Paris should thus be winning Olympic bid races with some regularity.

In an incredible fluke, the country that brought the world the modern Olympic movement is the only G-8 nation that has not, since World War II, won a Summer Games bid race. Moreover, since the end of World War II, there are only two nations in the GDP top-15 that have not hosted: India and France.

As soon as India flips the switch, it will get a Games, too.

All this is to say Paris is not just due. It’s over-due.

You know which nation is second-most due?

The United States.

That Atlanta victory makes for the only time the U.S. has won a competitive bid race. New York lost in 2005 for 2012. Chicago got kicked to the curb in 2009 for 2016 despite President Obama’s personal plea to the members in Copenhagen.

LA in 1984? No other city bid. LA in 1932? Same. (St. Louis in 1904 is a weird case all around, and not worth exploring here.)

This American history in Olympic bid races was a central driver behind my 2024/2028 column proposal. After 20 years of covering the IOC and its members, I gauged that the only way the United States was ever going to get a Summer Olympics was if that Games came packaged with another.

Why is it so hard for the United States in the Olympic bid game?

Easy. The United States is the big dog in the world. Every nation’s most controversial bilateral relationship is with us.

And then there’s the current president, about whom so much could be written, and has.

Briefly:

It is a positive that in June Bach went to the White House; that reflects well on the station of the Olympics in the world. The meeting itself: maybe not so constructive. Further: if as U.S. president one of your central mantras is “America First,” how do you say you want something back — in this instance, the prize of the Olympics — from the community of nations that make up the world? Under what theory should the world give that prize to the United States?

Noted: under no theory can the current president serve in office beyond January 20, 2025.

When it comes to Olympic politics, there’s another reason it’s often challenging for American interests. It’s American money that makes the Olympic machinery go. Just generally speaking: dealing with and talking about money always makes people feel — well, you name it, everything and anything

In one of the IOC’s rare moments of public candor, it acknowledged this financial imperative when in 2014 NBC signed a $7.65 billion deal for the U.S. broadcast rights to the Games from 2031 to 2032, saying the agreement “ensures the financial security of the Olympic movement.”

Bach, for all his critics, knows all these things, and more.

Indeed, Bach also knew that the only “negotiation,” after the full IOC membership OK in mid-July to the 2024/2028 proposal, and despite the promotion of the notion that some fancy “tripartite” agreement had to be worked out, was with LA.

Think about it. What was there to negotiate with Paris? Hey, we’re giving you 2024. Anything to add about that? Didn’t think so. Thanks. Back to you later.

Bach made a trip to California and Silicon Valley in early 2016, meeting executives from Visa, Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Beyond stability for 11 years, he thus knew acutely what was on the table: revenue growth by 2028 in the primary — if not only — market that, as the IOC’s annual report makes clear, counts, the United States.

The IOC’s latest sponsor deal only underscores this proposition. Alibaba is spending a reported $800 million over 12 years, through 2028. That’s mainly to try to become a big deal in the United States.

Here is the big secret in all of this: if 2024 in LA makes more sense for the Olympic movement, a 2028 Games in LA is inherently far more valuable.

There were, truthfully, some deal points that had to be addressed. The IOC made the host city contract public — part of Agenda 2020, to be fair — and at that Monday news conference Wasserman ticked of some of the major points:

Just for starters, the IOC will contribute $1.8 billion toward an organizing committee budget of $5.3 billion. That does not include another — at least — $200 million in the sponsorship “mobility” category. The IOC also agreed to advance the organizing committee $180 million over its first five years, toward its operations. The IOC further agreed to give up its share of any surplus.

What Wasserman didn’t say:

There are huge chunks of money likely to be cut from the expense side of that $5.3 billion (wait and see). The 1984 Games turned a $232.5 million surplus; absent an earthquake or other unforeseen calamity, there will be an LA28 organizing committee surplus and it will be considerable.

Going back again to 1984; $93 million of that $232.5 million went to the group now called the LA84 Foundation. Its current assets stand at roughly $156 million. Total investment in Southern California has been more than $220 million.

This is what in Olympic jargon is called “legacy.” As the 1984 example points out, the classic Olympic model has involved waiting until after a Games. Garcetti said, wait — why not now?

The outcome: the IOC agreed — see section 7.2 of the contract — to pay $160 million up front toward “the development of youth and sport-oriented activities.” The money should start flowing in early 2018.

Essentially, though, the big upside for LA and the USOC was way, way, way more elemental:

Just wait, four years.

Why?

Sponsorships grow with time. Going back to those IOC annual reports: the value of sponsorships has grown five times since 1988, factoring in inflation.

To make this easy: being able to sell earlier and having greater control over revenue possibilities for longer will translate into, how to put this, hmm, like a lot of money.

With the exception of Alibaba, top-tier deals for 2028 are waiting to be struck. When a world-class businessman like Wasserman mentions the mobility category at a news conference, that’s a signal — it’s worth a lot of money.

Again, time will tell all.

But the history of the Olympics over the last 25 years, since Barcelona in 1992, has been tied to construction and infrastructure. LA is free of that. That means the USOC, Wasserman and Garcetti can, virtually from Day One, zero in on the fabric of life in and around Los Angeles, especially for young people.

That, plain and simple, is a big win.


I want to brag to my kids that I'm still the best - Bolt hoping world records remain intact

Usain Bolt hopes his world records stand for years after his retirement so he can brag about them to his future children.

Bolt will call time on his sensational career at the IAAF World Championships in London, where he will race in the 100 metres and 4x100m relay.

It will be Bolt's sixth appearance at the Worlds and he will hope to add to the 11 gold medals he has already won.

As well as his world titles and eight Olympic golds, Bolt also holds two world records in the 100m and 200m - both set in 2009 in Berlin.

And he hopes those times - 9.58 seconds in the 100m and 19.19s in the 200m - are not beaten once he has hung up his spikes.

When asked about losing his world records, he told a media conference in London: "I hope not!

"No athlete wishes their records will be broken!

"I want to brag to my kids when they're 15 that I'm still the best."


My Greatest Challenge – Brenda Martinez

USA’s Brenda Martinez has been a prominent member of the middle-distance elite for several years. Here the 2013 world 800m bronze medallist chats about the difficulty of peaking for the US Trials and then a major championship.

HECTIC RACING SCHEDULE
“The greatest challenge I’ve faced is to stay on top and stay healthy for a prolonged period of time. The sport is so demanding and very stressful and this was very true of the 2016 season when I was hoping to make my first Olympic team.

“It is always very hard for US athletes. The US team is surely the hardest team to make and to have to peak at both the US Trials – which is like a mini-Olympics or mini-World Championships – to qualify to make that top three and then to peak again for the championships is physically and emotionally very stressful.

“I had made US teams before at the 2013 and 2015 IAAF World Championships but last year I was chasing my first Olympic team. My heart was set on qualifying for the 800m and to not do so was a big disappointment. In the end, I bounced back to run the 1500m, where I managed to qualify in third to make my first Olympic team in my secondary event.

“To race six races in 10 days was one of the hardest challenges I’d faced in my career. I was on a high, but by the time I got to the Olympic Games I had nothing left and I was completely drained. The motivation was still there, and I hoped that once I got to Rio I would be fine, but that wasn’t the case.

“Looking back, competing in my first Olympic Games was a great learning experience and after I took my end-of-season break I decided to approach training and racing a little differently.

“I took on an attitude that I had nothing to lose in training and I think that has also been reflected in my racing, where I have adopted a less conservative approach. I am taking the first lap (of the 800m) in high 56s low 57s and I saw the benefit of running such a way after running 1:58.78 early season (at Eagle Rock). I then set a season’s best (of 1:58.67) to qualify for the US team for the 2017 World Championships.

“This season we focused on strength work up to US nationals and it was only after nationals I have started my peaking work for the World Championship in London. We have adopted a smart approach to training where we want to reach a peak at the right time. My legs feel snappier. I just need to be confident that I can race to my capabilities (in London).”


Usain Bolt warns dopers that athletics will die if doping continues

An encore for Usain Bolt? Unthinkable. A loss in his going-away party? Impossible. Track's fastest man and greatest entertainer made both those points clear Tuesday leading to his final world championships this week.

It was an engaging hour filled with reminisces, chats about his plans and thoughts about where his troubled and soon-to-be-starless sport might be headed.

Sporting the goatee he wears during world championships, but not the Olympics, the superstar who went 9 for 9 at the Summer Games, shattering records while dancing and smiling his way through the journey, dispensed any notion he might come back: "For me, the next championships should be fun because now it's time to watch and see who can hold their nerves," said the 11-time world champion, who turns 31 on Aug. 21.

As for the possibility he'd change his mind should he lose in Saturday night's 100-meter final: "It's not going to happen, so we won't have that problem. Don't worry," he said.

He said he's looking forward to a life of motivational speaking, occasional soccer games with friends and maybe dipping his toe into action movies to keep the adrenaline flowing.

As for the past, one of Bolt's most interesting revelations was that his now-famous "To the World" pose, which he debuted after winning his first Olympic gold medal in Beijing, was completely unplanned.

"It's just something that happened," Bolt said. "I guess it was by the grace of God. It became big. For me, it worked."

Almost every celebration since -- the moderator said Bolt has taken 147 victory laps over his career -- has been pre-planned, drenched in Jamaican flags and reggae music and every bit worth the wait. Among the few impromptu moments came at the last world championships, two years ago in Beijing, when a photographer riding a Segway accidentally upended him during his victory lap.

That man made a videotaped appearance at the news conference and told Bolt: "You inspired me to become more focused in my work."

"It was shocking," said Bolt, who popped right back up after the spill. "I didn't get hurt, so it was funny."

On a more serious note, he was asked how he has prepared for each season as his career has progressed. Like flipping through the calendar, Bolt ticked off his goals and motivations for each year since he burst onto the scene in 2008, a relative unknown whose only goal was to become an Olympic champion in his main race, the 200 meters.

Early on, he took umbrage to the slights: for instance, that despite setting four world records, his success in 2008 came because his main challenger, Tyson Gay, was hurt. Or how in 2012, many were favoring teammate Yohan Blake at the Olympics after Bolt lost to him twice earlier in the summer in Jamaica.

As the calendar kept turning and Bolt kept proving himself, his mission became more about trying to secure his place in history. When he swept gold for the third straight Olympics last year in Rio de Janeiro, he reached the legendary status he sought.

"Now that I got to my goal, I'm good with it," he said. "I've proven myself."

He fielded the obligatory questions about doping. Bolt has never been caught. Many in his country, and in the sprint game he dominates, have. The last two years have been filled with sordid stories of doping corruption in Russia that brought track and field to a new low.

"Hopefully athletes will see what's going on and understand that if they don't stop what they're doing the sport will die."

"The only place track and field has to go is up," Bolt said. "Hopefully we're going to get it going in the right direction and continue going in the right direction."

His most telling comments -- or non-comments -- came when he was asked who might fill his shoes after he leaves.

"I'm not going down that road," Bolt said. "The last guy I said was going to be great disrespected me."

It was almost certainly a reference to Andre De Grasse, the Canadian up-and-comer who brazenly pushed Bolt last year in the Olympic 200 meter semifinals. If there's going to be drama in Saturday's 100 final, De Grasse is the best bet to provide it. But Bolt doesn't see that as a problem.

"You guys know if I show up at a championship, you know I'm fully confident and ready to go," he said.

He unveiled the gold-and-purple shoes he'll wear for his final championships. The purple is for his school colors back home at William Knibb Memorial High School. The gold is self-explanatory.

His sponsor, Puma, has been promoting the phrase "Fastest Forever," in the lead-up to the worlds, which will take place in the same London stadium where Bolt won Olympic medals 4, 5 and 6.

But Bolt has a different idea.

"Unbeatable," he said. "For me, that would be the biggest headline. Unbeatable. Unstoppable. Hear that guys? Jot it down."


Bolt Displeased With "Disrespect" By De Grasse?

Jamaican sprint legend not about to cede his long-held crown ahead of his final 100-metre race

Is the storied bromance between Canada's Andre De Grasse and Usain Bolt over?

Judging by the Jamaican sprint superstar's comments ahead of this week's track and field world championships, it would seem so.

Bolt, the nine-time Olympic champion who will run his final 100-metre race on Saturday, was asked who might fill his shoes after he retires.

"I'm not going down that road," Bolt said on Tuesday. "The last guy I said was going to be great disrespected me."

It is almost certainly a reference to De Grasse, the 22-year-old up-and-comer who brazenly pushed Bolt last year in the Olympic 200 semifinals, eliciting a finger-wag from the greatest sprinter in history.

"He was supposed to slow down," Bolt said after the race. "I said, 'What are you doing? It's a semifinal.' But I think he wanted to push me."

And then two weeks ago, De Grasse's coach, Stuart McMillan, told CBC Sports that Bolt denied De Grasse entry into the 100 field at a Diamond League meet. a charge Bolt and his team denied.

If there's going to be drama in Saturday's 100 final, De Grasse is the best bet to provide it.

But Bolt doesn't see that as a problem.

"You guys know if I show up at a championship, you know I'm fully confident and ready to go," he said.

As for the possibility he'd change his mind about retirement should he lose in Saturday night's 100-metre final: "It's not going to happen, so we won't have that problem. Don't worry," he said in an hour-long chat with reporters.

Sporting the goatee he wears during world championships, but not the Olympics, the superstar who went 9-for-9 at the Summer Games, shattering records while dancing and smiling his way through the journey, dispensed any notion he might come back: "For me, the next championships should be fun because now it's time to watch and see who can hold their nerves," said the 11-time world champion, who turns 31 on Aug. 21.

He said he's looking forward to a life of motivational speaking, occasional soccer games with friends and maybe dipping his toe into action movies to keep the adrenaline flowing.

As for the past, one of Bolt's most interesting revelations was that his now-famous "To the World" pose, which he debuted after winning his first Olympic gold medal in Beijing, was completely unplanned.

"It's just something that happened," Bolt said. "I guess it was by the grace of God. It became big. For me, it worked."

Almost every celebration since — the moderator said Bolt has taken 147 victory laps over his career — has been pre-planned, drenched in Jamaican flags and reggae music and every bit worth the wait. Among the few impromptu moments came at the last world championships, two years ago in Beijing, when a photographer riding a Segway accidentally upended him during his victory lap.

That man made a videotaped appearance at the news conference and told Bolt: "You inspired me to become more focused in my work."

"It was shocking," said Bolt, who popped right back up after the spill. "I didn't get hurt, so it was funny."

On a more serious note, he was asked how he has prepared for each season as his career has progressed. Like flipping through the calendar, Bolt ticked off his goals and motivations for each year since he burst onto the scene in 2008, a relative unknown whose only goal was to become an Olympic champion in his main race, the 200 metres.

Early on, he took umbrage to the slights: for instance, that despite setting four world records, his success in 2008 came because his main challenger, Tyson Gay, was hurt. Or how in 2012, many were favouring teammate Yohan Blake at the Olympics after Bolt lost to him twice earlier in the summer in Jamaica.

As the calendar kept turning and Bolt kept proving himself, his mission became more about trying to secure his place in history. When he swept gold for the third straight Olympics last year in Rio de Janeiro, he reached the legendary status he sought.

"Now that I got to my goal, I'm good with it," he said. "I've proven myself."

He fielded the obligatory questions about doping. Bolt has never been caught. Many in his country, and in the sprint game he dominates, have. The last two years have been filled with sordid stories of doping corruption in Russia that brought track and field to a new low.

"The only place track and field has to go is up," Bolt said. "Hopefully we're going to get it going in the right direction and continue going in the right direction."

He unveiled the gold-and-purple shoes he'll wear for his final championships. The purple is for his school colors back home at William Knibb Memorial High School. The gold is self-explanatory.

His sponsor, Puma, has been promoting the phrase "Fastest Forever," in the lead-up to the worlds, which will take place in the same London stadium where Bolt won Olympic medals 4, 5 and 6.

But Bolt has a different idea.

"Unbeatable," he said. "For me, that would be the biggest headline. Unbeatable. Unstoppable. Hear that guys? Jot it down."


Jenny Simpson, Sara Vaughn look to shine at IAAF World Championships

After a long journey often marked by disappointment and bad luck, at least on the Olympic stage, Jenny Simpson finally broke through in triumphant fashion last summer at the Rio games.

At the upcoming IAAF World Championships in London, Simpson hopes to help a fellow former Colorado Buffalo do the same at the international level.

A year after earning her first Olympic medal — a bronze in the 1,500-meter run that made Simpson the first American woman to medal in the event — Simpson will be teammates with Sara Vaughn in the 1,500 in London, an event that will hold its preliminary heats on the opening day of the World Championships on Aug. 4. Vaughn was able to use a late surge at the U.S. Championships in June to finish third and earn the third and final spot for the American team.

That means two of the three runners representing the U.S. in the 1,500-meters in London also will be representing the CU Buffaloes. And, like Simpson's journey toward her first Olympic medal, Vaughn has traveled a long road in reaching her first national team on an international stage at 31 years of age—and as the mother of three young children, the youngest of which is only about 2.

"I'm really excited for her," Simpson said. "It's always fun to see a fellow alum and a fellow Buffalo do well, but especially in your own event. And the complete different kind of story that she brings — the fact she's been doing this a long time, as long as I have, but her journey has been so different from mine. It gives me an appreciation for how you can live completely separate lives and still have these really exciting victories.

"Not even as a teammate, but as a fan of track and field I'm excited to see someone with a completely different journey reach a high of her career. It's fun to be on the track and experience that alongside her."

While Vaughn remains a longshot to reach the podium in London, Simpson is coming off her fourth victory in the 1,500-meters at the U.S. Championships and will be looking to add to her collection of World Championship medals. Simpson took first in the 1,500 in 2011 and added a silver medal in 2013.

Of course, this will be the first time Simpson toes the starting line at the World Championships as an Olympic medalist. If that creates extra pressure, it's the sort Simpson believes she revels in.

"Being a medalist in my day-to-day training and preparation, it's less on my mind than people might think," said Simpson, who still is coached by CU track and cross country guru Mark Wetmore. "I feel like when it's most relevant or when it's most on my mind is when I'm standing on the starting line. I really try to use it as encouragement and say to myself, 'I've been here, I've worked hard before when the odds were against me, and I prevailed.' I think that's how I use that experience to really benefit me. But through my daily training and daily life, I don't think it had a strong impact on how I train and prepare.

"There's no feeling in the world like crossing the line and knowing you're going to the podium. I'm so lucky I've been able to experience that in my career. So when you talk about pressure or expectations, there's the other side of the coin where it is so incredible it feels good to work hard and do it again."


Usain Bolt plans perfect epitaph for incomparable career: 'I am unbeatable, I am unstoppable'

We have, perish the thought, fewer than 100 hours left to describe Usain Bolt as an athlete in the present tense. Come Sunday morning, he will stretch those lissom limbs and reflect, in all likelihood, upon a fourth 100 metres world title that brings down the curtain on the greatest track-and-field tale ever told. He has already decided, not surprisingly for one who can christen himself “legend” without a murmur of dissent, upon the ideal professional epitaph. “That I’m unbeatable,” he said, grinning. “That I’m unstoppable.”

There is nothing quite like a Bolt press conference on the eve of major championships. It is less a journalistic enterprise than a piece of chaotic vaudeville. At the Rio Olympics last summer, he gyrated on stage with a troupe of samba dancers, while one Norwegian reporter recited a rap that he had composed in the Jamaican’s honour. One wondered how London would raise the bar, short of arranging a grand entrance out of a red telephone box or giving him his own guard of Beefeaters. Naturally, we need not have worried. By the end of a captivating hour, he was striking his patented ‘Lightning Bolt’ pose alongside his parents, while glittery streamers exploded from cannons and fell at his feet.

On Saturday night, Bolt lines up at London’s Olympic Park, where he savoured glory in 2012 after running the second fastest 100m in history, with not even a trace of apprehension that he could be beatable. He has been far from convincing this season, dipping under 10 seconds for the first time in 2017 in Monaco 12 days ago, but nobody matches Bolt for preternatural self-assurance that it will be alright on the night. Asked if he would script the perfect ending, with one more gold to bookend nine years of peerless feats, he replied: “Without a doubt. If I show up at a championship, you know that I’m ready to go.”

If his performance here at the Brewery, a cavernous corporate barn in the City, was any gauge, Bolt’s send-off this weekend should be the one he deserves. He was in free-wheeling mood, mischievously baiting his chief rival, Canada’s Andre de Grasse, and talking unusually emotively about how his friend Germaine Mason, who died in a motorbike accident earlier this year, would serve as his inspiration to finish his incomparable career with a flourish.

Quite simply, Bolt adores London. It is where he defied all doubters by successfully defending his Olympic title, and where he chose to toast his treble of Rio sprint triumphs last year, with an exotic array of dusk-’til-dawn antics in the nightspots of the West End. Short of kicking back in the soothing, sultry air of Sherwood Content, his home village deep in the Jamaican rainforest, this is the place where he feels most at ease. “Along with Beijing in 2008, these are the best crowds I’ve ever seen,” he said. “In 2012, London came out even for the morning sessions. I’ve never seen that before.”

Bolt casts one glance at his opposition here and is unperturbed by what he sees. About De Grasse, the 22-year-old from Toronto who ran a heavily wind-assisted 9.69 in Stockholm in June, he was cold, even dismissive. Invited to describe their relationship, he shrugged: “I see him around, I say hi. I don’t have his number or anything.” There was an intriguing undercurrent of tension, too, as Bolt appeared to accuse De Grasse of not showing him due respect. He had been pressed on which sprinter could be the next 100m star, but snapped: “I’m not going down that road. The last guy I said would be great disrespected me, so I’m not going to say. I’ll leave it to whoever shows up.”

If I show up at a championship, you know that I’m ready to go
He declined to be more specific, but the shadow of suspicion fell most naturally on De Grasse. Since their good-natured back-and-forth in Rio, where Bolt did a ‘catch me if you can’ finger-wag at his pursuer after a close 200m semi-final between them, the dynamic has taken a sourer turn. Stuart McMillan, De Grasse’s coach, claimed his protégé had been “booted out” of the Diamond League event in Monaco due to the leading man’s desire to cherry-pick his opponents – an allegation strenuously denied by Bolt’s management.

According to Bolt, his most powerful impetus sprang not from the challenge of an ambitious young pretender but from the shattering loss of Mason, a former British high jumper and one of his inner circle, in a crash near Kingston airport. Bolt was pictured weeping openly at Mason’s funeral and did not train for three weeks as coach Glen Mills allowed him space to grieve. “It was a rough time,” he reflected. “I’ve never had somebody pass away who was that close to me. Eventually, the net of people around me said, ‘We know it’s hard, but you need to get back training. Germaine would have wanted it. He was looking forward to seeing your last race, to see you compete, to finish off your legacy. That helped me to get back. Now I really want to do it for him, for his family, for those who supported me through the hard times.”

Watching Bolt head towards this sunset is a profound wrench, as he leaves behind achievements that stand alone. Of the 30 quickest times recorded over 100m, only nine of them – all Bolt’s – belong to an athlete not banned for a doping violation. It is a stark reminder of the void into which athletics plunges beyond Saturday. “After the Russian scandal, I didn’t think it could get any worse, but I believe it’s moving in the right direction now,” Bolt said. “I hope that the athletes concerned understand that if they don’t stop what they’re doing, the sport will die.”

The video tributes flowed in from the most disparate voices: from Idris Elba to Cara Delevingne, Samuel L Jackson to Virat Kohli, Bolt disciples all. He regarded the adulation with the diffident charm that has always leavened his more grandiose public statements. “I never knew, for instance, that I would break three world records at a single championship,” he explained. “I had no idea. All I wanted, growing up, was to be a 200m Olympic champion. There are no words to describe what I’ve done since. I’m just really proud of myself.”

Bolt is offering, in his choice of footwear for the London Stadium track, a fitting throwback to where it all began. One shoe is gold, out of deference to the golden boy, and the other is purple, the colour of Falmouth’s William Knibb High School, his alma mater in Jamaica. Soon enough, they will be propelling their jet-heeled owner over the line one last time, en route to his rightful place among the immortals.


2017 World Champs Women’s Medal Predictions


2017 World Champs
Men’s Medal Predictions

by T&FN’s panel of experts


De Grasse Has Canadians Watching Track Again

At the Canadian track and field championships in Ottawa in early July, star sprinter Andre De Grasse had just finished a race, and fans were frantic for autographs.

One particularly opportunistic dad picked up his young daughter and boosted her by the behind up and over the eight-foot chain-link fence that stood between the fans and the warm-down area to get to De Grasse.

"We had security nicely put her back over the fence. . . You can't throw your children onto the competition area," Mathieu Gentes, Athletics Canada's chief operating officer, said with a laugh.

"People just lose their minds (over De Grasse). It's amazing."

Whether it's the almost whimsical way in which he raced at the Rio Olympics -- who smiles while roaring down the track on the sport's biggest stage? -- his unabashed admission that he wanted to dethrone Usain Bolt, or his meteoric rags to riches rise, the 22-year-old from Markham, Ont., has Canadians paying attention to track and field.

Athletics Canada is putting the final touches on a partnership that will make De Grasse an ambassador of the sport, much like rapper Drake's role with the Toronto Raptors.

"Andre has absolutely transcended track," Gentes said. "He's got an impact that I have never seen a track athlete have on kids and adults."

The young Canadian will be in the spotlight starting Friday at London Olympic Stadium, when he races Bolt for the final time at the world championships. The Jamaican superstar and 11-time world champion plans to retire afterward. Tickets are scarce, with a record-smashing 660,000 already sold.

The pressure will undoubtedly hang thick in the air. The roar from the crowd is sure to be deafening. But De Grasse is at his best when the lights are brightest, proving he was unflappable in winning a silver and two bronze at the Rio Olympics. His sideways grin at Bolt in the 200 semifinals will go down as one of the Games' most memorable moments.

"That's the intangible that a champion does have," said Doug Clement.

The longtime meet director credits De Grasse with selling out his Harry Jerome Track Classic in June a month in advance.

"And they were there three hours before he ran lining up just to get in to get a good seat because they weren't reserved. And it was jammed," Clement said.
The De Grasse effect was seen at the national championships that drew the biggest crowds in the event's history. People arrived early, packing the grandstand despite pouring rain. Athletics Canada conducted a spectator survey that suggested fans would have happily paid more for reserved seating near the finish line.

"We had people that were camping out two to three hours before he ran so that they had their spot," Gentes said. "People wrote (on the survey) 'Charge me more, I don't care. We just want to have our spot.'

"And we had a lot of people comment that this was their first track and field experience. And guess who pulled them in?"
After racing to bronze in the 100 at the 2015 world championships, De Grasse turned pro, signing deal with Puma worth US$11.25 million plus bonuses, the richest first endorsement deal ever for a track athlete.

He also has sponsorship deals with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pizza Pizza and Gatorade. He shares a Gatorade billboard several storeys tall in Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square with Raptors all-star DeMar DeRozan, Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna and women's hockey star Marie-Philip Poulin.

In their 2017 list of "The World's 50 Most Marketable" athletes, SportPro Media magazine slotted De Grasse in at No. 23, two spots ahead of Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, and 13 spots better than enigmatic NBA star Russell Westbrook.

Canadian tennis players Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard occupied Nos. 31 and 47, respectively. Canadian golfer Brooke Henderson was 32nd. Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid, at 15, was the only Canadian ahead of DeGrasse. Boxer Anthony Joshua and NBA star Steph Curry were Nos. 1 and 2.

He's arguably Canada's biggest track and field star since Donovan Bailey. Or biggest, period.

"I was obviously around when Donovan was running too, and I would say the appeal that Donovan had wasn't anywhere near the appeal that Andre has," said De Grasse's coach Stuart McMillan. "Especially with kids. Maybe that was because Donovan was a little bit older, in 1996 (when Bailey won gold at the Atlanta Olympics) he was already 28."

His appeal is pretty simple, McMillan said of De Grasse. Kids can relate to him.

"Andre is so young, and the millenial generation, there's very little difference between a 22-year-old and a 15-year-old. It obviously doesn't hurt that he's a good-looking guy who's into stuff that your typical 15-year-old is into, whether it's music or video games. The typical kid couldn't relate to Donovan because he was driving a Porsche and had a job before he ran track.

"Andre's story is this kid out of nowhere, walks onto the track in his basketball shorts, runs fast and the next day he's famous."
Brian Levine, who is De Grasse's brand manager with Toronto-based Envision Sports & Entertainment, said the young sprinter is an easy sell. Where most Olympic athletes say yes to more sponsorship offers than they turn down, "with Andre it's obviously the opposite," Levine said.

They've had to say no a lot, to everything from churches, to countless charitable organizations, to companies looking for a one-off product endorsement on De Grasse's Instagram account, which has 190,000 followers.

In an event that features enormous, muscle-bound athletes, De Grasse is anything but. A slender five foot eight, he's a greyhound among Mack trucks. When the camera pans the sprinters behind their blocks, De Grasse's grin stands out from the sinister glares. It's all part of his charm, Levine said.

"You typically see sprinters having these really tough faces, really aggressive, almost like boxers. And Andre is not like that at all. He's typically smiling and laughing. He's competitive, but he's going to have fun while he's being competitive. And that motto that he has 'It's nothing personal,' he tries to live by that," he said.

"It's also his relative size. He just physically looks sort of like the underdog, and you want to root for the underdog, and what better than a friendly-looking underdog, right?"

De Grasse wants to be known for more than his sprints down the track, and his management team makes a point of fostering his other passions, such as fashion. The photogenic athlete has modelled for Harry Rosen, and, looking at home wearing Hugo Boss, graced the cover of "DTK Men" magazine.

"Basketball players (think: Westbrook, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul) have been phenomenal at this," Levine said. "And I don't think that's coincidental, Andre grew up as an aspiring basketball player who had dreams of playing in the NBA, so I think he's really embraced the stardom in a healthy way because he sort of sees 'Hey one second, I can have a piece of this too, no different than some of these guys, who are making it to the NBA.'

It's too early, Gentes said, to tell whether De Grasse's popularity has translated into a bump in club registrations. Any effect from the Rio Olympics, he said, wouldn't be measurable for another year.

He did point to social media numbers. Athletics Canada's Twitter impressions expanded from 14,591,000 in 2015 to 20,366,000 a year later, and Instagram followers ballooned from 8,000 in 2015 to their current 28,000. Merchandise sales on their website tripled over the last year.

Tony Sharpe, the track coach who first spotted De Grasse, at the time a promising basketball player, at a high school meet in Toronto, said he's seen the sprinter's influence on his Speed Academy Athletics Club.

"I think the idea that you can come to track and field at the high school age with good athletic abilities, and not having sprinted before, because of Andre are now saying 'Hmm.' Parents are now saying 'Hmm, you're really fast on the soccer field, I wonder what you can do on the track.' So we're seeing some of that conversion.

"It is definitely a high time for track and field."

De Grasse will open the world championships with the 100-metre heats on Friday. The final is Saturday.


Coe: Bolt Is A Genius Like Ali

Usain Bolt is a genius and has had as big an impact on athletics as Muhammad Ali did on boxing, says Lord Coe.

Sprint legend Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, is set to retire after the World Championships in London, which begin on Friday.

Coe likened the Jamaican, 30, to former world heavyweight champion Ali, one of sport's most iconic figures.

"He is the best sprinter of all time," said Coe, who is president of the sport's world governing body the IAAF.

"Usain Bolt is a genius. I can't think, other than Muhammad Ali, of anybody that has so had an impact inside or beyond their sport.

"You can have the Friday-night-in-the-pub conversations about who is best footballer or tennis player, but there is no argument about this guy in sprinting."

Bolt won 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold at the past three Olympic Games - Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

However, his unprecedented 'triple triple' of nine gold medals was downgraded to eight after Jamaican team-mate Nesta Carter, part of the quartet who won the 4x100m in Beijing, tested positive for a banned substance. Carter has appealed against the decision.

Bolt is also an 11-time World Championship gold medallist, and has won the 100m title three times.

"We shouldn't be sitting there saying you are suddenly going to find another Usain Bolt any more than just boxing suddenly found another Muhammad Ali," Coe told BBC Sport.

"What we will miss is the personality. We do want athletes with personality. It's nice to have someone who has a view and fills the room and fills a stadium.

"We are not going to replace Usain Bolt - not because you are not going to have a trophy cabinet full of three back-to-back Olympic doubles and relays and World Championships - you are just not going to replace him because his personality dominated not just our sport but pretty much every sport out there."

Coe, who won Olympic 1500m gold in 1980 and 1984, said it would be "virtuous" for both Jamaica and global athletics to keep Bolt involved in the sport after his retirement and that "discussions" had taken place.

'Athletics in transition period'

Like Bolt, long-distance champion Mo Farah will race on the track for the last time this month. The Briton, who will defend his 5,000m and 10,000m world titles in London, will make his final track appearance in Zurich on 24 August before switching his focus to marathons.

"You are not going to replace them," Coe told BBC Sport, adding he wants to help give other athletes the platform to "tell their own story".

"Everyone knows Usain Bolt but, if you start talking about some of our other extraordinary talents in the sport, some of them are walking through their own towns in anonymity let alone the global stage."

Farah, 34, has won the 5,000m and 10,000m titles at each of the past two Olympics.

Coe believes Farah's departure from the track - along with heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill's retirement, and long jumper Greg Rutherford's injury problems - also leaves British athletics in a transitional period.

"If you look at the medals British athletes have won in the past two or three Games, the bulk have come from three competitors so we need to spread that a little wider," he said.

What about the issue of hyperandrogenism?

The IAAF said last month it could reinstate gender tests for female athletes with high levels of testosterone after a new study found it gave them a "competitive advantage".

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) suspended the IAAF's hyperandrogenism rules for two years in July 2015, and gave the governing body until July 2017 to justify reinstating them.

"We've got to do it in a way that doesn't demonise athletes," Coe said. "This is a sensitive issue.

"It is my responsibility that we settle upon something that gives female athletes comfort that they are competing on a level playing field.

"Cas has asked us to go away and to present the science on this. This we will do."

Russia remains banned from competition

The IAAF has voted unanimously to maintain Russia's ban from international track and field competition as there are still issues that need to be resolved regarding the country's anti-doping fight.

Russia was accused in a World Anti-Doping Agency report last year of widespread state-sponsored doping. Its athletics team was barred from last summer's Rio Olympics and will also miss the World Championships.

"Material progress has been made but there are still issues that need to be resolved," said Rune Andersen, independent chairman of the IAAF taskforce looking into doping in Russia.

"I can confirm that our impression is that they really want to meet all the criteria that has been set.

"The main issue is that no meaningful testing is being conducted."

Andersen said the Russian anti-doping agency is still not code-compliant and that Russian authorities must acknowledge the outcome of the McLaren report into doping in the country.

"It's difficult to get an excuse, but we need some sort of an explanation on how they deal with this report in the most effective way," he added.

Nineteen Russians will compete as neutrals in London and Andersen said he had noticed an encouraging change in culture "starting with the athletes".

However, he added there was still an issue with banned coaches continuing to operate freely, and stuck with the timeline of a Russian return to international action in November.


Danielle Williams: "I Don't Get The Respect I Deserve"

BIRMINGHAM, England:

When she crossed the line in first place in the 100m hurdles at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China, it came as a surprise to most.

Two years later, Danielle Williams again finds herself in the 'underdog' spot as she gets ready to defend her title at the London 2017 World Championships, which starts this Friday at the London Olympic Stadium.

It's not something she is too concerned about, though.

Williams, who won her third national title with a personal best of 12.56 seconds, run in June, admitted that she does not feel that she gets the respect that she deserves, and although she understands the reasons, she is again hoping to register another surprise in an event that American world record holder Kendra Harrison is widely expected to dominate.

"No, I don't (get the respect I deserve)," Williams told The Gleaner yesterday. "But in a way, I understand. The Americans are dominant, and I don't race a lot in the Diamond League before or after I won (in 2015), so people do not really know what I'm capable of."

Williams is, however, confident that this can in fact act as an advantage for her.

"It is [an advantage]. I'm able to fly under the radar and sort of escape the pressures, and I am able to focus on myself and not possible expectations," Williams said.

She gave a glimpse of her ability to keep pace with a close 12.58 seconds third-place finish at the Monaco Diamond League recently, where she met all the event's big names. So, perhaps, another podium-topping finish would not be too much of a surprise this time for track and field supporters.

Either way, Williams knows very well what she is capable of and is aware that she will enter the championships in the best form of her life, with her three fastest times this year coming in her last five races.

"I'm way ahead this year in terms of preparation. I did extensive background work, and I'm stronger and faster than 2015. I've been consistent in practice and in races, so that leads to a huge confidence lift," Williams added.


Gatlin: Bolt a 'true competitor' (video)

Gatlin: Bolt a 'true competitor'

The USA Track and Field team held a media day in Birmingham in England ahead of next month's World Championships in London. Justin Gatlin discussed competing against Usain Bolt.


IAAF not ready to lift Russia's suspension from track

The IAAF is not ready to lift Russia's suspension from track and field competitions as the country fails to fully accept the findings of an investigation into its state-sponsored doping scheme.

A meeting of the international track and field federation's member associations in London on Thursday will be asked to maintain the ban on Russia that was imposed in 2015 after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren exposed how failed drug tests were covered up.

Rune Andersen, the IAAF's Russia taskforce chairman, wants assurances that the McLaren report's findings "have been properly acknowledged and addressed, and there will be no repetition."

The Russian athletics federation "has not yet demonstrated to the satisfaction of the taskforce that it has established a strong anti-doping culture within its sport, or that it has created an open environment that encourages whistleblowing," Andersen said in his latest report to the IAAF Council on Monday.

Andersen acknowledged in the document that Russia is making progress in cleaning up its doping culture, including "satisfactory cooperation" with French criminal authorities in an investigation, but says action is still required in key areas. A "small number" of athletics disciplinary cases that were ongoing in 2015 remain unresolved, a "few" athletes flagged in WADA's doping investigation are yet to be interviewed, and Anderson is concerned that banned coaches ar still working in the sport.

"There is a long way to go until they can conduct the testing which we consider to be meaningful," Andersen told reporters. "We are working with the Russians on the changing culture. There are some good movements now started from the athletes themselves wanting to change, but they haven't shown and demonstrated to us that this is in place."

IAAF President Sebastian Coe is leaving Andersen's taskforce to decide when Russia should be allowed back into the track and field fold.

"Although there is progress, there is still more work to be done," Coe said.

The only Russians competing at the world championships in London, which begin Friday, are those cleared to compete as neutrals after the IAAF assessed their history of drug testing.

The 19 athletes given exemptions include three former world champions, but they won't be allowed to wear national colors and the Russian anthem won't be played if they win gold.


Los Angeles will host 2028 Summer Olympic Games

Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympic Games after reaching an agreement with Olympic officials.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the deal also opens the way for Paris to host in 2024, citing an unnamed source close to the negotiations.

It's an unusual move by the International Olympic Committee. It's the first time since 1921 that the IOC has awarded two Games in one year. Back then, the committee awarded the 1924 games to Paris and the 1928 games to Amsterdam.

What began as a traditional bid process to follow the 2020 Games in Tokyo, eventually became more complicated as the committee reviewed strong bids from L.A. and from Paris.

Los Angeles already has infrastructure in place and already successfully has hosted the Games twice, in 1932 and in 1984. Paris gets the games 100 years after it hosted for the first time.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, along with city council president Herb Wesson and officials from Los Angeles 2024 and U.S. Olympic Committee representatives will make the official announcement at 5 p.m. Pacific time on Monday at StubHub Center.


Mother of three/real estate agent set for track worlds debut

DENVER (AP) — Her training runs involved pushing a jogging stroller loaded with enough snacks to keep her toddler content. Her core workouts featured exercises as her kids climbed on her back or even joined her. Her schedule sometimes got thrown off for potty training.

This is the program that allowed Sara Vaughn, mother of three daughters, real estate agent and burgeoning 1500m runner at 31 years old, to earn a spot for the world championships in London this week.

She even borrowed a line from her youngest daughter for inspiration at the USATF Outdoor Championships in June with the third and final spot on the line: “My turn.”

“My daughter doesn’t share very well, and when someone has a toy or something that she wants, she’ll say, ‘My turn,’” said Sara, who’s coached by her husband, Brent. “In that moment, it made so much sense. I saw a couple of women in front of me that had something I wanted, and I was tired of not finishing in the top three. It was my turn.”

A standout runner out of high school in Nebraska, Sara competed at Virginia before transferring to Colorado. She got pregnant with Kiki during her sophomore year and later became an All-American in cross-country. She and Brent — a former runner at Colorado — were married July 28, 2007.

They just celebrated their 10th anniversary while training in London. And soon, they will be joined by their three daughters — Kiki, 10, Calia, 7, and Cassidy, who turns 2 on Saturday — a day after the opening round of her mom’s event.

“This summer, a family trip to Europe — that’s something we never would’ve dreamed of without this running thing,” said Sara, who will head to Paris and Barcelona with the crew for some sightseeing after worlds.

To think, she almost stepped away. Heavy emphasis on almost.

With each pregnancy, resuming her running career became increasingly difficult. Last summer at the Olympic Trials — 11 months after giving birth to Cassidy — Sara finished seventh.

Enough almost seemed to be enough. She was largely unsponsored and constantly concerned about spending money for training out of the family’s finances, which, for years, were solely based off Brent’s running deal with a shoe company.

“I had a hard time performing well when our livelihood depended on that performance,” she said.

That motivated her to become a real estate agent in 2013, just to bring in extra funds. On top of that, Brent opened a construction business about 3 ½ years ago.

“Now that we have income and stability, for me, it brought a lot of the joy back into running,” Sara said as the couple recently bought their “forever home” in Boulder. “I can enjoy competing without stressing about whether we can pay the mortgage or for swimming lessons. I don’t have that guilt that goes with running.”

Brent’s noticed a difference, too, with her fitness at another level after not making the Olympic team. She ran a personal-best time of 4:06.64 on June 10.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Brent said. “She has plenty more space to improve over the coming years.”

Brent took over coaching his wife earlier this season. First, though, they had to establish ground rules. At home, he’s Brent. At the track, he’s coach — and what Coach Brent says, goes.

“If I start to complain or whine about a workout, he won’t let that charm work,” Sara said, laughing.

Frequently, Sara will load up Cassidy in the baby jogger to squeeze in between five and nine miles, when the other two are at school.

“I have a love/hate relationship with that stroller,” she said. “I would much prefer never to run with it, because it adds extra stress, and it changes my form a little bit. But it’s such a tool when in a pinch, which is half the time.”

Baby sitters, friends, family, DVDs — to entertain the kids as she stretches — and the drop-in sitter service at her gym have proven invaluable as well.

“It takes a lot of cooperation from my kids, too, to be understanding and forgiving and supportive of their parents,” Sara said. “I’m traveling a lot. I miss recitals every once in a while. They have been awesome and supportive of their mom, which is really helpful.”

At nationals, her game plan was elementary: Stay calm on the first few laps, stay alert in the middle and stay aggressive on the last lap. The mantra “my turn” popped into her mind with the finish line in sight. Her daughter’s saying was the perfect motivator.

“I was so happy for her. I didn’t know how to contain myself,” Brent said. “It was quite a moment.”

So was this: Calling home to tell their kids the news about mom. Each had a different reaction.

“My oldest, who’s been around the sport for a long time, she kind of understands the significance of finally making the team,” recalled Sara, who’s creating a fund to help undergraduate parents so they can earn their degrees. “My middle one, a little less so, but she does understand that it meant she got to go on a cool, exciting trip to London this summer.

“And my youngest one, she’s like, ‘Hey, that’s my mom on TV!’ She was pretty excited.”

Mom’s success wasn’t the only big news around the Vaughn household in recent weeks. Cassidy is getting the hang of potty training.

“Everything feels really settled,” Sara said. “We have life stress, normal stress, but not like we did when all we were doing was running. Not that life is easier — it’s just much less stressful.”


Any colour medal will do - Pearson

Australian hurdler Sally Pearson will return to the scene of her greatest triumph when the World Athletics Championships get underway at the London Stadium, hopeful of capping an emotionally draining comeback with a spot on the podium.

Five years ago, Pearson stormed to 100 metre hurdles gold at the London Olympics, a crowning moment after dominating the event in a two-year period that included the 2011 world championship at Daegu and winning the IAAF women's athlete of the year.

Pearson returned to claim silver at the 2013 worlds in Moscow but has since been absent from the biggest stages due to a horrifying run of injuries.

At 30 years of age, with creaky hamstrings and a wrist that refuses to bend properly after a "bone explosion" during a sickening fall on the track in 2015, Pearson is nonetheless back and running fast again.

The London Stadium, which hosts the championships from August 4-13, seems to bring out the best in Pearson, who posted a 12.48 second run at the Diamond League meeting there last month as runnerup behind American world record holder Kendra Harrison.

It was Pearson's quickest time since her 12.35 run to win the Olympic gold at the same venue and put her third on the year-best lists behind Harrison (12.28) and second-ranked American Jasmin Stowers (12.47).

The encouraging buildup has Pearson eyeing a medal next week, even as she tries to keep her hopes in check, having become accustomed to crushing disappointment in recent years.

"I have to be fair on myself and remember where I have come from, remember what I have been through with wrists, Achilles, hamstrings, all of that in a short space of time," Pearson told Australian media at the national team's training camp at Tonbridge.

"But at the same time I am a competitor, so what do I choose? Do I choose to be fair on myself and just say, 'just go out there and enjoy it and have fun', yet my other side is going, 'You are going out there to win'.

"I would love, deep down, I would love a medal. I really would love a medal.

"I know you really want me to say gold but that's what I want, I would love a medal and I think that would be a huge success.

"Any colour, that would be a huge success."

Since missing out on her Olympic title defence at Rio due to a hamstring strain, Pearson wrestled with thoughts of retirement before resolving to take another crack at the big-time.

She has plotted her comeback alone and there will be no calming words from a coach before she races on the world stage.

The process has been both liberating and racked with doubts, as shown when she broke down in tears upon qualifying for the worlds at national trials in Sydney in April.

Facing a powerful American team boasting Harrison, Olympic silver medallist Nia Ali and 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson, Pearson is mindful of the challenge.

"Knowing what I have achieved in this stadium before and knowing I'm coming back again, probably not as the favourite to win but certainly a contender to at least medal or make a final or whatever, that sits well with me," said Pearson.

"But it's going to be hard, it's going to be one of the hardest races that I have ever done in my whole career, even harder than going for (Olympic) gold in London."


Taylor chasing world record

Christian Taylor will be delighted to secure a record-breaking third world triple jump title in London this month, but the American has even loftier ambitions to cement his name in the history of the event.

"I am very happy with the medals but I am missing that 'WR' (world record)," the double Olympic champion told Reuters.

"That's the only reason I am in the sport."

From the day training started in November to his last competition of the year, Taylor said "that is what I am chasing, that world record".

The 27-year-old came agonisingly close to achieving that goal at the 2015 world championships, failing by just eight centimetres to match Briton Jonathan Edwards' long-standing mark with a leap of 18.21 metres.

Now comes London.

"I think my world record could go there," Edwards told Reuters of his 1995 milestone in March.

And if it does, it could dampen the day for the British jumper turned broadcaster.

"I've looked at the schedule," Edwards said. "August 10. My son's birthday... a double blow. That'll be a bad birthday present."

While Taylor yearns for the record, "trying to be as respectful as possible because the distance has stood there 20 plus years," he said.

Competitiveness, he said, was his greatest asset.

"I'm sure not going to say I am stronger than Jonathan, faster than Jonathan. More experienced," Taylor said.

Yet the American has four of the nine longest jumps in history and is more than likely the only triple jumper to earn Olympic gold using different takeoff legs.

POTENTIAL RECORD

Left knee pain prompted the switch to a right-leg takeoff in 2013, a year after winning his first Olympic gold in London off his left leg.

"I didn't want to do injections, I didn't want to do knee surgeries," Taylor said. "So we thought outside the box and made the switch."

Not only did the Georgia native who trains in the Netherlands save his career, the move led to a second world title in 2015 and another Olympic gold in 2016.

His four longest jumps also have come from a right-leg launch, including the No 3 leap of all-time, an 18.11m effort in May that rekindled world record talk.

"I love to be in the conversation of the world record because that means that someone or several people see that there is potential," Taylor said.

US teammate Will Claye and Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo, who upset Taylor at last month's Diamond League meet in Lausanne, appear to be the American's strongest challengers in London.

Then he will head off to the French resort of Tignes, not to ski but to enjoy the benefits of competing at altitude where rarefied air favours jumpers.

Should he surpass Edwards and set a new mark on August 16, Taylor would not consider it as a record, though.

"It would always be with an asterisk," he said, because of the altitude.

Wherever the record comes, if it does, Taylor already knows what his next challenge will be – an all-out assault on how fast he can run a flat 400 metres.

"No one has gone from at the top of the triple jump to the 400," the 45-second runner said.

"Many of the American triple jumpers in the past were great 200 metres runners. Not many 400 metres runners, especially in the 44 (second) region.

"This is what I am chasing. To do something quite different."


David Rudisha ‘saddened’ after pulling out of worlds with muscle strain

• World record holder in 800m scratches on eve of championships 
• IAAF’s Seb Coe says Russian ban will remain for foreseeable future

The Kenyan David Rudisha, who lit up the London Olympics with a bravura display of front running which brought him a gold medal and 800m world record, has pulled out of the world championships with a quad strain.

Rudisha, the world and Olympic champion and the only person to run under 1min 41sec for the 800m, said he was disappointed and saddened by the news, which was confirmed by an MRI scan on Monday revealing a grade‑one tear.

“I was trying to engage more speed,” he said. “In the process I put my muscle under [more] intense stress than when doing normal mileage. I damaged my quad and this saddens and disappoints me a lot.”

The announcement of Rudisha’s withdrawal came as the first wave of Kenya’s team headed out to London for the championships which begin on Friday.

“We thought it was going to take a few days before recovery,” said Rudisha, who had been desperate to return to the stadium where he became a global star at London 2012. “But it’s taken longer than expected. When we went for an MRI scan they found that fluid was coming out of the muscle.”

The 28-year-old, who missed out on the 2013 championships with a serious knee injury before reclaiming his 800m crown two years ago in Beijing, insisted he would be back competing this year and said he wanted to challenge for the world title again in 2019.

“I have been advised that I should take it easy,” he said. “If I push it with that pain, it could damage me further – it is not the right thing to do or I would run the risk of missing the complete year. I have accepted my fate with a very heavy heart and would like to wish the team well. I will still come back stronger and even challenge for the title in the next world championships.”

The Kenyan Emmanuel Korir, who has run 1min 43.10sec this season, and Botswana’s Nijel Amos – who took silver behind Rudisha at London 2012 – will be the favourites for gold in his absence.

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Meanwhile Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, has confirmed Russia will remain banned from international athletics for the foreseeable future. Coe, speaking following an IAAF council meeting in London, said: “Russia is moving in the right direction but the discussion we are having is about the speed of the process.”

Nineteen Russians will compete as neutral athletes at the world championships, after being approved by a special IAAF panel. Rune Andersen, head of the IAAF task force investigating Russia, admitted a number of conditions still needed to be met before the country was allowed back into the international fold.

“The main issue is that no meaningful testing is being conducted,” he said. “The Russian Anti-Doping Agency is still not World Anti-Doping Agency code-compliant. It has started testing but prior to being suspended they did 18,000-19,000 tests a year, now it is a few thousand. We are also working with the Russians on changing their culture. And they need to be able to suspend banned coaches – that still isn’t happening yet.”

Andersen’s comments came on the day when the IAAF’s Athletics Integrity Unit announced that 600 blood tests will be taken before the championships, with another 600 urine tests taken during the competition. That figure is 205 tests fewer than were carried out two years ago in Beijing but its chair, David Howman, insisted the organisation’s anti-doping programme was stronger than ever before.

“This is a very comprehensive intelligence-based anti-doping programme,” Howman said. “What is key to this programme is the significant work that has been done by the unit and its partners in the 10 months leading up to the championships to ensure that athletes competing in London have been part of a robust testing programme.”

The blood samples will be used to build biological passport profiles and detect prohibitive substances such as human growth hormone. The urine tests will be done on site in order to detect a wide range of substances including EPO and steroids.

The Athletics Integrity Unit also confirmed that over the past 10 months it had carried out 2,000 out-of-competition blood tests and about 3,000 urine tests.


No Russian Anthems At London Athlete Hotels

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will not allow Russian athletes competing as neutrals at the 2017 World Championships in London to sing their national anthem at any venues associated with the event.

As 19 Russian athletes prepare to participate under a neutral flag at the World Athletics Championships in London from August 4 to 13, the IAAF has warned them to not display any identity with their country at the tournament.

The regulations for the neutral athletes, which were modified on July 5, were published on the IAAF website.

“The national anthem of the country of the Neutral Athlete shall not be played or sung at any time within the vicinity of any venue associated with the event including but not limited to the competition venue, warm-up area, call room, training grounds and hotels,” says the official document.

“No flags, banners or posters bearing the national colors, name or flag of the country of the Neutral Athlete shall be taken into the vicinity of any venue associated with the event, including but not limited to the competition venue, warm-up area, call room, training grounds and hotels,” it adds.

Russian 110m hurdler Sergey Shubenkov told RT earlier in July that the restrictions over the national anthem and symbols also involve cell-phone ringtones.

“I understand that it might sound absurd, but we shouldn’t be surprised. It follows IAAF logic,” he said.

The ban also includes any sports uniforms with the colors of the national flag, and symbols of the country should not appear on athletes’ bodies.

The IAAF suspended the Russian national athletics federation (RusAF) in the wake of a doping scandal in November 2015, following a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report on an alleged state-sponsored doping program.

However, 49 Russian athletes – two in 2016 and 47 in 2017 – have been cleared to compete as neutrals, including 19 who have qualified to compete at the World Athletics Championships in London.


CJ Ujah in the mood to rain on Usain Bolt’s retirement parade

  • CJ Ujah feels the Jamaican legend has lost his edge before his world
  • championships farewell and believes he is among those who could beat him

CJ Ujah will compete over 100m at the World Championships this week in a stadium only 10 miles from where he was born in Enfield, north London, but he is under no illusions that he will benefit from home advantage.

The presence of Usain Bolt, contesting for the final time an event he has dominated for almost a decade, will negate any patriotic fervour among the crowd. But Ujah is hoping the London organisers do not create an atmosphere resembling a retirement party for the Jamaican because he has been there before.

“When we walked out at Monaco the whole crowd was ‘U-sain Bolt!’ They had us out there for half an hour before we actually raced,” he says, “I feel like that was a bit of a ploy. I was getting cold and stiff. They were playing his music and I was thinking ‘Wow, like, we’re here to race and they want us to think about him!’ My coach was saying: ‘You’ve got to be ready for this because this is a situation that could happen in London.’”

Ujah finished fourth behind Bolt at the Monaco Diamond League last month but he, like others, has recognised chinks in the armour of the 30-year-old, a suggestion he might be fallible after all. There were rumours Bolt’s team had demanded the removal of Andre De Grasse, the Rio Olympic 200m silver medallist, from the race and the Jamaican has struggled for speed this season, if not victories, running under 10 seconds only once. He also admitted to being emotionally broken after the death of his friend and British high jumper Germaine Mason, who died in a motorbike accident after a night out with Bolt this year.

“I’ve got to respect the other six athletes on the line as as well,” says Ujah, “They’re there for a reason and anyone can upset anyone. Bolt is obviously the legend and inspiration to the sport and myself.

“I feel I’m finding it easier to run against these names. He is not quite at his 9.5 or 9.6 pace. We’re all in or around the same times. So I think if anyone raises their game – even myself – anything can happen. It’s not like he’s going to go and run a 9.5sec or 9.6. It’s just not going to happen. He’s not the Bolt that’s been there every year. He’s not quite the same. We’ve all seen that. So we’ll see what happens.

“But when you get to the champs everyone wipes the slate clean and starts again. That’s where you’re judged. He knows that and he’s the best at doing it.

“So he’s probably not worried about what he’s running now; he’s probably just focusing on the champs as well.”

Ujah has proved this season he is Britain’s most consistent 100m sprinter since Linford Christie, winning three Diamond League meets and running around 10sec in every race. Bolt’s physical condition is also in question after he scheduled an emergency meeting with the German doctor Hans Müller-Wohlfahrt in June to address a problem with his back. Ujah, 23, knows this represents a golden opportunity to upstage the legend in his final individual race.

“I haven’t had a really good start in any of my Diamond Leagues,” he says. “In Monaco my coach said, ‘Even if you do get to 60, be aware Bolt’s going to come up on your shoulder. If you tighten up, he’ll go straight past you. If you don’t, you’ll make it harder.’ I tightened up and he went straight past me. It’s learning and understanding.

“But my coach was like, ‘It’s practice. If you’re going to make a mistake, I’d rather you make it in Monaco.’ He’s seen a couple of things and those are the things I’m working on.

“If I do get drawn next to Bolt again you’ll probably see a better run from me.”

Ujah spent two and a half months this year training in Arizona alongside Canada’s De Grasse, the man Bolt considers the biggest obstacle between him and a fourth world 100m title. But Ujah believes he can cause the ultimate upset and silence the Bolt leaving party.

“Gold? Yeah, I believe I can,” he says, “The first thing is to make the final, then believe that anything can happen when the gun goes.”


IAAF World Championships: Powell, Dibaba and Bolt among the greatest moments

The best track and field athletes on the planet have served up a treat at the IAAF World Championships with phenomenal exploits over the years.

Usain Bolt will get one more chance to put on a show in London when he ends his incredible career on the track, but the Jamaican superstar will surely not go quicker than he did in Berlin eight years ago.

The legendary Bolt set a 100 metres world record which still stands in the 2009 World Championships, a decade after Michael Johnson shone in sensational fashion in Seville.

Tirunesh Dibaba is also among the greats who have conjured up World Championship moments which have lived long in the memory, and we take a look at a selection of the standout performances in the biennial event.

MIKE POWELL V CARL LEWIS, TOKYO 1991

Mike Powell and the great Carl Lewis leaped into uncharted territory in a thrilling long jump duel on an epic night in Tokyo.

Lewis was on a high after breaking the 100m world record, but his fellow American Powell made history in Japan to deny him another gold in the long jump.

Powell took off to leap an incredible 8.95 metres, smashing Bob Beamon's world record which had stood for almost 23 years.

Lewis had twice been crowned long jump world champion, but despite recording one wind-assisted bound beyond Beamon's record, he had to settle for silver.

Five of the seven longest jumps in history were achieved on that thrilling evening and Powell's mark has not been bettered to this day.

JONATHAN EDWARDS, GOTHENBURG 1995

Edwards broke the triple jump record not once, but twice as he won the first of his two world titles in style in Gothenburg.

The Brit hopped, skipped and jumped to a new record of 18.16m with his first effort of the final, becoming the first man to legally go beyond the 18m mark.

Not content with that as the adrenaline pumped, Edwards launched himself a phenomenal 18.29m only 20 minutes later.

Edwards, who also won gold in Edmonton six years later and took the Olympic title in 2000, remains the world-record holder.

MICHAEL JOHNSON, SEVILLE 1999

Johnson is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes to grace the track and the American treated a packed crowd in Seville to a 400m masterclass 18 years ago.

The powerful Johnson hurtled down the back straight seemingly effortlessly with his upright stance and burst away from the field.

With the world record in his sights, Johnson put the hammer down on the home straight and crossed the line in 43.18s, breaking a world record which Butch Reynolds held for 11 years.

South African Wayde van Niekerk shattered Johnson's long-standing record over a lap at the Rio Olympics last year.

TIRUNESH DIBABA, HELSINKI 2005

Tirunesh Dibaba is another athlete who is rated as one of the best of all time, boasting a long list of achievements on the track.

The Ethiopian long-distance runner completed a magnificent double in Helsinki 12 years ago, taking the 10,000m and 5000m titles.

Dibaba became the first woman to achieve a distance double on the track, surging away before crossing the line in a World Championship-record time over the shorter distance.

The legendary Dibaba went on to break the 5000m world record in Oslo three years later, clocking 14 minutes and 11.15 seconds.

USAIN BOLT, BERLIN 2009

Bolt has achieved so much on the track, establishing himself as the greatest sprinter in history.

The charismatic Jamaican was at his brilliant best at the World Championships in Berlin, where an expectant crowd witnessed something truly special.

He has produced the extraordinary time and time again, but never more so than that historic night in the German capital.

Bolt blew his rivals away, flying out of the blocks and effortlessly breaking his own world record by eleven hundredths of a second.

Even the great man himself has never gone faster than that astonishing run of 9.58s.


IAAF World Championships: Van Niekerk and Farah bid for doubles, Bolt says goodbye - a daily guide to key events

The IAAF World Championships start on Friday, as Usain Bolt gets set to say farewell to athletics.

The best sprinter of all time will only race in the 100 metres and the 4x100m in London and will be a heavy favourite to win both of those races.

Here, we break down the best events of each day at the 2017 event.

Day One
Winner of the distance double at the last two Olympic Games and Worlds, Mo Farah will look to take the first step to doing the same again and give the host nation their first gold as the 10,000 metres takes centre stage on day one.

Day Two

Saturday in London is all about one man, Bolt, who is set to compete in his last 100m major championship final. The Jamaican sprint legend will be expected to breeze through the opening round and the semi-finals before bidding for a fourth 100m world title.

Day Three
World-record holder Wayde van Niekerk – providing he gets through the first round – will aim to reach the 400m final, but top billing on day three goes to the women's 100m as Olympic champion Elaine Thompson goes head to head with Dafne Schippers. There will also be gold up for grab in the marathons and the heptathlon reaches its climax.

Day Four
Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Allyson Felix will both aim to seal a place in the 400m final, while Jamaica's Omar McLeod is tipped to add the 110m hurdles world title to his Olympic crown.

Day Five
The fifth day of the Championships is set to be jam-packed with star names. World-record holder and double Olympic champion David Rudisha will be unable to challenge for a third 800m world title due to injury, but Van Niekerk should be going for gold in the 400m and Renaud Lavillenie will resume his pole vault battle with Thiago Braz da Silva after famously losing out to him in Rio last year.

Day Six
Felix is expected to get the better of Miller-Uibo in the 400m final. Mo Farah starts his 5000m bid in the heats and Van Niekerk will look to seal his spot in the 200m showpiece.

Day Seven
The final of the 200m will seem strange without Bolt, but Van Niekerk will hope to ensure the headline event of day seven is still one to remember. Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad will aim to add the 400m hurdles gold to the silver she claimed in 2013.

Day Eight
World titles in the women's long jump, men's hammer throw and women's 3000m steeplechase are all up for grabs on day eight, but the spotlight will be on the 200m and round two of Thompson v Schippers.

Day Nine
Farah will seek to secure 5000m glory but the day in which seven golds are available is sure to be dominated by Bolt as he brings down the curtain on a glittering career in the 4x100m relay.

Day Ten
The championships come to a close with seven more golds to be won. Two-time world champion and reigning Olympic champion Caster Semenya will be very much the headliner in the women's 800m.


Dalilah Muhammad Is On Top Of The World

After her blistering 2017 form, Dalilah Muhammad has the 400m hurdles world record firmly in her sights

At last year’s Olympic Games, Dalilah Muhammad won gold in the 400m hurdles in 53.13.

But the 27-year-old ran even faster at the US Championships held in Sacramento last month, raising speculation that she could even break the world record this season.

If the weather is kind, that could happen at the IAAF World Championships in London.

Certainly, her recent form shows she is closing in on the world record of 52.34 that was set by Yuliya Pechonkina in 2003.

At the US Championships, Muhammad won a race that has been described as the highest-quality women’s 400m hurdles in history.

With a time of 52.64 she smashed the North American all-comers’ record which had been held by Deon Hemmings from 1996. The US record, meanwhile, which is held by Lashinda Demus with 52.47 from 2011, could also be on borrowed time.

“Of course, every race I go out there trying to win,” said Muhammad. “I knew it was going to be a fast race, and my coach was telling me to just go with it and trust that I will be able to finish. And that’s what I did.”

In a race of mouth-watering quality in Sacramento, for the first time ever three women broke the 53-second barrier and six finished inside 54 seconds. The times achieved in third, fourth, fifth and sixth were the fastest ever recorded for those positions, although Muhammad was a dominant, clear winner.

As a child, she was discouraged by her mother from hurdling due to fears she would hurt herself. But she was born to clear barriers and soon began to make her mark in athletics.

Muhammad took gold in the 400m hurdles, for example, at the 2007 IAAF World Youth Championships in Ostrava. Winners at the event also included triple jumper Christian Taylor, shot putter David Storl, long jumper Darya Klishina and British sprinter Asha Philip – and Muhammad won her event in 57.25 from Andreea Ionescu of Romania.

After graduating from the University of Southern California, the New Yorker enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2013 when she finished runner-up to Zuzana Hejnova at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, but a couple of underpar years followed before a change of coach from Yolanda Demus to Lawrence Johnson triggered a return to form in 2016 where she ran 52.88 at the US Trials – the first sub-53-second time in the world for three years – before taking gold in Rio in 53.13.

Talent aside, Muhammad credits her Muslim faith for her success. “A Muslim is a person that strives for excellence. My Olympic medal is a symbol of that determination,” she says.


Wearing Gold Shoes Put Pressure On Johnson

Michael Johnson won four Olympic titles and eight World Championship gold medals in his career.

But, as world champion, he failed to qualify for the 200m final at the Barcelona Olympics.

He used that as motivation to win gold in Atlanta in 1996, winning both the 200m and 400m titles.

Three years later, at the World Championships in Seville, he broke the 400m world record, running 43.18 seconds wearing specially commissioned golden shoes.


Renewed Scrutiny For Double-Chasing Semenya

July 31 (Reuters) - Caster Semenya is making a bold bid for double gold in the women’s 800m and 1500m but her only guarantee at the World Athletics Championship in London is further scrutiny of the gender controversy that has dogged her career.

The powerful, 26-year-old South African is runaway favourite for the 800m, where she seeks a third world title to add to Olympic gold from Rio de Janeiro last year, and is taking on the 1500m for the first time at a major international meeting.

All of this, though, will come under a cloud of controversy at the Aug. 4-13 championships as many feel high testosterone levels give her an unfair advantage.

Anticipating a storm, Semenya this month granted a rare interview to South Africa’s SuperSport TV channel, expressing her frustration at continually having her gender questioned.

“I don’t understand when you say I have an advantage because I am a woman,” she said. “When I pee, I pee like a woman. I don’t understand when you say I’m a man or I have a deep voice. I know I’m a female so there’s no question for me.

“I have to find a way to deflect (the questioning of her gender), so instead of allowing it to all be negative, I turn it into a positive. My family’s support system is fantastic.”

After Semenya won the 2009 world title as a 19-year-old, tests reportedly revealed that she was hyperandrogenous, resulting in her body producing an abnormally high amount of testosterone, which makes her more powerful than her rivals.

An International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rule limiting the amount of naturally occurring functional testosterone for female athletes appeared to have narrowed Semenya's prospects but the IAAF’s Hyperandrogenism Regulations were suspended for two years in 2015 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, allowing Semenya to make a comeback.

Her time of 1:55.27 in the Diamond League meeting in Monaco this month was the fastest in a women’s 800m for almost a decade and there will be an expectation that she could take down the longest-standing athletics world record set by Czech Jarmila Kratochvilova in 1983.

Semenya has made a late decision to add a tilt at 1500m glory to her London programme, setting up an intriguing clash with world-record holder Genzebe Dibaba from Ethiopia.

Semenya has run the distance only once this year, winning the South African student championship in April, but she is the reigning African champion from Durban last year where she set a personal best of 4:01.19.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)


Gatlin feeling like the Justin who won world titles

July 31 (Reuters) - As Justin Gatlin prepares to meet Usain Bolt for the 10th time in their 100 metres rivalry, the American says he is feeling like the old Justin when he too was an Olympic and world champion.

After a period that, he told Reuters, "has been the most difficult year for me because of injuries," the 35-year-old Rio Olympic silver medallist said he was ready for another run at the retiring Bolt in the London world championships starting on Friday.

"It is back to the old Justin, like 2004, where I'm with the pack and pull away at the finish line. That's how I won my gold," said Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic and 2005 world champion before a four-year doping suspension and the 2008 emergence of Bolt.

The injuries -- to an ankle, his calf and quadriceps and even his groin -- are healing and thoughts about facing Bolt one last time are on his mind.

"I want to be right there, running shoulder to shoulder all the way down to the finish line," Gatlin said. "Just fighting for it."

Only once, in 2013, has he got the upper hand -- at a Diamond League meeting in Rome.

"I have never been one not to believe in my own self," Gatlin said. "But at the end of the day I have to pay homage to him.

"I've got to give Usain respect because one of the best things about him is not only has he run fast, he runs fast at the moment when he needs to."

As in 2015 when Bolt fought off injuries to pip Gatlin for the world title, the Jamaican has not run especially fast this season, breaking 10 seconds for the first time on July 21.

That is no surprise to Gatlin.

"As a sprinter, a sprinter who has been on top of his game for a long time, running 9.7s, it takes a toll on you over time," the American said of Bolt, who will soon be 31.

"You're feeling your body. Each year you try to get back and there's a dullness. You've got to fight for it to get that sharpness back."

Gatlin is confident Bolt will be ready, though. "For sure," he said.

Should there be an upset and Gatlin come out on top, would he join Bolt in retirement?

"Let's see," the American said. "I want to be able to go out with a bang."

Two things tug at him to stay around until the 2020 Olympics.

One, if still running, he would like to dedicate the Tokyo Games to his son Jace, now seven.

Plus there is the burning desire to try another season or two when healthy just to see how fast he can run.

(Editing by Christian Radnedge)


Drouin Pleased With Recovery From Achilles Problem

Achilles injury has hampered reigning Olympic champion's season

Canadian high jumper Derek Drouin says he's making steady progress from an Achilles injury in advance of his title defence at this week's track and field world championships in London, England.

The injury forced the 2016 Olympic champion to withdraw from the Canadian nationals in early July at Ottawa after the Achilles "flared up" on June 15 at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway, where Drouin tied for third with a jump of 2.25 metres. He hasn't competed since.

"My coaches, IST [Integrated Support Team] and I decided it was in my best interest to take some time off to allow my Achilles to heal before slowly re-introducing some dynamic workouts into my training in the final stages before worlds," Drouin told CBC Sports in an email.

Dynamic exercises are movements such as high knee lifts or side lunges you perform to prepare your body for more strenuous activity. The movements warm and loosen your muscles, thus preventing injury and improving performance.

"We have been diligent in treating the issues and things have been improving steadily," said Drouin from Athletics Canada's pre-worlds training camp in Spain.

Drouin, 27, said he and his coach, Jeff Huntoon, have set benchmarks he would like to meet by certain dates to prove he is competition-ready. While the event begins Friday, the high jump qualification is set for Aug. 11 and the final two days later on the final day of competition at London Stadium.

"We have been testing [the Achilles] more each day and I'm pleased with the progress," said Drouin, a native of Sarnia, Ont. "It is my goal to arrive in London ready to defend my title, and I know what training marks will indicate that condition."

In April, Drouin set a world record with a jump of 2.28 in the high jump portion of the Sam Adams Combined Events Invitational decathlon in Santa Barbara, Calif., and is aiming to compete for Canada in decathlon at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

At the end of the month, the six-foot-four jumper matched the world qualifying standard of 2.30 in winning a fourth consecutive Drake Relays title.

Drouin may have first injured the Achilles in mid-May at a Diamond League meet in Shanghai, where the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist failed to clear the bar at 2.20 and finished the event without a successful attempt.

In March 2011, Drouin tore two ligaments off his right foot that required two metal screws to be inserted and then removed three months later. After the Rio Olympics last August, Drouin said he competed with two stress fractures in his spine.

"As an experienced athlete who has gone through this before, I am confident in my support team and my ability to deal with less-than-favourable conditions," said Drouin. "I have been working with many people who have a lot of experience with similar injuries [to mine]."

At the 2015 world championships, Drouin jumped 2.34 in Beijing following his victorious jump of 2.37 at the Toronto Pan Am Games.


IAAF World Championships: Usain Bolt as seen by Michael Johnson, Roger Federer, Tom Brady and more

Usain Bolt will bring his phenomenal career to a close at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.

The Jamaican sprinter, an eight-time Olympic champion and 11-time world title winner, will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest sportspeople of all time.

Bolt possesses a charm that has endeared him to fans across the globe, who have watched in awe as he broke new ground on the track with world records in the 100 metres, 200m and 4x100m relay.

Those achievements have also provided a source of inspiration for elite athletes such as Roger Federer and Tom Brady, and we take a look at some of those who have paid tribute to the world's fastest man over the years.

UNBELIEVABLE

Michael Johnson was full of superlatives after Bolt set the world record in the 200m at the 2009 world championships with a time of 19.19 seconds.

He said on the BBC: "Usain Bolt doesn't run with technique, he doesn't care about technique. He can afford to do that because he gets so much more. Unbelievable. I think he's capable of running under 19 seconds, as crazy as that sounds."

SPORTING LEGEND

After becoming the first man to win Wimbledon for the eighth time, 35-year-old tennis superstar Federer revealed in a BBC Sport interview that the sprinter is a source of inspiration for him.

"I would get inspired in a big way by the likes of Usain Bolt, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Valentino Rossi or Michael Schumacher. Guys who did things for a very long time at the highest of levels. I feel it's been really important in my life to have inspiring figures wherever I look and I take it mostly from sporting legends."

GREATEST OF ALL TRACKS

LeBron James, three-time NBA champion and 13-time All-Star, could not contain himself after seeing Bolt use his "Silencer" celebration, having taken Olympic gold in the 200m at Rio 2016.

He wrote on Instagram: "Huge S/O [shout out] to the homie Usain Bolt aka 'The Cheetah' aka G.O.A.T (Greatest of all Tracks) hitting them with #TheSilencer after that 200m. Congrats on your unbelievable Olympic journey throughout the years."

HE IS PHENOMENAL

Alex Ferguson entertained avid Manchester United fan Bolt at their Carrington training base on a number of occasions, but the admiration went both ways.

"He's the fastest man in the world and the others would have to have taken half a second off their running to beat him. He is phenomenal," Ferguson told Inside United of Bolt's performance at London 2012.

I'D LOVE TO BE LIKE BOLT

At 39 years old, pace is an attribute iconic New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady does not possess, and that has led to some envy from the owner of five Super Bowl rings.

"I've always been the slowest guy on the team, so I'd love to be like Usain Bolt," Brady told New York Magazine. "I'd love to be the fastest guy on the planet."

HE LOOKS LIKE A HORSE

Michael Phelps is the most successful Olympian of all time with 23 gold medals over a stellar career in the pool. He recalled some interesting memories regarding his first encounter with Bolt in an interview with Olympic Talk: "Obviously, it's cool watching somebody like him and watching what he does. Then you see him up close and personal. His legs are massive. He looks like a horse. So tall."

LEGEND

With over 10,000 runs in Twenty20 cricket, Chris Gayle is a master with the bat. The West Indies star explained Bolt's impact to his Indian Premier League team Royal Challengers Bangalore.

"He's a champion, world champion, legend, you name it. The sport will definitely miss it because he actually brought back the sport to life. I'm really happy to see a Jamaican who put the sport back on the map."

THE ALI OF ATHLETICS

IAAF president Sebastian Coe has spoken openly about the void Bolt's retirement will leave in the athletics, comparing him to a legendary boxer.

"The Muhammad Ali of athletics is on his way to an Olympic Stadium near you. It just reinforced for me how fantastic it could be to have Bolt there. There really is an Ali-like aura about this guy that is now transcending all sports," Coe wrote in The Telegraph.


The Bahamas Will Have 4 Relay Teams In London

After some red flags arose last week regarding reports that one of the athletes on the team selected for the 16th International Association of Athletic Federations (LAAF) World Championships tested positive for a banned substance, Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) President Rosamunde Carey confirmed yesterday that after consultation with International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) authorities, all four of The Bahamas' relay teams have qualified and will participate at the IAAF World Championships in London, England this month.

Instead of taking 21 athletes, as originally stated, the BAAA will now take 24 athletes to the championships. The 2017 IAAF World Championships take place August 4-13. "While we do not condone or support any untoward behavior in our sport, we remain determined to be supportive and sensitive to all of our athletes during challenging times," said Carey on the matter. "We recognize them as our primary clients and a rare and precious commodity. Few people in the world can do what they do and achieve.

We reserve the right to protect them and ensure that evidence is conclusive and irrefutable before passing judgment. "We invite the Bahamian public to adopt the federation's mindset as we cheer on our athletes in their individual and relay teams' quest to medal and achieve personal and team best performances. These games will be exciting to say the least, indeed the purest form of entertainment.

We are confident that the Bahamian flag will have reason to be hoisted several times throughout the games. The federation will do all in its power with the assistance of all our wonderful partners, in particular the Bahamas government, to ensure the well being and success of our athletes." Just eight Bahamians qualified in individual events for the London World Championships. Shaunae Miller-Uibo is the only athlete to have qualified in two events- the women's 200 and 400 meters.

Tamara Myers (women's triple jump) and Bianca "BB" Stuart (women's long jump) are the only two athletes competing in individual events that didn't qualify. However, they were invited by the IAAF because of their global rankings, and to fill the quota requirements for their respective events. "It's a different make-up for this team that what we're used of seeing," said Carey on the team. "There's a good mixture of young and more experienced ones, and we feel very good about their chances.

In fact, we believe that all of our qualifiers will make the final in their respective events. Shaunae is looking very good and we're looking forward to her doing some big things, and Steven recently told me that he feels very good about these world championships. He's approaching it with much more confidence than what he had at the Olympics last year. We're looking for him to make the final, and possibly get on the podium. Also, we're very excited about the relays.

I believe that we could do some big things in the relays." Mabelene Miller and Carl Oliver are the co-managers of the team, Sharon Gardiner is the assistant manager, Dianne Woodside-Johnson is the head coach, Rupert Gardiner is the relay coordinator, Ronald Cartwright, Everette Fraser and Jason Edwards are the assistant coaches, Dr. Keir Miller is the team doctor, and Eugena Patton and Bernique Hanna have been named to the medical team.

'Small-town boy' Kendricks making it big

By Gene Cherry

(Reuters) - As he cleaned up after horses in his father's barn, a teenaged Sam Kendricks thought how cool it would be to travel the world and pole vault in the Olympics.

A decade later, the globe-trotting Mississippi native still calls himself "a small-town boy who loves to have big adventures".

Kendricks, 24, competes in the world championships in London starting this week and he will be one of the favourites after nine consecutive victories and the outdoor season's highest jump, a U.S. title-winning six metres.

Somehow it has all worked out even after an off-season that was anything but regular.

For five months during key fall and winter training time the U.S. Army Reserve first lieutenant picked up his pole maybe three times while on active duty for classroom and field exercises.

Since February, though, he has been dominant, defeating French world record holder Renaud Lavillenie four times.

The multiple U.S. champion earned his first Olympic medal, a bronze, at the Rio Games - along with added attention.

On the runway in a qualifying round, he stopped, dropped his pole and stood to attention while the U.S. anthem played for another athlete.

"I didn't want to be THAT lieutenant that didn't stop for the national anthem," Kendricks said.

Now he seeks the only global honour missing - a world outdoor championship medal.

"Am I the favorite to win? I am not sure," the personable Kendricks told Reuters. "Am I a favourite to medal, I can believe that, because on any given day I am just as strong as anybody."

TELLING STAT

The telling stat is that of the seven highest jumps in the world this outdoor season, Kendricks has four of them.

Yet the 2016 world indoor silver medallist insisted there were a group of favourites, including Lavillenie.

"There is something to be said for Renaud having won seven Diamond League championships. That he has been the best seven years in a row," Kendricks said.

"There's no one in the sport who should say he has not achieved enough. That would be disrespectful."

Kendricks made that clear when talk at a Paris news conference centered on his first and only six-metre jump.

Turning to Lavillenie, Kendricks asked: "How many times have you cleared six metres?"

The answer was 17.

Each athlete has his own strengths.

"Renaud's is his speed, experience," said Kendricks. "I think I am the most technically efficient. I think (Canadian world champion) Shawn Barber has the most gusto."

Kendricks also grips the pole the lowest of any major competitor, making technically sound jumps important.

"Six metres is almost a flawless jump for me," he said.

Not that he does not entertain jumping higher.

There is no push, though, to break Lavillenie's world record of 6.16 metres.

"I don't see myself there," Kendricks said.

The son of a high school coach who is his trainer, Kendricks turned to pole vaulting after unsuccessful tries at other sports.

"The technical aspects of sports always enthralled me," he said. "I figured if I could get good enough technically at something I could bridge the gap I didn't have in athletic ability."

His first pole was a broken high jump bar with a tennis ball at the end.

"I started jumping with the girls team because we didn't have equipment for small guys," he said. "We had girls poles.

"I also got beat by a lot by girls in high school."

By 2013 he had become the first U.S collegian in 14 years to clear 19 feet (5.79m) and with his dad "a strong handler of the reins" Kendricks has taken the time to learn the event rather than shoot for the moon.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Van Niekerk double bid could steal some of Bolt's thunder

By Mark Gleeson

Usain Bolt’s farewell will be the major narrative at the world championships but South African speedster Wayde van Niekerk’s bid for the 200 and 400m double could steal some of his spotlight.

The Jamaican great has dubbed the 25-year-old Van Niekerk as the sport's next superstar and that is likely to be reinforced at the global showpiece event in London which starts on Friday.

But a showdown between the pair, who are good friends and trained together in Jamaica this year, will not happen with Bolt running only the 100m and relay to mark the end of his glittering career.

“One person I know who will step up, and he’s been doing good work, is Van Niekerk. He’s shown that he really wants to take my place. He’s been dominating in all events – I feel like if he runs the 800, he’d probably do well also,” Bolt said before the Diamond League meeting in Monaco last week in which Van Niekerk won the 400m with the best time of the year.

Cape Town-born Van Niekerk is the reigning world champion and he broke Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world record to win Olympic Gold in Rio de Janeiro last year.

All this in a race he dislikes.

“I think most everyone knows that the 400m is not my favourite distance. I know it’s a bit crazy. I enjoy the shorter distances," he said.

"I try to tell myself that I need to be more positive about the 400m, it is the race that has placed me at the top."

This time Van Niekerk attempts the 200-400m double that marked out Johnson as the star of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics after the ruling body of world athletics changed the London programme to make it possible.

In June, he ran personal bests in both the 100m (9.94 seconds) and 200m (19.84) and a world record 30.81 in the rarely run 300m. Van Niekerk is the only sprinter in history to have run the 100m in under 10 seconds, the 200m in under 20 and the 400m in sub 44.

"I'm in great shape. My record of 300m has given me confidence, so I look forward to see how it translates into the other two events,” Van Niekerk added.

His coach Ans Botha, a 75-year-old grandmother, says they have been training for both events since last year’s Olympics.

"It is the 400m that put him on the stage and which has made him strong mentally, but Wayde doesn’t like it," she said.

"After Rio, he told me he needed new challenges and that he wanted to double at the World Championships. I’ve had to adapt my program because I'm there to share his dreams.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Track king Bolt eyes final hurrah at athletics worlds in London

London (AFP) - Sprint superstar Usain Bolt will seek a final golden hurrah when he takes to the track at the IAAF World Championships in London this week.

Bolt has dominated sprinting since taking double individual gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, going on to win a further six Olympic golds and also picking up 11 world titles.

World records of 9.58 and 19.19sec in the 100 and 200m when winning in the 2009 Berlin worlds were followed by the towering Jamaican winning consecutive world golds in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay in 2011, 2013 and 2015, with the exception of a false start in the 100m in Daegu in 2011.

The 30-year-old scored triple gold at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics in London and Rio, his sole hiccup being stripped of his 2008 Olympic relay gold after teammate Nesta Carter failed a drugs test.

It is a staggering tally for a track athlete who has admitted he wants to go out on a high as athletics seeks to turn a new page.

"My main aim is just to win (in London). I just want to retire on a winning note," Bolt said recently in Monaco, where he won the 100m in 9.95sec, dipping under the 10sec barrier after two sluggish outings in Kingston and Ostrava.

Bolt has opted not to defend his 200m world title, meaning he will not race against South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk, the athlete Bolt has tipped to take over as the next track and field superstar.

"That's one of the most disappointing things in my career now," he said. "He came along at this late stage and I didn't get to compete against him, because I think he's one of the best now."

World and Olympic 400m champion Van Niekerk, who will attempt an audacious 200-400m double in London, added: "Usain has been a massive inspiration.

"But I've still got quite a long way to go before I even get close to the heights that Usain has reached."

One of the stand-out moments of the 2012 Olympics at the same stadium in east London was 'Super Saturday', when Britain won three gold medals in the space of an hour to set the packed stadium alight.

- Farah, but no Ennis-Hill -

Distance running legend Mo Farah, on an unbroken streak of nine global final wins (the 5000m in 2011, and the 5/10km double in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016), will again compete, but there is no Jessica Ennis-Hill, the heptathlete having retired, or long jumper Chris Rutherford, out injured.

But Ennis-Hill will sit atop the podium once more as the world champs sees the reallocation of a number of medals from previous championships including two golds.

The upgrades follow the disqualification of the results of the original medallists after their sanction for anti-doping rule violations.

Ennis-Hill will pick up a 2011 gold and the US women's team the 2013 4x400m title.

"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," said IAAF President Sebastian Coe.

"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."

Coe, a two-time Olympic 1500m gold medallist, will chair a series of IAAF meetings in the run-up to Friday's start of the track and field proper.

Coe heads up the IAAF Council meeting on Monday, with lively discussion expected on Russia, which will miss the worlds because of its state-sponsored doping programme that also saw its athletes barred from the Rio Olympics.

Since then several Russian athletes have been cleared to compete under a neutral flag as the IAAF works with all parties to ensure a transparent anti-doping culture in the track and field powerhouse.

The Council meet is followed by the 51st IAAF Congress with Coe on hand to launch an innovative one-day convention called IAAF Athletics Connect on Wednesday.

Tellingly, in Bolt's swansong season, the convention is designed to "prompt discussion about building a strong future for athletics".


Injury Sidelines South African Hurdler Steenkamp

A rollercoaster week of emotion for hurdler Rikenette Steenkamp has ended on a definite downer as she has been forced to withdraw from the IAAF World Athletics Championships, starting in London on Friday.

She’s been forced to follow Olympic javelin silver medallist Sunette Viljoen’s decision to withdraw from the South African team.

Rikenette Steenkamp received a late invite from the IAAF to be part of the World Championships team but pulled out due to a hamstring injury.

The 24-year-old Tukkies student, a national 100-metre hurdles champion at every age-group level, told Team SA, "I was busy training, actually preparing for World Student Championships, not worlds. My second last run, I felt it pull slightly. It’s not a severe injury, but full recovery is very important to me so I had to withdraw."

"The timing is just heart-breaking as I’ve had a great season. Actually, it’s a miracle season. Since January to now, I’ve performed beyond my expectation. So, I’m still smiling," added Steenkamp.

"I haven’t decided yet on World Students in Taiwan. I’ll give it a few days."

Steenkamp is refusing to let her bad news get to her and remains steadfastly behind her fellow South Africans in London.

"I won’t fight what happened and understand that everything happening is happening for a purpose. I’ll give my body the rest it needs."


Jamaican Management Working Through Delays

BIRMINGHAM, England:

Sprint superstar Usain Bolt is likely to head straight to the Jamaican team hotel in London ahead of the World Championships, while other top names, such as Omar McLeod and Hansle Parchment, are yet to arrive as management works to correct a number of logistical issues.

Bolt, who last competed at the Monaco Diamond League meet on July 21, has since been in Germany, where he has been fine-tuning his preparation ahead of the August 4-13 championships, and with the team leaving it's training base at the University of Birmingham tomorrow for London, team manager Ian Forbes say it was likely that the eight-time Olympic and 11-time World champion will join up with his teammates there.

Forbes and the rest of the management team have been working around a number of setbacks that have affected members of the squad, including Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod, as well as Olympic and World Championships medal winner Hansle Parchment, who both experienced delays securing their documentation, but are expected to arrive shortly.

The management team has also had to make preparations for three late additions to the team - high jumper Kimberly Williamson, shot put athlete Gleneve Grange and 800m runner Kimmara McDonald, who were invited to the championships by the IAAF.

"It's always challenging because athletes are coming from various parts of the world, and there is one of the late invitees who actually made it in already. The other is flying in and will arrive tomorrow (today), and the third is just in the final stages of acquiring the visa to get here. Of course, they compete all over the world and sometimes it poses a challenge getting everyone together, but all-in-all, things are falling into place," said Forbes from the team's base at the University of Birmingham.

An additional eight athletes, including members of the MVP Track Club, arrived in camp yesterday.

"There are still a few more to come. There are one or two others awaiting delivery of passports with visas, but they are coming in," Forbes sought to reassure. "There is Hansle Parchment, Omar McLeod and one or two others."

When asked about Bolt's arrival timetable and whether he may be heading straight to London, Forbes replied: "It's appearing that way because we depart on the first (August 1)."

Bolt has received treatment and has been training in Germany in the build-up to what will be the final competition before his retirement from the track.

The Gleaner also understands that 800m athlete - turned - 400m hurdler Ricardo Cunningham is affected by passport issues and will also arrive late in the country.


What The 1932 Olympics Looked Like In LA

July 30 marks the 85th anniversary of the opening ceremony of the 10th Olympic Games, which introduced the world to Los Angeles (population 1.2 million in 1932).

A look back at those Games shows a glimpse of the success the city would like to repeat in 2024 or 2028.

The campaign to bring the Olympics to Los Angeles began in 1919. Once the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was open in 1923, the International Olympic Committee awarded the city the Games – the only city to bid. Los Angeles was relatively unknown to Europeans and, according to Paul Zimmerman, author of “Los Angeles the Olympic City, 1932, 1984,” a member of the IOC had to be told Los Angeles was a suburb of Hollywood to earn his vote.

By the opening ceremonies, the world was in the midst of the Great Depression, and several nations could not afford to field teams for the Games. The economic environment in 1932 kept President Herbert Hoover from traveling to Los Angeles, so Vice President Charles Curtis opened the Games.

A gym and a stable

Before the Olympics, the Coliseum was a football and track and field venue for USC and UCLA. During the Olympics, the stadium was the venue for field hockey, gymnastics and equestrian events as well as track and field. The Olympic Stadium featured a scoreboard that was 44 feet wide and operated from behind on three floor levels.

Automatic timing for track was used for the first time.

Other firsts for the 1932 Games included the use of a three-tiered podium, and the first Olympic Village. For the 1932 Olympics, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum expanded seating capacity from about 75,000 to an estimated 101,000-plus seats. The stadium was called the Olympic Stadium during the Games, which took place July 30 to Aug. 14, 1932. In 1984, the stadium became a state and federal historical landmark.

Portable village

The Olympic Village was temporarily set on 321 acres in Baldwin Hills. The village was a series of two-bedroom bungalows for 1,206 male athletes and their support staff. Another side effect of the tough economic times was that visitors were charged $2 a night to stay in the village. The owner of the land, who leased the site for the village, insisted that no paving was to be done, so water trucks roamed the area to keep the dust down on miles of dirt roads. The bungalows were removed not long after the Games.

Female athletes stayed in the Chapman Park Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard.

Aerial view of the 1932 Olympic Village near the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and W. Vernon Boulevard in Baldwin Hills:

Leatherhead demonstrators

Another sign of the times was that the 1932 Games had to cancel the soccer competition because fewer countries were able to attend than had been at the 1928 Games.

What took its place? American football. Football was held as a demonstration sport, and two college all-star teams faced off at the Coliseum on Aug. 8. The final score was 7-6, and football hasn’t been seen at the Olympics since.

The smaller games

The 1932 Olympics had 14 sports with 117 events, about half the size of the 2016 Games, which had 28 sports and 306 events. Sports in 1932 were scattered around Los Angeles County, with the Rose Bowl hosting track cycling and sailing events held in San Pedro.

By comparison, the 1984 Games had venues in Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties. The plan for the Los Angeles 2024 or 2028 Olympic proposal is more similar to the 1932 Games, with all venues in Los Angeles County. Here’s a look at the proposal for the next Olympics in Los Angeles.

The 1932 Games were small and short. Summer Olympic Games from 1920 to 1928 lasted more than 70 days; the 1932 Games were 16 days.

Marketing the Games

With the world in dire economic times, most of the advertising for the 1932 Games focused on domestic travel. Celebrities turned out to support the cause and lure people to see Southern California. The turnout for the Games was good, and the success helped the city receive the 1984 Games, which is considered the most profitable Olympics ever held.

This September, the IOC is expected to announce Los Angeles as the host of either the 2024 or the 2028 Games.

Growing up and out

In 1932, the city of Los Angeles had a population of about 1.2 million people. It grew to 2.9 million by the 1984 Games and is about 3.7 million today.

Other notable athletes

Babe Didrikson won five events at the U.S. trials, but because of Olympic rules at the time, women could compete only in three events. She won two golds and a silver.

U.S. swimmer Helene Madison won three golds in swimming.

Stanisława Walasiewicz, known as Stella Walsh, won the gold medal in the women’s 100 m for Poland. Walsh was a Polish-born American who won gold in 1932 and silver in the 1936 Olympics. Her medals were disputed later because after she was killed by an armed robber in 1980, it was discovered that she was intersex and would have been ineligible to participate. You can read more about it here.

1932 Olympics medal count

Gold Silver Bronze Tot.

U.S. 41 32 30 103

Italy 12 12 12 36

France 10 5 4 19

Sweden 9 5 9 23

Japan 7 7 4 18

Sources: IOC, LA84, Los Angeles Public Library, UCLA, “Los Angeles the Olympic City 1932, 1984,” by Paul Zimmerman, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, National Park Service

Photos from the Library of Congress, The Associated Press and Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection


Season's best for Walsh in warm-up

New Zealand shot putter Tom Walsh has completed his tune-up for next week's world athletics championships with another 22m-plus winning effort in London.

The Olympic bronze medallist threw a season's best 22.06m to easily beat Domincan thrower Dillon Simon's second-placed 18.65m at the English national championships.

It's the second time this season he's bettered 22m, backing up from a 22.04m effort last week at the M-F Athletic Elite Shot Invitational at his training base in Athens, Georgia.

Walsh is currently ranked third in the world this year, behind Americans Ryan Crouser who hasn't been beaten in his last 10 competitions and has thrown over 22m in eight of them, and Joe Kovacs.

Walsh is only the fourth athlete this season to have bettered 22m, and his London efforts build nicely on the 21.97m he threw in Lausanne last month to finish second in the Diamond League meeting.

His personal best stands at 22.21m, set in Zageb last September.

The world championships begin in London on August 4, with Walsh's shot put qualification the following day.


Usain Bolt: now you see him, soon you won’t

He’s the fastest man who has ever lived, holder of eight gold medals and three world records. As Usain Bolt approaches his final race in London this week, we celebrate a sprinter who made running look both effortless and fun

There’s an old EA Sports commercial I dimly remember from my childhood. They make video games (I never played any of them) but the TV ad, or at least its tagline, has stuck in my head. Somehow, it shows mankind at the beginning of time or maybe I’ve conflated it with the opening from 2001: A Space Odyssey. A couple of cavemen are sitting around, arguing, until one of them comes up with a game. “I’m better than you and I can prove it,” he says. Since then, we’ve invented a lot of ways to prove it. By kicking balls into nets or throwing them into baskets; by striking them with rackets or clubs; by pressing buttons on a console. But the simplest game is also the one kids turn to first. I’ll race you: to that tree, to that fire-hydrant, to the lamp-post. Hey, I told you so. I’m faster than you.

Usain Bolt is better than us and he can prove it. Eight gold medals, three world records; he hasn’t been beaten in the 100 or 200m since Justin Gatlin edged him by a hundredth of a second in Rome in 2013. Not only is he better, but he’s better at the purest and most ancient test of what people can do that’s ever been devised… and he’s not just faster than us, but than anyone who has ever lived. What was that like to grow up with? And as he approaches his final world championships in London this week, another question must be on his mind. How do you retire from that? He was born, as Paul Simon once sang, at the right time. And the stories he tells in his “autobiography” (written with Matt Allen) about growing up in the village of Sherwood Content in Jamaica are full of the myths of innocence.

“There were yams, bananas, coca, coconuts, mangoes, oranges, guavas. Everything grew in and around the backyard… Coxeaths’ wild bush was like a natural playground. I only had to step out my front door to find something physical to do. There was always somewhere to play, always somewhere to run and always something to climb. The woods delivered an exercise programme suitable for any wannabe sprinter, with clearings to play in and assault courses made from broken coconut trees.”

He “trained” by carrying water from the well to his house – two buckets at a time, to save himself a trip. Athletes, maybe even more than other people, depend on the myths they can tell about themselves and Bolt’s memoir lingers on his early playground races and the names of the schoolboys he compared himself to: the kid at Waldensia primary named Ricardo Geddes, whom he finally beat on a school sports day, and later Keith Spence of Cornwall College, muscly but short, a quick starter who couldn’t keep pace with him around the bend. So that winning Olympic gold, the way he tells it, feels just like a continuation or extension of his childhood, whereas for the rest of us, growing up involves some kind of adjustment or re-evaluation.

That something weird was happening to him, he couldn’t help but notice. Like Clark Kent in the newsroom, who slowly begins to understand that other people suffer from things that he doesn’t. Colds and hangovers, shaving cuts. Bolt’s mother’s Christianity (she’s a Seventh-day Adventist), though he never had much patience for it as a child, eventually gave him a kind of explanation: “I turned to religion more and more as I got older, mainly because I came to realise that I’d been given a serious gift. The one thing I began to see was that God always helped people who helped themselves.” If there’s a convenience to this kind of thinking, how can you blame him? It’s one thing to win the lottery – you might feel lucky (even though it’ll probably screw you up eventually). But what are you supposed to feel when the prize you win is somehow who you are? “I had so much natural talent that on sports day no one else came close to me and I’d line up in just about every race on the card and come first.”

His arrival on the scene coincided with dark days for track and field. Everyone seems to be a potential drug cheat these days and many of his biggest rivals have been caught doping: Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay. But even that fact has contributed to Bolt’s appeal. In The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway talks scathingly about what he calls the “hard-shelled technicians” – the bullfight aficionados who care only for a certain kind of formal or technical perfection. They’re missing something, whatever it is that makes the fight worth following, the human gesture, the air of tragedy – and part of the damage that drugs have done to sport is the impression they give of letting the technicians take over. Drug-taking doesn’t just mean cheating but medicalisation. Cheating in the heat of the moment we can accept and even sometimes admire – Diego Costa pushing the edges of the legal when he elbows a defender or makes a dirty, last-ditch tackle at the touchline. But performance-enhancing drugs involve not just needles but persistent and highly technical deception, on a tight schedule. It’s the kind of cheating you might accept from your accountant.

Which is why it’s been so important to Bolt that he looks like the kind of athlete who doesn’t need them. If you had to imagine the fastest guy in the world, he would look like Bolt – long limbed, restless, happy. It makes sense when he kicks out his legs that he starts drifting past the competition. If Gatlin had never been caught, if he had broken three world records and won eight Olympic golds, I still don’t think the world would have warmed to him. He looks like he’s spent too much time in the weight room, like he’s trying too hard. This is an old distinction in the world of athletics – you can hear it played out already in Chariots of Fire. “You long for victory just as I do,” Harold Abrahams tells the master of Trinity College, “but achieved with the apparent effortlessness of gods. Yours are the archaic values of the prep-school playground. I believe in the relentless pursuit of excellence and I’ll carry the future with me.”

The apparent effortlessness of gods isn’t a bad description of Bolt and may explain why the British love him. That line about the playground fits, too (he got a scholarship to William Knibb Memorial high school in Falmouth, Jamaica), because Bolt somehow still makes running feel like he’s racing everyone else to the nearest tree. Of course, that’s all crap. You can’t be the fastest human in history without working your arse off. But it’s part of his appeal.

I sucked as an athlete, by which I mean I was deeply mediocre. I was on the bench as a high-school basketball player and tried to crash the captain’s practices in college. I had better luck in Europe, where my grad school team won a national championship and I briefly made a living as a second-tier professional in the German leagues. But the reason I quit is because I wasn’t good enough to enjoy myself. Maybe that’s an awkward phrase (which reveals something not so pleasant about me) but it also more or less describes what being an athlete is like. It’s fun to be better than people; it’s less fun not to be.

As it happens, the most dispiriting afternoon of my professional career occurred on the running track. The coach was trying to whip us into shape a few weeks before the season began. Maybe the gym was overbooked. (Part of the misery of minor-league sports is that you have to share court time with every aerobics class in town.) Anyway, after an hour of playing ball he decided to lead us on to the track. Summer dusk, after a cool day. Ten or 11 tall, tired, skinny guys trying to stretch out aching joints. And he made us run intervals – 20 metres, 40, 60 and up. Don’t kill yourself. Until we reached the 100m mark, where it suddenly turned into a race.

The first thing you realise about running 100m is that it’s not a sprint. No one (not even Bolt) can maintain peak acceleration for that long. The second thing I realised is that everyone on the team who wasn’t a muscle-bound big man was also faster than me. Sports is a rigorous profession – it is very good at sorting out the slightly better from the slightly worse. But basketball players can go through life kidding themselves that there are external factors to explain whatever has happened to their career. They couldn’t find the right system. They didn’t get the ball enough. It’s just bad luck. But running 100m felt very unlike bad luck and felt a lot like concrete fact. This is who I am, the guy who came 7th. There’s nothing you can do about it.

Which is how it works for athletes. You keep winning until you come up against the kids who are better than you, at which point you start to lose. And so the sifting begins. And once it’s over, a few people are left: Serena Williams, Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Usain Bolt. And my guess is they greet and recognise each other like X-Men when they meet – this funny thing is true about us, which we have to deal with.

So why do we warm to them? Why do we want to watch them win? This doesn’t totally make sense to me. People talk about Bolt’s charm and that’s obviously a part of it. But there’s a reason (to adapt Douglas Adams) that no language on Earth includes the phrase “as charming as an athlete”. Very slight gestures on the track get amplified into a personality. The windows of self-expression are small. A necklace tucked into the jersey, the way you stretch out your legs, settling in the blocks or jog around the track on a victory lap. Bolt has managed to find a perfect gesture for these narrow windows. It’s so famous that Obama tried it on when Bolt froze shyly in his presence on the president’s visit to Jamaica. And reality herself has been his brand consultant. No novelist could have given a sprinter a better name. All of which explains why we might remember him, but not quite why we’ve taken him to heart. Sitting on the couch, in front of the TV – rooting for someone, identifying with him, almost because he is so unlike us, so unimaginably fast.

When Eric Liddell has to justify his running career to his missionary sister (in another scene from Chariots of Fire), he says: “I feel that God made me for a purpose. But he also made me fast and when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Maybe that’s what we feel, too, watching Bolt, whether we believe in God or not. Or maybe it’s just Bolt’s pleasure we feel – the joy of being the fastest kid in the biggest playground in the world, which somehow he expresses for us and lets us partake in. Saul Bellow has a line in one of his short stories. In the end, everyone consents to the life they lead – and my experience of playing basketball backs this up. At some point in a game you consent to what’s going on. Especially when you’re losing. You say, OK, you’re right, you’ve proved it. But when you’re winning too – you have to consent to winning as well, you have to agree to victory, to accept the facts. (A version of one of Bolt’s sayings: “If I beat you in a big meet, you’re not going to beat me again.”) For some reason, we like to witness someone consent to that, too. Maybe just so we can see what it looks like.

So what’s he going to do with the rest of his life? John Updike puts this worry into the thoughts of his hero and former high school basketball star Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, as he shrugs off the shackles of family life and sets off on the road (before he shrugs them back on again). “After you’ve been first rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second rate.” But first rate doesn’t begin to express what Bolt has been. And there’s a lot of life to live after the age of 30.

Of course, it’s not over yet. He’s got one last hurrah… and it’s a mistake to understand people only according to their successes. (Online, you can still find, like a glimpse of prehistory, the heat results for the 2000 high-school championships in Jamaica. Bolt came fifth, behind Keith Spence.) Bolt doesn’t just win by showing up and for much of this season, he has struggled to break 10 seconds. Andre De Grasse is the man in form, with a (wind-assisted) 9.69sec in Stockholm a month ago. He’s made it his mission to beat Bolt before he retires. The 100m sprint is about as simple and pure as sport gets. There’s no rub of the green, or bounce of the ball, or referee’s whistle to influence the outcome. And yet there’s still something out of an athlete’s control, that remains mysterious. Has Bolt got another gold medal in him? You don’t know what you’re going to do until you do it. Whether you’ll win or lose, how fast you’ll run. Which is another way of saying you don’t know who you are until it’s over.

Bolt’s high points

Humble origins
Bolt’s father, Wellesley, still runs the grocery shop where his son once stacked shelves, while Usain claims his early motivation came from a desire to buy his mother a washing machine.

Charming in London
Bolt solidified his reputation as a lovable superhero by bookending victories with eccentric dancing, fist-bumping volunteers and taking infinite selfies.

Painful close-up
After cruising to gold in the 200m at the Beijing world championships in 2015, Bolt was run over by a cameraman on a Segway. Bolt joked that his rival Justin Gatlin was trying to have him killed.

Pointedly versatile
At a loose end in Rio last year, Bolt casually turned his hand to the javelin, loosing a maddeningly respectable throw of 56m – better than most heptathletes.

Retirement plans
Bolt is a keen footballer and has expressed a desire to play professional cricket on his retirement. In 2009, he played in a charity match and bowled Chris Gayle, the West Indies’ star batsman. Kit Buchan

Painful close-up
After cruising to gold in the 200m at the Beijing world championships in 2015, Bolt was run over by a cameraman on a Segway. Bolt joked that his rival Justin Gatlin was trying to have him killed.

Pointedly versatile
At a loose end in Rio last year, Bolt casually turned his hand to the javelin, loosing a maddeningly respectable throw of 56m – better than most heptathletes.

Retirement plans
Bolt is a keen footballer and has expressed a desire to play professional cricket on his retirement. In 2009, he played in a charity match and bowled Chris Gayle, the West Indies’ star batsman. Kit Buchan


Nafi Thiam's Unique World Champs Preparations

In a little village just outside Liege, against a backdrop of waving cornfields, two houses sit side by side. The one on the left looks like a Bond villain’s lair: a sprawling modern abode with ornate manicured hedges, extensive glass panelling and an expensive German car in the driveway. The one on the right is a skinny brick building with a modest, unassuming facade and one, maybe two, bedrooms.

The house on the left belongs to a family lawyer. The house on the right belongs to Nafi Thiam, Olympic champion.

If that seems a trifle incongruous, then it helps to get to know Thiam herself. Virtually nobody outside the rarefied world of heptathlon had heard of the 21-year-old when she pitched up in Rio de Janeiro last summer. Even Thiam barely expected to threaten the podium. Two days later, she had the gold medal, beating defending champion Jessica Ennis-Hill in one of the shocks of the Games.

Winning in Rio changed Thiam’s life forever. Ahead of this week’s world championships in London, she is not only the favourite, but one of the rising stars of the sport: young, marketable and one of only four heptathletes to break the magic 7000-point barrier. The double Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee believes her world record, which has stood for 29 years, is under imminent threat.

In another sense, however, Thiam’s life has changed curiously little. She still trains at a local track in Liege and competes in small provincial meetings. She has had the same coach since the age of 14. And during term-time, she still gathers up her books and makes the short trip to the University of Liege, where she has just finished the second year of a geography degree.

It is indicative of a young woman who, for all the rewards and fame within her grasp, is determined to live as normal a life as possible. Certainly there are few visible trappings of stardom in the home she has been living in for the last few months. The living room is light and airy; a stack of novels on the table hint at a perspective beyond the daily treadmill of eating, sleeping, training and competing.

“After Rio, everyone told me my life was going to change,” she explains. “I was a bit scared, because I didn’t want my life to change. I’m a shy person, I don’t really like to be in the spotlight. People look at me in the street, and sometimes I don’t really feel comfortable.”

On the track, however, Thiam comes into her own. Standing at over 6ft tall, powerfully yet elegantly built, she could have been made for heptathlon. The high jump and the javelin are her trump cards, and whereas she was once less assured in the running events, she has improved to the point where the great Carolina Kluft - an athlete with whom Thiam is often compared - believes she has no real weaknesses.

How does she reflect now on her Olympic Games, which began in relative anonymity and ended with a surprise phone call from the King of Belgium? “It was just two crazy days,” she says. “I never thought about winning in Rio. Even when I see videos of it now, it’s like, ‘wow’. Everything went good, no problems, just… flowing.”

But there was a problem. Six weeks before the Games, Thiam was throwing the javelin at the Belgian championships. “It was my last attempt,” she remembers. “So I really put a lot of force in it, and heard it cracking inside.”

Thiam had ripped two ligaments in her elbow. Her doctor advised surgery, but she pushed on regardless. “We worked too hard to stop,” she says. “So the doctor said, ‘OK, you can throw, but you’re probably only going to have one throw, because of the pain’.”

The pain was so severe Thiam even sat out the warm-up. And if you watch back the footage of her throw, you can see her grimacing in agony at release. She is still clutching her arm when the javelin lands 53.13 metres away. A personal best. In an Olympic final. With torn ligaments. That was when Thiam knew the gold was hers to lose.

“Every athlete feels pain sometimes,” she says. “But the Olympic Games is only every four years. For me, that was more important than the pain.”

It is a long way from the top step of the Olympic podium in Rio to the village of Rhisnes in south Belgium. That was where it all began for Thiam, in her first race, a cross-country at the age of seven. The prize: a pot of jam. “When I was a kid, I really liked eating,” she smiles now. “I thought if I do more of those competitions, I would get more jam.”

At the age of 14, Thiam started working with the celebrated coach Roger Lespagnard in Liege. Money was tight - her father had returned to Senegal and her mother, a teacher and former athlete, could not afford a car. So Thiam would take her kit to school in the morning, jump straight on the train to Liege in the evening, train for a couple of hours, do her homework on the way back, and eat her dinner alone at the kitchen table, while the rest of the house slept. It was a tough life, but Thiam says: “I never regretted it. I always knew what I wanted to do. I always wanted to do better, to see an evolution, to beat my records.”

These days, Thiam is comfortable but by no means wealthy: certainly not as wealthy as you would expect for a woman at the very top of her sport. “In Belgium, it’s really hard to live on athletics,” she says. “It’s not one of the big sports like tennis or football. I have a few sponsors, not so many. But it’s not going to allow me to live for years.”

Which is why, even with an Olympic gold in her drawer and a world championship on the horizon, she insisted on carrying on her geography degree. “I want to have something besides athletics,” she says. “I like climatology, I like geomorphology - how the earth is shaped by rivers. A lot of subjects, like a heptathlon. Maybe that’s why I love it.”

With Usain Bolt heading towards the exit, athletics is on the hunt for new icons. Strong, female icons. And yet you wonder how someone so resolutely down-to-earth will cope with the global fame that will surely be her due before long. Occasionally, she admits, she wonders the same thing.

“I really appreciate my privacy,” she says. “My private life, my family, my boyfriend. People want to know, and I understand that, but it’s something I really want to keep for me.”

Remarkably, the world championships will be Thiam’s first visit to Britain. And for all her world-beating talent, sometimes you forget how far she has come in such a short time. She trains on a simple outdoor track in Liege, and in winter you have to shovel the snow out of the inside lane before you can start. She nods when I ask whether she may eventually have to move abroad.

“Maybe,” she says. “It’s a bit sad. We have a lot of good athletes, but not too much investment. There is only one indoor track in Belgium and it’s really far from here. I would maybe be better in the high jump and long jump if I had the possibility to train in the winter.”

For Thiam’s rivals - most notably Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Morgan Lake - there is an ominous warning here, when you think of the obstacles she has overcome to get to this point. Basic facilities. Minimal funding. The difficulty of fitting training around her studies. This is a woman who won the Olympics with an injured arm. Just imagine what she could do when she really gets going.


Might De Grasse Have Bolt Running Scared?

  • Jamaican Usain Bolt is set to retire after the World Championships in London
  • Young Canadian Andre De Grasse appears to be the nominated successor
  • De Grasse won the silver medal in the 200m and bronze in the 100m at Rio
  • He arrives in London in great form and is looking to knock Bolt off his perch

In time, it may go down as one of the prophetic images of the Rio Olympic Games.

As the young Canadian Andre De Grasse and Usain Bolt edged towards the finish line during the 200m semi-finals in Rio, the pair turned to one another, exchanging smiles and playful barbs. Bolt secured victory by a margin of 0.2sec, wagging his finger at the young flyer alongside him.

It felt significant, a ceremonial handover in action, with Bolt’s message clear: not quite yet, Andre, but soon.

‘We just clicked,’ De Grasse grins. ‘I looked over, he looked over and he was smiling, saying, “You’re not going to beat me”. I was saying, “I’m coming for you, I wanna beat you, I wanna be the greatest, I wanna be the best”.

‘It just happened and the world smiled with us. I wanted him to know I’m coming. Don’t take it easy on me because I’m coming.’
According to De Grasse, he and Bolt will never be ‘rivals’.

The Jamaican eight-time Olympic gold medal-winner has declared his intention to retire following the World Championships in London, which start on Friday. De Grasse appears to be the nominated successor.

London will be dominated by Bolt’s farewell, but De Grasse will not be mistaking respect for deference. At the recent Diamond League meeting in Monaco, his coach, Stuart McMillan, suggested that Bolt had forced De Grasse out of the 100m race to clear the field for the senior man. Bolt’s management denied the claim fiercely, as has DeGrasse himself.

De Grasse, now 22, won the silver medal in the 200m and bronze in the 100m at Rio. He arrives in London for the World Championships in blistering form, having posted a wind-assisted 9.69sec, which doesn’t count for official records, in the Stockholm Diamond League last month.

Bolt has publicly endorsed De Grasse, citing similarities between the pair’s running styles and stating that the ‘sport is in good hands’ with the youngster breaking through.

Puma, Bolt’s long-term sponsor, agree. Within a month of his 21st birthday, the German sportswear company handed De Grasse the largest first contract ever granted to a track and field athlete, reported to be worth a guaranteed £7.5million, in addition to a potential £20m in bonuses.

Further lucrative commercial deals have followed from Gatorade and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. De Grasse is not a sprinter in the conventional sense: he is only 5ft 9in tall and, at 11 stone, he is 53lb lighter than Bolt.

‘To replace the greatest in Usain Bolt, I knew what I was getting into,’ De Grasse told Sportsmail. ‘I did have a bit of hesitation. Everyone can be nervous. I was thinking, “Can I handle this and take on the pressure?” I knew it would provide for myself and my family. I can’t have fears or hold back, I want to relish it.’

De Grasse’s story also inspires. He grew up playing basketball, dreaming of a career as an NBA superstar. He did not contemplate track until a friend hauled him along to a high school regional meet when he was 17.

De Grasse spent his formative years as a disaffected youth in Markham, a multiracial suburb of Toronto. As he drifted through his teenage years, hope began to ebb away.

‘Track saved my life,’ he says. ‘Life can be difficult. I fell into athletics. I remember that first race, I wasn’t prepared. I wore a T-shirt, baggy basketball shorts and borrowed a pair of spikes. I was very green. I never even knew about starting blocks.

‘The first time I ran I made a standing start, the sideways run-up like in basketball. People in the crowd were laughing. I just looked down and ran.’

De Grasse ran 10.9sec. Tony Sharpe, the former Canadian Olympic sprinter, happened to be in the crowd scouting a different 400m runner. Startled by De Grasse’s time, Sharpe immediately recruited the sprinter.

At last, De Grasse found the purpose he craved. Sharpe has described a battle between ‘good and evil’ pulling De Grasse in different directions.

De Grasse says: ‘As a teenager, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I lacked guidance and direction. Basketball wasn’t working.’
He credits his mother, Beverley, with always being there for him. ‘She made massive sacrifices for me, paying for basketball camps, working two jobs, dropping me to every practice, every time she got me there no matter what. A lot of parents don’t do that. She gave me that wisdom. My dad... he’s been in and out... we are OK but he lives in Barbados.’

In early interviews, De Grasse admitted to falling in with the wrong crowd and taking recreational drugs. ‘I never really did drugs,’ he says now, ‘but I was lost. I find it hard to explain to people what might have happened if I didn’t have sport... I really don’t know where I would have ended up.’

He grimaces when asked what became of his old friends. ‘I have no idea . . . not good, it’s hard. I maybe have two or three friends left from high school. I had problems in my 10th grade, things weren’t going right. Mum took me out of one particular school and changed things for me.’

De Grasse has seen through his education, taking a two-month break after Rio to fulfil his sociology degree after earning a scholarship at the University of Southern California.

The word ‘hope’ is tattooed on his inner forearm. ‘I don’t believe the world is fair. You see it everywhere. I’ve seen things all over the world, whether it’s Doha or in Canada or America. I see how people live. You drive through neighbourhoods on your way to events. Brazil was striking for that.

‘You go past these slum parts and it’s not fair. If these kids had the opportunity or met someone to give them the opportunity, things would be different.

‘My brother got me into that because he has a Masters in social work. I’ve been with him to see kids who have really grown up with nothing. I wanted the degree so I can do it properly.’

Now De Grasse wants to gatecrash Bolt’s grand farewell: ‘I was a bit disappointed after Rio because I felt I could beat Bolt in the 200m. I had a good semi-finals and then in the final, maybe the last 20 or 30 metres, I just had very little left in the tank. I was relaxed and felt ready but maybe just six races over six days hit me and I had nothing left.

‘It’s not a rivalry,’ he says of the relationship he has on the track with Bolt. ‘He has dominated for so long. I’ve still not beaten him — but I’d love to. To have a rivalry you have to have a back and forth. He is on his way out and a veteran. I’m trying to prove myself.

‘I want to be an Olympic champion, world champion, maybe even a world record. I’m determined to be the best.’


Eilidh Doyle will lead with her heart as Great Britain skipper

EILIDH DOYLE will tap into what’s fast-becoming a unique knowledge of home championships to lead the Great Britain team into London 2017.

The 30-year-old hurdler from Perth was elected captain by her fellow athletes last week, the first time the position has been decided by peer voting.

The World Athletics Championships complete a hat-trick of global events on home soil for the Scot after the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

And she hopes to make it four with the World Indoor Championships staged in Birmingham next March.

“I’ve been extremely lucky,” Eilidh says. “It’s brilliant if you can get just one opportunity to compete at a home championship. When I look back on my career, I’ll see just how fortunate I was.

“Many athletes say that after an Olympics there’s usually a down period, but I’ve always had something to aim at. After 2012, I had Glasgow and after Rio I’ve had this.

“When I make my speech as captain, I’ll draw on my experiences of competing in a home championship. I’ll just talk from the heart like I always do.

“I think it’s really important to use that home element, as we did in 2012 and we Scots did in Glasgow. I’ll stress how the fantastic home support can get you fired up.”

For Doyle, the captaincy is one of a number of additional elements that have combined to make these Championships even more significant for her.

“I was surprised to be nominated, because I felt there were so many more athletes ahead of me in terms of what they’d achieved,” she says.

“It definitely adds an extra dimension to a championship that I was so excited about anyway.

“And there’s a source of extra pride to be captaining so many fellow Scots in the British team.

“It also shows how Scottish athletics has developed and everything that’s come out of Glasgow 2014.

“And they’re not in the team to make up the numbers. They’re capable of competing with the best in the world. They can win medals.”


was 2012 in fact the dirtiest Olympics ever?

  • One in seven of all finalists have doped. either before or since London 2012
  • More than one third of all finalists at the Games are connected to doping
  • Russia are the worst offenders but also Jamaica, Turkey and Belarus

They promised to be the cleanest Olympic Games — but are, in fact, contenders to be the dirtiest. It was hailed the greatest track and field programme in history — yet an investigation by The Mail on Sunday can now reveal that almost one in seven of the finalists had been sanctioned for doping offences.

And while capacity crowds at London roared on track and field stars at the 2012 Olympics, few of those in the £430million stadium, which their taxes had paid for, would have imagined that more than one third of those competing in finals had some kind of connection to doping.

And yet, as the stars descend on London once again for this week's World Athletics Championships, which was a promised legacy from those tainted Games, the full truth of the London 2012 track and field programme is only now emerging.

The Mail on Sunday has analysed the London 2012 athletics results over the past month in the light of the Russian drugs scandal and the ongoing revelations of doping around the world, and the shocking results, which have been hailed as ground-breaking by senior Olympic officials, athletes and coaches, show:

Out of 656 track and field finalists at the London 2012 Olympics, 87 finalists or 13 per cent had previously committed a doping violation or have since done so; that's almost one in seven.

A further 138 finalists or 21 per cent fall into a category which suggests they have an association with doping, in that their coach, agent or doctor is associated with doping or has been investigated; or they have failed or missed a drug test but evaded a ban; or leaks from the Fancy Bears hacking website have revealed suspicions around their blood profiles.

That means more than one third of the stars of the London 2012 athletics programme — 34 per cent — were either dopers or have support staff or profiles which suggest some kind of connection to doping.

The worst country was unsurprisingly Russia, whose systematic doping has since been exposed.

Of their 53 finalists, 29 have committed doping violations, with gold medallists Sergey Kirdyapkin (50km walk), Tatyana Lysenko (hammer) Mariya Savinova (800m) and Yuliya Zaripova (3,000m steeplechase) all since stripped of their medals after re-testing of their samples.

Yet the scandal is a global issue rather than a Russian problem. Of Turkey's nine finalists, four have been sanctioned for doping. Eight of the 21 Jamaican finalists have been sanctioned — though one of these was only for cannabis. And half of Belarusian finalists, seven out of 14, have committed doping offences.

The dirtiest race of the games — now dubbed the dirtiest race in history — is the women's 1,500m, where five of the top nine runners have since or had previously received doping bans, including gold and silver medallists Asli Cakir Alptekin, who has been stripped of her medal, and Gamze Bulut, both from Turkey.

The women's 4x100m final alone featured seven sprinters who have been sanctioned for doping offences: two from Jamaica, two from Ukraine, two from Trinidad and Tobago, one from Nigeria as well as another sprinter from Brazil whose case is still in progress.

Other countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya, which have no athletes on the list who have been convicted of doping, have since been identified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as territories where testing has been inadequate, with Ethiopia placed on a 'critical' list prior to Rio 2016 by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

International Olympic Committee (IOC) figures, former athletes and coaches expressed their shock at the figures on Saturday night and paid tribute to the depth of the research compiled by The Mail on Sunday.

'These are impressive statistics,' said Dick Pound, the most senior IOC member and the former head of WADA. 'I think it's a great story and a bit of a wake-up call to folks. With that amount of smoke, there is bound to be fire and it's very troubling for athletics.'

Toni Minichiello, coach to Jessica Ennis-Hill, London 2012 heptathlon gold medallist, said: 'That's quite a shocking level. I'm stunned by that. I don't know what to say. It's very, very sad. It is a harrowing figure, a horrible figure and I feel embarrassed about my sport to hear those kind of figures. The man in the pub will just say: 'You must all be at it.' The depth of testing and investment has to be increased.'

Jenny Meadows, the 2009 world bronze medallist over 800m and 2011 European Indoor champion, who lost numerous medals to athletes who have since proven to be cheats, said: 'That is quite a staggering statistic. But I think it needs to be told. And it isn't just Russia — it's other nations as well. Russia are getting the brunt of it and were the biggest offenders but it's going on in other nations and it spoils the authenticity of our sport.'

Pound, whose WADA Independent Commission in 2015 revealed the extent of what he described as state-sponsored and systematic doping in Russia, agreed and said: 'In that commission I said that it would be naive to think that Russia was the only country involved and that athletics was the only sport. There are a lot of bad folks prepared to do whatever they think they have to do to win and that is a problem across sports.'

The full extent of the doping across nations in track and field at London 2012 has only emerged in recent years, with German TV broadcaster ARD's documentary on Russian doping prompting Pound's inquiry which showed that senior IAAF figures, including then president Lamine Diack, contrived to cover up doping so that athletes were clear to compete in London.

Much of the recent exposure of cheats has also been done by a reformed IAAF, but with the sport, now under the leadership of London 2012 chairman Seb Coe, attempting to showcase itself in London this week, our figures demonstrate quite how widespread and deep the doping culture was.

On Thursday it will be five years since track and field began at the London Olympics and, with even the morning sessions in the stadium sold out for heats, the track programme was judged the most-successful ever in the post-War era.

Diack, since disgraced for covering up doping, was particularly enthused and praised the British public in 2012 at a long and rambling press conference. 'Eighty thousand seats filled in the morning, afternoon and evening. Here you had people who know athletics, love it and react to it.' Alongside him was his soon-to-be successor Coe, who said: 'It's an incredible opportunity to showcase our sport in the best possible light.'

Before the Games, the IOC had promised that London would be one of the cleanest ever. Coe said: 'What I can say to athletes coming to London is that we will have the technology in place that is in excess of any technology that you have ever encountered anywhere in the world.' IOC member Denis Oswald, who now heads up one of the inquiries into Russian doping, said before the Games: 'About 6,000 athletes will be tested during the Games and all participants will have been tested several times before the Games. We've done the best we could do to have the cleanest possible Games next summer.'

While the new-look IAAF and Coe have received praise for being one of the few federations which is now taking the problem seriously, Pound does not believe that his colleagues in the IOC or across federations are committed to ensuring clean sport.

He said: 'I have said before, the percentage of dopers is in double figures and yet we catch around two per cent. That indicated to me that the testing wasn't effective which is why WADA put together the study group last year to investigate why. Our science is pretty robust, our system is good, so why isn't it working? Our conclusion was people didn't want it to work.'

Pound is also critical of the IOC for hiving off responsibility to WADA. 'I think the leadership of sport is responsible for making sure that sport is clean,' he said. 'This business of trying to push it off on to an independent body on the basis that, well, you have a conflict of interest. The people promoting the sport and selling TV rights on the basis that it is clean sport are washing their hands of the doping and corruption side of it.'

Meadows and Minichiello echo those concerns. Meadows frequently raced Savinova, who was stripped of her 800m 2012 gold and was shown to have participated in systematic doping. Savinova has kept her gold medals from the 2010 world indoors, where Meadows was second, and 2009 European indoors, where Meadows was fourth. She has been disqualified from the 2010 European Championships, which she won and Meadows was third.

'I feel really let down,' said Meadows. 'That was my time. The three years when I was winning medals, several are the wrong colour. We expect fans to turn out and we want them to believe what they see.'

Though Meadows will be at the championships this week and says she retains her faith in the sport to reform, she admits that the revelations about doping contributed to her decision to retire. 'In 2015, when all these allegations came out, I had just lost the heart for it,' she said.

'When push came to shove in training and I had to take myself to a dark place, my mind wouldn't connect with my body and I couldn't do it anymore. It was just like I had lost the belief and the drive. It [doping] prevented me from getting medals at the pinnacle of my career and then meant I ran out of steam and love for the sport in the last 18 months of my career. And I walked away thinking, 'I don't want to be a part of this'.'

Minichiello will be in London this week as a BBC commentator and next Sunday will watch Ennis-Hill finally receive a gold medal from the 2011 world championships, originally awarded to Russian Tatyana Chernova, who beat Ennis-Hill into second but whose sample was later shown to contain steroids.

'It's pleasing she's getting the medal that she deserves,' he said. 'It's just that it's dragged out for so long. We're looking at a sample which was taken in 2009 and we're now in 2017. Chernova should have been caught in 2009 but she competed for four more years.

'If doping is at this level … it shows there's isn't enough anti-doping going on at the major championships. These stats wouldn't occur if there was a greater depth of testing at the time and leading into a major championships.'

The IAAF has stressed that since 2012, the leadership has changed and they have been the most forceful in responding to the crisis, by banning Russia from the federation.

They have set up the Athletics Integrity Unit — independently tasked with cleaning up the sport.

The IAAF said: 'Eighty per cent of the disqualified athletes from London 2012 are from four countries, the largest offender of which being Russia. Their athletes were let down by their national system which in turn failed to safeguard the goals and ambitions of clean athletes the world over. The IAAF Taskforce is working with their counterparts in RusAF to establish a system which addresses those failings and protects the level playing field of competition.'

The IOC failed to respond to emails asking for comment.


The World Championships, By The Numbers

Usain Bolt will bring the curtain down on his remarkable career in London.

The Athletics World Championships come to London’s Olympic Stadium from August 4 to 13.

Here, we take a look at the event in numbers.

10
– duration in days of the event.

16

– it is the 16th staging of the World Championships, the first coming in 1983 in Helsinki.

48
– the number of medal events across the competition.

60,000
– the capacity of the London Stadium when restored to ‘athletics mode’. It can hold 54,000 for West Ham football matches or up to 80,000 for concerts.

£9.58

– the cost of child tickets for the Championships, in honour of Usain Bolt’s world record 100 metres time of 9.58 seconds at the 2009 Championships in Berlin. There are also ‘Jackson’ (£12.91), ‘Edwards’ (£18.29) and ‘Gunnell’ (£52.74) tickets on specific days in honour of Britain’s world record holders.

87
– athletes selected in the Great Britain team.

207
– the record number of international federations which competed at the 2015 Championships in Beijing, with a total of 1,931 athletes in action.

4,000
– the number of volunteers – known as ‘runners’ – set to be involved in the staging of the event.


Wlodarczyk Now Has 17 Throws Over 80m

With her spectacular series yesterday—the best mark missing her own WR by just 11cm—Anita Wlodarczyk now has 17 throws past the 80m (262-5) barrier. Nobody else has even 1.

Here's what she did in Cetniewo: 263-10, 271-10, 264-8, 264-10, 267-9 (80.42, 82.87, 80.69, 80.73, 81.63, f)

That's an average of 266-7 (81.27).

Her 17 throws over 80m all-time, with Cetniewo in bold (! = secondary mark in a series):

82.98 | 272-3...... Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland)........... 8/28/16

82.87 | 271-10..... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 7/29/17

82.29 | 269-11..... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 8/15/16

81.77 | 268-3...... ———Wodarczyk !.................... 8/28/16

81.74 | 268-2...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 8/15/16

81.63 | 267-9...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 7/29/17

81.27 | 266-7...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 8/28/16

81.08 | 266-0...... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 8/01/15

80.85 | 265-3...... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 8/27/15

80.79 | 265-0...... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 7/23/17

80.73 | 264-10..... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 7/29/17

80.69 | 264-8...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 7/29/17

80.42 | 263-10..... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 7/29/17

80.40 | 263-9...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 8/15/16

80.31 | 263-6...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 8/28/16

80.27 | 263-4...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 8/27/15

80.26 | 263-4...... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 7/12/16

Overall, Wlodarczyk has the 24 farthest throws in the world this year and the top 29 all-time.


ASA bosses hog the light

On Friday, Athletics SA (ASA) was still making changes to its original team for this week’s World Championships – a list that swelled from 24 to 29.

The additional numbers were at the behest of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which asked one of the more understaffed competing countries to fill vacant spots “to complete the fields in [these] respective disciplines”, said ASA’s press release explaining how their “lean and mean” team was getting flabbier by the day.

The story of how the London-bound team went from 24 of 38 athletes who met the IAAF qualifying marks; was pruned to 23 when the governing body vetoed one of ASA’s favoured athletes; and then grew to 26 and finally 29 is a neat encapsulation of how administrators at ASA are past masters at cocking up a sure thing.

In a season in which the athletes’ performances – led by – got the sport to elbow for room with soccer, rugby and cricket in the nation’s consciousness, the folks at ASA couldn’t help but fritter away pretty much all that goodwill by selecting a team that almost felt like it was designed to show the athletes who’s boss.

And with that act of inexplicable spite – the IAAF would have paid for all 38 athletes who met its qualifying standards, but the ASA was inconsistent about which of the athletes who didn’t achieve its more stringent marks got selected – the administrators once again nudged the athletes out of the spotlight.

But despite the efforts of a handful of officials who were exposed for not understanding their own sport this week, the world championships will not only go on for the South African athletes, it will also be a good one.

There is much excitement over world 400m world record-holder Van Niekerk’s attempt at also winning the 200m; Manyonga’s goal to go one step up on the rostrum from his Olympic silver in the long jump last year; Semenya’s late entry for the middle distance double (800m and 1 500m); Simbine’s hopes for a first major championship medal in the 100m; and Sunette Viljoen’s perennial struggle to crack the golden nod in the javelin, especially after silver in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last year.

Away from the usual suspects, Ruswahl Samaai is a dark horse for a medal at the very least in the long jump, while, if rumours of South Africa getting a reprieve and possibly getting a 4x100m relay team due to three teams pulling out are true, there could be a possible medal there, too.

Looking at Van Niekerk, most were worried about how close Botswana’s Isaac Makwala got to him in his last 400m race in Monaco, and this before the world championships this week, in a season in which he has posted personal bests in the 100m (9.94sec), the 200m (19.84sec) the 300m (30.81sec) and the world lead in the 400m (43.62sec).

Former South Africa sprints coach Marc Labuschagne was one of the concerned observers, but it wasn’t because of how close Makwala was to beating Van Niekerk:

“My worry is what he’s done to his legs when you consider he’s still got to go through all the rounds in the 200m and the 400m.

“It’s not the total mileage he’s done [Van Niekerk’s only raced twice in the 200m], it’s the time he ran.

"That was something like the fifth-fastest time in the world, so you worry about his recovery by the time he runs in the world championships.”

Labuschagne then said he was splitting hairs and “trying to find a chink in his armour, but if I were to bet my house on it, I would still bet Wayde”.

Another “concern” was Manyonga, who won but pulled up lame in his last Diamond League jump in Stockholm, the injury being a sore ankle.

But his coach, Neil Cornelius, said that was a thing of the past.

“It’s sorted out, it was sorted out a while ago,” he said.

“We’ve had an excellent week’s preparation in good weather in Durban and there’s no soreness and no discomfort. So, physically and mentally, he’s good to go.

“Before the Olympics, we didn’t compete for a month, but we’ve been able to prepare at 100% intensity here.

"We’ve also had time to fix all the things I was worried about: his landing has really impressed me and his drift to the side is better.”


5 Records On Day 6 At USATF Junior Olympics

LAWRENCE, Kansas -- Perfect weather and a packed house produced five national age group records on the penultimate day of USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships at Rock Chalk Park.

Watch on demand video of today’s events on USATF.TV+ and cheer on USATF Future Stars live tomorrow starting at 8:00 a.m. CT.

The 800m finals boasted two Junior Olympic and national records in the 8 & Under boys’ division and the 9-10 boys’ competition. In the 8 & Under race, Grant Reynolds (Conyers, Georgia; USATF Georgia) went out hard and never looked back after passing through 400m three seconds ahead of the field. Reynolds eclipsed the previous record of 2:29.55, running 2:28.59 for a new JO and national record. Brandon Leacock (Rolesville, North Carolina; USATF North Carolina) followed Reynolds lead and used decisive front running tactics finishing in 2:18.51.

As the track events came to a close for the day, Elite Eagles - A and Track Houston Youth Track Club - A stormed down the homestretch in the 15-16 boys’ division of the 4x100m Relay. Both teams broke the previous national record of 40.90, Elite Eagles would claim the title in 40.56 and Track Houston would finish second in 40.86.

After setting a national record in the preliminary rounds of the 9-10 girls’ 200m on Thursday, Tarrianna Jackson (East Point, Georgia; USATF Georgia) was back on the track and again broke her own record of 26.32 running 26.10 in the final. In two races this week, Jackson has taken .40 off a 13-year-old record set back in 2004 by Robin Reynolds.

The track was not the only site of record breaking performances, on the high jump apron Tierra Hooker (Sicklerville, New Jersey; USATF New Jersey) set a national age group record in the 13-14 girls’ high jump. After passing on 1.75m/5-8.75, the youngster from New Jersey raised the bar to 1.77m/5-9.75 and was clear over the bar on her second attempt to best the previous record of 1.74m/5-8.5 set in 1986 by Cheryl Mills.

In near-perfect distance running weather, the 3000m finals started the day in fine fashion. The 15-16 boys’ race was won by Brayden Harris (McClure, Pennsylvania; USATF Mid-Atlantic) in 9:14.49. Harris ran a smart race by sitting in the pack while the leader changed multiple times over the first two kilometers. He made his move with 400m to go, sliding in front of Alex Mainvielle (Torrance, California, USATF Southern California) and closing hard to win by two seconds over Mainvielle, who would go on to run 9:16.81.

Kennedy Lightner (Little Rock, Arkansas; USATF Arkansas) kept the crowd on their feet as he nearly set his second national record of the week in the 15-16 boys’ 200m running 21.01.

In Saturday’s only semi-final event, Alexander Nunley (Garner, North Carolina, USATF North Carolina) of Run U Express solidified himself as the clear favorite for tomorrow’s 13-14 boys’ 100m hurdle final. The athlete, who is coached by 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson, was the only athlete to run under 13.40 and is the fastest in the field by .25 seconds.

SATURDAY FINALS:


Girls’ 3000m 11-12
Cleo Naranjo, El Paso Panthers Running Club, 10:44:08

Boys’ 3000m 11-12
Ethan Vander Meer, Unattached, 9:52.13

Girls’ 3000m 13-14
Sophie Atkinson, Track Houston Youth Track Club, 10:02.04

Boys’ 3000m 13-14
Brayden Harris, Juniata Valley Striders, 9:14.49

Girls’ 3000m 15-16
Autumn Princ, Kansas Flyers Track Team, 10:22.55

Women’s 3000m 17-18
Malakai Holloway, Eagle Wings, 10:42.76

Girls’ 200m 8 & Under
Madison Poythress, Star Track, 29.42 N



Boys’ 200m 8 & Under
Noah Roberts, Quicksilver Track Club, 28.11

Girls’ 200m 9-10
Tarrianna Jackson, Need 4 Speed, 26.10 N

Boys’ 200m 9-10
Chandler Jordan, Jackrabbit Track & Field Club, 26.06

Girls’ 200m 11-12 
JaMeesia Ford, Fayetteville Flyers, 25.30

Boys’ 200m 11-12 
Myles Pendarvis, Cobra Track, 24.46

Girls’ 200m 13-14
Kayla Davis, Run U Express, 23.60

Boys’ 200m 13-14
Quaron Adams, Unattached, 22.31 + 2.1m/s

Girls’ 200m 15-16
Alexa Rossum, ATL Zoom Athletics, 23.90

Boys’ 200m 15-16
Kennedy Lightner, Fellowship of Champions, 21.01 N

Women’s 200m 17-18
Kynnedy Flannel, Track Houston Youth Track Club, 23.54

Men’s 200m 17-18
De’Shawn Ballard, Port City Track Club, 21.17

Girls’ 800m Run 8 & Under
Micah Neal, Mach 1 TC, 2:40.66

Boys’ 800m Run 8 & Under
Grant Reynolds, Mark Trail Flying Eagles, 2:28.59

Girls’ 800m Run 9-10
Aamerie Anderson, Eagles Elite, 2:27.97

Boys’ 800m Run 9-10
Brandon Leacock, Roseville Lightning, 2:18.51 J N 

Girls’ 800m Run 11-12
Cha’iel Johnson, Miami Gardens Xpress, 2:15.98

Boys’ 800m Run 11-12
Tyler Hunt, Diablo Valley Track & Field, 2:10.57

Girls’ 800m Run 13-14
Michaela Rose, FIA Ambassadors, 2:12.14

Boys’ 800m Run 13-14
Malik Campbell, Track Houston Youth Track Club, 2:01.06

Girls’ 800m Run 15-16
Emoni Coleman, Need 4 Speed, 2:17.22

Boys’ 800m Run 15-16
Aden Baughman, Revolution Running & Fitness, 1:56.72

Women’s 800m Run 17-18
Jean Jenkins, Afterburners Track, 2:12.30

Men’s 800m Run 17-18
Britt Sease, Unattached, 1:53.12

Girls’ 400m Relay 8 & Under
River Cities Track - A, 1:00.97

Boys’ 400m Relay 8 & Under
Track Houston Youth Track Club - A, 57.55

Girls’ 400m Relay 9-10
Willis/Camden PAL- A, 54.50 

Boys’ 400m Relay 9-10
Hallmark Track - A, 52.47

Girls’ 400m Relay 11-12
Track Houston Youth Track Club - A, 49.91

Boys’ 400m Relay 11-12
Jackrabbit Track & Field Club - A, 49.99

Girls’ 400m Relay 13-14
Track Houston Youth Track Club- A, 46.86

Boys’ 400m Relay 13-14
Desoto Nitro- A, 44.56

Girls’ 400m Relay 15-16
ATL Zoom Athletics- A , 45.61

Boys’ 400m Relay 15-16
Elite Eagles- A, 40.56 J N

Women’s 400m Relay 17-18
Team QUEST- A, 45.52

Men’s 400m Relay 17-18
Port City Track Club- A, 40.38

Boys’ Long Jump 13-14
Curtis Williams, Tallahassee Zoom Track, 6.45m/21-2



Girls’ High Jump 15-16
Annika Williams, Northwest Flyers Track, 5-8¾ 

Men’s Javelin Throw 17-18
Chandler Ault, 65.71m/217-7

Girls’ Discus Throw 11-12
Layla McGee, East Palo Alto Greyhounds, 32.00m/105-0

Boys’ Shot Put 9-10
Jeremiah Kelley, 9.50m/31-2

Boys’ Pole Vault 15-16
Samuel Wright, Lodi, 4.75m/15-7

Boys’ Long Jump 11-12
Kai Rednour-Bruckman, Diablo Valley Track & Field, 5.29m/17-4¼

Girls’ High Jump 13-14
Tierra Hooker, Willis/Camden PAL, 5-9¾ J N

Boys’ Shot Put 13-14
Tucker Smith, Columbus Running, 16.46m/54-0

Girls’ Javelin Throw 15-16
Jamila Otieno, Throw1deep Club, 40.49m/132-10

Girls’ Discus Throw 13-14
Results not available at this time, will update

Boys’ Long Jump 8 & Under
Noah Roberts, Quicksilver Track Club, 4.20m/13-9½

Girls’ Long Jump 11-12 
Results not available at this time, will update


Bolt won't be easily replaced

Muhammad Ali stood alone on many fronts, but Joe Frazier, George Foreman and a few others still stood toe-to-toe with him in the ring. Jack Nicklaus contended with Arnold Palmer on the front end of his career and Tom Watson on the back end.

Usain Bolt? Nobody has been a match for him, on or off the track.

The man who reshaped the record book and saved his sport is saying goodbye. His sprints through the 100 meters and Jamaica's 4x100 relay at the world championships, which begin Friday, are expected to produce golds yet again, and leave track with this difficult question: Who can possibly take his place?

"You would have to have someone who's dominating, and no one's doing that," said Michael Johnson, the former world-record holder at 200 and 400 meters and perhaps the sport's brightest star in the 1990s. "You'd have to have someone who has that something special like he has, in terms of personality and presence. You're not going to have that."

Though he will not retire undefeated, Bolt stands in the rarest of company: an athlete who was never beaten when the stakes were greatest. And with a showman's flair as transcendent as his raw speed -- Chicken McNuggets for dinner, his fabled "To The World" pose for dessert and dancing away at nightclubs till dawn -- he hoisted his entire, troubled sport upon his shoulders and made it watchable and relevant.

Since his era of dominance began in 2008, Bolt went undefeated at the Olympics -- 9 for 9 -- in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay. (One of those medals was stripped because of doping by a teammate on the 2008 relay team.



) He has set, and re-set, the world records in all three events. His marks of 19.30, then 19.19, at 200 meters, were once thought virtually impossible. He set a goal of breaking 19 seconds in Rio de Janeiro last summer, and when he came up short, it became clear the barrier will be safe for years.
At the world championships, Bolt's only "loss" came in 2011, when he was disqualified for a false start in the 100 meters. Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake won the title that year, as well as the Jamaican national championships at 100 and 200 meters leading to the London Olympics. Heading back to London five years later, Blake is an afterthought.

And Bolt's mastery of this sport remains unchallenged.

"I'll be sad to see someone like him go," said America's Justin Gatlin, Bolt's longest and sturdiest challenger, who has been disingenuously portrayed as the brooding bad boy set against Bolt's carefree party guy. "He's such a big figure in our sport. Not only is he a big figure, but the kind of guy who always will be a competitor when he steps onto the line."

Though it's tricky to compare dominance in track to that in any other sport, there's an element of Nicklaus in Bolt's dominance. Impressive as his 18 major championships are, Nicklaus' 19 second-place finishes and 73 top-10s spoke to his ability to get into the mix in most of the majors over the quarter-century while he was collecting titles. Nicklaus had to fend off Palmer, Watson, Johnny Miller and a dozen other legitimate contenders at every event. Bolt hasn't faced anything like that.

Yet they shared this important similarity: Often, the contests were over before they even began. Or, as Tom Weiskopf once said: "Jack knew he was going to beat you. You knew Jack was going to beat you. And Jack knew that you knew that he was going to beat you."

At the worlds two years ago, Gatlin had Bolt beaten in the 100 but leaned in at the finish line a microsecond too early. Bolt passed him and won by 0.01 seconds. The American all but admitted he psyched himself out.

Speaking to the pressure of racing someone such as Bolt, the Scottish sports historian and former Olympic coach Tom McNab compared sprinting to running in a tunnel.

"And once you become aware of what's happening outside your tunnel, you're in trouble," he said.

In boxing, Ali wasn't necessarily unbeatable, but he was incomparable as both a sharp-witted showman and an athlete with a social conscience, using his platform to preach tolerance and oppose war.

Bolt hasn't sought that sort of impact, at least not yet, but it's hard to overstate the mark he made on his troubled sport and, thus, the Olympics, which have long featured athletics as the must-see event of the final two weeks.

Over years and decades, the showcase sport of the Olympics has devolved into a sordid litany of doping scandals. The latest concerns widespread corruption and cheating in Russia, and heading into Rio, it undermined not only the sport and its managers, but the Olympics and their leaders' willingness to deal with it.

But when Bolt sauntered onto the track, flashed a peace sign and blew a kiss to the crowd, all was forgotten. Not just for the 9, or 19, seconds while he was running, but for the entire evening and beyond. He made track, and thus, the Olympics, eminently watchable.

He'll do it one more time on a smaller stage -- track's world championships -- but a stage with plenty of symbolic meaning.

When he headed to London for the Olympics in 2012, Bolt held all the records, but was portrayed as vulnerable, following the false start, a long list of nagging injuries and his losses to Blake.

By the time he left, he had pretty much anointed himself as the greatest. Four years later, he said that was precisely his goal: "To be among Ali and Pele," he said.

He's on that list, but when the lights go out after the relays Aug. 11 -- 10 days before his 31st birthday -- it will be time to say goodbye.

"Once he's gone," McNab says, "there's no major personality that would make any significant impact at the world level."


Raymond Kibet Aiming For The 400 Final London plans

Kenya’s Raymond Kibet, a chemical engineering student at Tulane University in New Orleans, USA, will be a man on a mission at the World Championships slated for August 4 to 13 in London.

Kibet, who clocked a personal best 45.21 seconds two months ago in the USA to qualify for the World Championships men’s 400m, and won the Kenyan trials, will be targeting a sub 44 seconds in London, which should put him in the final.

“ I had a good season in 20, took a slump in 2016 but I am glad to be back strong,” said Kibet, who now has a planned programme for the next two years with his focus on winning gold at 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Even though Nicholas Bett won the World 400m hurdles title in 2015 Beijing and Boniface Mucheru silver in 400m hurdles at Rio Olympic Games, Kibet reckons that sprinters are not getting the attention they deserve in the country.

He now feels that excelling in 400m in London will draw Kenyans’ attention to the short races and perhaps appreciation that plenty of talents lies in the country.

Also in Team Kenya’s 400m men’s side are National champion Collins Omae and African Games 400m silver medallist Boniface Mweresa.

“I want Kenyans to know that the country too has quality and talented sprinters,” said Kibet adding that the performance of Kenyan sprinters at the just ended World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi was a case in point.

Moitalel Mpoke and Mary Moraa claimed silver medals for Kenya in boys’ 400m hurdles and girls’ 400m respectively.

“This shows what Kenya can do if more attention is given to sprints in terms of equipment and quality coaching,” said Kibet.

He said that it’s his move to the USA where he is studying after the Rio Olympics that greatly improved his game.

Kibet, 21, said lack of proper coaching and equipment while in Kenya in addition to lack of exposure was his main undoing until he met coach Eric Peterson in Louisiana, USA.

“I was weak off the blocks, I didn’t know how to load towards competition and I lacked exposure and a good coach,” said Kibet, who draws his inspiration from world champion Bett.

“I have improved greatly in the last one year where I have competed frequently besides being introduced to the gym by Peterson.”


Ujah Wants To Spoil Bolt's Farewell Race

CHIJINDU UJAH is ready to hit top gear at the World Championships to try to give Usain Bolt the biggest shock of his stunning sporting life.

Britain’s No.1 sprinter is relishing what may be the last chance he gets on the track to tackle the planet’s fastest man.

Bolt, 30, has decided it is the perfect time to hang up his running shoes once he has displayed his explosive speed in the 100 and 4x100m relay at the London Stadium event which starts on Friday.

Justin Gatlin, the last man to defeat the Jamaican, claims his old rival will do a U-turn and carry on competing “because he loves it so badly”.

 

But if Bolt does race off into the sunset after his latest visit to the 2012 Olympic venue, Ujah wants to try and make his farewell he does so with his tail between his legs.

Ujah, 23, who failed to make the Rio Olympics 100m Final by 0.01secs, showed he is in hot form when winning the Diamond League 100m in Morocco recently when he ran under 10 seconds again.

His personal best of 9.96secs may be well adrift of Bolt’s world record 9.58 but Ujah, the youngest Brit to break the 10sec time barrier, said: “Psychologically it’s a big thing to beat him. He’s won so many titles but you can’t be thinking about that when you line up next to him. If I can beat him now it will give me the world of confidence.

“It was Bolt who inspired me into athletics when I was watching him back nearly 10 years ago. I did follow athletics a little bit when my parents used to watch it on TV but I just used to watch the finals.

“But then in 2008 it was the first major championships where I actually followed heats, semis and finals. I was actually waking up early to come and watch everything. So that really inspired me.

“When I was pretty young I used to see famous athletes all the time at meets and people would ask why I wasn’t taking pictures of them like everyone else. But I felt I belonged there. I was never fazed by celebrity.”

And he added: “I don’t really take being British champion as anything special because I’ve got to race against the world’s best.

“As a British team we have to realise yes, it’s great being the best in our country but you have to raise your game on the world stage. I’m excited about the World Championships in my own backyard. I want to stand up and perform.”

Mo Farah also takes centre stage again, bidding to light up his “second home” in Stratford as he did five years ago at London 2012. Farah, 34, is delaying his retirement until the Diamond League Final in Zurich on August 24.

The only man to achieve an incredible triple double – winning gold medals in two events in three successive major Championships – is keen to put on another spectacular 5,000m and 10,000m show.

He said: “I’m not quite in the shape I’d like to be at this stage but I’m moving well so I hope it’ll go well on the day.

“It will be emotional. But for now, I can’t really think about it too much. I just have to get my head down and put in the graft.”

Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads the British women’s medal hopes. The Liverpudlian, 24, will also bid to step out of the shadows of the now retired Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Johnson-Thompson, who finished sixth in Rio, said: “I’ve changed so much to my performance since Rio, the way I approach each individual event. I feel in a great place to really show my best in London.”


5 To Watch At The World Championships

The world’s best athletes will compete in London next month.

Usain Bolt will run his final race on the global stage, while 2012 Olympic 110metres hurdles champion Aries Merritt is aiming for more London glory following a kidney transplant in 2015.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the ones to watch in London this summer.

Usain Bolt

How can the Jamaican be ignored? It will be his swansong after a glittering career, and Bolt is expected to bow out in style. The eight-time Olympic champion is at home in the capital having defended his 100m and 200m Olympic titles in London five years ago. This time he will look to retain the 100m and 4x100m golds he won in Beijing two years ago. He will not defend his 200m crown. Athletics will not be the same without Bolt, so dominant since his first Olympic triumphs in Beijing nine years ago, and he will want to go out with a bang.

Aries Merritt

The hurdler has made a comeback from a kidney transplant in 2015 and returns to the London Stadium for a major championships for the first time since winning Olympic gold in 2012. He remains the world record holder for the 110m hurdles – clocking 12.80 seconds in 2012 – and won his Anniversary Games race in July. It followed his Diamond League victory in Rome and he will be aiming to top the bronze medal he secured in Beijing two years ago – just four days before his kidney surgery. Merritt has gradually got quicker since his comeback and his season’s best of 13.09secs is joint fourth in the world this year.

Elaine Thompson

The Jamaican sprint queen is the reigning Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m and is favourite to claim the 100m in London. The 25-year-old has run the two fastest times of 2017 – clocking 10.71 and 10.78 – with Trinidad’s Michelle-Lee Ahye the closest in 10.82. She finished second in the 200m in Beijing two years ago, but is focusing solely on the 100m this year.

Dafne Schippers

One of the biggest threat to Thompson’s title hopes, Schippers finished second behind the Jamaican at the Anniversary Games in July. Fifth in the 100m in Rio last year, the Dutch sprinter claimed silver – behind Thompson – in the 200m. Schippers will aim to defend the 200m title she won in Beijing two years ago in a personal-best time of 22.63. She also set her 100m PB (10.81) at the last World Championships, and will be hoping to deny Thompson in the shorter sprint.

Allyson Felix

The defending 400m champion is the fastest woman in the world over the distance this year. Felix, a six-time Olympic champion and the joint most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history, set a new world lead in London in July by clocking 49.65. She surpassed the previous world best time this year of 49.72 set by fellow American Quanera Hayes. It could be the 32-year-old’s final World Championships.


Indian Sprinter Chand Gets WC Invite

Odisha sprinter Dutee Chand is likely to take part in next month's World Athletics Championships as she has received an invitation from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) despite failing to touch the original qualification standard.

Dutee, who missed the original entry standard of 11.26 seconds, got an invite from the IAAF as the target number of 56 athletes for women's 100m event was yet to be reached for the August 4-13 World Championships in London.

Dutee's best of 11.30 seconds, which she clocked during the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi on May 15, during the qualifying period gives her a global ranking of 100.

"We have got an invite from the IAAF offering a quota entry for Dutee Chand in the women's 100m race. It's because the targeted number of athletes in that event (women's 100m) has not been reached," Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla told PTI.

"We have been told to reply yes or no within 12 hours and we are accepting it," he added. Dutee's coach Nagpuri Ramesh said that she currently has a United Kingdom visa and she would be ready to take part in the World Championships.

"Dutee has a UK visa. The AFI applied for visa for all those athletes whose timings are very close to qualifying standards so that they have their visas ready in case of such invitations. She is ready for the World Championships," he said.

After participating in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar earlier this month, where she claimed a bronze clocking 11.52 secs, Dutee took a break from competition.

She missed the National Inter-State Athletics Championships held at Guntur from July 15-18. Dutee's future was also under a cloud after the IAAF recently decided to submit fresh evidence at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland in support of its policy of barring female athletes who produced natural testosterone (male hormones) above permissible range from taking part in competitions.

Dutee got a ban imposed on her by Athletics Federation of India overturned in 2015 as the CAS partially upheld her appeal. The world's top sports tribunal, however, had given time of two years to the IAAF to produce conclusive evidence that female athletes with high levels of naturally producing testosterone have an unfair advantage over their peers.


Never bet against Bolt - Bailey

Former 100 metres world record holder Donovan Bailey has backed Usain Bolt to bow out in triumph at the world championships next month despite his slow buildup to the athletics showpiece.

Bolt logged his season best of 9.95 seconds just over a week ago in Monaco, a time beaten by a raft of sprinters this year.

But the 30-year-old Jamaican is still raging favourite to win his fourth 100m world title, and with good reason, according to former world and Olympic champion Bailey.

"Anyone that bets against Bolt at a major championship isn't smart," the Jamaica-born Canadian told Reuters on Saturday.

"Those athletes have to have a mistake-free race to make (the 100m final) interesting," he said of Bolt's rivals.

Bolt is currently ranked joint seventh with archrival Justin Gatlin on the year's top timesheet which is headed by world leader and American NCAA champion Christian Coleman.

Coleman ran 9.82 seconds in Eugene, Oregon last month.

Bolt's Jamaican training partner Yohan Blake is second on the list with 9.90, ahead of South African Akani Simbine (9.92) and Americans Cameron Burrell and Christopher Belcher.

Former Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Ato Boldon, who won the 100m world championship in 1997, thinks only Blake has a chance to spoil world record holder Bolt's party in London.

"If Blake is healthy, he can be a real threat to Bolt. I don't know that anyone else this year has shown me that they can be better than Bolt in the last 50m," Boldon told Reuters.

Bolt, who has won eight Olympic and 11 world championship gold medals, is planning to quit the track after competing in the 100m and 4x100m relay in London.

Boldon, a four-times Olympic medallist, said there could be no debate about the world's greatest ever sprinter.

"There isn't anyone who can say that he (Bolt) has not been the best ever," he said.

"Jesse Owens was the most important, Carl Lewis made sprinting profitable, but Bolt is the GOAT (greatest of all time)."


Wlodarczyk Threatens Hammer WR With 271-10

World and Olympic hammer throw champion Anita Wlodarczyk threw 82.87m at the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial in Cetniewo, Poland, on Saturday (29), the second farthest throw of all time.

Wlodarczyk exhibited unprecedented form just one week before competition begins in her event at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, with each of her five measured efforts sailing beyond 80-metres - more than any other woman has ever reached.

After an opening round 80.42m toss, the Pole followed up with her 82.87m effort, her third beyond 82 metres and just 11 centimetres shy of the 82.98m world record she set last year. She filled out her series with efforts of 80.69m, 80.73m and 81.63m to close out a competition in which she radically rewrote the all-time top-ten performance list.

There were strong performances across the programme of this throws meeting's fifth edition.

Pawel Fajdek, the reigning men's world champion, was consistent as well, throwing beyond 81 metres on each of his four measured efforts, topped by an 81.85m in fourth round. Like Wlodarczyk's series, each of Fajdek's were better than any other thrower has reached this season.

Michal Haratyk won the shot put with 21.88m a lifetime best, ahead of Konrad Bukowiecki, the European indoor champion, who reached 21.40m.

Piotr Malachowski won the discus with 67.68m, a season's best, ahead of Robert Urbanek who threw 65.01m.


That Moment When… Vetter Changed Coaches

Over the past couple of seasons, Germany’s Johannes Vetter has developed into one of the world’s best javelin throwers. Here the Olympic fourth-place finisher and 94-metre thrower talks about the significance of moving to his current coach Boris Obergföll.

“In September/October of 2014 I changed from my old coach in Dresden to train with Boris Obergföll. In 2014 I had come off a season when I threw a personal best of 79m, but I was inconsistent. I threw well in some competitions, but not so well in others. I felt I needed a change and better technical advice.

“I had spoken with Boris in several training camps in the past and I was impressed not only by his technical knowledge, but also his approach to the mental side of competition. On top of that, he was also a world-class thrower and understands what it is like to perform at the highest level (Obergföll won two World Championships bronze medals and boasts a lifetime best of 90.44m). I was really pleased when I asked him if he wanted to coach me and he agreed.

“Of course, it wasn’t an easy move. Offenburg was more than 600km from my home city of Dresden and I also had to give up my studies to be a police officer. Then I decided to go into the army because of the good sports programme they have for athletes.

“I am a really hard worker and a dedicated trainer so I was surprised when I first saw Boris’s training plan. I was used to a very rigorous regime, so I asked Boris, ‘are you sure we train enough?’ Yet for him his training is all about looking after an athlete. It is a smart approach which includes a lot of physio treatment and making sure the body is in the best possible shape.

“Technically I’ve made many changes since being with Boris. It has not always been easy. For the previous five or six years it had been drilled into me to throw the javelin a certain way, but over time I came to make the improvements Boris wanted.

“After throwing a personal best of 85.40m in Jena in 2015, I realised that I had made the right decision to be coached by Boris. Last year I made even greater improvements, throwing a best of 89.57m and finishing fourth at the Olympics Games. The next challenge is to throw more consistently, which I think I am doing.

“There is little doubt that under Boris I’ve made huge improvements, advancing my PB from 79m to 94m. Qualifying for the 2015 World Championships (Vetter finished seventh) and the 2016 Olympics were an important step. He is a great motivator who has improved me every day. I am confident that will continue in future.”


5 Things About '92 Olympic Champ Linford Christie

Christie won Olympic gold aged 32 – becoming the oldest Olympic 100m champion by four years and 38 days.

It is 25 years since Linford Christie won Olympic 100 metre gold in Barcelona, four years after his silver medal in Seoul.

Here we take a look at five things about the former Olympic, world and European champion.

The oldest Olympic 100 metres champion

In Barcelona in 1992 Christie became the third British athlete to win the Olympic 100m, after Harold Abrahams and Allan Wells, taking gold ahead of Frankie Fredericks and American Dennis Mitchell. Without Carl Lewis, who failed to qualify for the USA in the individual sprints, Christie – aged 32 at the time – ran 9.96 seconds to become the oldest Olympic 100m champion by four years and 38 days. Christie did not want to cry after winning gold in case the pictures were replayed and used to mock him. “When I began to wind down, I felt mentally exhausted,” he wrote in his autobiography. “It may be 10 seconds but that had been 10 years to me. Mentally, physically and spiritually, it’s tough because of the need to dig in, concentrate, avoid mistakes and get everything right.”

Olympic heartbreak
The reigning Olympic champion was disqualified in the the final of the 100m in Atlanta four years later after false starting twice. It was his last major race before his retirement from athletics the following year. It was one of the biggest disappointments of the 1996 Olympics for Team GB as they won just five medals – coming 36th in the table behind Ethiopia and Kazakhstan – with only Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent winning gold in rowing’s coxless pairs. Canada’s Donovan Bailey claimed victory, and a new world record at the time, in 9.84 thrilling seconds, beating Fredericks and Ato Boldon.

Drugs ban

Christie tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone in 1999, having already officially retired and when he was only competing in selected meetings. He was cleared by UK Athletics but the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) overturned the decision and banned him for two years. Chrsitie always claimed he was not guilty and has supported anti-doping measures, stating his total opposition to the use of drugs in athletics. He is banned for life by the British Olympic Association from ever having anything to do with a British team at the Games again.

Record breaker
Christie hosted the BBC show Record Breakers from 1998 to 2000. He took over from fellow ex-athlete Kriss Akabusi, who had co-presented with Cheryl Baker, and was also in I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here in 2010, lasting 18 days. Christie also appeared as himself in the 1999 film Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, making a brief appearance in the pre-credits scene. The film starred Charles Dance and was produced by Everton chairman Bill Kenwright.

Impressive medal haul

Christie collected 24 major medals at the Olympics, World and European Championships as well as the Commonwealth Games. Along with his Barcelona gold he won the 100m World title in 1993, the 1986 European crown and 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games golds. He won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 1993, having finished second behind Nigel Mansell in 1992. In 2010, he was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame and in 2009 he was inducted into the London Youth Games Hall of Fame.


Canada Adds 9 To World Champs Squad

ANNIE LEBLANC (800M), MARIA BERNARD (3000M STEEPLECHASE), ANGELA WHYTE (100M HURDLES), ALYX TREASURE (HIGH JUMP), TARYN SUTTIE (SHOT PUT), KELSIE AHBE (POLE VAULT), LINDSEY BUTTERWORTH (800M), AND LEYA BUCHANAN (100M) AND ALYCIA BUTTERWORTH (3000M STEEPLECHASE) RECEIVED INVITATIONS FROM THE IAAF AND WERE ADDED TO THE TEAM. BRENDON RODNEY WILL NOW ALSO PARTICIPATE IN THE MEN’S 100M. IAAF INVITED ATHLETES WERE REVIEWED AND VOTED ON BY THE NATIONAL TEAM COMMITTEE, REFERENCING THE SELECTION CRITERIA.

Athletics Canada named today a team of 57 athletes to compete at the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London, England, from Aug. 4 to 13.

“Our team features a great combination of seasoned world-class performers and talented upcoming athletes who are ready to make their mark,” said Head Coach Glenroy Gilbert. “Canadian success at recent Olympics, Paralympics and World Championships has been noticed and respected around the world. We look to capitalize on that positive momentum and perform at a high level in London.”

The team includes nine World Outdoor Championship medallists and two defending World champions. Nine athletes and one relay team on the roster is currently ranked top 10 on the IAAF performance list.

Competition will take place in London Stadium, the site of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Canadians in the 2017 Top 10 (as of July 17)
Damian Warner, second, decathlon
Men’s 4x100m, second
Christabel Nettey, third, long jump
Evan Dunfee, fourth, 50km race walk
Andre De Grasse, eighth, 200m
Elizabeth Gleadle, ninth, javelin
Michael Mason, ninth, high jump
Mohammed Ahmed, 10th, 5000m
Mohammed Ahmed, 10th, 10000m
Alysha Newman, 10th, pole vault

In 2015, at the last World Outdoor Championships in Beijing, China, the team won two world titles and eight medals overall. Medallists included Derek Drouin (high jump gold), Shawn Barber (pole vault gold), Brianne Theisen-Eaton (heptathlon silver), Damian Warner (decathlon silver), Melissa Bishop (800-metres silver), Andre De Grasse (100-metres bronze), Benjamin Thorne (20km race walk bronze) and the men’s 4x100-metres relay team (bronze).
Female athletes
Melissa Bishop, 800m, Eganville, Ont., Dennis Fairall, Ottawa Lions Track and Field
Rachel Cliff, 10000m, Vancouver, Richard Lee, Unattached
Brittany Crew, shot put, Toronto, Richard Parkinson, Unattached
Crystal Emmanuel, 100m/200m, East York, Ont., Charles Allen, Flying Angels Track Club
Phylicia George, 100mH, Markham, Ont., Dennis Shaver, Flying Angels Track Club
Elizabeth Gleadle, javelin, Vancouver, Larry Steinke, Chinook Track and Field Club

Rachel Hannah, marathon, Barrie, Ont., David Korell, University of Toronto Track Club
Travia Jones, 400m/4x400m, Regina, Dennis Shaver, Unattached
Tarah Korir, marathon, St. Clements, Ont., Wesley Korir, Unattached
Geneviève Lalonde, 3000m steeplechase, Moncton, N.B., Dave Scott-Thomas, Speed River TFC
Natassha McDonald, 4x400m, Brampton, Ont., Collin Lewis, Project Athletics
Lanni Marchant, 10000m, London, Ont., Dave Mills, London Western Track Club
Noelle Montcalm, 400mH/4x400m, Belle River, Ont., Don Garrod, University of Windsor Athletics Club
Carline Muir, 400m/4x400m, Edmonton, Nick Dakin, Unattached
Christabel Nettey, long jump, Surrey, B.C., Bashir Ramzey, Unattached
Alysha Newman, pole vault, London, Ont., Doug Wood, Bolton Pole Vault

Anicka Newell, pole vault, Saskatoon, Cameron Meyer, Project Athletics
Jessica O’Connell, 5000m, Calgary, Mike Van Tighem University of Calgary Athletics
Dayna Pidhoresky, marathon, Vancouver, Josh Seifarth, Unattached
Sheila Reid,1500m, Newmarket, Ont., Mark Rowland, Newmarket Huskies
Andrea Seccafien, 5000m, Toronto, Ross Ristuccia, University of Toronto Track Club
Nicole Sifuentes, 1500m, Winnipeg, Mike McGuire, Unattached
Gabriela Stafford, 1500m, Toronto, Terry Radchenko, University of Toronto Track Club
Aiyanna Stiverne, 400m/4x400m, Laval, Que., Ronald Morency, Unattached
Sage Watson, 400mH/4x400m, Medicine Hat, Alta., Calgary International
Jillian Weir, hammer throw, Kingston, Ont., Greg Jack, Unattached
Natasha Wodak, 10000m, Vancouver, Lynn Kanuka, Prairie Inn Harriers

Male athletes
Mohammed Ahmed, 5000m/10000m, St. Catharines, Ont., Jerry Schumacher, Niagara Olympic
Bolade Ajomale, 4x100m, Richmond Hill, Ont., Kevin LaSure, Flying Angels
Shawnacy Barber, pole vault, Toronto, Dennis Mitchell, Project Athletics
Mathieu Bilodeau, 50km race walk, Québec City, Gerry Dragomir, Race Walk West
Aaron Brown, 200m/4x100m, Toronto, Dennis Mitchell, Phoenix Athletics
Johnathan Cabral, 110mH, Peribonka, Que., Jamie Cook, Unattached
Andre De Grasse, 100m/200m/4x100m, Markham, Ont., Stuart McMillan, Speed Academy
Evan Dunfee, 50km race walk, Richmond, B.C., Gerry Dragomir, Race Walk West
Derek Drouin, high jump, Corunna, Ont., Jeff Huntoon, Sarnia Athletics Southwest

Eric Gillis, marathon, Antigonish, N.S., Dave Scott Thomas, Speed River
Akeem Haynes, 4x100m, Calgary, Stuart McMillan, Unattached
Matthew Hughes, 3000m steeplechase, Oshawa, Ont., Jerry Schumacher, Unattached
Justyn Knight, 5000m, Toronto, Chris Fox, University of Toronto Track Club
Michael Mason, high jump, Nanoose Bay, B.C., Jeff Huntoon, Unattached
Brandon McBride, 800m, Windsor, Ont., Chris Scarrow, Windsor Legion
Tim Nedow, shot put, Brockville, Ont., Dane Miller, Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club
Brendon Rodney, 4x100m, Brampton, Ont., Simon Hodnett, Hamilton Elite Athletics
Gavin Smellie, 100m/4x100m, Brampton, Ont., Desai Williams, Flying Angels
Ben Thorne, 20km race walk, Kitimat, B.C., Gerry Dragomir, Race Walk West
Thomas Toth, marathon, Peterborough, Ont., Zach Johnson, Unattached
Damian Warner, decathlon, London, Ont., Les Gramantik, Unattached

Staff
Glenroy Gilbert, Ottawa, Head Coach
Carla Nicholls, Regina, Team Leader
Scott MacDonald, Ottawa, Technical Manager
Jared MacLeod, Winnipeg, Team Manager
Corey Dempsey, Niagara Falls, Ont., Assistant Manager
Kurt Downes, Harrow, Ont., Team Coach
Dave Scott-Thomas, Guelph, Ont., Team Coach
Heather Hennigar, Halifax, Team Coach
Jeff Huntoon, Toronto, Team Coach
Richard Parkinson, Stouffville, Ont., Team Coach
Jim McDannald, Montreal, Media Attaché

Danielle Chow-Leong, Toronto, Massage Therapist
Dr. Simon Pearson, Victoria, Chiropractor
Brenda Scott-Thomas, Guelph, Ont., Physiotherapist
Dr. Ricky Singh, Georgetown, Ont., Chiropractor


Lesley Tashlin, Ottawa, Massage Therapist
Dana Way, Winnipeg Beach, Man., Biomechanist
Dr. Paddy McCluskey, Victoria, Team Physician
Dr. Trent Stellingwerff, Victoria, IST Lead/Physiologist
Dr. Penny Werthner, Calgary, Mental Performance


A Look Back At Mo Farah's Golden Moments

The four-time Olympic champion will turn his attention to the marathon after the World Championships in London next month.

Sir Mo Farah will race for the final time on the track at a major championships when he bids to defend his world 5,000 and 10,000 metres titles in London.

Another two gold medals would take the four-time Olympic champion’s total of global titles to 11 and continue his unprecedented spell of long-distance domination before he turns his attention to the marathon.

Here we take a look back at his nine triumphs so far:

2011 World Championships, Daegu – 5,000m

Having been pipped at the line by the unknown Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan in the 10,000m days earlier, Farah upgraded his silver to gold over the shorter distance, holding off a late charge from American Bernard Lagat.

2012 Olympic Games, London – 10,000m
Farah completed ‘Super Saturday’ for Great Britain by winning the third of three home gold medals in the Olympic Stadium in one night, kicking away down the home straight to roars from the crowd.

2012 Olympic Games, London – 5,000m
Farah became just the seventh man in Olympic history to achieve the illustrious 5,000m and 10,000m double, resisting a late attack from Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel.

2013 World Championships, Moscow – 10,000m
He gained revenge on Jeilan by powering down the home straight to hold off the Ethiopian and claim the only global crown missing from his collection.

2013 World Championships, Moscow – 5,000m
Farah completed the double-double, two world titles to go with his twin Olympic crowns, kicking with 650m to go and holding off a host of challengers down the home straight.

2015 World Championships, Beijing – 10,000m
He put a summer of speculation and rumour behind him to again prove unbeatable on the track, bursting away from the twin Kenyan challenge of Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor and Paul Tanui down the home straight.

2015 World Championships, Beijing – 5,000m
Helped by the slow early pace, he racked up a seventh straight global title and completed the ‘triple double’, surging past spent Kenyan Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku to take the victory.

2016 Olympic Games, Rio – 10,000m
Farah recovered from a fall after being tripped by training partner Galen Rupp to become the first British track and field athlete to win three Olympic gold medals.

2016 Olympic Games, Rio – 5,000m
Farah avoided any such drama and pulled clear down the home straight, holding off the challenge of American Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo and Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet to become only the second man after Lasse Viren to retain Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m titles.


What's The Gear That Keeps Kara Winger Going?

Kara was very kind to take time out of her busy travel and preparation for 2017 World Championships and give us an inside look at the gear that keeps her going! Kara is the most successful and distinguished Javelin Woman in USA sport history. She currently holds the American Record and has represented the stars and bars in 3 Olympic Games!

Kara Winger-Athlete

Javelin: 66.67m

I want to approach this list from a travel perspective. I’m currently in the middle of a two-month stay in Europe that has already taken me to five countries on two different continents, and will see me in five more countries before it’s over. I’ve honed my travel skills, as this is my ninth season as a professional, and when I’m traveling for so long, I need to feel like myself to be my most successful. Therefore, this list addresses training and competition effectiveness as well as personal comfort items!

  1. Shoes

I learned a long time ago that your throwing shoes need to be in your carry-on luggage. If I get to a meet and literally everything but my javelin spikes get lost, I can still compete in a borrowed uniform and newly-purchased socks and sports bras. No shoes, no result, though! I wear ASICS Javelin Pro spikes and bring along extra individual spikes, a wrench, and shoelaces. Great training shoes are essential as well, and really help your legs out with all of the extra walking you do when away from home. The ASICS GEL-Craze TRs are my favorite shoes of all time, and I’m traveling with ASICS Roadhawk FFs right now. I typically wear my training shoes on the plane so that I’m sure they’re with me.

  1. Therapy tools

Time with quality physios is precious when on the road, so you need to be able to take care of your own small issues. I always have my Triggerpoint Foam Roller and a lacrosse ball (pick one up at any sporting goods store), as well as a light bungee for rehab resistance work and KT Tape’s new strips. Keeping your body healthy is your first step to high-quality performance!

  1. Implements

For me, this means packing a completely separate bag (more on that below). I have a RockBack case that holds four javelins. It has been to five continents with me, and I’ll cry the day it’s not usable anymore! You can’t practice without implements, and I always bring them to competitions, too (because it hasn’t been good when I chose to leave them home). Eliminate doubt and bring what you know you need to perform at your best.

  1. Quality luggage

My javelin bag is about 7.5 feet long, has handles in the middle, and is easily manageable on its own. Add a suitcase with all of my clothing and spare things, carry-on luggage and a backpack, and I have no free hands. My eBags EXO Hardside spinner 2.0 suitcase rolls so easily on four wheels, and is sturdy enough to tow my carry-on suitcase with a strap as well, even down cobbled European streets. The eBags TLS Mother Lode mini is perfect for my throwing shoes, extra snacks, and a few key clothing items, and functions as a backpack holder in long customs lines. An ASICS backpack transports my essentials while on the plane and my competition gear in the stadium. Travel days can be stressful enough without a luggage breakdown, so plan to manage all of your belongings in advance.

  1. Video equipment

I spend a lot of time training alone, so I film most of my practices. While traveling, it’s even more likely that I’ll be alone while throwing. I always have my iPad charged and memory available to record throws so I can make adjustments that I might not feel. Practice film and comparison to past clips is really helpful for me, and it’s nice (and sometimes essential to my success) to be able to share with my coach back home as well.

  1. Entertainment

My iPad isn’t just my filming equipment, but the location of all of my books and TV shows for long flights and hotel down time. I bring my laptop and an external hard drive so I can blog and email more easily than on my phone, edit photos, or free up memory from various devices. I find it really helpful to do things that keep my brain engaged in all of the down time that exists on travel trips, and not just totally zone out to television (although there’s definitely a time for that!). I earned my MBA online over the last four seasons, and I loved having classes to take care of when I was on the road. It gave me purpose in a way that’s totally different from track and field, and felt like it kept me sharp. I own my nerdiness enough to say that I truly miss school! Related to this is having a portable battery to charge devices on a travel day. I spent an unexpected six and a half hours in a van in Italy last summer, and would have gone completely crazy if not for my battery and Arrow episodes ready to go on my iPad.

  1. Plane sleeping tools

Sleep is so important, especially on the way to a big competition in a totally different time zone. I sleep as much as possible on trans-oceanic flights, and involved in that is an excellent neck pillow, eye mask, scarf, hooded sweatshirt, ear buds under Bose noise-cancelling headphones, and compression socks. I also take my contacts out, brush my teeth, and even wash my face the best I can before passing out: Keeping my routine normal, even on an airplane, helps me get big chunks of sleep without the help of medicine while traveling. (I tried a sleeping pill once but it was a horrible, groggy, two-days-wasted experience for me.) These little details are great for super early morning flights as well, so you can hit the ground a little recovered after 4am wakeup calls.

  1. Snacks

There is something so comforting about having the same snacks you would normally eat at home on the road, and the benefits to packing them are twofold in my mind: Your nutrition stays familiar and, as you eat your snacks, your suitcase gets lighter! I’ve already lost about 2 kilos from my luggage in snacks alone on this EuroTrip. The snacks I bring are mostly based around my competition requirements, so I pack Zone bars (Chocolate Mint and Double Dark Chocolate) and fruit snacks (I like all of the varieties of the Simply Balanced brand at Target) as well as a bunch of different powdered drink mixes to pour into water bottles. I have Nuun hydration tablets, Propel, Minute Maid Iced Tea, and some iced coffee packets, as well as Emergen-C (usually for the plane).

  1. Great headphones

Related to number 7! I thought about purchasing noise-cancelling headphones for my entire career, and finally pulled the trigger in 2015! My Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones go all the way over my little ears and shelter me from all of the chaos of a long travel day. I usually wear my ear buds underneath these, so I can preserve the battery for noise-cancelling only and roll the cord of my smaller headphones up and stick it in my shirt to roam around the airplane. Plus, the ear buds are another layer of noise-cancellation! I sleep a ton better on the plane with my headphones on and am just generally calmer when I’m able to tune foreign auditory stimuli out for a while. Bonus: Don’t bother your roommate with whatever show you’re watching (we’ve all heard audio from too-loud ear buds before).

  1. Portable speaker

Music is important for my many solo stateside practices, too. My JBL Charge speaker stays home, but my JBL Clip 2 comes with me everywhere!


Provisional WC Entry Lists Now Available



Asics Relishes New Role In World Championships

With its founding principles based on achieving “a sound mind in a sound body” ASICS believe the IAAF World Championships London 2017, which open on 4 August, provide the perfect fit for the global sportswear giant and Official Partner of the IAAF World Athletics Series.

After ASICS committed to a multiple-year partnership with the IAAF last year, the 16th edition of the biennial event represents the company’s first such involvement at a World Championships.

Taking on a multi-faceted role which includes everything from kitting out the many volunteers, who ensure the smooth running of the championships, to providing the kit for half-a-dozen key nations, Asics will be at the heart of the sport’s flagship ten-day event, which is expected to be watched by billions around the world.

ASICS – an acronym for the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano” translated as ‘a sound mind in a sound body’ – have also launched a multi-year brand campaign around London, designed to encourage more people to be more physically active and to enjoy the benefits of embracing an active lifestyle.

INSPIRING LONDONERS TO MOVE
Research by ASICS has recently revealed that Londoners’ daily commute on the underground can make them feel twice as tired and three times more stressed than those that walk their commute.

Some 92 per cent of those who do physical activity also believe it improves their mood, but the problem is that most of us struggle to fit it in, with almost three-quarters of Brits (73%) saying the reason they don’t move more is because they don’t have the time.

In response to this, ASICS has partnered with the IAAF World Championships London 2017 to launch #IMoveLondon, a campaign to help inspire Londoners to trade the misery of the daily commute for the benefits of getting outside and moving more.

ASICS has created a video series with the SMSB (Sound Mind Sound Body), which shows how people can turn their city into a gym by illustrating the amazing locations where Londoners can get active. The SMSB is a global community of creative and sports enthusiasts founded by ASICS and curated by DJ and poet Charlie Dark, who are leading workshops at a series of pop up events hosted by ASICS around the capital.

Run the Tube is a multisensory movement experience, which creates an 85-metre tunnel made from hoops of light that respond to the music being played. Designed by American artists Rob Jensen and Warren Trezevan, Run the Tube will take up residence at three locations – the Leake Street Tunnel, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Clapham Common -- from August 3-10.

IAAF President Seb Coe said: “With the IAAF World Championships coming to London, it’s more important than ever to get the host city moving more. We’re extremely excited to work with ASICS on a campaign that will encourage Londoners to positively disrupt their everyday with exercise – even long after the Championships have finished.”

Paul Miles, Senior General Manager, Global Marketing Division ASICS Corporation, said: “ASICS knows that movement helps get the most out of life – helping you to feel good in your mind and body. We also know how tough it can be to find the time to get the benefit of exercise into our increasingly busy lives. We’re all inspired by the amazing athletes taking part in the IAAF World Championships in London this summer. With #IMoveLondon we want to spread that inspiration by helping Londoners swap the time they’ll normally be commuting to enjoy the benefits of exercise by getting active in their exceptional city.”

ASICS will also be involved in a number of other significant activations in their association with the IAAF World Championships. They’ll open their Out of Home execution on July 31 and include domination at Oxford Circus and Stratford tube stations, as well as the Westfield Shopping Centre (near the London Stadium) – a presence in more than 15 key tube stations around the British capital and a massive outdoor banner at the iconic Piccadilly Circus. It’s a total plan which is excepted to deliver well in excess of 51m impacts.

The sportswear giant also plans to open its flagship store - its biggest worldwide – on Regent Street in central London on August 2 as it seeks to further its growing presence in the UK.

AT THE HEART OF THE IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS LONDON 2017
ASICS will also have a very distinctive on-track presence inside the cavernous Olympic Stadium with their sponsorship of six national federations; Italy, France, Japan, Korea, Netherlands and Morocco – which between them won seven medals at the 2015 IAAF World Championships and in London will be hoping for more continued success.

As an innovative company committed to designs that inspire athletes to perform at their best and unlock their potential Asics branded athletes in London – which include Olympic 200m bronze medallist Christophe Lemaitre of France, America’s rising 8.58m long jump talent Jarrion Lawson - will compete in the hi-tec HL_0 Sprint Suit, designed with rigid and high stretch materials to eliminate restrictions on the wearer’s motions without energy loss.

Meanwhile, in a smart design concept the triangle motif of ASICS’ IAAF delegation uniforms capture the same geometric patterns seen at the 2012 Olympic host stadium, venue of the IAAF World Championships in London.

Without question ASICS will be genuinely at the heart of the sport’s marquee event and it is an opportunity they are relishing.

Miles concluded: “We are very proud to partner with the IAAF to ensure the London World Championships deliver an unforgettable experience to all involved. From the outfitting of all the volunteers with our newest apparel and footwear, to our support of six national federations and many sponsored athletes, ASICS is excited at the opportunity of contributing to inspire millions of people to get physically active!”

Steve Landells for the IAAF


London 2017 will smash records for ticket sales to become biggest World Championships in history

Organisers of London 2017 have confirmed the event will smash records as the biggest World Championships in history.

More than 660,000 tickets have been sold for the championships, which begin on Friday evening – far exceeding the previous attendance record of 417,156 sold for the 2009 event in Berlin.

A quarter of a million people will fill the London Stadium next weekend for the opening three days of competition, which will feature Usain Bolt attempting to bow out with a successful defence of his 100 metre title, and Mo Farah bidding for a sixth world title in the 10,000m.

All three opening nights of competition will also be preceded by special ceremonies to reallocate medals originally won by drugs cheats.

Jessica Ennis-Hill will finally receive the 2011 world heptathlon gold she was denied by Russia’s Tatyana Chernova, while Christine Ohuruogu will form part of British 4x400m relay quartets to be given medals from 2009, 2011 and 2013.

 

Organisers of London 2017 have confirmed the event will smash records as the biggest World Championships in history.

More than 660,000 tickets have been sold for the championships, which begin on Friday evening – far exceeding the previous attendance record of 417,156 sold for the 2009 event in Berlin.

A quarter of a million people will fill the London Stadium next weekend for the opening three days of competition, which will feature Usain Bolt attempting to bow out with a successful defence of his 100 metre title, and Mo Farah bidding for a sixth world title in the 10,000m.

All three opening nights of competition will also be preceded by special ceremonies to reallocate medals originally won by drugs cheats.

Jessica Ennis-Hill will finally receive the 2011 world heptathlon gold she was denied by Russia’s Tatyana Chernova, while Christine Ohuruogu will form part of British 4x400m relay quartets to be given medals from 2009, 2011 and 2013.


“It is going to be a special night for me,” said Ennis-Hill. “I’m honoured that the IAAF and the organisers of the London World Championships have offered me the chance to receive my medal in front of the British fans.

“The London Stadium is where I won Olympic gold in 2012 and I never thought I would be back in the stadium receiving another gold.

“I have fond memories of the podium in 2012 and I am looking forward to creating some more next month.”

Organisers have also announced that a last remaining small batch of tickets for every session will go on sale on Tuesday morning as part of changes in stadium requirements.

“For those that missed out on the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games, this is really it – the best chance to see the stadium in that form once more,” said Niels de Vos, championships director.

“I cannot stress enough how amazing the action is going to be.”

Meanwhile, Russia have confirmed they will field athletes in eight disciplines at the championships.

The country is still banned from international competition after the emergence of its state-sponsored doping regime, but 19 Russian athletes have been cleared to compete as neutrals in London.

They will not wear their country’s colours and the Russian national anthem will not be played if they win.

Mariya Lasitskene is a strong favourite to retain her high jump world title, while Sergey Shubenkov will also defend his 110m hurdles world title.

“Russian athletics is in a very complicated situation and has been through a deep crisis over the past two years, but we are gradually getting over it,” said Pavel Kolobkov, Russian sports minister.

“Obviously this situation is psychologically heavy on athletes, coaches and management, but we hope that we will soon get over this crisis.”


3 Added To Jamaica's World Champs Squad

Three Jamaican athletes have been added to Jamaica's team to the World Championships on the invitation of the IAAF.

High jumper Kimberly Williamson, shot putter Gleneve Grange, and 800m athlete Kimmara McDonald have been added to the squad after the world's governing body extended invitations to them because of their top-32 ranking in their respective events.

"Three athletes have been added to its World Championships team to the IAAF World Championships London 2017," confirmed the Jamaica Athletics Administ-rative Association (JAAA).

"The athletes are as follows: Kimberly Williamson, Gleneve Grange, and Kimmara McDonald."

"These athletes, although not meeting the automatic qualifying standard in their respective event, have been invited to participate in the championships by the IAAF on the basis that they are ranked in the top 32 in the world," the release continued.

"Every effort is being made to facilitate their participation with respect to visa procurement, travel, and other logistics issues. We congratulate the three ladies and wish them all the very best in representing their country."

Jamaica had earlier named a 56-member team headed by medal prospects Usain Bolt, Elaine Thompson, Fedrick Dacres, Danielle Williams, O'Dayne Richards, Shericka Jackson, and Yohan Blake.


Brendan Foster's Favorite Moments & Athletes

Nine summer Olympics, nine Commonwealth Games, every World Championships since its inception in 1983 and all the 37 runnings of the London Marathon.

Brendan Foster's commentary career, which has spanned almost 40 years and borne witness to some of the greatest moments and athletes in history, is coming to an end after next month's World Championships.

The 69-year-old, who competed for Great Britain at three Olympics before taking up the microphone, picks out the highlights of his commentary career.

Top three athletes

"Recently, clearly, my favourite has been Mo Farah, the winner of an unprecedented set of medals at the very highest level.

"During the middle of my career, it was Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie.

"And at the beginning of my career it would have been Seb Coe."

Best performance

"The best performance I ever commentated on was Haile Gebrselassie winning the 10,000m at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

"He hadn't trained for three or four weeks beforehand because of an injury.

"The rest of the field did not know and Kenya's Paul Tergat, who was arguably the fastest in the world at the time, did not take advantage.

"Gebrselassie should never have won that race but he did because he just had not learned how to lose.

"He was not fit enough to win, but he dug it out and did not show anyone that he was in pain.

"He could not run a lap of honour at the end, he had to walk it instead. He didn't run again that year.

"It was a heroic performance, that is why it stands out in my memory."

Favourite race

"Mo Farah winning in the 10,000m in London 2012 was the most exciting race I have seen.

"Could this guy, who hadn't even made the final in 2008, really deliver on the form he had showed and win gold in front of a home crowd?

"He could."

Favourite moment

"In the Great North Run in 2013 we had Mo Farah, Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele - three greatest athletes of all time - competing in the race I had founded, running past Gateshead Stadium where I had made my name by breaking the 3,000m world record in 1974.

"The combination of those three elements made for a very emotional moment."

Favourite event:

"London 2012, an event that will never be forgotten."

Funniest moment

"It was 1985 and Steve Jones and Charlie Spedding were running neck and neck, one and two, at the London Marathon.

"At that time we did not have many cameras. We switched from a shot of the two of them together to a brass band playing near the Cutty Sark.

"When we cut back, Charlie was running on his own with Steve out of shot.

"Next time we saw Steve he was rubbing his hamstring and I said to my co-commentator David Coleman, 'it looks like Steve Jones has had to stop because of a cramp'.

"David, noticing that Steve was cleaning his leg rather than rubbing his muscles, said 'I think you have got one letter wrong there.'"

What I'll miss most

"It is the privilege of translating my thoughts and views on something I love to the most knowledgeable athletics audience in the world.

"The BBC athletics audience have been watching the sport since the four-minute mile 60-odd years ago.

"That is a privilege I'll miss."


Usain Bolt is down to his last, blazing curtain call

Muhammad Ali stood alone on many fronts, but Joe Frazier, George Foreman and a few others still stood toe-to-toe with him in the ring. Jack Nicklaus contended with Arnold Palmer on the front end of his career and Tom Watson on the back end.

Usain Bolt? Nobody has been a match for him, on or off the track.

The man who reshaped the record book and saved his sport is saying goodbye. His sprints through the 100 meters and Jamaica's 4x100 relay at the world championships, which begin Friday, are expected to produce golds yet again, and leave track with this difficult question: Who can possibly take his place?

"You would have to have someone who's dominating, and no one's doing that," said Michael Johnson, the former world-record holder at 200 and 400 meters and perhaps the sport's brightest star in the 1990s. "You'd have to have someone who has that something special like he has, in terms of personality and presence. You're not going to have that."

Though he will not retire undefeated, Bolt stands in the rarest of company: an athlete who was never beaten when the stakes were greatest. And with a showman's flair as transcendent as his raw speed — Chicken McNuggets for dinner, his fabled "To The World" pose for dessert and dancing away at nightclubs till dawn — he hoisted his entire, troubled sport upon his shoulders and made it watchable and relevant.

Since his era of dominance began in 2008, Bolt went undefeated at the Olympics — 9 for 9 — in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay. (One of those medals was stripped because of doping by a teammate on the 2008 relay team.) He has set, and re-set, the world records in all three events. His marks of 19.30, then 19.19, at 200 meters, were once thought virtually impossible. He set a goal of breaking 19 seconds in Rio de Janeiro last summer, and when he came up short, it became clear the barrier will be safe for years.

At the world championships, Bolt's only "loss" came in 2011, when he was disqualified for a false start in the 100 meters. Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake won the title that year, as well as the Jamaican national championships at 100 and 200 meters leading to the London Olympics. Heading back to London five years later, Blake is an afterthought.

And Bolt's mastery of this sport remains unchallenged.

"I'll be sad to see someone like him go," said America's Justin Gatlin, Bolt's longest and sturdiest challenger, who has been disingenuously portrayed as the brooding bad boy set against Bolt's carefree party guy. "He's such a big figure in our sport. Not only is he a big figure, but the kind of guy who always will be a competitor when he steps onto the line."

Though it's tricky to compare dominance in track to that in any other sport, there's an element of Nicklaus in Bolt's dominance. Impressive as his 18 major championships are, Nicklaus' 19 second-place finishes and 73 top-10s spoke to his ability to get into the mix in most of the majors over the quarter-century while he was collecting titles. Nicklaus had to fend off Palmer, Watson, Johnny Miller and a dozen other legitimate contenders at every event. Bolt hasn't faced anything like that.

Yet they shared this important similarity: Often, the contests were over before they even began. Or, as Tom Weiskopf once said: "Jack knew he was going to beat you. You knew Jack was going to beat you. And Jack knew that you knew that he was going to beat you."

At the worlds two years ago, Gatlin had Bolt beaten in the 100 but leaned in at the finish line a microsecond too early. Bolt passed him and won by 0.01 seconds. The American all but admitted he psyched himself out.

Speaking to the pressure of racing someone such as Bolt, the Scottish sports historian and former Olympic coach Tom McNab compared sprinting to running in a tunnel.

"And once you become aware of what's happening outside your tunnel, you're in trouble," he said.

In boxing, Ali wasn't necessarily unbeatable, but he was incomparable as both a sharp-witted showman and an athlete with a social conscience, using his platform to preach tolerance and oppose war.

Bolt hasn't sought that sort of impact, at least not yet, but it's hard to overstate the mark he made on his troubled sport and, thus, the Olympics, which have long featured athletics as the must-see event of the final two weeks.

Over years and decades, the showcase sport of the Olympics has devolved into a sordid litany of doping scandals. The latest concerns widespread corruption and cheating in Russia, and heading into Rio, it undermined not only the sport and its managers, but the Olympics and their leaders' willingness to deal with it.

But when Bolt sauntered onto the track, flashed a peace sign and blew a kiss to the crowd, all was forgotten. Not just for the 9, or 19, seconds while he was running, but for the entire evening and beyond. He made track, and thus, the Olympics, eminently watchable.

He'll do it one more time on a smaller stage — track's world championships — but a stage with plenty of symbolic meaning.

When he headed to London for the Olympics in 2012, Bolt held all the records, but was portrayed as vulnerable, following the false start, a long list of nagging injuries and his losses to Blake.

By the time he left, he had pretty much anointed himself as the greatest. Four years later, he said that was precisely his goal: "To be among Ali and Pele," he said.

He's on that list, but when the lights go out after the relays Aug. 11 — 10 days before his 31st birthday — it will be time to say goodbye.

"Once he's gone," McNab says, "there's no major personality that would make any significant impact at the world level."

———

AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.



Rio Champ Thiago Braz Reportedly Out Of Worlds

Thiago Braz, the lone Brazilian to win track and field gold at the Rio Olympics, will reportedly not pole vault at the world championships in London next month.

Braz, 23, is out of worlds due to poor form, a calf injury and back pain and will not compete again this year, according to Brazilian media.

The shock Rio gold medalist struggled in his follow-up season, ranking outside the top 40 outdoors this year with a top clearance of 5.60 meters.

Braz cleared an Olympic record 6.03 meters to upset world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie in Rio. He also cleared 5.86 meters this past winter indoor season.

Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks is the only man to clear six meters this season, going undefeated in 10 competitions, according to Tilastopaja.org. The lone American man to win a world pole vault title was Brad Walker in 2007.

Other stars who will miss worlds include Rio gold medalists Eliud Kipchoge (marathon) and Brianna Rollins (100m hurdles) and London Olympic champions Taoufik Makhloufi (1500m) and Greg Rutherford (long jump).


Fed Prez Says Jamaica Could Beat The Form Charts

By Hubert Lawrence - Reuters

Earlier this month, the respected US publication TRACK AND FIELD NEWS predicted that Jamaica will win 11 medals at the World Championships, which start on August 4 in London.

 They have now dropped that figure to nine, but Dr Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Asso-ciation (JAAA), thinks that the 11 could be surpassed. In the same discourse, he expressed the view that three-time World 100 metres champion Usain Bolt is a special talent.

"I feel it is a reasonable assumption that we can get 11 medals", agreed Dr Blake. "We may surprise and get a few more," he continued. In an observation on the composition of the Jamaican team to London, he said, "I think we have a pretty good team, a good mix of youngsters and more seasoned campaigners."

The team includes athletes like Bolt and Novlene Williams-Mills, who first participated at the World Championships in 2005 alongside newcomers like Jaheel Hyde, Demish Gaye, Megan Simmonds, and Rhonda Whyte.

Even though Olympic 200 metre champions Bolt and Elaine Thompson are only running the 100 metres, Blake views the 11-medal prediction favourably and said, "it's still a good haul."

The July 2 TRACK AND FIELD NEWS predictions pinpoint Bolt, Thompson, Olympic 110 metre hurdles gold medallist Omar McLeod and discus thrower Fedrick Dacres as individual World Championships winners for Jamaica.

In his own prediction about the future of Jamaican track and field, Blake forecast, "When Bolt steps away, we won't have an outstanding brilliant star, but we'll have enough stars.

"He's special," he concluded, "and another talent like him will be a long time in the making."


Farah To End Track Career At Zürich DL

Mo Farah is to postpone his track retirement in order to compete in the Diamond League finale in Zurich.

The Briton, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, originally planned to bow out of track events after his home World Championships in London next month.

Farah – who completed the 5,000 metres and 10,000m double at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics – then changed that plan to agree to run in Birmingham on August 20.

But the 34-year-old, who is to focus on marathon and road running following the end of his track career, will now finish with the 5,000m race in Zurich on August 24 having qualified for the Diamond League final.

"Prior to switching to longer distances and the road, Mo Farah plans to return to Zurich for a farewell appearance," a statement from organisers read.

"Letzigrund Stadium is where he broke the 13m barrier in the men's 5,000m as the first British athlete in 2010, and it is where he was crowned double European champion four years later.

"Now, he plans to bid the track farewell in the legendary arena."


Sponsors Continue Support Of WR Bonuses At Worlds

With the IAAF World Championships set to burst out of the blocks for the 16th time next Saturday 4 August for ten days of scintillating action, the athletes are fine tuning their final preparations for the premier athletics event of the year.

A galaxy of stars are set to descend on London Stadium in the British capital, led by Usain Bolt as the incomparable Jamaican sprinter winds down a career that includes 11 world titles. Two of his individual gold medal performances were propelled by world records, his still-standing marks of 9.58 in the 100m and 19.19 in the 200m set at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, both of which were rewarded with a world record bonus of US$ 100,000, presented with the support of two of the IAAF’s partners: TDK (for the men’s events) and Toyota (for the women’s events).

Once again, the IAAF is proud to present its World Record Programme at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 where athletes achieving a world record will be eligible* for a special World Record Award of US$ 100,000 offered by TDK and Toyota.

The performance must be an improvement on the existing IAAF World Record. Performances which equal the existing IAAF World Record will not be eligible for a World Record Award.

The last world record award to be presented with a bonus was Ashton Eaton's 9045-point tally in the decathlon at the World Championships in Beijing two years ago.

TDK's involvement with the IAAF World Championships goes beyond the world record award as the Japanese electronics company has been the main bib sponsor (men's events) for all 15 previous editions and will maintain that involvement in London.

Another Japanese company – Toyota Motor Corporation – has offered the same sponsorship package for the women athletes since becoming an IAAF partner in 2003 ahead of the World Championships that year in Paris.

IAAF

PRIZE MONEY

More than 7 million dollars on offer in London
A total of US$ 7,344,000 in prize money will be paid* by the IAAF in London as follows:

Individual Events
Gold: US$ 60,000
Silver: US$ 30,000
Bronze: US$ 20,000
fourth place: US$ 15,000
fifth place: US$ 10,000
sixth place: US$ 6000
seventh place: US$ 5000
eighth place: US$ 4000

Relays (per team)
Gold: US$ 80,000
Silver: US$ 40,000
Bronze: US$ 20,000
fourth place: US$ 16,000
fifth place: US$ 12,000
sixth place: US$ 8000
seventh place: US$ 6000
eighth place: US$ 4000

* The payment of prize money and bonuses is dependent upon the usual ratification process, including athletes clearing the relevant anti-doping procedures.


The Bahamas Names Its London Team

nae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner will lead a small team from The Bahamas to the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Championships, set to get underway next week Friday in London, England. 
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) ratified a 21-member team yesterday, one of the smallest in recent memory. Miller-Uibo is the only athlete to have qualified in two events — the women's 200 and 400 meters (in) — and has already stated her intention of running both in London.

Gardiner went under the qualifying standard in the men's doom in every race he ran this season, except for his heat at the BAAA Open National Championships. The other members of the team are: Females Anthonique Strachan (women's 200m), Tynia Gaither (women's 200m), Devynne Charlton (100m hurdles), Jenae Ambrose (women's 200m), Bianca Stuart (women's long jump), Tamara Myers (women's triple jump), Carmiesha Cox (women's 4x100/4x400m), Keianna Albury (women's 4x100m), Shaquania Dorsett (women's 4x400m), Lanece Clarke (women's 4x400m), Christine Amertil (women's 4x400m), Doneisha Anderson (women's 4x400m);

and males Teray Smith (women's 4x200m), Donald Thomas (men's high jump), Alonzo Russell (men's 4x400m), Kendrick Thompson (men's 4x400m), Ramon Miller (men's 4x400m), OJay Ferguson (men's 4x400m) and Michael Mathieu (men's 4x400m). Just eight Bahamians qualified in individual events for the London World Championships. Stuart and Myers are the only two listed for individual events who didn't qualify, but they have been invited by the IAAF because of their global rankings, and to fill the athlete quota requirements for their respective events.

Mabelene Miller and Carl Oliver are the co-managers of the team, Sharon Gardiner is the assistant manager, Dianne Woodside-Johnson is the head coach, Rupert Gardiner is the relay coordinator, Ronald Cartwright, Everette Fraser and Jason Edwards are the assistant coaches, Dr. Keir Miller is the team doctor, and Eugena Patton and Bernique Hanna have been named to the medical team. According to BAAA President Rosamunde Carey, they are still waiting on the names of about three more athletes to be confirmed by the IAAF. They sent in a request for five in total, and so far, just Stuart and Myers have been confirmed to fill the athlete quota requirements. "It's a different make-up for this team that what we're used of seeing," said Carey yesterday.

"There's a good mixture of young and more experienced ones, and we feel very good about their chances. In fact, we believe that all of our qualifiers will make the final in their respective events. Shaunae is looking very good and we're looking forward to her doing some big things, and Steven recently told me that he feels very good about these world championships. He's approaching it with much more confidence than what he had at the Olympics last year. We're looking for him to make the final, and possibly get on the podium. Also, we're very excited about the relays. I believe that we could do some big things in the relays."

Team co-manager Miller is excited as well. "I feel good about the team. I think we have a chance to put three to four athletes on the podium," she said. "There are a few more athletes we hope to add to the team. The management staff is doing everything possible to make sure the team is comfortable and ready to perform." High jumper Jamal Wilson is one of those athletes reportedly under consideration by the IAAF. He was just three centimeters off the qualifying standard this year, and is ranked among the top 45 high jumpers in the world for 2017. A number of notable names are missing though. Chris "The Fireman" Brown has competed in every world championships since becoming a senior athlete.

His streak of nine straight appearances comes to an end this year, as he failed to qualify and has not been added to the team for the relay. "Superman" Leevan Sands has been to six world championships, missing just the 2013 Moscow World Championships in the past 15 years, as a result of that ruptured patella tendon he suffered at the 2012 London Olympics. Also not named to the team this year are national record holders Pedrya Seymour and Jeffery Gibson. Seymour has been injured all year and Gibson is coming off a torn labrum that he suffered at the Miller Anniversary Games in London last year. Be that as it may, BAAA President Carey is confident that the team will do well, and make all Bahamians proud. The world championships will be held August 4-13 in London.


More Impressive: Fast Mile Or Slow Marathon?

There's something a little gimmicky about celebrating distance purely for distance's sake

Last year, speaking to Outside, ultrarunner Rickey Gates made the following observation while reflecting on Mount Marathon, the brief but notoriously brutal mountain race in Seward, Alaska: “There’s a great fascination with ultras being harder than other races,” Gates said, “but the mile is every bit as difficult as 100 miles if you apply yourself to it.”

Coming from a guy who is currently wrapping up a 4,000-mile run across the country, the notion that four laps around a track can potentially pose a serious challenge might seem a little surprising. The mile is every bit as difficult as 100 miles? How can that be the case? Only a sliver of the global running population will ever experience the rigors of racing Western States or Leadville. The mile run, on the other hand, is firmly ensconced as an enduringly unpopular fixture in high school gym classes from Miami to Anchorage.

When the goal is merely to finish, it’s logical to assume that the longer the race, the more formidable the task. There are exceptions, of course. Mount Marathon is “only” a 5K, but every year runners struggle to complete the precipitous 3,000-foot ascent/descent in one piece. In 2012, someone disappeared.

But while surviving an ultra (or, for that matter, a boring old “regular” marathon) can be a gratifying item to cross off your bucket list, it shouldn’t obscure the fact that, as Gates notes, on the hierarchy of running achievement, longer doesn’t automatically mean more difficult. Another way of putting this is that it’s less about what you run and more about how you run.

In high school, I had a running mentor of sorts who insisted that the 800 meters (two laps around a track) was the toughest track and field event. His rationale was that the half-mile is essentially “a two-lap sprint,” requiring an almost all-out effort from the gun. The 1,500 meters was long enough that you could relax and find a groove. In the 400 meters, meanwhile, you had the psychological edge of knowing the race was just one lap. But the 800 was vicious. Two minutes of pure agony.

It’s a contentious claim, to be sure—for one thing, nobody can truly sprint for two laps—but at the time it helped me appreciate the way each event carries its own distinct challenges if one is willing to “apply oneself.” It may be a symptom of distance-running snobbery, but I’ll always find it more impressive when someone tries to run their fastest possible mile than when someone putters through an ultra and then expects adulation because they managed not to die.

(This is not to suggest that the only “right” way to run a race is so you’re semicomatose by the end. I have no beef with anyone who’d prefer to stop every mile for a selfie. If your idea of a good time is running 26.2 miles in Star Wars cosplay, may the force be with you.)

There’s a tendency among certain nonrunners to assume that anyone who pursues the sport competitively aspires to take part in ever-longer events. The underlying assumption here is that race distance, rather than effort, is the ultimate validation of athletic prowess.

This is as untrue for amateurs as it is for professionals. I know dedicated 5K runners who have zero interest in the marathon but could qualify for Boston in their sleep. Some of these athletes have PRs that are so fast that it fills me with a combination of rage and despair, yet they still get asked if they think “they could do a marathon,” as if that would be a career-
defining moment.

Call it the bias of a former track runner, but I’ve always believed there’s something vacuous and a little gimmicky about celebrating distance purely for distance’s sake. It’s the same thing that annoys me about one-upmanship in obstacle-course racing: the idea that the only way to “push the envelope” is by tacking on more miles or adding a larger vat of electrified manure for contestants to plunge into.

Again, this is not to disparage those who might find enlightenment in the church of Tough Mudder or by running 5,649 laps around a half-mile city block. But if you want to test the limits of what you’re capable of, a good old-fashioned 5K can be a just as effective (and probably more affordable) as a more ostensibly “extreme” alternative.
You just have to apply yourself.


US Olympic gold medallist says Birmingham is perfect - except for the traffic

AN Olympic Gold medal-winning hurdler says Birmingham is ready to host a major global sporting event like the 2022 Commonwealth Games , if only it can sort out the traffic congestion.

America’s 100m hurdler Dawn Harper-Nelson gave a massive thumbs up to Birmingham and its sporting facilities as she arrived at Alexander Stadium to begin final training for next months World Athletics Championships in London.

The 33-year-old has been to Birmingham five or six times to compete, including in Diamond League events and in the run up to London 2012 , and says she enjoys the training facilities, the hotels and visiting our cinemas and restaurants.

She said: “I do love coming here, I don’t have to worry about not having things – Birmingham have done it right.

“You have the perfect facilities with for indoor and outdoor here. I don’t have to worry how the weather will be – the track is great, the hurdles are here and the blocks.”

She said Birmingham could definitely stage a major event like the Commonwealth Games but admitted sharing the traffic frustrations with thousands of Brummie commuters.

“When they’ve held Diamond Leagues time and time again they’ve had the practice. But there’s one thing for us, which we always think of, is timing and traffic.” She said the UK’s traffic can be ‘intense’.

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“Your facilities are great, the fans are great, you’ve had the surveys to see what the athletes want, you handle the visits very well here, it’s just that traffic. When you’re in that bus and trying to get to your destination and you have to leave and hour ahead.”

Ms Harper-Nelson stressed that despite the experience from previous stays here, the trip to the Stadium on Friday morning had gone ‘well’.

The USA Track and Field team returned to Alexander Stadium after using it as a training base for the London Olympics five years ago. Ms Harper-Nelson was joined by 4x400m relay runner Natasha Hastings for interviews and a photocall while other USA Track and Field team members including sprinters Isiah Young and Justin Gatlin, limbered up inside the stadium.

Team members also took part in a community sports day with local children in Perry Park next to the stadium.

The 150 strong American team arrived in Birmingham a day after the Jamaicans set up camp at the University of Birmingham.

Birmingham is 'home from home' for Jamaican athletes

Top athletes from Jamaican Track and Field team have described Birmingham as a ‘home from home’ as they arrived for their World Athletics Championship training camp.

Although his team mates are settling in at the University of Birmingham, global sprint star Usain Bolt yet to arrive on campus.

Team vice-president Ian Forbes said the Olympic champion and World’s fastest man is ‘training well’ for his final race before he retires from competitive racing.

Mr Forbes said: “We will certainly miss him, his presence, he’s inspirational but we are hopeful that he will remain around the sport and support us when called upon.”

The University came in for major praise from the track relay stars after they hosted the team for 12 days before the 2012 Olympic Games. Bolt along with Yohan Blake and Warren Weir famously said ‘Big Up Birmingham’ after their Olympic 200m win at London 2012.

This time, the Jamaicans have been making use of the university’s new eight-lane athletics track and £55 million Sport & Fitness Club, which opened in May.

Don Quarrie, who won gold in the 200metres in the 1972 Olympics, called the facilities a ‘home from home’.

He said: “we were successful in 2012, being here this year will help us to be even more successful because you have a brand new track. We regard this as our home from home and we look forward to doing well in London next week.”

Sprint hurdlers Danielle Williams and Jaheel Hyde also endorsed Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games .

Zena Wooldridge OBE, Director of Sport, said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have such amazing new facilities on campus, and very excited to have the opportunity of the World Athletics Championships in London to share our new track and indoor facilities with our Jamaican friends.


Sir Mo Farah in numbers

Sir Mo Farah will bring the curtain down on his track racing career next month, competing at the World Championships in London followed by the Muller Grand Prix in Birmingham.

Here, Press Assocation Sport takes a look at the distance runner's illustrious career in numbers.

2 - Farah won an Olympic "double-double", with gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games.

6 - only six athletes - Emil Zatopek, Vladimir Kuts, Lasse Viren, Miruts Yifter, Kenenise Bekele and Farah - have won the distance double in a single Olympics. Viren is the only other man to do so twice, in 1972 and 1976, while Zatopek added the marathon for a unique treble in 1952.

9 - successive wins for Farah in global finals - the 5,000m at the 2011 World Championships, and doubles in the 2013 and 2015 events to add to his Olympic successes.

12:53.11 - Farah's national record for the 5,000m.

26:46.57 - his 10,000m personal best, a European record.

3 - he has won three successive Great North Runs.


Sharon Day-Monroe Preparing to Take on the World

Training has been going great since nationals. I train at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and this summer we are in the process of getting a facility overhaul. This is really exciting for our track program and the school and community. Many people use the facility for workouts and recreation. The adjacent grass field is also being turned into a turf practice field for the football and soccer teams.

Construction began the week of 4th of July, since then my coaches and I have been adjusting around the construction and making it work. At first the project manager was not jazzed about us being on the track with construction going on in various parts of the facility. Ya know, liability, insurance, blah blah. But after my coach and I explained that we were training for World Championships next month he was more open to allowing us to use the track as long as we avoided the immediate areas they were working on. But after a couple weeks of that we lost the infield, so no javelin, and the shot ring was torn up since it will be moved to a new location. Also, the HJ apron and LJ pit were nearing the top of the Demo list. So, we had to change locations.

We have since been out at Cuesta Community College. It’s a bittersweet feeling because I am really excited for the new track and facility, but I was also not psyched about changing up my routine in preparation for World Championships. Cal Poly’s track is like home to me, and I’m not a fan of feeling like I’ve been kicked out of my own house. But so far it has worked out great! I’m thankful that Cuesta is an open facility and the track is available all-day long. Also, there is hardly ever anyone else on the track so we have the full run of the facility. The track at Cuesta is much newer than Cal Poly (not for long) and feels like running on a cloud in comparison. Probably the best part is the unfamiliar environment gives a new flare to training that is just enough spark to end to monotony and boost my adrenaline enough to make workouts a bit easier.

As far as event specific work, everything feels like its lining up nicely for competition in London. My harder running workouts are feeling easier and I’m hitting competition marks at practice in my throwing events; which is not common for me, I’m not the best “practice player” as some might say.

I’m excited to go back to London, it’s one of my favorite cities! I’m also looking forward to competing at the Olympic Stadium once again. I haven’t been back since the 2012 Olympics. Everything is moving in the right direction in preparation for World Championships, I’m just counting down the days until I head across the pond!


London Set For Best-Ever World Champs Attendance

IAAF World Championships London 2017 organisers have announced the latest sales figure for tickets, with more than 660,000 sold for the Championships, which start in exactly one week.

The event, taking place from August 4-13, will also kick off with a bumper opening weekend comprising of a quarter of a million spectators set to flock to the London Stadium over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday sessions.

Yet, in spite of the huge demand for the opening night and both evenings of the Saturday and Sunday, organisers will next week issue the last remaining small batch of tickets for all 14 stadium sessions recouped from changes in stadium requirements.

This means fans can still catch Jessica Ennis-Hill receiving her reallocated 2011 world heptathlon gold during session 5 on August 6, the exact same night fellow Brit Katarina Johnson-Thompson goes for glory in the 2017 event.

It also marks the final opportunity to secure tickets to see Usain Bolt – whose 100m world record inspired 80,000 children’s sales with his £9.58 priced ticket – take to the blocks in the 100m for the last time during session 3 on August 5.

All 14 stadium sessions, including the sold out opening night featuring Mo Farah on August 4, will return to on sale availability for those eager to catch the biggest sports event in the world in 2017 taking place in London.

“We are delighted that so many people are set to visit the London Stadium to be part of the IAAF World Championships this summer, but with tickets still available we want to make sure the message gets out there that there is still a chance to see the world’s best athletes in the world’s best stadium,” said championship director, Niels de Vos.

“For those that missed out on the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games this is really it, the best chance to see the stadium in that form once more and I cannot stress enough how amazing the action is going to be.”

Ennis-Hill said: “It is going to be a special night for me and I am honoured that the IAAF and the organisers of the London World Championships have offered me the chance to receive my medal in front of the British fans.

“The London Stadium is where I won Olympic gold in 2012 and I never thought I would be back in the stadium receiving another gold. I have fond memories of the podium in 2012 and I am looking forward to creating some more next month.”

The IAAF World Championships London 2017 is the biggest event to be staged at the London Stadium since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with 2,000 athletes from 200 nations set to compete across 14 sessions in the London Stadium as well as among London’s most iconic landmarks for the marathon and race walks.


Usain Bolt in numbers

As Usain Bolt prepares to take his final bow on the world stage at the World Championships in London, Press Association Sport reviews the Jamaican sprinter's career in numbers.

9.58 sec - Bolt's 100m world record, set at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

19.19 sec - his 200m record from the same Championships.

36.84 sec - he holds a complete set of sprint world records after Jamaica's relay efforts at the London 2012 Olympics.

27.79mph - Bolt's fastest recorded speed on the track. It was measured from his time of 1.61 seconds for the 60-to-80m split in his record 100m run in Berlin.

8 - Olympic gold medals on Bolt's record. He lost another from the 4x100m relay at Beijing 2008 when team-mate Nesta Carter failed a retrospective drugs test.

11 - world titles.

4 - times Bolt has been named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.

6 - he has been named IAAF Male Athlete of the Year half a dozen times.


Schippers Heading To London Relaxed In Defense

One of the great hopes for European success at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, which start in London on Friday next week, is Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers and the good news is that the two-time European Athlete of the Year could not be more relaxed about her prospects for her 200m title defence.

Schippers won the longer sprint two years ago in Beijing and has made it her priority not to be in the spotlight in the weeks and days leading up to the event after admitting she was caught up in the euphoria of her growing fame, and the resulting air of expectation, before last summer's Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

This year her approach is different and it is why she cannot wait to step out in London where she is also competing in the 100m.

"I have weeks with nothing on and therefore I am a lot more relaxed, which I really need," said Schippers. "The attention has waned but it has also been a question of self preservation for me to stay out of the spotlight."

Even if she retired today, at the age of 25, she would have done pretty well, that is for sure.

Such is her position now among the sport's leading sprinters, it is easy to forget that she first came to prominence as a multi-events exponent, winning the 2010 world U20 heptathlon title and then the European U20 heptathlon title the following year.

At the 2013 world championships in Moscow, Schippers then won bronze in the heptathlon just a few weeks after also winning the bronze medal in the long jump at the European U23 Championships in Tampere.

It all changed for her in 2014 when she stormed to national sprint records and memorably won the 100m and 200m double at that summer's European Athletics Championships in Zurich.

Twelve months on, she had a world championship to savour in Beijing.

First, she won the 100m silver as she broke the national record with 10.81 to go equal-fourth on the European all-time list and then she powered around the bend to smash the European 200m record for gold in 21.63, which was also a championship record.

Rio was not quite what she hoped for despite the fact that many of her contemporaries would have been well pleased, finishing fifth in the 100m before winning a 200m silver medal.

But now London sees her ready to go prospecting for gold again.

Schippers has not raced much this summer, with a 100m best of 10.95 going back to April when she was warm weather training in the USA, but her quickest 200m time of 22.10 came in the IAAF Diamond League in Lausanne at the start of this month, a signal that she is heading towards her peak when it matters most.

"This is my career," added Schippers. "I want so badly to do well."

Jamaica's Elaine Thompson, the Olympic 100m and 200m champion, leads the 2017 world 100m lists with 10.71 and beat Schippers into second place in London in the shorter sprint this month. It could be between the two again at the world championships back in the Olympic Stadium but it is the 200m where the Dutch star is expected to come into her own once more

In addition to being a confirmed championship performer, Schippers combines such strength in her legs with her raw early speed. Throw in her being relaxed and it could be quite a formula for success.


Gatlin Thinks Bolt Might Reconsider Retirement

Justin Gatlin finished second behind Usain Bolt in last year’s Olympic 100 metres final.

Usain Bolt could reconsider his decision to quit the sport, according to American sprint rival Justin Gatlin.

Gatlin finished second behind Bolt in last year’s Olympic 100 metres final and also at the past two World Championships with the Jamaican dominant.

Bolt is due to bow out on the global stage in August’s World Championships in London after the 100m and 4x100m relay, but Gatlin can see him finding the lure of competition difficult to resist.

Asked whether he might change his mind, Gatlin, who is training with the United States squad in Birmingham, said: “Why not? He has that rock star mentality where he can travel the world, have fun, party in different places and then say: ‘I want to take this seriously one more time’.

“He has the opportunity to come back, once he leaves he can have a year of rest and say: ‘I love track so much I can’t leave it too soon’.

“For me it’s a rare moment which you’re not able to appreciate like I do. He’s a true competitor, in my whole career I’ve never raced anyone who’s such a true competitor and who’s going toe-to-toe with me.

“I love that, someone who’s not going to falter or fall down or back away – he’s going to rise to the occasion. That’s what makes me the athlete I am today, it makes me want to rise to the occasion.”

Gatlin, twice banned for drug use, was beaten by Bolt in Beijing two years ago by just one hundredth of a second – losing his 28-run unbeaten record at the time.

But with Bolt stepping down, Gatlin, who also finished second behind the Jamaican in the 200m in Beijing, is excited at what it means.

He said: “It makes you a little more jittery. Who’s going to step up to fill that void, who’s going to rise to the occasion and want to be the next superstar?

“Now you’re not worried about the ‘Usain Bolt Show’. Now you’re more concerned about the head-on competition, people rising to the occasion and saying: ‘I will do it for me and my family now I have the opportunity to run from the front’.”


Usain Bolt set to party in London as he brings down curtain on glittering career

Usain Bolt brings the curtain down on an extraordinary career in London ready to turn the World Championships into his personal party.

The world's fastest man has a habit of hogging the spotlight and that will be no different at the London Stadium in August.

His, expected, final global races come in the capital with Bolt aiming to once again dominate the 100m and relay.

The Jamaican's legacy will remain, even if he is due to hand back one of his nine Olympic medals - 4x100m relay gold from Beijing - due to Nesta Carter's positive drug test from 2008.

Last summer in Rio Bolt ended his Olympic career with three more medals, defending the 100m, 200m and 4x100m crowns he won in London.

"I've worked hard every Olympics to win three gold medals," Bolt said after bowing out of Olympic competition.

"I've proven to the world I am the greatest. I am just happy I've accomplished so much and I'm relieved. I'll miss the crowds, the energy and the competition. It has been a great career."

This year he returns to the capital knowing he is as revered in England as much as anywhere else in the world.

Bolt captured the imagination of the British public at London 2012 as he dominated and defended his individual titles for the first time.

Such is his appeal Bolt's exit will distract from the British challenge which - despite being the hosts - could be lacking gold medals.

Sir Mo Farah aside there are dwindling golden hopes for the hosts, even if Laura Muir will look to win the 1500m and 3000m.

Farah is quitting the track to focus on the marathon and will bring the curtain down at the Birmingham Diamond League a week after the championships.

The four-time Olympic champion won his first two gold medals in 2012.

On Super Saturday five years ago, along with Jessica Ennis-Hill's heptathlon win and Greg Rutherford's long-jump triumph, he won the 10,000 metres before adding the 5000m.

Muir, fresh from just missing out on Zola Budd's British mile record, could also take a slice of Farah's thunder as she becomes the next long-distance star.

Wins in the 1500m and 3000m at the European Indoors in March were her first senior triumphs and Muir will challenge for gold in the 1500m and 5000m.

The Scot is the next golden hope with Katarina Johnson-Thompson yet to make that world class breakthrough and Adam Gemili's falling star only seeing him selected for the 4x100m relay squad.

Instead it is CJ Ujah, who ran 9.98 seconds in the Diamond League meet in Morocco in June, who is the sprinter in form.

Hurdler Andrew Pozzi will aim to build on his 60m European Indoor title in March with Asha Philip, who also won in Belgrade, looking to transfer her 60m form to the 100m.

Sophie Hitchon, who won bronze in the hammer in Rio, will challenge again while Matthew Hudson-Smith could cause a surprise in the 200m - although, like Ujah in the 100m - will not beat Bolt.

While it is a London games, it is still likely to be Bolt stealing the show.


Farah pushes back track finish to Zurich: organisers

Lausanne (AFP) - Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah will delay his impending track retirement by a few days to compete at the Zurich Diamond League final, organisers said on Friday.

The British five-time world champion had originally been due to bow out at home in London after next month's world championships from August 4-13.

He then agreed to run the 3,000-metres at the Birmingham Diamond League event on August 20 but Zurich organisers say he will now also compete in Switzerland on August 24.

"Prior to switching to longer distances and the road, Mo Farah plans to return to Zurich for a farewell appearance," said organisers in a statement

"Letzigrund Stadium is where he broke the 13-minute barrier in the men's 5,000m as the first British athlete in 2010, and it is where he was crowned double European champion four years later.

"Now, he plans to bid the track farewell in the legendary arena."

The Somali-born 34-year-old, who will turn his attentions to road racing and the marathon once he hangs up his track spikes, will aim for a 5,000m and 10,000m double in London.

But having qualified for the Diamond League final, Farah will end his track career with a 5,000m race in Zurich.

In London, he is aiming for an unprecedented third consecutive double at the worlds in the two longest track distances, having also achieved the feat in the last two Olympics.

Also a five-time European champion, Farah has not been beaten in a major track championship since the world indoor championships in March 2012.

He is one of Britain's greatest ever track athletes and the most successful in terms of gold medals won.


Team USA Sets Up Camp In Birmingham

More than 150 athletes, officials and staff representing USA Track & Field (USATF) are staying in Birmingham at the end of July, ahead of the IAAF World Championships, with the city hosting the official training and preparation camp for the team, which includes eight individual gold medallists from the 2016 Rio Games and four defending World Champions.

Birmingham City Council’s sports events team has organised the camp, with training sessions being offered at the Alexander Stadium, the High Performance Centre and in Sutton Park plus accommodation and transportation needs carefully co-ordinated to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This year’s camp follows on from the city’s successful hosting of a similar camp for the American team in 2012, ahead of the London Olympic Games.

Dawn Harper-Nelson, 100m hurdler and double Olympic medallist who won gold in 2008 and silver in 2012, said: “I do love coming here, I don’t have to worry about not having things – Birmingham have done it right.

“You have the perfect facilities with for indoor and outdoor here. I don’t have to worry how the weather will be – the track is great, the hurdles are here and the blocks. Birmingham have done it right.”

More than 150 athletes, officials and staff representing USA Track & Field (USATF) are staying in Birmingham at the end of July, ahead of the IAAF World Championships, with the city hosting the official training and preparation camp for the team, which includes eight individual gold medallists from the 2016 Rio Games and four defending World Champions.

Birmingham City Council’s sports events team has organised the camp, with training sessions being offered at the Alexander Stadium, the High Performance Centre and in Sutton Park plus accommodation and transportation needs carefully co-ordinated to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This year’s camp follows on from the city’s successful hosting of a similar camp for the American team in 2012, ahead of the London Olympic Games.

Dawn Harper-Nelson, 100m hurdler and double Olympic medallist who won gold in 2008 and silver in 2012, said: “I do love coming here, I don’t have to worry about not having things – Birmingham have done it right.

“You have the perfect facilities with for indoor and outdoor here. I don’t have to worry how the weather will be – the track is great, the hurdles are here and the blocks. Birmingham have done it right.”

A second training camp for the Jamaican team is also being held in the city, at the University of Birmingham, with the likes of Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson fine tuning their preparations for next month’s IAAF World Championships in London.

Both teams have been invited to a civic service at Birmingham Cathedral to wish them well before they head south for the start of the IAAF World Championships on Friday 4 August.

Athletes from both teams will be expecting to return to Birmingham straight after the IAAF World Championships, to take part in the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham, which will be held at the Alexander Stadium on Sunday 20 August and many will also be aiming to be back in the city next March when Birmingham stages the IAAF World Indoor Championships at Arena Birmingham (also known as the Barclaycard Arena) from 1 to 4 March 2018.


Six additions take British squad for World Championships to 87



British Athletics has added six more athletes to its team for next month's IAAF World Championships in London.

The squad was initially announced earlier this month for the showpiece event from August 4-13 and with the addition of six more the 87-strong squad will be the largest ever to represent British Athletics at a World Championships.

Meghan Beesley, who will compete in the women's 400 metres hurdles, Chris Bennett (hammer), Rachel Wallader (shot), Nick Percy (discus), Ieuan Thomas (3000m steeplechase) and Alicia Barrett (100m hurdles) have all been added.

Scottish 400m hurdler Eilidh Doyle will captain the British team after winning a ballot of the GB squad.

Defending long jump champion Rutherford has been ruled out of the Championships with an ankle injury sustained during a competition in Italy last month.

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah is bidding to defend the 5,000m and 10,000m titles, while Laura Muir, who has qualified for the 1500m and 5,000m, and heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson will also be in the hunt for medals.


A Bahamian Positive From The World Relays?

According to reports reaching Nassau Guardian Sports, one of the athletes on the 21-member team selected for the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Championships tested positive for a banned substance.

Initially, it was reported that a particular athlete was involved in a confrontation in Freeport, Grand Bahama, following the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' (BAAA) Open National Championships, but when officials were pressed further, it was also revealed that there was a positive test for a banned substance for one of the Bahamian sprinters from the world relays.

When pressed on the matter, BAAA President Rosamunde Carey declined to comment. A source told Guardian Sports: "What happened is that one of the athletes on the men's 4noom relay team got his jaw broken in an altercation after the nationals in Freeport, but further than that, one of the athletes on the team tested positive for steroids from the world relays. That's all I could tell you at this time."

The source did not indicate whether the banned substance had been accidentally ingested or deliberately taken by the athlete in question.

According to the source, the athlete's 'A' sample from the world relays came back positive, and officials are still awaiting the results of the 'B' sample. , The Nassau Guardian sports team will continue to follow the story as it develops.


Sprinter Gemili Upset By British Ultimatum

Adam Gemili reveals selection ultimatum forced him to compete while injured

British sprinter Adam Gemili has revealed he was given little choice but to compete at the trials for the London 2017 World Championships despite being injured.

Gemili, 23, who missed out on Olympic 200m bronze by three-thousandths of a second last summer, was only able to finish sixth at the trials in Birmingham as he struggled with a hamstring injury.

He told British newspapers: "I didn't want to race there but the powers that be said if I wanted to make the team then I had to. I was trying to run with one leg.

"I had a terrible race and I could have stopped, maybe I should have, but I was too proud to go out there and pull up. It was crazy to be at trials but then see other people weren't there.

"If had my time again I wouldn't go to trials. I probably would have run at the Anniversary Games after an extra week of training and a bit more rest, and it might have been a different story."

Londoner Gemili, who was overlooked in favour of Zharnel Hughes, added: "This is worse than tearing your hamstring, worse than missing out on an Olympic medal. This is a lot harder to cope with mentally because I'm completely fit now and because I told them I would be, that's annoying.

"It's a home world champs and that doesn't happen often. It'll be tough to watch the 200 because I would've loved to compete but it's going to be exciting because I believe we could get three Brits in a world championships final for the first time in a long time and they could all be challenging for podium or even gold, especially with [Usain] Bolt only doing the 100m."

Gemili -- the first British man in history to break 10 seconds for 100m and 20 seconds for 200m -- will compete in the British 4x100m team along with Hughes, CJ Ujah, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Danny Talbot, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, and Reece Prescod.


Reese Hoffa Into Georgia Circle Of Honor

When former Lakeside thrower Reese Hoffa showed up in Athens as a 19-year-old freshman 20 years ago, he didn’t realize he’d planted roots in the University of Georgia that would last a lifetime.

“I thought I would go to college, get my degree, come back to Augusta and take a coaching position at one of the high schools or middle schools,” Hoffa said.

Two decades later, the former world champion and bronze medalist in the 2012 London Olympics is still living in Athens. Now his legacy will become a permanent fixture in UGA’s Circle of Honor.

“I’ve known about the Circle of Honor since I was in college and was just half-dreaming that I hoped I would be part of that Circle of Honor,” Hoffa said. “I just thought that I never really met the standards for it.”

The standards are high to be recognized as one of the extraordinary athletes or coaches “who, by their performance and conduct, have brought honor to the university and themselves, and who by their actions have contributed to the tradition of the Georgia Bulldogs.”

Recipients must also earn a degree from Georgia, receive all-American honors and be a member of a national team or Olympic medalist.

Hoffa ticks off all the right boxes for “uncommon distinction” to join a group that includes the likes of Charlie Trippi, Vince Dooley, Billy Payne, Pat Dye, Teresa Edwards and Dan Magill. As a young student-athlete without a lot of means, Hoffa entertained himself by perusing all the athletics history and memorabilia that filled UGA’s Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. The video display of the Circle of Honor recipients was one of his favorite attractions.

“It was amazing,” he said. “These are the top athletes that represent UGA not only in college but as professionals. It sparked my interest. I thought you must be really good to get on this list.”

Back when Hoffa was in school, former Richmond Academy star Forrest “Spec” Towns was the only track and field representative in the Circle of Honor. Towns, who became the first Georgian to win an Olympic gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Games in the 110-meter high hurdles, went on to become coach for the Bulldogs for 34 seasons.

Hoffa will become the fourth track and field athlete inducted into the Circle, joining Towns, sprinter Debbie Ferguson and fellow shot put thrower Brent Noon.

“To be one of the people that represent track and field in elite company humbles you,” Hoffa said. “There are some angels that were whispering in their ears to get me in there. It’s almost unbelievable that my accomplishments and how I represented the University of Georgia and conducted myself that they say, ‘We’re going to put you in.’ I don’t think people go out there and do their sport to be in any particular hall of fame. You just do it because you want to be the best you can be. It’s humbling that people recognize all the hard work and what you’ve done as an athlete to put you up there with the greats of all time.”

Hoffa won world indoor and outdoor championships in 2006 and ’07, respectively, and competed in three Olympics – Athens, Beijing and London – during a long career in which he ranked among the world’s top three throwers for 10 years.

He retired in 2016 after narrowly missing out on making the U.S. Olympic team for the Rio Games. He admits that he dragged out sending in his official retirement papers for a few months.

“It’s probably the hardest thing I ever had to do to hang up my shoes because in the back of your mind you think I can still do it one more year,” he said. “But you have to be realistic to your abilities and where your heart is and I just couldn’t put my body through another year.”

As his body heals from all the years of training and pushing himself to the limits, Hoffa is throwing himself head first into the next chapter of his life. This winter he’ll finish school to get certified as a massage therapist while he keeps his hand in throwing by teaching young kids how to perfect the craft.

“I’m just trying to make sure I fill my time with things that I’m passionate about,” he said. “Obviously I’m passionate about teaching kids how to throw and with massage therapy it’s helping people get well because I know what it’s done for me. It allowed me to continue to have a long career. I just want to be part of someone else’s process of being great down the road. Maybe work on a few Olympians or a few state champions.”

Hoffa will be officially inducted with fellow Bulldog all-Americans Thomas Davis (football), Chris Colwill (diving) and Nicole Barber (softball) at a black-tie gala on Feb. 12. But they will be honored publicly at Sanford Stadium during the homecoming football game against Missouri on Oct. 14. He’ll invite 20 guests including his parents and former Lakeside track coach David Machovec, who originally convinced him to try shot put.

“I hope he can come to see one of his creations and watch me be honored on that day,” Hoffa said.


Ennis-Hill Describes "Super Saturday" At '12 Games

It could not be any other date really.

This summer's World Championships begin on the 4 August, five years to the day since Great Britain's Midas touch turned a red, white and blue London Stadium gold.

In the space of 45 heady minutes, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah won Olympic titles in the heptathlon, long jump and 10,000m respectively.

For the thousands in the stadium and millions watching on television, it was an endless carousel of cheers, grins and hometown glory.

But what was Super Saturday like for those at the heart of the action, bearing a nation's hopes?

Before Sunday's Heroes of Super Saturday programme on BBC One, Ennis-Hill explains the private moments and secret stresses of an unforgettable evening in 2012.

05:00 BST

"The alarm went off at 05:00 BST.

"There was a maybe a half-second of slumber, but I find when there is something I have to do I come round quite quickly.

"The realisation hit me that this was one of the biggest day of my life.

"After the recovery, warm-down and physio from the first day's competition I had had about five hours sleep. It felt like I had only just put my head on the pillow.

"But I had to be up early to get my breakfast down and digested and prepare for the long jump which started at 10:05 BST.

"I took a couple of steps out of bed and realised my body was aching everywhere.

"I expected to feel general soreness, but I wondered how I was going to cope as I was struggling to walk to the shower, my muscles stiff and sore.

"Being up so early I missed most seeing any of my team-mates face to face that morning in the corridor of the athletes' village, but they had left me a load of good luck messages on my door.

"It was probably for the best because I did not want any distractions."

09:00 BST

"The first two events that day were the long jump, which just hadn't been clicking at my pre-Games training camp in Portugal, and the javelin, the event that had cost me in the 2011 World Championships.

"I was determined not to throw it away by getting down on any one discipline though.

"My coach Toni Minichello was really businesslike that morning, talking me through the little things to focus on and, on the mental side, just assuring me that he and the rest of the team were all rooting for me."

10:30 BST

"I knew the long jump could be the deal-breaker.

"My first jump of 5.95m was more than half a metre down on my personal best - but when I landed 6.48m on my final attempt, I knew that was a really solid jump.

"The other girls were not jumping at their very best and I was buzzing."

12:00 BST

"After I threw a personal best 47.49m in the javelin, I had such a lead that I would have to do something really stupid to mess it up.

"As I walked back through the stadium I spotted my masseur Derry Suter. He gave me this really excited look. I was feeling the same inside, but neither of us wanted to get carried away and say anything out loud.

"I could feel I was about to cry. I managed to keep my composure but I was so excited.

"Gold was so close I could almost touch it."

14:00 BST

"I just wanted to go straight out and get the 800m over and done with after that but the final event of the hepathlon was not until the evening session.

"I could have gone back to the athletes' village like most of the heptathletes. But I couldn't face the dining hall and the prospect of people telling me that I already had it won.

"Instead, as the crowds disappeared and cleaners picked up litter in the stands, I stayed down in the depths of London Stadium.

"It was really quiet. There were only a few other heptathletes who had done the same as me and hung around. It was a moment of calm after all the noise and pressure.

"I had something to eat, had a nap and chatted with a few of my team.

"The organisers only give you a certain number of passes for your coaches and they are quite strict. But Toni, Derry and my javelin coach Mick Hill kept swapping them about, taking it in turns to come and keep me company.

"It felt like the longest break ever."

18:00 BST

"The rest of the heptathlon field started coming back in dribs and drabs. I could feel their nerves and mine started ramping up again.

"I headed down to the warm-up track and I could see the stadium filling up on the big screens overlooking it and hear the noise increase inside.

"It is the most nerve-racking feeling, especially when you have the 800m to come - an event where you know that you are going to put yourself through a lot of physical pain.

"Toni was pretty chilled. He didn't give me a deep, motivational pep talk, he just gave me a little pat on the back and told me to go for it. He is a man of few words sometimes, but we have worked together since I was 13 and that was all that was needed.

"Then I had to walk to the call room on my own."

20:55 BST

"It was just waiting, waiting and waiting and the nerves building more and more.

"I had a 15-second advantage on my nearest rival, but also knew that anything can happen in the chaos of the 800m.

"There have been races where girls' shoes have fallen off and it was all over for them.

"You check everything - that your kit is how you need it to be, your shoes are tied right, your hair is tight. You don't want the tiniest distraction, the smallest excuse.

"Finally I was on my way to the startline."

21:00 BST

"I prefer frontrunning - to go out hard and get into a rhythm, rather than build up in pace through a race.

"That has always been my way, but this time there was an extra incentive to get out in front of everyone and reduce the risk of a trip or fall.

"I just wanted to stay out of danger and knew I was capable of a time that would win it."

21:02 BST

"I have never been one to celebrate really, but as I came across the line my arms just came up almost through instinct.

"It was like a massive weight coming off. I felt like I had been holding my breath all through that competition.

"The number of billboards and things with my face on in build up to the Games had been surreal.

"British Airways had even created a huge mural with me under the flight path into Heathrow. It had become a running joke among the team as people spotted my face everywhere.

"It it was a huge relief that I hadn't messed up more than anything.

"Derry threw me a union jack that he had secretly been hiding in his bag, already printed up with my name and Olympic champion.

"The other heptathletes were congratulating me as we went round on a lap of honour, but it was all a bit of a blur. When something you have worked for for so long becomes reality it is a little weird."

21:10 BST

"As I was coming off my lap of honour I saw Mo warming up on the home straight and wished him good luck.

"You can actually see the 10,000m final lining up over my shoulder in the post-race interview that I did with the BBC Sport's Phil Jones. You can hear the crowd roar as his name is announced.

"After speaking to Phil I was going through a gauntlet of all the overseas broadcasters.

"Everyone wanted two minutes with me, it was just crazy. Somewhere along the line someone told me that Greg had won gold.

"I knew that he was competing obviously, but I was in my own bubble, still a little concerned someone was going to say I had done something wrong!

"I was watching Mo's race unfold on television screens in between interviews. I had finished the broadcast interviews and was down with the written press, just under one of the stands when he finally won."

23:30 BST

"I had seen my family to point and wave to after the medal ceremony when Lord Coe and Sir Craig Reedie presented me with my gold, but I had to go through anti-doping and more media before I finally got to speak to them.

"I jumped in a taxi and went to Team GB house in Stratford where my agent had arranged for my mum, dad, sister, fiance Andy and the rest of the family to meet afterwards.

"My now brother-in-law Phil and his wife-to-be Margot were there. The 4 August is both of their birthdays and Phil joked that my winning gold had really outshone their day!

"I had a few glasses of champagne to celebrate, but you don't realise how tired you are until you actually stop. I was absolutely drained."

02:00 BST

"It was a strange moment when I got back to the athletes' village and shut that door in that little room and was on my own again.

"I had looked on social media and it was overwhelming the number and variety of people who had congratulated me.

"There were so many random celebrities, people from different walks of life and people from my past - I wish now I had favourited them all so I could look back.

"But there were just so many and so much to do that I didn't manage to.

"I went back to sleep in that same bed almost 24 hours after I had got up, but this time with a gold medal lying right beside me."

Jessica Ennis-Hill was speaking to BBC Sport's Mike Henson.


Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the World Athletics Championships

The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the World Championships in London from 4-13 August.

Men

100m: James Dasaolu, Reece Prescod, CJ Ujah

200m: Zharnel Hughes, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Danny Talbot

400m: Dwayne Cowan, Matt Hudson-Smith, Martyn Rooney

800m: Elliot Giles, Kyle Langford, Guy Learmonth

1500m: Josh Kerr, Chris O'Hare, Jake Wightman

5,000m: Andrew Butchart, Mo Farah, Marc Scott

10,000m: Mo Farah

3,000m steeplechase: Rob Mullett, Zak Seddon, Ieuan Thomas

110m hurdles: David King, David Omoregie, Andrew Pozzi

400m hurdles: Jack Green

High jump: Robbie Grabarz

Triple jump: Nathan Fox

Hammer: Nick Miller, Chris Bennett

Discus: Nick Percy

Decathlon: Ashley Bryant

20km race walk: Tom Bosworth, Callum Wilkinson

50km race walk: Dominic King

Marathon: Andrew Davies, Callum Hawkins, Josh Griffiths

4x100m: Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Adam Gemili, Zharnel Hughes, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Reece Prescod, Danny Talbot, CJ Ujah

4x400m: Cameron Chalmers, Dwayne Cowan, Jack Green, Matt Hudson-Smith, Martyn Rooney, Delano Williams, Rabah Yousif

Women

100m: Desiree Henry, Daryll Neita, Asha Philip

200m: Dina Asher-Smith, Shannon Hylton, Bianca Williams

400m: Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond, Anyika Onuora

800m: Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, Lynsey Sharp, Adelle Tracey

1500m: Jessica Judd, Sarah McDonald, Laura Muir, Laura Weightman

5,000m: Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir, Steph Twell

10,000m: Jessica Martin, Beth Potter, Charlotte Taylor

3,000m steeplechase: Rosie Clarke, Lennie Waite

100m hurdles: Tiffany Porter, Alicia Barrett

400m hurdles: Eilidh Doyle, Jess Turner, Meghan Beesley

High jump: Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Morgan Lake

Pole vault: Holly Bradshaw

Long jump: Shara Proctor, Jazmin Sawyers, Lorraine Ugen

Discus: Jade Lally

Hammer: Sophie Hitchon

Shot put: Rachel Wallader

Heptathlon: Katarina Johnson-Thompson

20km race walk: Gemma Bridge, Bethan Davies

Marathon: Tracy Barlow, Alyson Dixon, Charlotte Purdue

4x100m: Dina Asher-Smith, Desiree Henry, Corinne Humphreys, Shannon Hylton, Daryll Neita, Asha Philip, Bianca Williams

4x400m: Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond, Eilidh Doyle, Laviai Nielsen, Anyika Onuora, Perri Shakes-Drayton


Should Testosterone Be Regulated In Women's Events?

In 2014, Indian sprinter Dutee Chand was barred from competing in the Commonwealth Games, an international sporting tournament between former territories of the British Empire. Chand hadn’t doped—a rampant problem in the sport—or consumed any illicit substances.

But officials deemed that Chand, who was not favored to win the competition, had a seemingly unfair advantage: her body naturally produced a lot of testosterone.

At least, that’s according to a regulation issued by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). Suspended in 2015 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the regulation was aimed at females whose bodies produce unusually high levels of androgens, a group of hormones that includes testosterone. Concerned in part that this condition, called hyperandrogenism, gave female athletes an unfair competitive advantage, the IAAF ruled that if athletes were unable to prove their body was incapable of using the testosterone, women with over 10 nanomoles of testosterone per liter of blood would either have to undergo surgery or take hormone suppressants before they would be allowed to return to competition.

Men typically have much higher testosterone levels then women, and the IAAF believes that this is part of the reason why, on average, elite men outperform elite women by about 10% in track and field events. Take, for example, Genzebe Dibaba, an Ethiopian distance runner who holds five women’s world records between indoor and outdoor track and field. While Dibaba runs a blazing fast 4:13 mile, all twelve American high school boys at this year’s Brooks P.R. Invitational, the premiere high school meet of the summer, bettered Dibaba’s fastest career time. It would seem that we segregate men and women in track and field events with good reason—otherwise, one of the best female milers the world has seen in years would struggle to compete in national meets at the high school level.

The IAAF argues that to uphold the integrity of women’s athletics, testosterone levels require greater scrutiny. The organization has until today to present evidence to the CAS that they hope will convince the court to reinstate the regulation.

It’s expected that the IAAF will include in its package of evidence a study published earlier this month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that links testosterone levels to athletic performance in a subset of women’s track and field events. While the authors conclude that their findings suggest that female athletes with high testosterone levels have a competitive advantage in these events and imply that they support the IAAF’s regulation, other scientists argue that the study is limited, lacks conclusive evidence, and that these conclusions about the research’s broader implications are unsubstantiated.

Most experts agree that the IAAF’s body of evidence is unlikely to convince the CAS to end the suspension. But the ban’s ethical complications are manifold—and that’s where opinions differ.

Just about everyone agrees that the sport’s governing body should regulate athletes’ use of unnatural substances, like steroids. But to what degree should they control what occurs naturally in people’s bodies?

The History of Sex Testing
Sorting people into one of two of categories isn’t easy, because sex is not a neat binary of male and female, says Katrina Karkazis, an anthropologist, bioethicist, and senior researcher at Stanford University’s Center for Biomedical Ethics whose research focuses on intersex traits. Scientists used to think people could either have an X and a Y sex chromosome, and were therefore male, or two X chromosomes, and were therefore female. But as Karkazis explains in her 2012 paper in The American Journal of Bioethics, those aren’t the only two options. Some people are born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome. Also, not everyone has the same sex chromosome pairing in every cell—some people have some cells with an XY pairing and other cells with an XX pairing.

There are also at least five other markers of sex, including hormones, internal genitalia, and external genitalia, and the way that these markers—like chromosomes—express themselves is also not black and white. To further complicate things, a person might have one of these markers present as male, another present as female, and a third present as something in between—an intersex trait.

Sports’ governing bodies struggled for decades with what to do with athletes who can’t be sorted into one of these two categories, resulting in numerous horror stories. Jaime Schultz, a professor of kinesiology at Penn State, described in The Conversation “nude parades” in the 1960s in which female athletes were forced to present themselves naked to gynecologists at the 1966 European Championships and the 1967 Commonwealth Games. Later, the IAAF switched their chromosome testing to a less invasive but still ethically questionable cheek swabbing.

The IAAF and International Olympics Committee (IOC) ended systematic sex testing in the 1990s. But individual athletes have still been subject to scrutiny by the sport’s governing bodies, most recently Chand—the Indian sprinter—and South African 800-meter runner Caster Semenya. Because of her dominant performance at the 2009 World Championships and her stereotypically masculine build, Semenya, a teenager at the time, was “reportedly subjected to a two-hour examination during which doctors put her legs in stirrups and photographed her genitalia.” After the championships, “intensely intimate details about Semenya’s body became a topic for public debate and scrutiny,” Karkazis wrote in her 2012 paper.

After Chand appealed the 2014 ban, the CAS reinstated her and suspended the hyperandrogenism regulation. The CAS wrote in its decision that “the Hyperandrogenism Regulations are based on an implicit assumption that hyperandrogenic females enjoy a significant performance advantage over their non-hyperandrogenic peers, which outranks the influence of any other single genetic or biological factor.” It gave the IAAF two years to gather evidence supporting this assumption.

The IAAF Evidence
Joanna Harper, a medical physicist and the only transgender person ever to be an advisor to the IOC on matters of gender and sport, says that the IAAF is likely to include a study by Stéphane Bermon, a physician and exercise physiologist, that’s receiving a lot of public attention.

The study divided athletes in each track and field event at the 2011 and 2013 World Championships into three groups based on their fT levels (fT stands functional testosterone, or testosterone that the body can use). The authors then tested for a statistically significant difference between the average times of athletes in the upper third of fT levels and those in the lower third. It concluded that “female athletes with high fT levels have a significant competitive advantage over those with low fT” in five track and field events, and that this advantage should be considered by those writing legislation.

While it’s published in the peer-reviewed and highly respected BJSM, the study has raised a few eyebrows. Schultz is skeptical of the research’s merit because of the authors’ ties to the IAAF. Bermon, the lead author, is a member of the IAAF’s Medical and Antidoping Commission, and co-author Pierre-Yves Garnier is the Director of the IAAF’s Health and Science Department. Schultz says that “the federation has been clear that it intends to return to court with proof that testosterone is linked to improved athletic performance,” so the IAAF has a vested interest in producing results that favor the regulation. “It’s very clear that the article is written with a purpose of…[defending] that particular regulation,” Karkazis echoes. “They have a dog in this fight.” Neither author was available for comment.

Beyond the conflict of interest, Garnier’s reputation has recently taken a hit—according to Reuters, the IAAF suspended Garnier last summer for allegedly receiving cash payments in a cover-up of Russian doping cases.

Three statisticians who did not contribute to the research—Dorit Hammerling of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Joe Guinness of North Carolina State University, and Richard Smith of the University of North Carolina—say that the paper does have some statistical merits. They wrote in a group email with NOVA Next that the paper successfully demonstrates a measurable difference in performance between female athletes with high testosterone and those with low testosterone in the five relevant events.

But these findings do come with a few caveats. First, the authors ran tests on 43 events (21 women’s and 22 men’s events), so it’s possible that a few of the five statistically significant results are due to random error. Second, the authors didn’t account for the fact that almost a fifth of the female athletes competed in both World Championships, so a significant number of subjects are counted twice. The authors also only had access to one time and one fT level for each athlete, so they could only analyze a narrow sliver of each athlete’s career. Smith thought a different type of analysis would have been better given the limited amount of available data, but he said “that would require a much higher level of statistical expertise than is show in the rest of the paper.” Smith said he would have liked to see the analysis performed excluding known dopers, whose artificially boosted T levels could have skewed the results.

While the authors are justified in arguing that they found five significant results, some of their other claims are harder to defend. Smith points out that there’s a difference between a statistically significant result and a practically significant result. Two runners can have different times without one having a significant competitive advantage over the other. And while most in the track and field community would consider the two-second difference found between low-T 800 meter runners and high-T 800 meter runners to be significant, that’s only the authors’ best guess for the time difference—it could be a difference as small as a fraction of a second, or as large as four or five seconds. As Smith says, “the broader implications are unclear.”

This distinction is pivotal for the IAAF. Karkazis says “the CAS didn’t say you needed a statistically significant finding, but a finding of a performance difference of a particular magnitude,” a magnitude that the study did not find. The three statisticians agree that the paper doesn’t “[settle] the issues regarding athletes such as Chand or Semenya whose eligibility to participate in female events has been challenged.”

Finally, while the authors make clear in one part of the paper that what they’ve found is merely a correlation and that they can’t conclude that the higher fT levels are causing the better performances, their implication that this evidence is in support of the regulation makes it sound like they actually have found causation. Karkazis says that these are conclusions that “support the regulation but which the science itself in the study doesn’t support.”

Testosterone and ‘Fair Sport’
Harper acknowledges the limitations of the study but argues that “you’d see even a more robust difference between the low T and the high T athletes” if the authors had more data to work with. Much of the performance difference between men and women can be prescribed to testosterone differences, she says.

But Karkazis begs to differ. “There are plenty of studies that show a much more complicated and equivocal relationship than what policy makers would like to claim,” she says.

Schultz agrees, saying that “so many different variables—internal and external—have to align for top performance.” But Harper argues that it’s misleading “to compare testosterone advantages to other natural advantages,” saying the advantages of testosterone far outstrip those of other biological components. She references as evidence studies conducted in Germany in the 1970s and 1980s showing that increases in exogenous testosterone were “spectacularly effective” at improving performances in elite female athletes.

The IAAF claims that the hyperandrogenism regulation protects the integrity of female athletics and promotes “fair sport.” But Karkazis says that by focusing on testosterone, a singular biological component, the IAAF overlooks not just other biological factors, but also inevitable social and economic inequalities in athletics. Athletes in richer countries, for example, have access to better training facilities, coaches, and equipment, and can afford to dedicate more time to training. Professional athletics will always be littered with people who have incredible genetic gifts and socioeconomic benefits. The existence of professional sports itself may even depend on that un-level playing field.

Regardless of where experts align themselves in the debate over testosterone, most seem to agree that the IAAF’s package of evidence will not be enough to convince the CAS to reinstate the hyperandrogenism regulation. Ross Tucker, an exercise physiologist and strong advocate for the regulation, wrote on his blog “The Science of Sport” following the publication of the new Bermon study that “the IAAF evidence does not go far enough, either in terms of the depth or the range.”

“To reduce an athlete’s excellence to her androgen serum level or to disqualify an athlete because of her biology doesn’t strike me as appropriate,” says Schultz. Karkazis, too, argues that women shouldn’t be forced to undergo medical treatment just so they can continue to compete. “The athletes that we’re talking about are no different than any of the other women who are born and lived as women for their entire lives. And I just cannot for the life of me see a reason to treat those women differently.”


6 Brits To Watch Out For At World Champs

The IAAF World Athletics Championships are back again in London this year and it's set to be a stiff competition.

Athletes from across the globe will come together to compete to be the best in the different sports in front of thousands of cheering fans in the stadium and at home.

There are hundreds of athletes from over 100 different countries competing over the 10 day event.
All of them fighting their hardest for gold.

So before the competition kicks off, here are 6 of the best from Team GB to watch out for...

Mo Farah

The first one on our list is Mo Farah, one of British athletics most famous athletes in recent years. Mo was the first man in history to pull off an athletic triple double, that means he won gold in two athletic events at two world championships, one after another! Phew, Mo certainly goes for gold and its no doubt he will want to continue that in London.

Dina Asher-Smith

Dina has been a household name for a number of years now and has shown herself to be a truly determined athlete. In 2016 she won gold in the 200m and secured a silver in the 4 x 100m relay at the European Championships in Amsterdam. She will be looking to add to her medal collection.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Katarina Johnson-Thompson is one of the younger competitors on our list, but that doesn't mean she is to be underestimated. She has won golds at different athletic events over the last few years, including in the World Juniors and competing as an adult at the European indoor Championships in 2015. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Katarina secured a new Team GB high jump record.

CJ Ujah

Another young upstart on our list is CJ Ujah. Fresh from three first place finishes at the recent Diamond League competitions in Rome, London and Morocco, the 23 year old will be looking to add another gold to his trophy shelf. CJ has had plenty of practice running with the big dogs of the athletic world, having raced against none other than the fastest man alive, Usain Bolt!

Sophie Hitchon

Sophie Hitchon swapped ballet for track and field at 14 years old and hasn't looked back. Hitchon secured a bronze and a British record of an amazing 74.54m in the hammer throw during the 2016 Rio Olympic games! Hitchon has said that "The ballet helped by building strength from an early age.".

Laura Muir

Laura Muir is another one on our list who is no stranger to breaking records, holding the British record in the 1500m. She has already grabbed two gold medals in 2017 at the European Indoor championships in Belgrade. No doubt she'll be wanting more from London.


How Much Is Usain Bolt Worth?

USAIN BOLT could end his sensational athletics career after the IAAF World Championships in London next month. But what is the sprinter’s net worth?

The world’s fastest man will lead Jamaica to the IAAF World Championships for what the sprinter has suggested could be his last competitive event.

Last year, Usain Bolt said he wanted to retire after racing in London, but he is now considering waiting until the end of the season before hanging up his running shoes for good.

Speaking at an IAAF event in the Czech Republic, the 30-year-old said: "Right now, I'm just focused on getting through the season.

"I just like entertaining the crowd. I definitely want to try and enjoy every minute of it - it won't be the same sat in the stadium."

The Jamaican ended his Olympic career in scintillating fashion at Rio 2016, winning gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4X100m relay.

Bolt said it is going to be an “emotional” end to the season, adding: "It's just been a great career.

"I've really enjoyed the ups and downs, all the experience I've gathered, all I've been through, the happiness and the sadness."

What is Usain Bolt’s net worth?

Usain Bolt is worth an estimated £26.1million ($34.2million), according to Forbes’ 2017 list of the world’s best-paid athletes.

Of this figure, only £1.7millon comes from winnings. Bolt gets most of his income – a staggering £24.4million ($32million) – from endorsements and sponsorship deals.

Bolt's successes on the track and likeable personality have helped him to become one of the most marketable sportsmen of all time.

He has a number of lucrative sponsorship deals with global brands such as Gatorade, Sprint and Hublot.

He is the 23rd highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes, and the the only track athlete to make it into the top 100.

Bolt’s biggest sponsor is Puma, which pays the sprinter about £7.6million ($10million) a year, Forbes added.

The 6ft 5in star has used his wealth to start the Usain Bolt Foundation, which supports the "educational and cultural development” of children.

Usain Bolt’s career stats
Bolt is widely considered the greatest sprinter in history.

He has broken countless records throughout his career and still holds the title of ‘fastest man on earth’ - a record he set after running 100m in 9.58 seconds in 2009.

Bolt is an 11-time world champion and the only person to hold both the 100m and 200m records at the same time.

The Jamaican has won an impressive eight Olympic gold medals and is the only athlete to win the ‘triple double’, which is where a sprinter wins the 100m and 200m at three consecutive Olympics.

Usain Bolt’s personal bests

100m: 9.58 seconds (WR)

200m: 19.19 seconds (WR)

300m: 30.97 seconds

400m: 45.28 seconds


USAIN BOLT could end his sensational athletics career after the IAAF World Championships in London next month. But what is the sprinter’s net worth?

The world’s fastest man will lead Jamaica to the IAAF World Championships for what the sprinter has suggested could be his last competitive event.

Last year, Usain Bolt said he wanted to retire after racing in London, but he is now considering waiting until the end of the season before hanging up his running shoes for good.

Speaking at an IAAF event in the Czech Republic, the 30-year-old said: "Right now, I'm just focused on getting through the season.

"I just like entertaining the crowd. I definitely want to try and enjoy every minute of it - it won't be the same sat in the stadium."

The Jamaican ended his Olympic career in scintillating fashion at Rio 2016, winning gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4X100m relay.

Bolt said it is going to be an “emotional” end to the season, adding: "It's just been a great career.

"I've really enjoyed the ups and downs, all the experience I've gathered, all I've been through, the happiness and the sadness."

What is Usain Bolt’s net worth?

Usain Bolt is worth an estimated £26.1million ($34.2million), according to Forbes’ 2017 list of the world’s best-paid athletes.

Of this figure, only £1.7millon comes from winnings. Bolt gets most of his income – a staggering £24.4million ($32million) – from endorsements and sponsorship deals.

Bolt's successes on the track and likeable personality have helped him to become one of the most marketable sportsmen of all time.

He has a number of lucrative sponsorship deals with global brands such as Gatorade, Sprint and Hublot.

He is the 23rd highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes, and the the only track athlete to make it into the top 100.

Bolt’s biggest sponsor is Puma, which pays the sprinter about £7.6million ($10million) a year, Forbes added.

The 6ft 5in star has used his wealth to start the Usain Bolt Foundation, which supports the "educational and cultural development” of children.

Usain Bolt’s career stats
Bolt is widely considered the greatest sprinter in history.

He has broken countless records throughout his career and still holds the title of ‘fastest man on earth’ - a record he set after running 100m in 9.58 seconds in 2009.

Bolt is an 11-time world champion and the only person to hold both the 100m and 200m records at the same time.

The Jamaican has won an impressive eight Olympic gold medals and is the only athlete to win the ‘triple double’, which is where a sprinter wins the 100m and 200m at three consecutive Olympics.

Usain Bolt’s personal bests

100m: 9.58 seconds (WR)

200m: 19.19 seconds (WR)

300m: 30.97 seconds

400m: 45.28 seconds


Adam Gemili claims he was forced to run through injury by British Athletics

Adam Gemili has hit out at his controversial omission from the World Championships, revealing that he was forced to run against his will after placing his trust in senior British Athletics figures, who he feels have let him down.

Gemili missed out on Olympic 200m bronze by three-thousandths of a second last summer, but finished only sixth at the British trials earlier this month while struggling with a hamstring injury.

He appealed for more time to prove his fitness, but the selectors ignored his pleas and instead picked Zharnel Hughes for the final 200m berth.

Now fully fit and insisting he could have won a medal at London 2017, Gemili revealed he asked not to run at the trials because he was not fit, but was told he had no choice. “I didn’t want to race there, but the powers-that-be said that if I wanted to make the team then I had to,” he said. “I was trying to run with one leg.

“I said to them: ‘Can I just compete in the 100m?’ But they said: ‘No you’ve got to do the 200m’. I had a terrible race and I could have stopped – maybe I should have. But I was too proud to go out there and pull up.

“I did ask for a bit more time. I made an appeal and unfortunately it was denied, which is their selection policy.”

He added: “I put my trust in a lot of people and I stayed loyal to a lot of people.

“Athletics is a tough sport and I’m realising now, when you speak to a lot of older people in the sport, they say how individual it is and how you have to look after yourself. For me, it makes you tough and hardens you up. I just need to have a bit more faith in what I believe and to be a lot more selfish.

“I’m completely fit now, because I told them I would be and that’s annoying. I was very naive.”

Gemili, who was the first British man in history to break 10 seconds for 100m and 20 seconds for 200m, said the rejection had been the most difficult time in an career that has seen him win three European titles.

“This is tough to take, it’s really tough to take,” he said. “This is worse than tearing your hamstring and worse than missing out on an Olympic medal. This is a lot harder to cope with mentally.

“If I’d got fit after London then fine, I wasn’t capable. But I know now that I’m fit and ready to go.

“The hardest thing is knowing that I could have done something. The 200m this year, with [Usain] Bolt not there, it’s so open to win.

“People are running well, but not crazy fast times and I believe if I was there I could have been very competitive.”

Explaining the decision to select Hughes over Gemili, Neil Black, British Athletics performance director, said “recent performances” had counted in the former Anguilla sprinter’s favour.

Despite his individual snub, Gemili will compete in London as part of the British 4x100m team along with Hughes, CJ Ujah, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Danny Talbot, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, and Reece Prescod.

“I’ve just got to accept I’m part of the relay team and focus on that,” he said. “Hopefully we can go win a medal – I believe we can challenge for gold.

“We’ve never had an era of sprinters in this country running so quickly. It’s just making sure we get it round on the day.”


11 Tips From Gesa Krause

Gesa Krause is the reigning European 3000m steeplechase champion and took bronze at the 2015 World Championships. Here, the German shares her best pieces of advice for on and off the track.

Championship tip

The most important thing about competing at a championship is not to stress. You are often focused on a major event for a whole year, so you should be well prepared. You should trust in yourself that you have done the work and that by the time you get to the championship you should have self-belief.

Tactical tip

In some ways, this depends on what your expectation is leading into the race. I generally always try to run at a decent pace, but to keep relaxed in the early stages. It is also nice to catch others in the race rather than have people pass you.

In the steeplechase in particular, if you go out too hard, you will suffer towards the end.

Psychological tip

Surround yourself with people who believe in you. This helps you to stay focused and motivated, which gives you belief in your own ability. It is also important to remain on your own path. Many athletes become too interested in what other athletes are doing. It may work for them, but it should not impact your routine.

Coaching tip

When I was younger my coach, Wolfgang Heinig, said it is very important to have a big motivation to keep going in the sport.

He said, it does not matter if that motivation is money, whether that motivation is to be able to build a house or that your motivation is simply to enjoy success but whatever it is, it has to be a big motivation. It needs to be big enough to motivate you to suffer in training and reach your goal. He told me this when I was a teenager and I was very inspired.

Top tip for surviving the athletics circuit

I find WhatsApp is very important because it keeps me connected with family and friends when I’m on the circuit. I also find taking time out to experience a city when I’m at a meeting very helpful.

Cooking tip

I would say find your own recipes! I like to create something myself. Sometimes I find it annoying to follow a cookbook because it might need something like 20 ingredients to make the dish.

Fashion tip

Because we often wear sports clothes it is nice to have the chance to dress up for a special event. I love expensive accessories – whether that is a bag, a watch or a necklace – I think you can look quite special with the right accessory.

Driving tip

Don’t drive long-distance. I find it is so boring. So, I would say when you are driving long-distance find someone to drive for you.

Vacation tip

I love to travel. It was a passion handed down to me from my parents and before I started travelling through track and field, I’d already been to around 50 countries. I tend to go on one holiday a year. One year I try to discover something new and the next year I’ll seek out a more relaxing vacation. What I would say is when I do go on vacation, I try not to worry about money and just enjoy the experience.

Social media tip

Don’t let social media control your life. I have fun with social media but I like to decide how often to use it and training should always be the priority.

Dating tip

Be yourself! If you try to change your personality the date will find out at the second, third or fourth date.


Team USA Gets 4 Additional London Invites

INDIANAPOLIS -- The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has extended World Championships invitations to Olympic hammer throwers Kibwé Johnson and Rudy Winkler, as well as Team USATF rising stars Alex Young in the men’s hammer throw and Ariana Ince in the women’s javelin throw. All athletes have accepted and will compete in London early next month.

Johnson, who with the invitation has made his fourth IAAF World Championships team, is a two-time Olympian with a season’s best of 74.32m/243-10. Johnson is a two-time Pan American Games gold medalist and five-time USATF champion.

The 2016 Olympic Trials gold medalist in the men’s hammer throw, Winkler won the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships crown to become Cornell’s first NCAA throws champion. The 2016 and 2017 USTFCCCA Northeast Regional Men's Field Athlete of the Year, Winkler is a three-time First Team All-American and competed for Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he finished 18th.

Young is a two-time USATF Champion in 2017, winning the men’s weight throw and men’s hammer throw at the USATF Indoor and Outdoor Championships this year. Young recently finished his collegiate eligibility at Southeastern Louisiana University and his personal best of 73.75m/241-11 came from USATF Outdoors in Sacramento this year.

Ince was the runner-up at the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships and finished eighth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the women’s javelin. Ince is now a volunteer assistant coach at her alma mater, Rice University, and holds a personal best of 61.38m/201-4 from earlier this month.


Rudisha eyes sweet return to London for Worlds

After breaking the World record five years ago in London, David ‘King’ Rudisha heads back to the English capital seeking to conquer the turf on which he won his first Olympic gold medal.

The two-time Olympic and two-time World 800m champion will be aiming to retain his title at the IAAF World Athletics championships slated for August 4-13 and is confident of a strong showing.

“The preparations have been going on well since we reported in camp. I’m happy with the training since this is a very crucial time for us as we make the final preparations.

I have been working on endurance, speed and some good track sessions just to make sure that we have everything balanced. The preparations have been good and we’re all up for this,” the Beijing World champion asserted.

This season, the two-lap specialist has only competed thrice and has had on one victory at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial in Hungary (July 3-4) where he set a season best (SB) of 1:44.90.

In his season opener, 19-year-old Kipyegon Bett (1:44.70) stunned the track King during Shangai Diamond League while he finished fourth in 1:45.17.

In June 10 during the Kingston Racers Grand Prix in Jamaica, another teenager Willy Tarbei (19yrs) upstaged Rudisha to cross the finish line in 1:44.86. The Rio Olympic Champion settled for second place after stopping the timer at 1:44.90.

Later in that month, Rudisha made his 1000m debut at the 56TH Ostrava Golden Spike where he finished fourth after clocking 2:19.43.

“In sports there will always be new crop of young and talented athletes coming up we love them all. They come and find us as senior experienced athletes we work together and do our best.

“I also know that time is not on our side as senior athletes and when the time comes, we shall have had mentored them and they will be ready to continue where we left off.

“For now we are still active and focused in our competitions, so we ask them to be on the lookout since we are going to sweat it out and not give up our titles easily,” the 800m World Record holder said.

Rudisha missed out on last month’s World Championships trials held at the Nyayo National Stadium, after being granted permission by Athletics Kenya (AK) to focus on his title defence.

During Team Kenya naming after the trials, the selectors ‘forgot’ to name Rudisha who had a wild card on the virtue of being the defending champion but instead called out World Relay Champion Ferguson Rotich who also had a wild card after winning 2016 Diamond League, Emmanuel Korir, Kipyegon Bett and Michael Saruni.

Eyebrows were raised and Rudisha was called in the team, the selectors had a tough decision to make on whom to drop in the five-member team. Saruni who is reported to have gone AWOL from camp was axed by the Team Kenya technical department for ‘indiscipline’.

Rudisha will now team up with Korir, Bett and Rotich in the hunt of the coveted medal next month.


2017 World Champs Men/Women Medal Predictions

2017 World Champs Men’s Medal Predictions

by T&FN’s panel of experts


2017 World Champs Women’s Medal Predictions


Day-Monroe to compete in heptathlon at IAAF World Championships in London

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly alumna Sharon Day-Monroe is headed to London, as the former Mustang seven-time track & field All-American will compete in the IAAF World Championship heptathlon on Aug. 5-6.

Day-Monroe advanced to the world stage at the USATF Championships in Sacramento on June 24-25, when she finished third with a score of 6,421 points on NBC. Kendell Williams (6,564) and Erica Bougard (6,557) are her multi-event teammates.

Twenty-five individuals from 16 countries reached the qualifying cutoff of 6,200 points. Day-Monroe ranks 10th in the world this year.

Belgium's Nafissatou Thiam, the 2016 gold medalist in Rio de Janeiro, has the top score on the way to England, as she tallied 7,013 points in Austria in May.



The upcoming schedule is listed below, with each event followed by Day-Monroe's season and career-best outdoor marks:

Saturday, Aug. 5
10:05 a.m. (2:05 a.m. PDT) • 100-Meter Hurdles • 13.31 / 13.50
11:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. PDT) • High Jump • 6' 4.75" / 6' 1"
7 p.m. (11 a.m. PDT) • Shot Put • 51' 3" / 50' 10"
9 p.m. (1 p.m. PDT) • 200-Meter Dash • 24.02 / 24.94

Sunday, Aug. 6
10 a.m. (2 a.m. PDT) • Long Jump • 20' 2.5" / 19' 4"
11:45 a.m. (3:45 a.m. PDT) / 1 p.m. (5 a.m. PDT) • Javelin Throw groups A / B • 164' 5" (same — twice in 2017)
8:40 p.m. (12:40 p.m. PDT) • 800 Meters • 2:08.94 / 2:15.14

This is the fifth career IAAF Worlds heptathlon for Day-Monroe, who won six conference titles as a Mustang (as well as one national championship) from 2004-08 and was inducted into the Cal Poly Hall of Fame in 2015.



Endorsed by ASICS, Day-Monroe finished ninth in Berlin in 2009, 16th in South Korea in 2011, sixth in Moscow in 2013, and 14th in Beijing in 2015.

This is her first trip to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium since the summer of 2012, when she competed in the Olympics for a second time. Day-Monroe is among 77 Olympians featured on Team USA's roster of 132, led by eight gold medalists from the 2016 Rio Games.

As the championships draw closer, Sharon is providing updates via AthleteBiz on her training regimen, discussing her preparation.

"Everything feels like it's lining up nicely for competition in London," Day-Monroe said. "My harder running workouts are feeling easier and I'm hitting competition marks at practice in my throwing events."

"I'm excited to go back to London," she added. "It's one of my favorite cities! I'm also looking forward to competing at the Olympic Stadium once again." To read more from Sharon, click here.


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.

WEDNESDAY FINALS:
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 cbcsports.ca, 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, cbcsports.ca 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 USATF.org. 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 Alexand