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No hard feelings: Amos and Jewett tangle, finish together

No hard feelings: Amos and Jewett tangle, finish together

Isaiah Jewett and Nijel Amos helped each other to their feet, put their arms around each other and finished together in a semifinal heat at the Tokyo Olympics after tumbling over each other and sprawling out on the trackBy PAT GRAHAM AP Sports WriterAugust 1, 2021, 8:29 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — Isaiah Jewett and Nijel Amos were sprawled on the track next to each other, seemingly out of the running in the 800 meters.Hurt or hard feelings? Just the opposite. The American and Botswanan runners were good sports.Jewett and Amos helped each other to their feet, put their arms around each other and finished together Sunday in a semifinal heat at the Tokyo Olympics.They were 54 seconds behind the winner. But in this case, time didn’t matter. It was the right thing to do, Jewett insisted.Later in the night, Amos was reinstated into the final on appeal. Jewett remained out.“Regardless of how mad you are, you have to be a hero at the end of the day,” Jewett said. “Because that’s what heroes do, they show their humanity through who they are and show they’re good people.”Jewett was in front of Amos and just about to go into his kick on the final turn when the back of his heel appeared to hit Amos. He went down. So did Amos.But it may have been Jewett who inadvertently tripped himself.“As he looked at me, he said, ‘I’m sorry,’” Jewett recounted. “I said, ‘It’s OK, man.’”Said Jewett: “I am crazy about it, but that is 800. These things happen.”Jewett has one simple rule when he’s racing: Finish. He made sure Amos did, too.“I’m super blessed because not a lot of people got to be here. I have to live in that moment, not the moment that just happened,” the 24-year-old runner from California said. “I’m able to go on to this stage and show you guys that this is me. That’s what I want to continue to do, to show who I am. If it wasn’t today, I’ll try again tomorrow. That’s not going to stop me from trying to be a hero.”The friendly gesture was certainly appreciated by Amos.“You are all united by emotion,” he said. “We felt all the emotion when we went down. When we stood up and just tried … to get home.”I thought I was in a good position to take this heat, and I can’t put words on it.”He will have another chance Wednesday.Jewett was banged up in the collision. He did fell hard to the track and believes he hit his head.“It’s adrenaline right now that I’m standing and able to run around,” Jewett said. “I felt a little bit of spikes on my legs. I’m still living. I’m still walking. That’s all anybody can ask for.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Settled: High-jump friends elect double gold over jump-off

Settled: High-jump friends elect double gold over jump-off

TOKYO — The Italian high jumper leaped into his rival’s arms, then belly-flopped onto the hard track, rolled around a few times and screamed.Gianmarco Tamberi was just getting warmed up, too.It’s not every day you tie your good friend for gold.Tamberi and Mutaz Barshim of Qatar agreed to the tie Sunday at the Tokyo Games in a competition settled not by clearing the top height but through a subtle nod.Edge definitely to Tamberi, though, for the degree of difficulty in celebrations. That’s not even counting all the hugs and kisses he delivered — or all of the people he jumped into the arms of.He was just that excited. This was that crazy of an ending.“I still can’t believe it happened,” Tamberi said. “Sharing with a friend is even more beautiful. … It was just magical.”In a huddle with track officials, the athletes were given the option to settle the tie with a jump-off.Barshim had a better idea: How about two golds?The official said that was possible.Barshim nodded and Tamberi instantly accepted, slapping Barshim’s hand and jumping into his arms. It would be far from his last celebration.“For me, coming here, I know for a fact that for the performance I did, I deserve that gold,” Barshim said. “He did the same thing, so I know he deserved that gold.”It stressed sportsmanship, too — or so they hope. It also adds to Barshim’s Olympic medal collection, pairing nicely with silver in Rio and another medal at the 2012 London Games.“This is beyond sport,” Barshim said. “This is the message we deliver to the young generation.”Both high jumpers were perfect until the bar was set to the Olympic-record height of 2.39 meters (7 feet, 10 inches). Each missed three times.Funny, they actually talked about this sort of situation before. Not in great detail, though.”We just said, ‘Imagine,’” Barshim recalled. “Today, it happened.”When Italian sprinter Marcell Jacobs surprisingly won the 100 meters a few minutes later, there was Tamberi to greet him. Not so much as greet him as celebrate by jumping into the sprinter’s arms and curling his own arm around Jacobs’ bald head.“I was in ecstasy. My heart was exploding,” Tamberi said. “I was just full of emotions and I just screamed at him before he got in the blocks and I just supported him. I’m the captain of the national team so I just felt to do something.”Tamberi has kept a cast for five years — a reminder of his broken ankle just before Rio. He was in his best shape, too, which forced him to watch the Rio Games. When it came off, he wrote on it “Road to Tokyo 2020.” Then, he crossed out 2020 after the pandemic led to a postponement and wrote in red, “2021.”“I said to myself that day, ‘I want to be back in Tokyo and I want to fight for the gold medal,’” Tamberi said.They appeared to have all sorts of fun during a competition in which Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus earned bronze. Tamberi launched an imaginary jump shot after clearing a height.Swish.Barshim was the epitome of cool in shades that kept falling off after his jumps. One time, he even swatted them away after a successful leap.They broke.“I’ve got 50 pairs,” Barshim said.Now, one gold.Another for his buddy, too.“He’s one of my best friends. Not only on the track but outside of the track,” Barshim said. “We’re always together almost. True spirit, sportsmen spirit, coming here and delivering this message.”Appreciate what he’s done, he appreciates what I’ve done. This is amazing.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

EXPLAINER: The tech behind Tokyo Olympics' fast track

EXPLAINER: The tech behind Tokyo Olympics' fast track

The Jamaican sprinter and her Olympic-record time captured everyone’s attentionBy PAT GRAHAM AP Sports WriterAugust 1, 2021, 4:37 AM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — The Jamaican sprinter and her Olympic-record time captured everyone’s attention. What’s under foot, though, might have been a factor when Elaine Thompson-Herah broke a 33-year-old Olympic record in the women’s 100 meters.It’s shaping up as a fast track surface at Olympic Stadium. Runners are certainly on track to setting personal, Olympic and possibly even world-record times over the next week at the Tokyo Games.The brick-red track is made by Mondo, a company that’s been around since 1948 and has been the supplier for 12 Olympic Games. This particular surface, according to the company, features “three-dimensional rubber granules specifically designed with a selected polymeric system that are integrated in the top layer of MONDOTRACK WS that are added to the semi-vulcanized compound. The vulcanization process guarantees the molecular bond between the granules and the surrounding matter, creating a compact layer.”Translation: It’s speedy.“Feels like I’m walking on clouds,” U.S. 100-meter sprinter Ronnie Baker explained of the surface. “It’s really smooth out there. It’s a beautiful track. One of the nicest I’ve run on.”IS IT REALLY THAT FAST?Maybe. Sometimes, it’s just fast runners in tip-top shape who make it look fast. Only time will really tell. The track also has been baking in the Tokyo sun with little use, making it extra firm.“Oh, it’s fast,” American 800-meter runner Clayton Murphy said. “Might take world records to win.”WHEN WAS THE TRACK INSTALLED?The track went in over four months, from August to November 2019. It hasn’t seen much action since the surface was put in. The athletes are breaking it in with style.“You just feel it, man, you just feel it,” South African sprinter Akani Simbine said. “You know what fast tracks feel like. And for us, this track feels really quick and I am looking forward to running quick on it.”WHY SO BOUNCY?Mondo says on its website that the main objective was to “maximize the speed of athletes and improve their performance.” The top layer is vulcanized rubber to help with elasticity. There are also “air-filled cavities” in the lower layer, which assist with “shock absorption, energy storage and immediate kinetic response.”More to the point: It helps racers fly down the track.“Some tracks absorb your motion and your force,” American 400-meter hurdler and world-record holder Sydney McLaughlin said. “This one regenerates it and gives it back to you. You can definitely feel it.”SO WHAT WORLD RECORDS MAY FALL?Keep close watch on the men’s and women’s 400 hurdles. McLaughlin set the mark (51.90 seconds) on June 27 at the U.S. Olympic trials, breaking the record that had belonged to teammate Dalilah Muhammad. They will be the gold-medal favorites Wednesday — and may break the mark again.Karsten Warholm of Norway recently broke the men’s 400 hurdles mark when he went 46.70. He eclipsed a record that had stood since 1992. Can he break it again?“Maybe someone else will do it,” Warholm cracked. “I’ve done my job.”GOTTA BE THE SHOES, TOO?The other factor in these records could be the technological advances in the spikes. Nike’s Vaporfly model of shoe shook up the world of distance running a few years ago, with carbon-plated technology credited for helping runners shave minutes off their times. That sort of technology is moving its way into the spikes for sprinters.Thompson-Herah also has a theory on fast times after running 10.61 seconds to break the Olympic mark of the late Florence Griffith Joyner. “My training,” she said. “Doesn’t matter the track or the shoes.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Diving in: Miller-Uibo will run 200, may defend 400 title

Diving in: Miller-Uibo will run 200, may defend 400 title

TOKYO — The scrapes on her knee, stomach and forearms have long since healed. Well worth the price for that 400-meter gold medal.The last time everyone saw Shaunae Miller-Uibo on the Olympic stage, the sprinter from the Bahamas was diving across the finish line.It was a memorable moment from Rio.In Tokyo, she’s trying to make her mark in another way — with the possibility of a difficult double. Miller-Uibo is chasing after the 200 gold and — depending on how she’s feeling — defending her 400 crown. That would require four races spread over two days, including the first round of the 400 meters and the 200 final 12 hours apart on Tuesday.That’s a lot of work. But she’s game.What’s a little pain for gold, right? After all, she flew over the line with her arms spread out to edge Allyson Felix by 0.07 seconds in Rio.Miller-Uibo felt those aches for days and days after the race.“But it was all worth it,” Miller-Uibo told The Associated Press. “I wouldn’t trade those moments nor the aches and pains that came with it for the world.”That stumble across the line, Miller-Uibo maintained, wasn’t on purpose. She was just so exhausted and with about 50 meters left, “my engine lights went on,” she explained.“I couldn’t really feel my legs anymore,” Miller-Uibo added. “I just remember wanting it so bad that I started leaning early for the line. I felt my legs go from under me and next being on the ground with a win to my name.”Miller-Uibo’s success that day was a tough blow over a difficult 2016 Olympic season for Felix. The International Olympic Committee had arranged the track schedule to give her an opportunity to run the 200-400 double that year without any overlap. But Felix didn’t qualify in the shorter race, then settled for silver in the 400.Miller-Uibo didn’t receive that sort of treatment for her endeavor. She’s giving it a go.That’s the plan as of now, anyway. It could change depending on fatigue.The 200 remains the priority, simply because it’s her first race on the schedule. She has the first round and the semis on Monday.The difficult day will be Tuesday, with round one of the 400 at 9:45 a.m. local time and the 200 final — she’s among the favorites — at 9:50 p.m.“I’m feeling great,” 27-year-old Miller-Uibo said.The most memorable 200-400 double was turned in by Michael Johnson, who put on quite a show while winning both races at the 1996 Atlanta Games.On the women’s side, it’s been attempted a few times. Olympic historian Bill Mallon said one of the more notable tries was from Cathy Freeman, the Australian sprinter who won the the 400 meters and made the final of the 200 — taking sixth — at the 2000 Sydney Games.Miller-Uibo’s not the only member of her family going for gold in Tokyo. There’s also her husband, Estonian decathlete Maicel Uibo. The two met as freshmen at the University of Georgia when they had a few classes together. They also trained at the same time.“We would always see each other,” Miller-Uibo said. “We became really good friends and the story goes on from there.”It was a silver showing for the couple at the 2019 world championships in Doha. They are hoping to upgrade in Tokyo.Miller-Uibo finished runner-up in the 400 that night in Doha behind Bahrain sprinter Salwa Eid Naser, who won in a time of 48.14 seconds — the fastest time since 1985.Naser won’t be in Tokyo.She recently had a two-year ban upheld following three “whereabouts failures” within a 12-month period.The 200-meter field is stacked. Heading the list is Gabby Thomas, the Harvard grad who went 21.61 to become the second-fastest woman ever behind the late Florence Griffith Joyner (21.34). There’s also the Jamaican trio of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson and reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah.That’s only a few.Just as loaded is the 400, where there’s the 35-year-old Felix, who qualified for her fifth Olympics. Felix was second at the U.S. trials behind Quanera Hayes. The other top contender is Stephenie-Ann McPherson of Jamaica.Miller-Uibo has the top time in the world this season at 49.08, which she ran in April.One thing’s for sure: She will be easy to spot on the track. She likes to mix up her hair color.“Growing up I’ve always had a love for colors, and I always loved seeing women be bold and rock whatever color they wanted while not caring about how others felt about it,” Miller-Uibo said. “One of those women (is) my mom. Every time she did her hair she would put a streak of color through it and it always put a smile on my face. I couldn’t wait until I got to the age to do the same with my hair and now it’s a part of who I am.”Any particular color choice in Tokyo?“Just expect a variety,” Miller-Uibo said.———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

For some on track, Olympic moment means more than fast times

For some on track, Olympic moment means more than fast times

The Olympic moment means more than just fast times or finishes for some on the trackBy PAT GRAHAM AP Sports WriterJuly 31, 2021, 6:26 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — The official clock showed sprinter Scott Fiti’s stay at the Olympics lasted 11.25 seconds.That’s 11.25 seconds he’ll remember forever.Simply racing down the track in the preliminary round of the men’s 100 meters — the round before “Round 1” — meant everything to the 26-year-old runner from Micronesia.Fiti is one of dozens of athletes across several sports who made it to Tokyo thanks to the IOC’s “universality quota places,” which helps ensure that each of the 206 national Olympic committees has at least one spot at the Games.So, while Fiti might be ranked 4,791st in the world, for a few seconds he was the center of attention — lining up on the same track that Trayvon Bromell and Andre De Grasse will be on when they go for gold.“I was just happy to be here,” Fiti said. “My very first experience. My very first run at the Olympics. This was fun.”The same went for Nathan Crumpton, a 35-year-old sprinter representing American Samoa. These days, he’s more accustomed to taking 15-to-17 steps, not triple that amount down the track. He also trains for the winter sport of skeleton and very much could be competing again at the 2022 Beijing Games (he represented Team USA for years in the event before joining the American Samoa’s squad for the 2019-20 season ).His time was 11.27 seconds. He was hoping to break 11. He took it in stride, though.“All in all, this is a great time,” said Crumpton, who was born in Kenya, ran track at Princeton University and now spends his time training between Hawaii, Utah and Austria. “At the end of the day, I’m here to participate. Most people aren’t going home with medals. I’m just honored and thrilled to be here.”For some, the unique experience was filled with heartbreak. Take Aveni Miguel of Angola, who was so anxious to fly down the track that he false started.He was disqualified and didn’t get to run.“I don’t even know how it happened,” Miguel said. “I don’t even know how it happened.”The fastest 10 sprinters advanced out of the preliminary round and into the main draw of 63 runners for Round 1. Barakat Mubarak Al-Harthi of Oman went a season-best 10.27 seconds. His reward? A first-round heat that includes Fred Kerley of the United States and Divine Oduduru of Nigeria, who are among the world’s fastest this season.Dorian Keletela, who represents the Refugee Olympic Team, is moving on as well. The refugee team was created by the IOC for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics to allow athletes to keep competing even if they have been forced to leave their home countries. The team consists of 29 athletes spread out over 12 sports.“I am very, very proud of this and I am very, very proud of this team,” Keletela said. “It gives me a lot of strength to go on.“No matter how many difficulties you face you have to believe in what you do. When you believe in it, you can do it anything, whether you are a refugee or not.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

No comment: Richardson questions bring quick response, exit

No comment: Richardson questions bring quick response, exit

The times on the track were fastBy PAT GRAHAM AP Sports WriterJuly 30, 2021, 7:13 AM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — If you thought they were fast on the track, try asking a sprinter about Sha’Carri Richardson.Very few of the women who blazed down the very fast Olympic track Friday were willing to address the situation surrounding the American sprinter who was absent from the 100-meter field at the Tokyo Games following a doping ban.It seemed all that was missing from the mixed zone, where reporters spend a few seconds talking to athletes after the races, were a few sets of starting blocks.“No comment,” Jamaican standout Elaine Thompson-Herah said moments after running the second-fastest time of 10.82 seconds to begin her Olympic title defense.“No comment,” her teammate, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, echoed moments later after running 10.84.“I’m not going to talk about Sha’Carri,” Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria said.Richardson had her title from the U.S. trials stripped — and with it, her spot in the 100 at the Tokyo Olympics — after testing positive for marijuana shortly after the race. She received a 30-day suspension that left her eligible for the Olympic relays but the U.S. didn’t give her a spot.Okagbare did elaborate briefly.“I don’t know how that’s going to help right now,” she said. “Regardless of who’s here and who’s not here, we’re going to compete. Everybody here is great as well. I think everybody here is great. Regardless of who’s here and who’s not here, we’re still going to give the crowd and the fans a good show.”Besides Richardson, the hot topic was the track, which was designed to be more responsive and increase performance.So far, so fast.There were seven athletes who ran 11 seconds or better, including Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Ivory Coast leading the way with a time of 10.78 seconds.As a comparison: There were two sprinters who went 11 seconds or faster in the first round at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.Four national records were set — both Swiss sprinters actually went under 11 — there were seven personal bests and an area record (for Africa) from Ta Lou.Watch out, that Olympic mark could be in jeopardy. The record of 10.62 seconds was set by the late Florence Griffith Joyner at the 1988 Seoul Games. The sprinter knowns as Flo-Jo also holds the world record at 10.49.“I don’t know how to assess the track,” Fraser-Pryce said. “Based on the times, yes, it’s a fast track. In terms of how I feel, I feel OK. I feel light. I definitely feel confident.”Taking Richardson’s spot in the 100 on the U.S. team was Jenna Prandini. She advanced to the semifinals by finishing third in her heat.No extra pressure, she insisted, trying to fill in for Richardson.“I’m just out there trying to do my best,” Prandini said. “That’s all I can do, come out here and be the best version of myself.”Prandini said she was already practicing for the 200 when she found out about her inclusion in the 100. She added she had no idea at that time just who she was replacing.“I just got a call and they asked me if I’d run the 100 and I said yes,” she explained. “That was it. I didn’t know the rest of the story. … I’m happy to be out here and excited to get this thing going.”Richardson brought a presence to the track, with her long nails, her flowing hair — it was orange at trials — and of course her charisma.Asked if something was missing without her around, American sprinter Teahna Daniels responded: “I mean, I would have loved for her to be here. She’s such a great talent, you know, of course we would have liked to have her here. But, you know, things happen.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Leap year: Harrison chases rare long and high jump double

Leap year: Harrison chases rare long and high jump double

TOKYO — JuVaughn Harrison’s nickname couldn’t be any more fitting: Mr. Jumps.His assignment at the Tokyo Games couldn’t be any more rare: Go horizontal (high jump) and then vertical (long jump).Not since the days of Jim Thorpe (circa: 1912) has an American man made the team in those two events at one Olympics. It’s akin to running the 100 meters and the 400. Or, as decorated triple jumper/high jumper Willie Banks remarked: “A race horse trying to do dressage like a Lipizzan stallion.”From leaping into the sand to back-flipping over a bar, the 22-year-old Louisiana State standout (he just recently turned pro) brings his own style to the two events that are both about jumping — but have almost nothing in common after takeoff.Harrison is already the U.S. and NCAA champion in both events, thanks to four straight victories in a pair of meets in Eugene, Oregon, last month.Next up, the biggest meet of all.“If he’s able to pull off double gold, that would be insane,” said Mike Powell, who’s been the world-record holder in the long jump since 1991. “To do that at 22? Oh man, I’d be amazed. I’m rooting for him. I’m definitely rooting for him. I want to see him do well.”For good luck, Harrison will be wearing a chain his mom gave him. As part of his pre-meet routine, he will eat a sub sandwich. He’s superstitious about that sandwich, too.Luckily for him, there’s a Subway sandwich shop a short distance from the Olympic Stadium.“If it works, stick with it,” said his coach, Todd Lane.Lane has a carefully constructed workout plan for Harrison: One day with a high-jump focus. Another day with a long-jump focus. The rest of the time revolves around training and technique for the two varied forms of jumping. There’s plenty of opportunity for recovery, too, because it “takes a toll on the body,” Lane emphasized.Count Banks as impressed, especially given Harrison’s age and the different skill sets required for each.“One measures how high the human body can jump and the latter how far a human can jump,” explained the 65-year-old Banks, the silver medalist in the triple jump at the 1983 world championships. “Usually, it takes two different people to indicate the best of the best.”Consider: The feat has been attempted on 48 occasions at the Olympics, 37 times by men and 11 by women, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon. Most of those attempts were from way back in the day, though.The only athlete to win gold in both events at the same Olympics, Mallon noted, was Ellery Clark in 1896 at the very first modern Games in Athens. The last to attempt it were Abdullah Mohamed Al-Sheib of Qatar and Danny Beauchamp of the Seychelles at the 1992 Barcelona Games.“Amazing,” U.S. long jump teammate Marquis Dendy said of Harrison’s quest. “All kinds of crazy.”Harrison turned professional shortly after the trials and following a decorated career at LSU that saw him win six NCAA individual titles. He also broke numerous school records.Out of high school in Alabama, Harrison was recruited for the high jump. But Lane thought it might be good to incorporate some long jump, just to give his mind and body a rest from the other event.Harrison’s high-jump best this season stands at 7 feet, 8¾ inches (2.36 meters), the world’s third-best mark in ’21.His long jump has come a long way in a short amount of time. He’s got the third-longest leap this season at 27-9½ (8.47 meters).“Probably after his sophomore year when he won the NCAA long jump outdoors did I start thinking it could be as close to (this) good,” Lane explained. “But even at that point, high jump was his better event.”To further point out what an amazing venture his double was — both of the event finals at U.S. Olympic trials were on the same day, in temperatures that broke 110 degrees F (43 degrees Celsius).In Tokyo, his schedule is just as jam-packed, but not stacked on the same days. His possible schedule includes high jump qualifying Friday, long jump qualifying Saturday, high jump final Sunday, and long jump final Monday.“They would never go back-to-back-to-back-to-back with the events if it was a common double,” Lane said.Harrison says he’s simply grateful he doesn’t have to do both on the same day.“I can just wake up,” Harrison said, “and focus on one.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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