- Jeff Eisenberg at Fourth-Place Medal4 hrs ago
EUGENE, Ore. – Moments after her decorated sprinting career ended six weeks earlier than she planned, Sanya Richards-Ross walked off the track at Hayward Field with mixed emotions.
Tears rolled down her cheeks because her bid to make a fourth Olympic team ended Friday when she pulled up halfway through her 400 meters qualifying heat clutching her right hamstring. At the same time, a bright smile stretched across her face because the crowd at her favorite track gave her a sendoff to remember.
As Richards-Ross climbed to her feet and slowly jogged down the backstretch, the track-savvy crowd stood and roared in salute of the retiring four-time Olympic gold medalist. Richards-Ross, 31, responded by waiving and blowing kisses toward the fans before pausing to give the first of several emotional interviews.
“I’ll always remember the way the crowd reacted,” Richards-Ross said. “To be able to run a half a victory lap here at Hayward Field for my final 400 that I didn’t finish, I thought that was pretty special.”
- Jeff Eisenberg at Fourth-Place Medal5 hrs ago
The man who has dominated track and field’s glamour events for almost a decade may be at less than full strength in Rio, if he can even run at all.
Two-time 100- and 200-meter Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt withdrew from Jamaica’s Olympic Trials on Friday night after suffering a torn hamstring.
Bolt complained of a tight hamstring after his preliminary 100 heat on Thursday night. He won his semifinal in a pedestrian 10.04 seconds on Friday, but the pain resurfaced, forcing him to pull out of the final.
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) July 2, 2016
Whereas USA Track and Field only takes athletes who finish in the top three in their respective events at the Olympic Trials, Jamaican athletes don’t face quite so much pressure. Their federation allows for medical exemptions if the athlete in question can get healthy in time for the Olympics.
- Jackie Bamberger at Fourth-Place Medal15 hrs ago
Though Russia’s track and field federation remains barred from international competition, the IAAF will allow doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova to compete as a neutral athlete.
Stepanova, a top 800m runner, is cleared to race under the European flag at next week’s European Championships. The IOC has yet to announce if it will grant Stepanova a bid at the upcoming Olympic games.
After serving a two-year IAAF doping ban, Stepanova became a whistleblower, and provided evidence of Russia’s systematic doping to the World Anti-Doping Agency. She was subsequently labeled a “Judas” by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The IAAF said in a release that it deemed Stepanova eligible for competition because of her “truly exceptional contribution to the protection and promotion of clean athletes, fair play and the integrity and authenticity of the sport.”
When the IAAF upheld its ban over the Russian track and field federation last month, it left “a tiny crack in the door” for athletes who live and train outside of Russia to appeal to compete independently. More than 80 Russian athletes have submitted applications for consideration. Those athletes are expected to find out their fate by July 18.
- Jeff Eisenberg at Fourth-Place Medal17 hrs ago
Not long after blowing out her right knee spinning past a defender during a powder puff football game at her high school, heralded sprinter English Gardner began to grow impatient to run again.
She attempted to accelerate her rehabilitation timetable by retreating to her room a few times per week and repeating the same grueling exercises she had previously done with her physical therapist.
When doctors learned about her extra workouts, they warned she was in danger of overworking her three surgically repaired knee ligaments and reinjuring herself. Undaunted, Gardner continued to push herself, barricading her bedroom door with a chair to prevent her parents from busting in and demanding she stop.
“We tried to get her to relax and let the process play out, but she’s just not that type of person,” said Gardner’s father, Anthony. “You would not believe how hot and sweaty that room was when she was done. It was like a sauna in there.”
The tenacity Gardner displayed rehabbing a potentially career-threatening knee injury seven years ago hinted at her ability to overcome future obstacles.
- Jackie Bamberger at Fourth-Place Medal1 day ago
The upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will bring together competitors from all across the globe, but some of the world’s top athletes have announced that they won’t be in attendance. Here’s an updated list of those who have opted to skip the games.
Track and Field
- Henry Bushnell at Fourth-Place Medal2 days ago
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Michael Phelps is a five-time Olympian.
Phelps, who will turn 31 on Thursday, qualified for Rio 2016 with ease on Wednesday at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha. The legendary American swimmer posted a 1:54.84 in the 200-meter butterfly to win the event and clinch a spot in the upcoming summer games.
Phelps still has two more events remaining at the trials: the 100-meter butterfly and the 200-meter individual medley. Including relays, though, he could swim in up to six events at the Olympics.
Phelps first qualified for the Olympics as a 15-year-old in 2000. He returned home without a medal, but finished fifth in the 200-meter butterfly in Sydney.
Phelps’ coming-out party was staged in Athens in 2004. At just 19 years of age, he won six gold medals — two as part of relay teams — and two bronze medals.
Phelps’ greatness culminated in 2008 in Beijing with a record-breaking eight gold medals, the most by an individual at a single Olympics. The previous record had been held by American swimmer Mark Spitz since 1972.
Phelps pushed his career Olympic gold-medal tally to 18 with four more in London in 2012.
- Henry Bushnell at Fourth-Place Medal2 days ago
With a dark cloud already hanging over the 2016 Summer Olympics, the last thing Rio de Janeiro organizers needed was more bad publicity. But they certainly got it Wednesday.
Parts of a mutilated body were discovered on Copacabana beach, mere yards away from the 2016 Summer Olympics beach volleyball site, police said.
The body was initially found by a local street vendor, who reported the findings to a Rio newspaper. Police have not commented on the finding, nor have they provided further details.
Beach volleyball site preparations were halted a few weeks ago because of missing permits, but were resumed four days later, and are expected to be complete in time for the opening day of competition.
- Jay Busbee at Fourth-Place Medal2 days ago
Lolo Jones has scratched out of qualifying for the Rio Olympics, possibly bringing to a close one of the more fascinating and frustrating careers in recent Olympic history.
Jones will not compete in the 100 meter hurdles in the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., the only event in which she had sought to make the U.S. Olympic team. However, Jones had not competed since February.
The story of Jones, a three-time NCAA champion at LSU, is one of missed opportunities and unfortunate errors. In 2008, Jones was leading the 100 meter hurdles when she tripped on the final hurdle and finished seventh. Four years later in London, Jones finished fourth, one-tenth of a second off the medal podium. She will turn 34 this summer, and has almost surely missed out on her final opportunity to win a medal in the Summer Games.
- Jay Busbee at Fourth-Place Medal3 days ago
The relationship between professional players and the Olympics is a fragile, dicey one. Where “amateur” athletes see the Olympics as a pinnacle, pros often see the Olympics as another stop on the schedule at best, an unwanted obligation at worst. LeBron James, Steph Curry, Rory McIlroy, and Jason Day are some of the notable pros who have decided against participating in the Rio Olympic Games, for reasons ranging from exhaustion to Zika virus fears.
Not among their number: Serena Williams, the defending Olympic singles and doubles gold medalist, and a fairly decent player in her non-Olympic life as well. Speaking at Wimbledon on Tuesday, Williams hadnothing but praise for the Olympics. “My experience has been really amazing at the Olympics. I really loved going out there and competing…standing out there and being an Olympic athlete,” Williams said. “It is really one of the best experiences that I’ve had.”
- Jackie Bamberger at Fourth-Place Medal8 days ago
LOS ANGELES — Maya Moore is ready for Rio.
While a long list of her male counterparts have opted out of Team USA duties, and stories about the Zika virus and Brazil’s financial crisis dominate headlines, the Minnesota Lynx forward is motivated to add a second gold medal to her collection.
And she’ll have some familiar company. Three of Moore’s Lynx teammates — Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles and Lindsay Whalen — are headed to Rio de Janeiro, as is her coach, Cheryl Reeve.