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Articles tagged #Donovan Brazier
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New Salazar documentary questions reasons for his 2019 suspension

Nike’s Big Bet, the new documentary about former Nike Oregon Project head coach Alberto Salazar by Canadian filmmaker Paul Kemp, seeks to shed light on the practices that resulted in Salazar’s shocking ban from coaching in the middle of the 2019 IAAF World Championships. Many athletes, scientists and journalists appear in the film, including Canadian Running columnist Alex Hutchinson and writer Malcolm Gladwell, distance running’s most famous superfan.

Most of them defend Salazar as someone who used extreme technology like underwater treadmills, altitude houses and cryotherapy to get the best possible results from his athletes, and who may inadvertently have crossed the line occasionally, but who should not be regarded as a cheater. (Neither Salazar nor any Nike spokesperson participated in the film. Salazar’s case is currently under appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.)

Salazar became synonymous with Nike’s reputation for an uncompromising commitment to winning. He won three consecutive New York City Marathons in the early 1980s, as well as the 1982 Boston Marathon, and set several American records on the track during his running career.

He famously pushed his body to extremes, even avoiding drinking water during marathons to avoid gaining any extra weight, and was administered last rites after collapsing at the finish line of the 1987 Falmouth Road Race.

Salazar was hired to head the Nike Oregon Project in 2001, the goal of the NOP being to reinstate American athletes as the best in the world after the influx of Kenyans and Ethiopians who dominated international distance running in the 1990s. It took a few years, but eventually Salazar became the most powerful coach in running, with an athlete list that included some of the world’s most successful runners: Mo Farah, Galen Rupp, Matt Centrowitz, Dathan Ritzenhein, Kara Goucher, Jordan Hasay, Cam Levins, Shannon Rowbury, Mary Cain, Donovan Brazier, Sifan Hassan and Konstanze Klosterhalfen.

Goucher left the NOP in 2011, disillusioned by what she saw as unethical practices involving unnecessary prescriptions and experimentation on athletes, and went to USADA in 2012. An investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency followed on the heels of a damning BBC Panorama special in 2015, and picked up steam in 2017.

When Salazar’s suspension was announced during the World Championships in 2019, he had been found guilty of multiple illegal doping practices, including injecting athletes with more than the legal limit of L-carnitine (a naturally-occurring amino acid believed to enhance performance) and trafficking in testosterone – but none of his athletes were implicated. (Salazar admitted to experimenting with testosterone cream to find out how much would trigger a positive test, but claimed he was trying to avoid sabotage by competitors.)

That Salazar pushed his athletes as hard in training as he had once pushed himself is not disputed; neither is the fact that no Salazar athlete has ever failed a drug test. Gladwell, in particular, insists that Salazar’s methods are not those of someone who is trying to take shortcuts to victory – that people who use performance-enhancing drugs are looking for ways to avoid extremes in training.

That assertion doesn’t necessarily hold water when you consider that drugs like EPO (which, it should be noted, Salazar was never suspected of using with his athletes) allow for faster recovery, which lets athletes train harder – or that the most famous cheater of all, Lance Armstrong, trained as hard as anyone. (Armstrong, too, avoided testing positive for many years, and also continued to enjoy Nike’s support after his fall from grace.)

Goucher, Ritzenhein, Levins and original NOP member Ben Andrews are the only former Salazar athletes who appear on camera, and Goucher’s is the only female voice in the entire film. It was her testimony, along with that of former Nike athlete and NOP coach Steve Magness, that led to the lengthy USADA investigation and ban.

Among other things, she claims she was pressured to take a thyroid medication she didn’t need, to help her lose weight. (The film reports that these medications were prescribed by team doctor Jeffrey Brown, but barely mentions that Brown, too, was implicated in the investigation and received the same four-year suspension as Salazar.) Ritzenhein initially declines to comment on the L-carnitine infusions, considering Salazar’s appeal is ongoing, but then states he thinks the sanctions are appropriate. Farah, as we know, vehemently denied ever having used it, then reversed himself.

It’s unfortunate that neither Cain, who had once been the U.S.’s most promising young athlete, nor Magness appear on camera. A few weeks after the suspension, Cain, who had left the NOP under mysterious circumstances in 2015, opened up about her experience with Salazar, whom she said had publicly shamed her for being too heavy, and dismissed her concerns when she told him she was depressed and harming herself. Cain’s experience is acknowledged in the film, and there’s some criticism of Salazar’s approach, but Gladwell chalks it up to a poor fit, rather than holding him accountable.

Cain’s story was part of an ongoing reckoning with the kind of borderline-abusive practices that were once common in elite sport, but that are now recognized as harmful, and from which athletes should be protected.

Gladwell asserts that coaches like Salazar have always pushed the boundaries of what’s considered acceptable or legal in the quest to be the best, and that the alternative is, essentially, to abandon elite sport. It’s an unfortunate conclusion, and one that will no doubt be challenged by many advocates of clean sport.

(05/02/2021) Views: 69 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Three American Records and 10 National Records Fall at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix

Elle Purrier’s indoor two-mile American record was just one of many highlights in New York.

Many of the best track and field athletes in the world returned to competition—some for the first time in several months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic—at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on February 13. The event, typically held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, was relocated to the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, New York, because the Boston venue is serving as a mass vaccination site.

And the athletes made the most of this racing opportunity by breaking three American records and 10 national records total on Saturday.

Almost one year after shattering the American record in the mile at the Millrose Games, Elle Purrier broke another national record by winning the women’s two-mile in 9:10.28. Her time improves on the previous American record (9:18.35) set by Jenny Simpson in 2015. Purrier’s performance is also the third-fastest two-mile ever run in history. For Purrier, the victory follows a runner-up finish and 2:02.05 personal best in the 800 meters at the Prickly Pear Invitational in Phoenix, Arizona on February 6—her first race of 2021.

“I felt pretty confident going in, but you never know when you’re just training,” Purrier told journalists in a virtual mixed zone. “[Coach] Mark [Coogan] felt pretty confident about my fitness level, but after that [race] I’m feeling pretty good now.”

Looking back on her mile record a year ago, Purrier—who trains under Coogan with the New Balance group in Boston—said navigating the challenges of 2020 brought some silver linings to her process.

“Millrose was probably one of the biggest highlights of my career, and I think stopping after that was kind of a bummer because I felt like I was on a roll and the team was on a roll,” Purrier said in the mixed zone. “But we were able to kind of just wait it out this summer and get into some great training. And I went home and I find a lot of happiness there, and so I think that built this up to another great training block this fall and this winter.”

The 2018 NCAA mile champion followed the pacemaking set by Leah Falland, who brought the field through the first mile in 4:41. For the remaining laps, Purrier and steeplechase world champion Emma Coburn ran 1-2 in the front. With three laps to go, Purrier broke away from Coburn to seal the win and the record, running the final 400 meters in 63 seconds.

Five seconds behind Purrier, Coburn finished second in a personal best of 9:15.71. In the same race, Julie-Anne Staehli of Canada (9:22.66) and Amy-Eloise Markovc of Great Britain (9:30.69) broke national records for their respective countries.

Hoppel Sets a World Best for 2021

About 20 minutes later, Bryce Hoppel followed the momentum by running a world lead and U.S. national record in the 1,000 meters. The former Kansas Jayhawk and NCAA 800-meter champion broke the previous American record (2:16.76) set by the late David Torrence in 2014.

“It means everything,” Hoppel said. “It’s just something you dream of as a kid, and I couldn’t have done it without all the support that I have, my family, and my coach. They all make it possible. I mean, it feels awesome to get it. That was what I was going for.”

Behind Hoppel, Marco Arop of Canada finished second in 2:17.10, and Charlie Grice finished third in 2:17.20, a national record for Great Britain.

An American Record for Donovan Brazier

Two weeks after being forced to withdraw from the American Track League meet due to COVID-19 exposure, Donavan Brazier returned to the track with a vengeance.

The 2019 world champion lowered the American record by winning the men’s 800 meters in 1:44.21, more than two seconds ahead of runner-up Jamie Webb of Great Britain. Brazier set the previous American record (1:44.22) at the Millrose Games last year.

After Saturday’s victory, Brazier said his coach, Pete Julian, didn’t want him to hold back, and the strategy proved to be successful.

“Pete wanted me to go out and die. That was literally what he said, word-for-word,” Brazier said. “He said, ‘go out hard, see if you can hold it, and we’ll just gauge where you’re at from a fast pace.’ ... I don’t think I’m quite where I was at in Millrose last year, but I still think I’m in decent shape.”

Ajeé Wilson Returns to Competition

The women’s 800 meters featured an unexpected performance from a four-time world championship medalist and American record-holder.

Ajeé Wilson was a late entry to the meet after receiving treatment for a hamstring injury earlier in the week. Unlike her signature racing tactic of leading from the gun, Wilson ran behind the race-leader Kaela Edwards until the homestretch, where she sprinted ahead to finish first in 2:01.79.

“Not knowing exactly how things will play out with my body, I wasn’t trying to take any chances and felt a little more comfortable hanging behind,” Wilson said. “That’s something that we’ve been working on in practice. We’re maybe five strong in our group now, so that definitely prepared me for today and just being comfortable and also making sure I was still in a good position so when I wanted to move, I could.”

The performance is Wilson’s first race since winning the 800 meters at the 2020 USATF Indoor Championships on February 15, 2020. After Saturday’s race, Wilson said she didn’t feel comfortable traveling for competition last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as she interacts with people who are more at risk of catching the virus. Instead, she focused on training at her home base in Philadelphia. Her next competition will be the Texas Qualifier in Austin, Texas from February 26 to 27.

“Although things aren’t much better, I'm feeling a little more comfortable with the precautions we're all taking to be safe,” she said.

Behind Wilson, Sophia Gorriaran—a 15-year-old high school sophomore from Rhode Island—finished fifth in 2:03.94. One week earlier, Gorriaran notched the standard to compete at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Trials by running 2:02.44 against a professional field at the American Track League meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Two National Records in the Men’s 1500

The men’s 1500 meters featured two national records. Oliver Hoare—who trains under coach Dathan Ritzenhein with the On Running pro group in Boulder, Colorado—kicked to victory in 3:32.35, a national record for Australia. Jake Wightman of Great Britain finished second in 3:34.48, and Sam Tanner—a sophomore at the University of Washington—finished third in 3:34.72, breaking the national record for New Zealand.

The women’s 1500 meters was won by Heather MacLean who out-paced Cory McGee in the final lap to win in 4:06.32.

Michael Norman Races the 400 Meters for the First Time in a Year

For the first time since the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, track fans got to see Michael Norman compete in his signature event, the 400 meters.

The former USC Trojan and NCAA champion—who broke the world record in the indoor 400 meters (44.52) at the NCAA championships in 2018—battled with his training partner Rai Benjamin down the homestretch to secure the victory in 45.34. Benjamin finished second in 45.39.

“The instinct just kicked in,” Norman said. “We're very competitive at practice, especially when it comes to competition. So having that little fun practice rivalry going on, I couldn't have Rai beat me in the race, but he's an amazing competitor, so it was a lot of fun.”

In 2019, Norman failed to make the world championship final in Doha after suffering from an injury in the semifinals. He raced once in 2020—9.86 in the 100 meters at a COVID-adjusted meet in Fort Worth, Texas last July. After a long hiatus from competition, Norman said he felt pleased with the effort on Saturday.

“I’m feeling good,” Norman said. “There's a lot of work that needs to be done, but the main purpose of today was just to go out and compete, have fun and to kind of knock the cobwebs off because it's been over a year since I’ve run that distance.”

Another National Record for Shaunae Miller-Uibo

In her second meet of the year, Shaunae Miller-Uibo broke another Bahamian national record by running 50.21 to win the women’s 400 meters. The time makes her the eighth-fastest performer all-time indoors. The 2016 Olympic champion achieved the mark two weeks after breaking the national record in the indoor 200 meters at the American Track League meet, where she ran a personal best of 22.40.

World record-holder Keni Harrison also ran a world leading time on Saturday. The 2018 world indoor champion won the 60-meter hurdles in 7.82 seconds.

In the same race, Sydney McLaughlin finished last in 8.56. The race was McLaughlin’s highly anticipated return to the track after earning silver in the 400-meter hurdles and contributing to Team USA’s winning performance in the 4x400-meter relay at the 2019 World Championships. Saturday’s race was McLaughlin’s first time contesting the event since 2015, when she was in high school.

After the race, she said the race was an exercise in training with her non-dominant leg over hurdles. “It’s something we've been thinking about for awhile, just being able to hurdle efficiently with both legs, and what better way to do that than the short hurdles?” McLaughlin said. “It's such a short race and such a fast-paced race that you can really work on that technique. It was good to get into a fast race and really be forced to use it without being able to think that much.”

Noah Lyles Keeping His Eyes on Tokyo

Noah Lyles did double duty in the sprints on Saturday. The 2019 200-meter world champion ran the first round of the 60 meters in 6.76 seconds and returned to the track to contest the 200 meters. Holding off competitors Deon Lendore and Jaron Flournoy, Lyles made it to the finish line in 20.80, well off the typical winning times in his signature event.

While Lyles admitted he wasn’t pleased with the time (and his body language conveyed as such), he still took the experience as a lesson moving forward in his bid to represent Team USA and win more medals at the Tokyo Games this summer.

“We’ve been training for a lot of strength and endurance and it obviously paid off because I was able to come into the 60, warm up, and then I was able to shake off any type of fatigue I had from it,” Lyles said. “I still feel really good, even coming off of the 200, like I could run three more. So I actually feel strong, which is really what we were trying to get out of training, and coming here was to see how much speed we got in the tank. To be honest, it actually proved that what we’re doing is working.”

Trayvon Bromell Crosses First in the 60 Meters

After battling a series of injuries for the past few years, Trayvon Bromell returned to his winning ways on Saturday. After leading the 60-meter semifinal in 6.53, the 2016 world indoor champion won the final in 6.50 by breaking away from his competition in the second half of the race. Runner-up Demek Kemp followed in 6.65.

Looking back on the challenges of the past few years, Bromell credited his spirituality with his return to form and a newfound motivation.

“I'm here to run and make an impact on kids, adults who may have lost hope,” Bromell said. “I feel like my testimony of what I’ve been through gives people that, and it shows the sport in another light than just winning medals or running fast times. That’s all good, but what impact do you leave? I’m trying to be impactful, not impressive.”


(02/14/2021) Views: 160 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot makes the cut for Athlete of the Year

World 1,500 meters champion Timothy Cheruiyot has made the 10-man shortlist for the World Athletics Male Athlete of the Year.

The Kenya Prisons officer ran world-leading 3:28.45 over 1,500m and was undefeated in three races in his speciality.

Cheruiyot faces a herculean task to bag the award with Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei the front runner for the award after a stellar season.

Cheptegei broke world records at 5,000m (12:35.36), 10,000m (26:11.00) and 5km on the roads (12:51)  and was fourth at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships on his debut over the distance.

His Ugandan counterpart Jacob Kiplimo won World Half Marathon title in a championship record of 58:49 and ran a world-leading 7:26.64 over 3,000m—the fastest time in the world since 2007.

Donovan Brazier of the United States of America has also made the cut after running a world-leading 800m times  of 1:44.22, North American indoor record and outdoors (1:43.15). He also won all seven of his races over all distances.

World 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm of Norway is also in contention for the coveted award. He has a world-lead of 46.87 in the 400m hurdles, the second fastest performance in history and was undefeated in nine 400m/400m hurdles races. He also set world best of 33.78 in 300m hurdles.

Others in the mix include USA sprint sensation Noah Lyles, who was undefeated in five finals and ran a world leading time of 19.76 over 200m

World javelin bronze medalist Johannes Vetter, of Germany, USA's shot put specialist Ryan Crouser and Swedish duo of Daniel Stahl and Mondo Duplantis also made the cut. A three-way voting process will determine the finalists.

The World Athletics Council and the World Athletics Family will cast their votes by email while fans can vote online via the WA social media platforms. Individual graphics for each nominee will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram this week; a 'like' on Facebook and Instagram or a retweet on Twitter will count as one vote.

The World Athletics Council’s vote will count for 50 per cent of the result while the World Athletics Family’s votes and the public votes will each account for 25 per cent each of the final result. Voting for the World Athletes of the Year closes at midnight on November 15.

(11/03/2020) Views: 148 ⚡AMP
by William Njuguna
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World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot unstoppable in the Stockholm Diamond League on Sunday

World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot stamped his authority to seal his season’s double with an emphatic front-running victory in the Stockholm Diamond League on Sunday.

World 800m bronze medallist Ferguson Rotich might not have been lucky yet, but staged an improved performance to finish fourth as compatriots, Continental Cup 1,500m champion Winny Chebet and World 5,000m title holder Hellen Obiri failed to click in their respective races.

Nine days after clocking a world lead of three minutes and 28.45 seconds in Monaco, missing a personal best by four seconds, Cheruiyot timed 3:30.25 this time around in the Swedish capital.

Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen once again played second fiddle, finishing second in 3:30.74 as Australian Stewart Mcsweyn dug in for third in personal best 3:31.48.

“It was a bit windy, but the pace was good and I am pleased with my win today. We are travelling around many countries but we are following all precautions and wearing masks so I am happy to be racing,” said Cheruiyot.

Ingebrigtsen noted that his target was to get close to Cheruiyot and see if he could beat him, but the Kenyan still looked stronger.

“I didn't have the great legs that I had in Monaco, it was a tough race, it wasn't too easy today, “said Ingebrigtsen

“I am closing in on him though, and it’s just a matter of time before I beat him.”

The Norwegian, who set a new European record and personal best 3:28.68 in Monaco, explained that his goal to get a fast race this season and he did that in Monaco.

In the men's 800m, Rotich clocked 1:45.11 to lose the battle to World champion American Donovan Brazier, who sealed his second win in 1:43.76.

Marco Arop from Canada and Swede Andreas Kramer settled second and third in 1:44.67 and 1:45.04 respectively.

Laura Muir from Britain, who finished second behind Kenya’s World 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich in 1,000m race in Monaco, cashed in on Chepng’etich's absence to win the metric mile race in Stockholm.

Muir returned a world lead of 3:57.86 in a race where Chebet settled fourth in 4:02.58 as Obiri, the Olympic 5,000m silver medallist, who won the 5,000m in Monaco, came in 12th in 4:10.53.

(08/24/2020) Views: 218 ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Five Nike Oregon Project athletes will be without their coach, Alberto Salazar for the remainder of the World Championships

Donovan Brazier (800m), Clayton Murphy (800m), Yomif Kejelcha (10,000m), Konstanze Klosterhalfen (1,500m and 5,000m) and Sifan Hassan (5,000m and 10,000m) all have races to run at the World Championships and will all be without their coach heading into those events.

The Nike Oregon Project athletes are all in medal contention, with Hassan claiming the 10,000m title on Saturday.

The US Anti-Doping Agency has banned Alberto Salazar, head coach of the Nike Oregon Project, for four years following a years-long investigation and secret arbitration case.

The details appear in a BBC report by journalist Mark Daly and a statement by USADA outlining the specific charges, which include trafficking in testosterone (a banned substance), illegal methods and evidence-tampering at the NOP’s Beaverton, Oregon headquarters.

Salazar is former coach to Mo Farah and Kara Goucher and current coach of marathoner Galen Rupp and the newly-crowned 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan, among others. The ban went into effect yesterday, September 30.

All five NOP athletes have had great seasons. Hassan (outdoor) and Kejelcha (indoor) both set mile world records, Murphy and Brazier have been Diamond League standouts and Klosterhalfen is currently ranked eighth in the world for the women’s 1,500m.

The IAAF has confirmed that Salazar’s World Championship accreditation has been deactivated. He’s not allowed in the Khalifa International Stadium or to have access to any of his athletes.

Both Brazier and Murphy run the 800m final this evening. The NOP athletes will now likely defer to their federations coaching staff for assistance before their races.

(10/01/2019) Views: 821 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha

IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha

The seventeenth edition of the IAAF World Championships is scheduled to be held between 27 September and 6 October 2019 in Doha, Qatar at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium. Doha overcame bids from Eugene, USA, and Barcelona, Spain to be granted the rights to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Having hosted the IAAF Diamond League, formerly...

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