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Top Ten Stories of the Week

These are the top ten stories based on views over the last week. 

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Hunter and Davis are officially melting the Internet: Hunter on Instagram - They said I’d never walk, So I learned to run instead!

#TeamUSA long jumper Tara Davis & Paralympic athlete Hunter Woodhall are officially melting the Internet!! I hope they both win gold in the #TokyoOlympicGames!! 🇺🇸 Posted Gary Allen on FB. 

After two-time Paralympic medalist Hunter Woodhall ran a season-best 11.04 seconds in the 100-meter T62 sprint at the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials for Track and Field on June 18 in Minneapolis, he picked up his phone and FaceTimed his girlfriend immediately upon stepping off the track.

Tara Davis was already on the other side of the country, preparing for the long jump competition at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Woodhall and Davis, who train at the University of Arkansas and University of Texas, respectively, are accustomed to regular FaceTime calls at all moments in time to keep their long-distance relationship strong.

In Tokyo, Woodhall is expected to compete in both the 100 and 400; at the last Paralympic Games in Rio he won silver in the 200 and bronze in the 400. While he’s no longer competing at the NCAA level — he turned pro in January — he’s still training with the Arkansas team, having adjusted his schedule to peak at Trials and the Games as opposed to indoor and outdoor collegiate nationals.

Davis was competing in her second Olympic Trials after finishing 19th in the long jump in 2016. She has held the American junior record in the event since 2017 and earlier this season broke Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s collegiate record set back in 1985.

Davis is also No. 2 at the junior level in the 60-meter hurdles.“I can't put into words how I'm feeling right now, there just are so many emotions,” Davis said to the website of the University of Texas, where she was an NCAA indoor and outdoor national champion.

“I say it all the time, I didn't think I was going to be here. I was going through so much I just didn't ever think I was going to be at the Olympic Trials. But here I am, and I was so grateful for the opportunity, and I took advantage of it.

”The couple, both 22, have been chronicling their journeys in their own YouTube channel, and Woodhall, a TikTok star who has more than three million total social followers across all his platforms, has been profiled by the likes of the New York Times and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

”The first double amputee track and field athlete to have earned a Division I athletic scholarship insists there will be as many reasons to follow the Para track and field athletes like himself in Tokyo, as the Olympic athletes like Davis.

“The biggest reason to tune in is because of the stories that come along with the Paralympics — things that people have had to fight through and go through just to be here,” he said.

“At the end of the day we are all humans and all in the same field. If people can come out here and compete after the things they’ve gone through and still be chasing their dreams, that shows that everyone’s on the same level.”

(07/28/21) Views: 178

Research says talent will get you so far, but it's the gritty athletes who rise to the top

Have you ever wondered what separates elite athletes from the rest of us, or what allows one competitor to perform at a consistently high level no matter the odds? Of course, physical ability, resources and skill all come into play here, but there’s one ingredient that seems to outweigh the rest: grit. Behavioural psychologist Angela Duckworth defines grit as a special blend of passion and persistence, and she, along with many other experts, agrees it is what pushes someone to show up day after day, make sacrifices and push through setbacks to become the best.

According to a 2007 paper written by Duckworth, “grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.”

This definition highlights one important factor that determines success in running, and that is the time it takes to achieve that success. When a new elite runner bursts onto the scene, it’s easy to think they just magically became really good, but what we don’t see are the years of strenuous, focused effort it took for them to get there. That person has already experienced several setbacks and failures, and yet they’ve carried on.

In Duckworth’s 2016 book, titled Grit, the Power of Passion and Perseverance, she outlines the two equations that lead to achievement. The first is talent x effort = skill. Most research agrees that in order to make it to the top level in sport, there is an element of innate ability, but this talent only tells part of the story. Without effort, talent goes nowhere. The second equation is skill x effort = achievement. When you put these two equations together, it means you need to apply effort to turn talent into skill, and then you need to apply more effort to translate that skill into achievement.

What does that look like in the context of running? When someone shows early talent in running, that will only help them go so far. If they want to continue improving, they need to apply effort in order to perfect skills like pacing, form, endurance and of course, racing. These are all things that need to be practised. Practising them over weeks, months and years is what will eventually lead to achievement (winning big races, setting records, etc.).

While the scientific literature is fairly limited in this area, there have been a few studies assessing the effect of grit on athletic performance, including this 2017 study that looked at more than 250 athletes from a variety of sports, including runners. Participants ranged from age 13 to 30 and came from a variety of skill levels, from local sports teams to international competitions. The researchers measured them on a “grit scale” comprised of two categories: perseverance of effort (PE) and consistency of interests (CI). They found that athletes who scored higher in the perseverance of effort were more likely to attend all mandatory and optional practices and to practise on their own. The athletes who scored higher on consistency of interests were also far less likely to quit their sport.

The bottom line

Grit is a difficult thing to measure, but it has a significant role to play in performance. All you have to do is listen to or read the stories of our Canadian Olympians and other elite runners to know that success doesn’t come easily, quickly or without sacrifice. So yes, are elite athletes naturally gifted? Sure. But talent alone has not gotten them where they are. For the rest of us, having a gritty mentality in our training may not take us to the Olympic stage, but it will lead us to reach a level we never thought possible.

(07/26/21) Views: 156
Brittany Hambleton

Flora Duffy delivers a golden first for Bermuda, winning the olympic women triathlon

Flora Duffy claimed a first ever Olympic Games gold medal for Bermuda with a brilliant display to win the women’s triathlon at Tokyo 2020.

The 33-year-old, world champion 2016 and 2017, was virtually faultless as she negotiated treacherous conditions in the swim and on the bike before making a decisive move to clinch victory on the run.

Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown saw her hopes of gold ruined by a flat rear tyre late in the bike leg, but fought back brilliantly to pip American Katie Zaferes to silver. The American claimed the bronze.

The conditions in Tokyo were vastly different from Monday’s men’s race – then it was brutal heat and humidity, now it was torrential rain which caused a 15-minute delay to the scheduled start.

Britain’s Jess Learmonth went out hard on the swim and led the field out of the water at the end of the first lap, just ahead of Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes. Americans Zaferes and Summer Rappaport were also in close attendance with Duffy and Learmonth’s Britain team-mate Taylor-Brown.

A lead group of seven exited for T1 with Learmonth (18:24) still in front and Zaferes, Rappaport, Duffy and Taylor-Brown all in very close attendance. The third British athlete Vicky Holland meanwhile was in the second group, just under 50 seconds off the pace.

The field was already well strung out as they headed for their bikes, such was the pace that Learmonth had injected.

Bike – small but select

Learmonth led that select lead pack through the early stages of the bike leg, but by the end of the first lap she’d been joined at the front by Taylor-Brown and Duffy. Rappaport meanwhile was clinging desperately onto the back of the group. The chasing pack were more than a minute off the pace, with 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Spirig leading them in typical style.

The second lap saw the status quo maintained, with Duffy leading the lead group through along with Zaferes, Taylor-Brown and Learmonth. Rappaport was still struggling to maintain her position at the back of that group. The gap to the chasing pack led by Spirig was still more than a minute.

Seven became six in the lead group by the end of Lap 3 as Rappaport fell away to cross the line 37 seconds off the pace. Up front it was still the big guns Taylor-Brown, Learmonth, Duffy and Zaferes leading the way. They were in company with Germany’s Laura Lindemann and the Brazilian Lopes.

Run – decisive from Duffy

Zaferes, Lindemann, Duffy and Learmonth set off on the 10k run knowing they were in prime position to fight it out for the medals, while Taylor-Brown tried desperately to get back on terms.

Duffy made the first decisive move on the opening lap of four on the run, surging clear of Zaferes. Taylor-Brown meanwhile was making progress as she picked off team-mate Learmonth and Lindemann to move back into a medal position. At the end of that first lap Flora was 17 seconds clear of Zaferes with Taylor-Brown a further nine seconds away.

Flora, looking imperious out in front, pulled further clear on the second lap and at halfway on the run her advantage was now 47 seconds over Zaferes. Taylor-Brown meanwhile was just five seconds down on the American in the battle for silver.

The dominant Duffy increased her lead to 67 seconds on the third of the four run laps, while Taylor-Brown passed Zaferes to move into second just as the pair reached the bell.

Flora was still full of running as she powered through the final lap to come home to a famous victory in a winning time of 1:55:36. She was 74 seconds clear of silver medallist Taylor-Brown, while Zaferes was a further 13 seconds away in the bronze medal position.

(07/27/21) Views: 152
Graham Shaw

Thousands run through London in first mass 10k since lockdown was lifted

Thousands of runners have taken to the streets of London for their first mass 10k since lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Roads across central London were closed as the runners in the Asics London 10k swept past views of landmarks to the sound of cheering crowds and entertainers who lined the streets.

Race director Ian Allerton described it as “an important day for the mass participation industry” as many runners helped raise funds for more than 200 charities in what he hoped would be the start of “a new season of safe running events in 2021”.

TV presenter and activist Katie Piper who was the victim of an acid attack in 2008, officially started the race before stepping out to become one of up to 14,000 runners on the course.

Her run was to raise funds for a rehabilitation centre and she later said she had “such an amazing day”.

Ms Piper said it had been “really powerful” to see the benefit the race had on her mental wellbeing and on others who took part.

Organisers said they have been working closely with Westminster City Council and Public Health England over the past six months to ensure the event was Covid-secure.

The annual mass participation event, which was billed as “London’s best summer celebration of running,” was previously cancelled due to the pandemic.

The 2021 route was brought to life by the sounds of live bands and DJs at every 1km to help the runners keep moving as they raced past landmarks such as Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the London Eye.

Andrew Heyes won the male race with a time of 29 minutes and 25 seconds, Natasha Cockram clocked 33 minutes and 37 seconds to cross the line first in the female run while Bethany Evans was victorious in the wheelchair event with a time of 40 minutes and 42 seconds.

Mr Heyes said: “I really enjoyed the sights and am so excited to be back after 18 months.”

Ms Cockram added: “It was brilliant being back out on the road. Since the pandemic I’ve only been able to train on the track.

“Being out on the big wide roads is so exciting, I want to do it again.”

The event came a day after thousands of adult joggers and walkers in England laced up their trainers to take part in 5km Parkruns in local parks for the first time since lockdown eased.

(07/25/21) Views: 91

Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon cancelled for 2021

Put your running shoes and guitars away. The Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon has been cancelled.

The organization notified Seattle participants of the cancellation in an email Wednesday, citing constraints with “local law enforcement resources and the strain any additional events could have in negatively affecting the community.”

The next Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Seattle is slated for June 12, 2022.

“This is certainly not the news any of us wanted and we recognize that this latest setback is a significant disappointment after multiple event updates,” the organization wrote.

The 2020 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, which local rap legend Sir Mix-A-Lot was slated to headline, was delayed due to the pandemic. This year’s event was initially scheduled for June 12-13 before it was postponed to Aug 21-22.

There is no refund option.

Anyone registered for the Seattle 2021 Rock ‘n’ Roll running series will be automatically registered for the 2022 event. Participants can also transfer their registration for a different event or location by Aug. 4.

Other Rock ‘n’ Roll events are currently scheduled to be held this year in Virginia Beach, Virginia; San Jose, California; San Diego; Savannah, Georgia; San Antonio; Nashville, Tennessee; and Washington, D.C.

(07/23/21) Views: 74
Amanda Zhou

Gloria Ratti, ‘first lady’ of the Boston Marathon, dies at 90

The Boston Athletic Association is mourning the loss of vice president, historian, and archivist Gloria Ratti, who died Saturday at 90 “after a courageous battle with cancer,” the organization said in a statement.

Ms. Ratti, a South Boston native, served the BAA and Boston Marathon runners in a variety of roles over more than half a century of involvement with the organization, according to the statement.

“Gloria in essence was the First Lady of our sport, no matter where she went,” Guy Morse, former BAA executive director and a longtime colleague to Ms. Ratti, said in the statement.

“From champions to common runners, Gloria personally cared for everyone and represented the human side of running,” he said. “It was her mission to make the Boston Marathon more than a single-day event; she strived to make it a personal experience for so many. She did that, but also was the moral authority that helped propel the entire organization forward.”

(07/25/21) Views: 69
Nick Stoico, The Boston Globe

Setting a good running goal can keep you motivated and engaged with your training plan

Setting goals is a really great way to stay motivated and on track with your training, but they can actually have a negative impact on your progress if you don’t choose them wisely. Set a goal that’s too easy and you won’t see improvement, set a goal that’s too hard and you’ll lose your motivation. Check out these tips for choosing a running goal that’s appropriate for your experience and ability, so you can continue to get excited about running and continue to progress.

New to running? Start short-term

It can be hard to know what an appropriate goal should be when you’ve just started, so don’t be afraid to start small and change your goal as you get better. In fact, this is the time during your running life when your goal will likely be changing the most frequently. This is also the time when you’re the most likely to give up your running routine, so choosing an appropriate goal that’s achievable in the short term is crucial. Try setting a new goal each week, for example, “this week I’m going to run for 20 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.” Once you’ve accomplished that, you can adjust your goal the following week to “this week, I’m going to run for 25 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.” Focusing on one week at a time prevents running from feeling overwhelming, and before you know it, several weeks or months will have gone by when you’ve been running.

Have more than one goal

If you’re goal-setting for a longer period (for example, an entire year or for the fall racing season), having a good, better and best goal can take the pressure off just having one. The “good” goal should be something that is definitely in your reach. The “better” goal is the next step up from there, once you’ve achieved your first goal. The “best” goal is your best-case scenario, if-everything-goes-amazing goal. For example, if you’re training for your first marathon, your good goal may be to simply get to the finish line, your better goal may be to finish in under five hours, and your best goal may be to finish in under 4:30. Don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon with that third goal — it is, after all, your best-case scenario.

Don’t be afraid to adapt

Things happen and sometimes even the best-laid plans get ruined. If something happens (like an injury, a difficult life event, etc.) that makes it impossible to achieve the goals you originally set for yourself, it’s normal to be upset. While it is disappointing to have to abandon your goals, they’ll likely still be there when the time is right, so for now, adapt them to your situation. For example, if you were training to qualify for the Boston Marathon but got injured part-way through, make it your new goal to do everything your physiotherapist says, rehab your injury and come back stronger next time.

Get a coach

It can be challenging to look at ourselves objectively in order to determine what’s an appropriate goal for us and what’s not. This is where a good coach can be really helpful. This person will be able to watch how you progress throughout your training and figure out goals that will challenge you, but that won’t be unachievable.

(07/23/21) Views: 68
Brittany Hambleton

Ankle injury rules out Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor at Olympics

Kenyan 10,000 meters runner and 2019 New York Marathon winner Geoffrey Kamworor has pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics due to an ankle injury, he told BBC Sport Africa on Thursday.

The 28-year-old is a three times world Half Marathon champion, and previous world record holder, and had hopes of a medal in the 10,000m after winning the national trials.

He won silver at the 2015 world championships in Beijing, behind Britain's Mo Farah.

The injury comes after he was hit by a motorcycle while training near his home in June last year, suffering a fractured tibia.

"These are obstacles which can come on your way when you come back from a tough injury earlier on. It's only now extremely bad timing," the BBC quoted his manager Valentijn Trouw as saying.

(07/23/21) Views: 63
CNA Sports

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge is ready to defend his Olympic crown

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge cannot wait to defend his Olympic crown at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Eliud won gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and is favorite to bag gold at the Summer Games. 

"I have completed my training and I am really excited to race in Sapporo. For me, there is no greater race than competing for an Olympic medal. In Japan, I will defend my title from Rio, to win a second Olympic medal in the marathon would mean the world to me," he posted on his Twitter handle Monday.

Kipchoge became the first man to ever run a full marathon, 42.195km, under two hours when he clocked 1:59:40 in Vienna, Austria in 2019. He also holds the world record over the distance at 2:01:39. 

Eliud is in the marathon team that also has Lawrence Cherono and Amos Kipruto. The women's team has record holder Brigid Kosgei, Ruth Chepngetich and Peres Jepchirchir.

The marathon teams will leave for Japan on August 1 and 2. The women's race will be held on August 7, while the men's race is on August 8 in Sapporo.

(07/26/21) Views: 63
Brian Yoga

All eyes were on the Tokyo's Olympic Stadium, 69 athletes from the sport of athletics were among the flag bearers when the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 got under way

For the first time, each nation can be represented by two flag bearers, with 38 women and 31 men leading their nations before going on to compete in athletics at the Games.

A number of these athletes could also make history for their country when athletics action begins on 30 July and here are some of the stars to watch out for. 

Hugues Fabrice Zango, triple jump - Burkina Faso

Zango became the first athlete from his nation to win a World Championships medal thanks to his third place in Doha and now he could become the first person from Burkina Faso to win an Olympic medal in any sport. The 27-year-old broke the world indoor triple jump record of 18.07m in Aubiere in January and has also leapt a PB of 17.82m outdoors this year.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 100m, 200m and 4x100m - Jamaica

Sprint star Fraser-Pryce will be looking to regain the 100m title after her wins in 2008 and 2012 and add further medals to a collection which also includes two 4x100m silvers, a 200m silver and a 200m bronze. The 10.63 she ran in Kingston in June puts her second on the world 100m all-time list.

Joseph Fahnbulleh, 200m - Liberia

No athlete from Liberia has ever finished in the top eight in their event at the Olympics, let alone won a medal, and sprinter Fahnbulleh will be looking to change that when he takes to the track for the 200m. The 19-year-old ran a PB of 19.91 to win the NCAA title in June.

Thea LaFond, triple jump - Dominica 

Dominica hasn’t yet won a medal in any Olympic sport but if she progresses beyond the qualifying round then triple jumper LaFond – who holds the national records of 14.54m indoors and 14.38m outdoors – will make further history for her nation, as no athlete from Dominica has ever competed in an Olympic final.

Alex Rose, discus - Samoa

Rose competed at the Rio Olympics in 2016, placing 29th in discus qualifying, but he’s keen to become the first Samoan athlete ever to reach an Olympic final. He improved his national record to 67.48m in May. 

Athletics flag bearers at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Afghanistan (AFG) - Kimia Yousofi (women’s 100m)

Albania (ALB) - Luiza Gega (women’s 3000m steeplechase)

Andorra (AND) - Pol Moya (men’s 800m)

Antigua and Barbuda (ANT) - Cejhae Greene(men’s 100m)

Bahamas (BAH) - Donald Thomas (men’s high jump)

Belize (BIZ) - Samantha Dirks (women’s 400m) and Shaun Gill (men’s 100m)

Belgium (BEL) - Nafissatou Thiam (heptathlon) 

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) - Amel Tuka (men’s 800m)

Botswana (BOT) - Amantle Montsho (women’s 400m)

Burkina Faso (BUR) - Hugues Fabrice Zango (men’s triple jump)

British Virgin Islands (IVB) - Kyron McMaster (men’s 400m hurdles)

Cambodia (CAM) - Sokong Pen (men’s 100m)

Cape Verde (CPV) - Jordin Andrade (men’s 400m hurdles)

Central African Republic (CAF) - Francky Mbotto (men’s 800m)

Colombia (COL) - Caterine Ibarguen (women’s triple jump)

Comoros (COM) - Amed Elna (women’s 100m) and Fadane Hamadi (men’s 110m hurdles)

Congo (CGO) - Natacha Ngoye Akamabi (women’s 100m)

Costa Rica (CRC) - Andrea Vargas (100m hurdles)

Croatia (CRO) - Sandra Perkovic (women’s discus)

Cuba (CUB) - Yaime Perez (women’s discus)

Cyprus (CYP) - Milan Trajkovic (110m hurdles)

Denmark (DEN) - Sara Peterson (women’s 400m hurdles)

Dominica (DMA) - Thea Lafond (women’s triple jump) and Dennick Luke (men’s 800m)

Equatorial Guinea (GEQ) - Alba Mbo Nchama (women’s 100m) and Benjamin Enzema (men’s 1500m)

Eritrea (ERI) - Nazret Weldu (women’s marathon)

Gambia (GAM) - Gina Bass (women’s 100m and 200m) and Ebrima Camara (men’s 100m)

Ghana (GHA) - Nadia Eke (women’s triple jump)

Guam (GUM) - Regine Kate Tugade (women’s 100m)

Israel (ISR) - Hanna Minenko (women’s triple jump)

Ivory Coast (CIV) - Marie-Josee Ta Lou (women’s 100m and 200m)

Jamaica (JAM) - Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (women's 100m, 200m and 4x100m)

Kazakhstan (KAZ) - Olga Rypakova (women’s triple jump)

Lao People's Democratic Republic (LAO) - Silina Pha Aphay (women’s 100m)

Liberia (LBR) - Ebony Morrison (women’s 100m hurdles) and Joseph Fahnbulleh (men’s 200m)

Mauritania (MTN) - Houleye Ba (women’s 100m) and Abidine Abidine (men’s 5000m)

Micronesia (FSM) - Scott James Fiti (men’s 100m)

Nauru (NRU) - Jonah Harris (men’s 100m)

Netherlands (NED) - Churandy Martina (men’s 4x100m)

Palau (PLW) - Adrian Justin Jimena Ililau (men’s 100m)

Panama (PAN) - Alonso Edward (men’s 200m)

Portugal (POR) - Nelson Evora (men’s triple jump)Refugee Olympic Team (EOR) - Tachlowini

Gabriyesos (marathon)

Rwanda (RWA) - John Hakizimana (men’s marathon)

Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKN) - Amya Clarke (women’s 100m) and Jason Rogers (men’s 100m)

Saint Lucia (LCA) - Levern Spencer (women’s high jump)

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VIN) - Shafiqua Maloney (women’s 800m)

Samoa (SAM) - Alex Rose (men’s discus)Sao Tome and Principe (STP) - D'Jamila Tavares (women’s 800m)

Saudi Arabia (KSA) - Yasmeen Al Dabbagh (women's 100m)

Sierra Leone (SLE) - Maggie Barrie (women’s 100m)

Solomon Islands (SOL) - Sharon Firisua (women’s marathon)

Somalia (SOM) - Ali Idow Hassan (men’s 1500m)

South Sudan (SSD) - Lucia Moris (women’s 200m) and Abraham Guem (men’s 1500m)

Switzerland (SUI) - Mujinga Kambundji (women's 100m, 200m and 4x100m)

Timor Leste (TLS) - Felisberto de Deus (men’s 1500m)

Trinidad and Tobago (TTO) - Kelly-Ann Baptiste (women’s 100m and 4x100m)

Tuvalu (TUV) - Matie Stanley (women’s 100m) and Karalo Hepoiteloto Maibuca (men’s 100m)

Uruguay (URU) - Deborah Rodriguez (women’s 800m)

Vietnam (VIE) - Thi Lan Quach (women’s 400m hurdles)

(07/23/21) Views: 60
World Athletics

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