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Athing Mu stumbles, falls in 800 meters and will not have chance to defend her Olympic title

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Athing Mu stumbles, falls in 800 meters and will not have chance to defend her Olympic title
Sport

Sport

Athing Mu stumbles, falls in 800 meters and will not have chance to defend her Olympic title

2024-06-25 11:29 Last Updated At:11:30

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Olympic champion Athing Mu's hopes for a repeat came crashing down on the backstretch of the first lap of the 800-meter final at U.S. track trials Monday.

Racing in the middle of the pack, Mu got tangled up with a bunched group of runners and went crashing to the ground and rolled onto her back, her bright pink shoes flailing toward the sky.

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Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Olympic champion Athing Mu's hopes for a repeat came crashing down on the backstretch of the first lap of the 800-meter final at U.S. track trials Monday.

Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Athing Mu walks off after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Athing Mu walks off after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Athing Mu wipes her face after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Athing Mu wipes her face after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Mu got back to her feet and finished, but was more than 22 seconds behind the winner, Nia Akins, who ran 1 minute, 57.36 seconds.

The 22-year-old from New Jersey was choking back tears as she headed quickly off the track and through the tunnel after the race. She did not immediately come through the media area for interviews.

The Olympic trials were her first meet of the year after dealing with injuries all season. She looked to be in good form in her first two rounds, but was out of the running in the final before the first 200 meters.

It was Exhibit A of the unforgiving format of the U.S. trials, where the top three finishers make the Olympic team and resumes and past performances mean nothing. Mu could still go to Paris as part of the U.S. relay pool; she was a key part of America's gold-medal win in the 4x400 three years ago in Tokyo.

After winning NCAA, national, world and Olympic championships all before turning 21, Mu won a bronze medal at worlds last year and, afterward, conceded she needed a break from all the pressure, social media and other demands that came along with being tagged as one of track's great new stars.

In interviews leading into this week's meet in Eugene, she said she had rediscovered her love for the sport and was looking forward to the quest to become a back-to-back champion.

She has dominated this distance thanks, in part, to a long, loping stride, and that might be what cost her in a race where she came in as the favorite.

Mu was racing on the outside in a tightly bunched pack and looked to be veering to her left toward Juliette Whitaker when she tripped and went tumbling, leaving three runners behind her flailing as they jumped over her.

She's hardly the first athlete to have this happen. One of the more memorable and heartbreaking moments on this track came eight years ago in the same event, when Alysia Montano, looking to return to the Olympics, got tripped up in the homestretch and stayed down on the track crying.

Mu’s 800 was a stark contrast to that run by heptathlete Anna Hall less than a half-hour before.

Hall won her 800 — the seventh and final event in the two-day heptathlon — to win the title and make the Olympics. It came three years after a stumble over the hurdles cost her a spot at the Tokyo Games, and a mere six months after knee surgery made her question if she could get back in time for Paris.

She, too, was crying after her race as she headed to the stands to hug the greatest American in that event, two-time Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

“I’m almost in shock,” Hall said. “This year has been so hard. And falling in 2021. The journey to get here has been so much harder than I imagined.”

There was drama elsewhere on a busy night that included six finals.

The women’s 5,000-meter race came down to a .02-second difference with Elle St. Pierre finishing in 14:40.34 to barely beat Elise Cranny. Both are going to the Olympics.

Also, Vashti Cunningham, who had a combined 13 straight U.S. indoor and outdoor titles coming into the week, needed to win a jump-off for third to make her third Olympic team.

Quincy Wilson, 16, finished sixth in the 400-meter final with a time of 44.94, his third sub-45 race in three tries at the trials.

Now, he will wait to see if the U.S. track team calls on him to be part of the relay pool.

“All I know is I gave everything I had,” he said. “I can’t be too disappointed. I’m 16, and I’m running grown-man times.”

AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Anna Hall celebrates after winning the women's 800-meter run event and the overall in the heptathlon during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Athing Mu walks off after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Athing Mu walks off after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Athing Mu is in last place after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Athing Mu wipes her face after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Athing Mu wipes her face after falling in the women's 800-meter final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Monday, June 24, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Next Article

Noel hits 2-run pinch-hit homer in the 8th as Guardians beat Rays 4-2

2024-07-14 08:19 Last Updated At:08:20

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla, (AP) — Jhonkensy Noel hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning, and the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 to stop a three-game skid on Saturday.

Noel connected on his fourth homer in 35 at-bats since being called up from Triple-A Columbus last month off Garrett Cleavinger (5-2) to put the Guardians ahead 4-2.

“I know I have the talent,” Noel said through a translator. “I just have to get myself ready all the time to be able to help the team. I’m not playing a lot, but whenever I do have the tools to help the team win.”

Noel's 110.8 mph homer traveled 424 feet. According to STATS, it was the first go-ahead, pinch-hit homer by a Cleveland rookie in the eighth inning or later since Bill Davis on Sept. 9, 1966, against California,

“He’s strong,” Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt said. “He’s a good athlete. When he hits it, it goes a long way.”

After Nick Sandlin (6-0) had a scoreless seventh, Emmauel Clase worked the ninth to get his 29th save in 32 chances.

Cleveland's Steven Kwan went 0 for 4, and had his major league batting average fall to .354 from .359.

Yandy Díaz drove in a run for the Rays, who fell under .500 at 47-48.

Tampa Bay was hitless in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Rays were 1 for 16 in Friday's 2-0 win over Cleveland.

“We got to kick that trend.” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “You feel it in the dugout. You feel it throughout the game.”

The Guardians took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Angel Martinez hit a solo home run and Andrés Giménez had an RBI single off Zack Littell.

Díaz had a third-inning run-scoring double against Gavin Williams. But the Rays tied it at 2 when Richie Palacios tripled and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Daniel Schneemann on Jonny DeLuca’s grounder in the fifth.

Williams allowed two runs, one earned, and three hits over five innings in his third start of the season. He began the season on the injured list after hurting his right elbow throwing a weighted ball on March 7 during spring training.

Cleveland pitcher Carlos Carrasco, who has a locker next to Williams, joined the media scrum and asked his teammate what was working,

“Being in the zone a little bit,” Williams replied. “Every once in a while a double play.”

Littell went six innings, giving up two runs (one earned), and six hits.

Giménez was also involved in a rare 4-9 putout on DeLuca's fly ball in the third. The second baseman sprinted into right field, tipped the ball while lunging for it and then saw sliding right fielder Will Brennan making a backhand sliding catch.

“I’m going remember this one for a while because it was two persons, two diving persons,” Giménez said.

According to Elias, it was just the fourth 4-9 play over the last 20 seasons.

UP NEXT

Guardians RHP Ben Lively (8-4, 3.59 ERA) will face Rays RHP Ryan Pepiot (5-5, 4.20) on Sunday.

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

Cleveland Guardians pitcher Gavin Williams throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris Tilley)

Cleveland Guardians pitcher Gavin Williams throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris Tilley)

Cleveland Guardians pitcher Gavin Williams throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris Tilley)

Cleveland Guardians pitcher Gavin Williams throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris Tilley)

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Zack Littlell throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris Tilley)

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Zack Littlell throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris Tilley)

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