THE LATEST in the aches, pains & eligibility departments (see also our major compilations earlier in this issue delineating the top available collegians and preps this year):
Wilhem Belocian, France’s Euro 60H champ, has recovered from the knee and hamstring injuries that hampered him last summer.
Kenyan Bethwel Birgen, the ’18 World Indoor 3000 bronze medalist, is missing the indoor season because of injury.
British vaulter Holly Bradshaw will be skipping the indoor season because of illness and injury.
Reigning world 800 champ Donavan Brazier said after his Millrose 400 that the injury that struck him down at the Olympic Trials was a fractured tibia, along with a bone impingement in the front of his ankle, both of which were fixed in surgery: “The last healthy race I had was probably the 2020 Big Friendly 1500. I’m very happy where I am right now.”
Marathoner Stephanie Bruce will retire at the end of ’22, at the age of 37. She recently discovered she has bicuspid aortic valve disease, and while her doctor has assured her she can continue to train and race, she writes, “Our family wants to grow and I am creeping towards my forties and the possibility of more children and a heart surgery one day in my life pushed me towards this decision.”
French 400 runner Toumane Coulibaby hopes to participate in the French Indoor after being released from jail in February. He was convicted of a string of 27 burglaries over a 4-month period in 2012–13.
World Junior triple jump champ in ’18 and a World finalist the next year, Jordan Díaz has received Spanish citizenship after turning down the opportunity to represent his native Cuba in Tokyo.
Mondo Duplantis had laser surgery in the offseason to improve his vision. ““The morning after the procedure, it felt like I woke up to a new world. Everything is so easy now, it’s just a relief… My training has gone well. I’m both stronger and faster. And I have not had any setbacks with injuries or illnesses.”
His doping suspension done (see “Last Lap”), 3-time 1500 world champ Asbel Kiprop is back, eyeing a move down to the 800.
Provisionally suspended: Moroccan 59:25 half marathoner Aziz Lahbabi for a not-detailed banned subsstance. He previously served a 6-month suspension for the stimulantmethylhexanamine.
Late news, but apparently Elle Purrier St. Pierre injured her foot at the Trials when she was pushed off the track, and was unable to do any track workouts between the Trials and Games.
Oklahoma State All-America Isai Rodriguez was badly injured in a January car crash in which he was the passenger in a vehicle that hit another while passing in a no-passing zone. He sustained head, arm, leg and various internal injuries.
Fabienne Schlumpf, Switzerland’s Euro silver medalist in the steeplechase, is taking a break from the sport because of a recent diagnosis of myocarditis.
Former World champion putter Christina Schwanitz says that 2022 will be her final season.
Washington’s Kiwi miler Sam Tanner has turned pro early and signed with Puma. “It has always been a dream of mine to be a professional athlete,” he Instagrammed.
Italian sprinter Filippo Tortu has recovered after his second bout with COVID and has returned to training.
Dutch hurdler Nadine Visser has delayed the start of her season due to hamstring problems.
LSU 200/400 star Noah Williams has bypassed his remaining eligibility and signed with adidas.
Two weeks before his Midnight Mile, Nick Willis came down with a breakthrough C19 case “I was sick for 2.5 days and really didn’t miss much running,” he tweeted.
Patrycja Wyciszkiewicz-Zawadzka, who ran on Poland’s silver medal 4×4 at the ’19 Worlds, missed the Olympics because of injury but says she is coming back as an 800 runner.
The Retirement Corner…
Greek quartermiler María Belibasáki, the ’18 Euro Champs runner-up, has retired at age 30 because of persistent injuries.
Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi, the bronze medalist from the ’13 WC marathon, has hung up her shoes at age 39.
After former UCLA heptathlete Kendall Gustafson tore her ACL last spring — causing her to miss the Olympic Trials — she decided to retire, saying, “I am not 100% ready to stop mentally, but my body has made it clear that it’s been through enough, and I’m not going to fight it any longer.” She’s moved on to the coaching world, as the jumps/multis assistant at Texas State.
Chris O’Hare, the ’12 NCAA Indoor mile champ for Tulsa, and a 2-time WC finalist at 1500 for Britain, has left the sport at age 31. “I am relieved to say that although I will miss everything about training and racing, I am happy to be a retired athlete.”
Olha Saladukha, the ’11 World champion in the triple jump, has retired at age 38. The Ukrainian’s final competition was the Olympic qualifying round, where she finished 20th. □