With Tokyo looming, Australian athletics golden era dawns in Sydney | Kieran Pender

The Track and Field Championships, which begin on Monday, look set to usher in a new golden generation of Australian athletics

Barring anything unforeseen, Tokyo 2021 will mark Craig Hilliard’s ninth Olympics. The veteran, who was head coach of Australia’s athletics team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, has only missed one Games – Athens – since making his Olympic coaching debut in 1984. With four decades of experience, Hilliard is well-placed to assess the current strength of Australian athletics. Just three months out from Tokyo, the verdict is buoyant.

“I think we’re moving into one of the brightest periods for Australian athletics,” Hilliard tells Guardian Australia. “Not just this year but leading into Paris and beyond. There are events where we have a number of athletes at the pointy end, and the depth is improving as well. It is an exciting period to be in the sport, and it will be exciting to see where we can go.”

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Related: ‘Why not me?’: Rohan Browning targets rare Australian 100m Olympic medal | Kieran Pender

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‘I’m not a little girl anymore’: Simone Biles on world domination, pandemic ennui and staying on for Paris 2024

Much has changed since Simone Biles’ coronation at the Rio Olympics, but one truth remains: her only competition is herself

So much has changed in the five years since Simone Biles lit up the 2016 Olympics in Rio, affirming her presumptive status as the greatest gymnast ever with four gold medals in seven days.

The 24-year-old from suburban Houston moved out of her parents’ house into her own digs, adopted two French Bulldog puppies (Lilo and Rambo) and went public with boyfriend Jonathan Owens, a safety for the NFL’s Houston Texans. She enlisted the husband-and-wife coaching team of Laurent Landi and Cecile Canqueteau-Landi following an amicable split with longtime personal coach Aimee Boorman. The sport she’s come to define was rocked by the worst sexual abuse scandal in American sports history. And her bid for a historic second straight Olympic all-around title was waylaid by a global pandemic that turned the sports world on its ear.

The medal from this floor exercise is @Simone_Biles' 25th career world medal.

That's more than anyone else in history.pic.twitter.com/TE8PheNHyq

We’re not just athletes but people, too. And we have a right to speak up for what we believe in.

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Bruce Lee DVDs, a backyard dojo and Asif Sultani’s road to Tokyo Olympics | Mike Hytner

War, asylum and near death at sea have shaped a karateka’s journey from Afghanistan to Australia and now the Olympics

Pitch black waves crash against the small, overcrowded boat carrying a group of asylum seekers. The fumes given off by the vessel’s engine hang uncomfortably in the air alongside a bitter odour of terrified, desperate vomit. But the most pungent smell is that of fear. Then, the boat breaks down.

“I honestly thought then that might be the end of my journey. That’s where I might die,” says Asif Sultani, an Afghanistan-born refugee whose fate mercifully was not sealed that day in the murky waters off Indonesia, and whose journey may yet take him to Japan, where he hopes to represent the Refugee Olympic Team at this year’s Games in Tokyo.

A normal child may enjoy life with their friends and family but I found myself getting bullied, kicked, punched, people spitting on me, humiliating me, and telling me that I have to kill myself because I wasn’t good, because I can’t be like everyone else.

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‘Miracle on Ice’ star Mark Pavelich killed himself, examiner rules

  • Former player died at Minnesota treatment center aged 63
  • Pavelich assisted on goal that beat USSR at 1980 Olympics

Last month’s death of “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey player Mark Pavelich was ruled a suicide a Minnesota medical examiner said on Monday.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka county announced the ruling in a news release that Pavelich died of asphyxia. His body was found on 3 March at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. He was 63.

As a kid growing up in Hibbing I used to go to the arena and hang out with gear in hand waiting to see if I could skate w the teams that rented the ice! Mark Pavelich always let me join with the Eveleth guys! He taught me so much about the game! #RIP pav

In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

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‘I can’t quite believe it’: Steph Davis waiting for Olympic call to sink in

  • Davis rewarded for winning British trials with marathon place
  • Steph Twell and Jess Pisecki also named in GB team

Steph Davis says she is still waiting for her whirlwind journey from club runner to elite athlete to sink in after being officially named on Thursday in the Team GB marathon squad for the Tokyo Olympics.

Davis, who combines running for her local club Clapham Chasers with working for an asset management company, said her life had been “exciting but a bit mad” since she won the British trials last week – with numerous well-wishers hailing her story as an inspiration.

Related: Stephanie Davis reaches Olympics less than three years after first marathon

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‘Walking together’: latest Australian Olympic uniform honours Indigenous athletes

  • Walking Together range pays respect to 52 past competitors
  • New green and gold kits features latest cooling technology

Australia’s Olympic fashion past may be as chequered as the shirts of its 2018 Winter Games collection, but the latest offering has eschewed any bold sartorial statements in favour of a hi-tech but functional competition range that pays respect to the country’s past Indigenous athletes.

The Australian Olympic Committee on Wednesday unveiled the uniforms its athletes will wear around the Olympic village and during competition in Tokyo later this year, consisting of a number of styles in traditional green and gold colours.

Related: 'Fresh set of eyes': Katrina Powell named new Hockeyroos coach for Olympics

Related: ‘Why not me?’: Rohan Browning targets rare Australian 100m Olympic medal | Kieran Pender

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‘Fresh set of eyes’: Katrina Powell named new Hockeyroos coach for Olympics

  • Two-time gold medallist contracted until end of Tokyo Games
  • Powell replaces Paul Gaudoin, who resigned two weeks ago

Katrina Powell has been announced as the new Hockeyroos coach, with the two-time Olympic gold medallist tasked with transforming a dysfunctional women’s program into a world-beating powerhouse in time for the Tokyo Games.

The Hockeyroos have been mired in off-field dramas for years, the issue coming to a head in 2020 when serious concerns about the broader culture were aired by current and former players.

Related: Hockeyroos uncertainty prevails with no way back in sight for excluded duo

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‘Why not me?’: Rohan Browning targets rare Australian 100m Olympic medal | Kieran Pender

After closing on the 10-second barrier, the sprinter has his eyes on making history in Tokyo

In the 125-year history of the modern Olympics, only two Australian men have won a medal in the 100 metre sprint. Stan Rowley claimed bronze at the 1900 Olympics in Paris and Hector Hogan repeated the feat at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. With a keen sense of history, Rohan Browning wants to become the third at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

“I’m a sports history nerd,” Browning tells Guardian Australia. “I love to watch videos and look at data from past sprinters. Australia hasn’t had an Olympic medallist in the 100m since Hec Hogan. But the question is; why not? Why not me, why not any other Australian? For a lot of casual fans, it is easy to write off Australian athletes because the history isn’t there in the sprint events in terms of winning medals at the highest levels.”

Related: Browning breaks 17-year 100m Olympic drought by almost cracking 10 seconds

Related: Injury ends champion racewalker Jared Tallent's bid for Tokyo swan song

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USA men will miss third straight Olympics after loss to Honduras

  • Americans lose 2-1 to Honduras in must-win to reach Olympics
  • US last missed three straight Olympics in 1960, 1964 and 1968

American players fell to the field at the final whistle. Another missed Olympics soccer tournament for the US men. Another failed four-cycle.

Juan Carlos Obregón scored in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time, goalkeeper David Ochoa committed a blunder that gifted Luis Palma a goal two minutes into the second half and Honduras beat the United States 2-1 on Sunday in an Olympic qualification game at Guadalajara, Mexico.

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Browning breaks 17-year 100m Olympic drought by almost cracking 10 seconds

  • Browning, 23, clocks 10.05 seconds at Queensland Track Classic
  • Third-fastest Australian of all time behind Johnson, Shirvington

Olympian-in-waiting Rohan Browning can taste more seismic breakthroughs after storming to third on the Australian men’s 100m sprint all-time rankings at the Queensland Track Classic.

The best domestic ensemble assembled for a meet outside of a national championships in more than a decade had the crowd anticipating something special and the 23-year-old delivered with a sizzling 10.05 seconds meet record in the final.

Related: 'I do sport, but it’s not who I am': Nicola McDermott jumping for gold and God in Tokyo | Kieran Pender

An Olympic Qualifier for @Rohan_Browning running 10.05 at the Queensland Track Classic making him the 3rd fastest in Australian history! #thisisathletics pic.twitter.com/YBUPaMi8np

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Injury ends champion racewalker Jared Tallent’s bid for Tokyo swan song

  • Australia’s most decorated male in track and field retires
  • Tallent won gold and two silvers between 2008 and 2016

Australia’s former Olympic champion racewalker Jared Tallent has announced his retirement after injury stymied his bid to qualify for a fourth Summer Games in Tokyo later this year.

The 36-year-old, who won gold in the 50km walk at the 2012 Olympics retrospectively and also took silver in the event at the 2008 and 2016 Games, ends his career as the most decorated male Australian in track and field.

Related: Hockeyroos uncertainty prevails with no way back in sight for excluded duo

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USA’s Olympic hopes left hanging in balance after 1-0 defeat to Mexico

  • Americans lose to Mexico on first-half gaffe by Sebastian Soto
  • US must beat Honduras or Canada on Sunday to reach Olympics

Sebastian Soto’s sloppy giveaway cost the United States in a 1-0 loss to Mexico.

Now comes the winner-take-all semi-final Sunday night against Honduras or Canada for a trip to the men’s Olympic soccer tournament.

Mexico strikes first! @AntunaUriel takes advantage of a loose USYNT pass to put @miseleccionmxEN up 1-0 pic.twitter.com/lnmTCvXNGh

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Tokyo Olympic torch relay begins in Fukushima – video

The Olympic torch relay to the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games began its 120-day journey across Japan following a low-key ceremony at a football training complex in Fukushima. The ceremony was closed to the public as Japan maintains strict restrictions around the Covid-19 pandemic. Azusa Iwashimizu, a member of the Japanese team that won the women’s World Cup in 2011 was the first torchbearer, running through sparsely populated local streets. Large crowds have been discouraged from gathering, and the few who did attend were asked to wear masks, socially distance and refrain from cheering or shouting

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Hockeyroos uncertainty prevails with no way back in sight for excluded duo

  • Players’ association calls for swift resolution to appeal
  • Four months have passed since two key players dropped

Two central Hockeyroos players remain excluded from the national squad less than four months out from the Tokyo Olympics with no sign if or when they will reinstated.

Four months after former captain Georgina Morgan and world goalkeeper of the year Rachael Lynch lodged formal appeals against their omissions from the team, the players’ association has called for a “swift resolution” of the protracted process.

Related: Hockey Australia report reveals 'dysfunctional culture' as coach resigns months out from Olympics

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Tokyo Olympic torch relay begins as sign of hope in Japan amid Covid curbs

Torchbearers ran through sparsely populated streets in Fukushima as large crowds and cheering were discouraged due to the pandemic

The official countdown to the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games has begun as the first group of runners carried the Olympic torch through Fukushima, in the first test of measures that organisers insist will ensure a “safe and secure” event in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

After a brief opening ceremony (which was closed to the public) on a football pitch inside the J-Village training complex, members of the Japan women’s football team began the torch’s 120-day journey through 859 locations, culminating in the opening ceremony at the Olympic stadium on 23 July.

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