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World records rattled, Usain Bolt record falls, Olympic champs out at track and field trials

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Grant Holloway and Rai Benjamin ran the second-fastest times in history in their hurdles events, Gabby Thomas ran the third-fastest 200m ever, a Usain Bolt record fell and a pair of Olympic gold medalists failed to qualify for Tokyo.

It was a news-making penultimate evening at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

Holloway, the world 110m hurdles champion, missed Aries Merritt‘s world record by .01 by clocking 12.81 seconds in the semifinals. He then won the final in 12.96 about 100 minutes later, joined on the team by Devon Allen and Daniel Roberts.

Holloway’s semi was stunning in part because his personal best was 12.98 seconds. He moved from joint-18th-fastest in history to No. 2 in one heat at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

“The goal was to execute at a very high level,” Holloway told Lewis Johnson on NBC after the semis. “I knew once I did that, the sky was the limit.”

Benjamin won the 400m hurdles final in 46.83 seconds, .05 off Kevin Young‘s world record from the 1992 Olympics, the longest-standing record in men’s track. Benjamin, the world silver medalist, is set for a showdown with two-time world champion Karsten Warholm of Norway and Abderrahman Samba of Qatar in Tokyo. They’ve been Nos. 2-4 in history behind Young since 2019.

“.05 isn’t anything in the grand scheme of things,” said Benjamin, who leads a men’s 400m hurdles team of Olympic rookies, joined by Kenny Selmon and David Kendziera. “It hurts a little bit that it was right there, and I couldn’t grab it, but it’s just more fuel for the fire. … If I got a world record now, would I be able to maintain that level of fitness [for the Olympics]?”

Thomas won the 200m in 21.61 seconds, a time only bettered by Florence Griffith Joyner in the 1980s (21.34 and 21.56). She lowered her personal best in all three rounds from 22.17.

“I’m speechless,” said Thomas, who graduated from Harvard with a neurobiology and global health/healthy policy degree and is pursuing a masters in epidemiology at Texas. “I’m still trying to gather my thoughts. I can’t believe it right now.”

Thomas was joined on the 200m team by Jenna Prandini and Anavia BattleAllyson Felix was fifth in her baby event that she first raced at the Olympics at age 18 in 2004. She’ll race the 400m and up to two relays at her last Olympics in Tokyo.

ON HER TURF: Thomas’ atypical trip to Tokyo

World champion DeAnna Price won the hammer by twice breaking her U.S. record with 79.98- and 80.31-meter throws to rank No. 2 in history. Poland’s two-time reigning Olympic champion Anita Wlodarczyk holds the six best throws in history (was 15 best going into Saturday).

“Mind blowing,” Price said. “I was supposed to be a softball player.”

Price is joined on the Olympic team by Brooke Andersen and Gwendolyn Berry, who rank Nos. 2 and 3 in the world this year. Berry raised a fist on the podium after winning the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Jenn Suhr, the 2012 Olympic pole vault champion who made the last 10 Olympic and world teams, finished fifth to miss the Tokyo team at age 39. Rio silver medalist Sandi Morris was third to grab the last spot on the team behind Katie Nageotte and Morgann LeLeux. Nageotte took three attempts at breaking Yelena Isinbayeva‘s world record from 2009.

Rio gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta finished 10th in the long jump final and will not defend her title in Tokyo. Brittney Reese, who earned gold and silver at the last two Olympics, won with a 7.13-meter jump.

In semifinals, 17-year-old pro Erriyon Knighton ran 19.88 seconds to break Usain Bolt‘s U20 world record of 19.93. Last month, Knighton broke Bolt’s U18 world record. On Saturday, Knighton edged world champion Noah Lyles by .03 in their heat as both made Sunday’s final. Knighton can become the youngest male U.S. track and field Olympian since miler Jim Ryun in 1964.

Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin, the two fastest women’s 400m hurdlers in history, advanced to Sunday’s final. McLaughlin ran an easy 53.03 to win her semifinal. Muhammad was passed by Shamier Little in the last straight in their semifinal, 53.71 to 53.86.

In the javelin, Maggie Malone made her second Olympic team and Kara Winger is going to a fourth Games.

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Historic Firefighter pay settlement and new contract win city council approval

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Houston City Council has approved a historic pay settlement and a new five-year contract for the 4,000 dedicated men and women of the Houston Fire Department. The vote marks a long-awaited victory for Houston firefighters, ending the disrespect and legal challenges and beginning the process of returning the HFD to a world-class department with adequate staffing and equipment.

“This is a historic day! I urge Houston firefighters and their families to relish this well-deserved victory. For eight long years, you have persevered through immense challenges while continuing to protect and serve our community,” said Patrick M. ‘Marty’ Lancton, President of the HPFFA. “Today’s vote by City Council is not just a resolution of past grievances; it’s recognition of our sacrifices and a commitment to providing the resources needed to continue serving Houston with dedication and pride.”

Houston City Council stalls vote on Fire Department contract – Houston  Public Media

The settlement includes provisions for back pay owed to firefighters, addressing a contentious issue that has strained labor relations for nearly a decade. The new five-year collective bargaining agreement provides pay hikes, significant improvements in working conditions, enhanced benefits, a renewed focus on recruitment and retention, and mental health support — a crucial component given firefighting’s stressful and demanding nature. The landmark deal underscores the core tenets of what it means to be a Houston firefighter: delivering excellent service, being good stewards of city resources, and giving back to the community.

“We owe a profound debt of gratitude to Mayor Whitmire for his steadfast commitment to bringing this ordeal to a close,” said Lancton. “He made a promise, and he has fulfilled it. His support and public recognition of Houston firefighters and the job they do are bolstering morale and helping to mend years of distrust. We eagerly anticipate further collaboration as we strive to enhance firefighting and emergency services for Houstonians.”

Firefighters will receive their back pay in July. The new five-year contract is effective with the start of the city’s new fiscal year on July 1, 2024.

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Global Cyber Security Expert, Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola bags Most Outstanding Personality of the Year Award

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Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola has been recognized as the Outstanding Personality of the Year in Technology at the prestigious 4th Edition of the South West Advancement Award and Investment Summit. Professor Ademola is a Nigerian Cyber Security and Information Technology Management Professor and a Chartered Fellow of the Royal Chartered Management Institute.

This incredible achievement was celebrated at an exquisite event held on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at 5 pm at the esteemed Oriental Hotel in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria. The event brought together esteemed technocrat political leaders and prominent personalities from diverse sectors, creating an exceptional gathering of influential figures.

 

The annual award ceremony is dedicated to acknowledging individuals for their remarkable contributions, with a special focus on those making significant impacts within the South West region of Nigeria. The esteemed recognition is a testament to Professor Ademola’s dedication and expertise in advancing technology, especially in Africa and Europe, particularly notable for his influential work in the United Kingdom.

Dr Smith Raymond, the Director General of The Institute for Enterprise Management and Analytics, commended Professor Ademola for this well-deserved award, acknowledging the professor’s unwavering commitment to technological progress. He emphasized the importance of Professor Ademola’s work. He encouraged him to continue his outstanding efforts, highlighting that this honor is a motivating call to action in further driving innovation.

 

In Professor Ademola’s absence at the event, his representation by S.A. on Media, Babatunde Adekanmbi, conveyed the professor’s heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the nomination and award. It was seen as an inspiration for Professor Ademola to continue his impactful work in technology.

 

The event was graced by an array of distinguished personalities, including Dr. Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Dele Momodu, the Chairman of Ovation Media Group, and His Imperial Majesty Oba Ogunwusi, the revered Ooni of Ife, alongside various other notable dignitaries. The gathering highlighted the significance of Professor Ademola’s contributions and celebrated the collective achievements in advancing technology and innovation within the region

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House Republicans vote to hold Garland in contempt over Biden interview audio

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House Republicans on Wednesday afternoon passed a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur on his handling of classified documents.

The final vote was 216 to 207. Rep. David Joyce of Ohio was the only Republican who voted against the contempt resolution.

Speaker Mike Johnson called the outcome “a significant step in maintaining the integrity of our oversight processes and responsibilities.”

“It is up to Congress – not the Executive Branch – to determine what materials it needs to conduct its own investigations, and there are consequences for refusing to comply with lawful Congressional subpoenas,” Johnson said in a statement.

MORE: Biden asserts executive privilege over audio of interview with special counsel Hur

Garland, in response, said it was “deeply disappointing that this House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon.”

“Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees,” Garland said in a statement. “I will always stand up for this Department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

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