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Usain Bolt is not running like Usain Bolt

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Usain Bolt is not running like Usain Bolt

From Comcast SportsNet
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- In the 100, it was the start. In the 200, it was the curve. Safe to say Usain Bolt has plenty to work on and not much time to do it -- and that's before he even starts thinking about the man who kept beating him at the Jamaican Olympic trials, Yohan Blake. When Bolt awoke Monday morning, there were 33 days until the start of the 100-meter sprints at the London Olympics, where the British sports books list him at 4-6 to win -- still a favorite to earn the "living legend" status he seeks at the upcoming games but a much less prohibitive one than he was before trials began. "I never train for one person," Bolt said. "Everyone is talking about Yohan Blake and he is proving himself as one of the greatest. But for me, it's going back to training, getting back to work to and getting done what I've got to get done." If Bolt does get things back on track, will that be enough? Great question. In the 200, the smart money would say yes, at least if Sunday's performances are any gauge. Blake won in 19.80 seconds into a slight headwind -- not all that impressive a time for a man who has run 19.26. Bolt, of course, holds the world record at 19.19. He ran 19.83. "They ran 19.8. That's the world-record holder who ran 19.1 and the second fastest man in history who ran 19.2," said Wallace Spearmon, who won U.S. trials Sunday in 19.82. "Honestly, I figured they'd run about 19.5 or 19.6 today. (That) caught me off guard a little. Not a bad thing, but I didn't know." In the 100, however, things appear less certain, even if Bolt does bring his game up a notch. Before Friday, Blake had never run faster than 9.82. On Friday, he finished in 9.75 -- the eighth-fastest time ever. He won by .11 seconds and there was a significant amount of daylight between Blake and Bolt at the finish line. The World's Fastest Man is no stranger to bad starts -- he was in the back of the field coming out of the blocks when he set the world record at the Olympics -- but he has almost always been able to make up the ground. The rare exceptions: a loss to Tyson Gay during a 2010 season in which Bolt was at less than 100 percent, and this latest setback against Blake. "We'll discover what the problem is," coach Glen Mills said. "At 6-5, he's not going to be the fastest starter in the world. He doesn't have to be the first one out of the blocks to win." Yet in an interview he was doing in a different corner of the stadium, Bolt was talking about how he'd actually been working more lately on the 100, which is why his curve in the 200 was so lackluster. "But I can't blame it on that," he said. The reason he became the greatest to ever run the longer race is because of the line he has learned to take on that curve. He negotiates it so well that Blake is known to stop what he's doing when they're practicing together just to take a look. On Sunday, Bolt wobbled around the bend, and by the time he hit the straightaway, he had ground to make up. He chipped away over the last 50 meters, but when he looked to his left as he approached the finish, he grimaced. Blake beat him to the line. Again. "I'm not surprised, because I was working real hard," Blake said of his back-to-back wins. "And I know Usain will work hard as ever. It's up to me to keep working hard and keep my form going into the Olympics." From what little the world knows about Blake, who is just emerging as a star, there's not much doubt that he'll keep his head low and stay with the work. Bolt is a better-known quantity. Since he burst onto the scene with his three world records and three gold medals in Beijing -- 100, 200, 400 relay -- one of the story lines surrounding Bolt is that he can do the hard work when necessary, but doesn't really embrace it. Two losses in three nights have shocked him out of that mode. While trying not to act panicky about the setbacks, he conceded that he now has something altogether new to prove: that he's as good a chaser as he was a front-runner. He'll have a warmup race of sorts at a Diamond League meet in Monaco on July 20, where he's scheduled to run in the 200. Then, it's London calling. "I'm the Olympic champion," Bolt said. "I have to show the world I'm the best. I can come back. It's not like I was blown away or anything. So now, I know what I need to do to get it right."

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Need to Know: Will Zach Brown stay with the Redskins or go?

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Need to Know: Will Zach Brown stay with the Redskins or go?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 23, 52 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 42
—NFL Draft (4/26) 93
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 229

Five Redskins free agents—Stay or go?

Kirk Cousins isn’t the only Redskins free agent whose future with the team is up in the air. Let’s break out some imaginary casino chips and budget a maximum of $100 on whether each of the following free agents stays with the Redskins or plays elsewhere in 2018.

ILB Zach Brown—I’m starting with the toughest one first. He seems to be a good fit in the Redskins’ defense and he had a good year playing in it. The six-year veteran didn’t express any great desire to stay in Washington when talking to the media but that is just the smart thing to do. At age 28 this probably is his best shot at getting a big contract and he may simply go to the highest bidder. If he has to go to his fourth different team in four seasons to get it, he probably will. $55 on stay

OLB Junior Galette—Galette still has the Redskins tattoo on his arm but he might have to start calling it a buffalo nickel tat if the wants to get more playing time. He’s still grateful that the Redskins stuck with him through two seasons lost to Achilles injuries. But he can read a depth chart and he knows that his playing time will be limited as long as Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith are around. $80 on go

OLB Trent Murphy—You can’t have too much pass rush. If Galette leaves, the Redskins could have too little if Murphy also bolts in free agency. Ryan Anderson may develop but he is not someone the Redskins can count on as their first option off the bench. It’s easy to forget the nine sacks and 45 pressures Murphy had in 2016 before tearing his ACL in a preseason game last summer. Although another team could swoop in and grab him, a one-year deal with some performance incentives should work for both sides. $60 on stay

OL Spencer Long—The easy talking point is that the Redskins will keep Chase Roullier at center, let free agent Shawn Lauvao walk, and have Long play left guard. But the word is that the Redskins are looking for an upgrade at LG in either the draft or in free agency. That would leave the 2014 third-round pick looking for a new employer. It’s possible that the Redskins will look for a replacement and not be able to find one who is both significantly better and affordable, leading back to Long. $65 on go

WR Ryan Grant—This is a simple case of Grant likely being worth more to the Redskins than he is to other teams. Jay Gruden and the other coaches appreciate his hard work in practice and his ability to line up at any wide receiver spot on the offense. After three years of learning, his work finally showed up on Sundays as he exceeded the combined production of his first three seasons with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns. It seems likely that the team and player will continue their mutually beneficial relationship. $75 on stay

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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John Wall and J.J. Barea continue Wizards-Mavs beef with postgame war of words

John Wall and J.J. Barea continue Wizards-Mavs beef with postgame war of words

Add the Dallas Mavericks to the list of teams the Wizards just plain do not like.

The Wizards have had beef with a host of their opponents over the past several seasons between the Celtics, Warriors, Suns, Magic and many others. Now the Mavericks can be included and one could argue they were the instigators.

On Monday night in Dallas, the Wizards and Mavs got into it several times. First, Bradley Beal and rookie Dennis Smith, Jr. got tied up at midcourt and Beal gave Smith an earful afterwards. Smith grabbed Beal's arm and the Wizards shooting guard did not like it.

Beal's displeasure was understandable, as this could have caused a shoulder injury:

RELATED: WIZARDS BLOWN OUT BY MAVERICKS

Soon after that, Mavericks center Salah Mejri was ejected and as he left the court, Kelly Oubre, Jr. waved him off. Mejri didn't like that too much:

Those incidents were all precursors to this, a dustup between John Wall and J.J. Barea. First, they had words for each other on the court and it resulted in a technical for Barea, one of five total handed out during the game:

RELATED: OTTO PORTER INJURED IN LOSS TO MAVS

After the game, they kept talking. Wall poked fun at Barea's height by saying this:

"It was cool. It was funny. It was just a little midget trying to get mad. So, I paid him no mind."

Barea then fired back with this to Dallas reporters:

"Now I have somebody in the NBA that I don't like. But I don't think his teammates like him either."

That's some decent trash-talking. But because they won in a blowout, the Mavs had the last laugh. 

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