, and that group is showing maturity beyond itsin
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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Exploding out of the blocks in Lane 8, Wayde van Niekerk didnt see another runner in the entire Olympic 400-meter final.He didnt need to. It was just him against the clock.The South African sprinter broke Michael Johnsons 17-year-old world record on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, leaving two of the greatest one-lap runners of this era in his dust. Van Niekerk finished in 43.03 seconds -- 0.15 seconds faster than Johnson ran on Aug. 26, 1999, at the world championships in Seville, Spain. Johnsons mark was considered one of the almost untouchable records in track.I was running blind all the way, Van Niekerk said. I thought someone was going to catch me -- whats going on, whats going on -- and it gave me motivation to keep on pushing.Van Niekerk, 24, became the first South African since 1928 to win an Olympic gold medal on the track, according to ESPN Stats & Information.He leaned at the finish line, which he really didnt need to do, as Kirani James (43.76) of Grenada and LaShawn Merritt (43.85) of the United States werent even in the picture. James, the defending Olympic champion, finished with the silver, and Merritt, who won gold eight years ago in Beijing, hung on for bronze as he staggered across the line.Van Niekerk drove a wedge in the rivalry between James and Merritt at the world championships last August, when he beat both with such a lung-searing performance that he left the track on a stretcher.Now hes the fastest ever. This time, instead of collapsing at the finish, Van Niekerk dropped to one knee and put his head in his hands. Moments later, he draped the multicolored South African flag around his shoulders and took off his spikes. As he did so, Van Niekerk pointed at the clock to make sure everyone saw his time. It was hard to miss.Even Usain Bolt thought so. He sought out Van Niekerk and congratulated him moments after winning an?unprecedented third 100-meter title. The compliments kept on coming with Johnson, a track and field analyst for BBC, weighing in as well.Oh my God! From Lane 8, a world record. He took it out so quick, Johnson told the BBC. I have never seen anything from 200 to 400 like that. That was a massacre from Wayde van Niekerk. He just put those guys away.The competition didnt stand a chance. James thought he possibly had enough in the tank to catch Van Niekerk around the final curve. No one did. This was really a race for silver, with James easily holding off Merritt, who had to dig deep to cling to bronze.He just wouldnt slow down, James said. Usually, what happens is the last 100, guys start to slow down a little bit, but he just kept going. When you keep going like that, obviously a record is going to fall.Akani Simbine, Van Niekerks roommate in the Olympic Village, said his teammate was targeting the record.But we didnt bring it up much because thats just added pressure, you know, said Simbine, who finished fifth in the 100 final. He knows what he needs to do, and we believe in what he can do.It was just a thing of, OK, he said hes going to do it, break the world record, and here he did it.A world record was precisely what the sport needed in the wake of a Russian doping scandal that grabbed the headlines before the Olympics. A fast, fresh face was also a boost because Bolt cant be around forever.Van Niekerk is so young, what else can he do? Can he go under 43 seconds? Johnson said. It is something I thought I could do but never did. Usain Bolt will be retiring soon. This could be the next star of the sport.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. Air Max From China . Louis. To which I would say two things: 1. Where there is smoke, there is or perhaps has been a little fire. Or, in other words, the two teams would appear to have at least spoken. And spoken is defined as one calling the other to inquire, no more, no less. Cheap Air Max Australia 2019 . Coach Tom Thibodeau says the former MVP will probably start travelling with the team in the next few weeks. Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee at Portland in November and was ruled out for the remainder of the season by the Bulls. http://www.airmaxaustraliacheap.com/ . -- Devin Hester is done returning kicks in Chicago. Wholesale Air Max Australia Free Shipping . After Gasquet beat fifth-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia 7-5, 6-3, Tsonga followed up with a 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-2 win against sixth-seeded Edouard Roger-Vasselin in an all-French match. Nike Air Max Australia Outlet . -- Ken Appleby made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season to lead the Oshawa Generals to a 2-0 win over the Belleville Bulls on Wednesday in Ontario Hockey League action. CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant says he gets chills every time the fans at Wrigley Field shower him with MVP! chants.The 24-year-old just doesnt show it -- a common trait among his young teammates. If anything can overwhelm these kid Cubbies, they havent faced it yet.Bryant was one of five players 24 or younger in the starting lineup for the Cubs during Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, and that group is showing maturity beyond its years. Keep this up, and they could give Chicago a party generations in the making.Bryant has already established himself as one of the games top power hitters. Javier Baez (23 years old) made one spectacular play after another in the infield while winning NLCS co-MVP. Addison Russell (22) is an All-Star shortstop with power and Gold Glove aspirations. Catcher Willson Contreras (24) and outfielder Albert Almora Jr. (22) are rookies getting at-bats with a heavy World Series favorite.And so the Cubs are seeking their first championship since 1908 fueled by players too young to remember the first time a Clinton vied for the U.S. presidency.Chicago beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS for its first pennant since 1945, and now faces the Cleveland Indians in the World Series with a chance to end the sports longest title drought.If Chicagos youngsters feel any jitters before Game 1 on Tuesday night in Cleveland, dont expect to see them.Our young players are playing like theyre 32-year-old veterans, 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta said. Its just fun to watch. I get to play one out of every five days, but to really see the way our guys go about taking care of business makes me really appreciate the guys Im able to play with.Bryant and the other burgeoning Cubs helped Chicago lead the majors with 103 wins in the regular season, and its been more of the same in October. After pulling out 14 victories in their final at-bat during the regular season, the Cubs did it twice against San Francisco in the NL Division Series, then rallied from a 2-1 series deficit to beat the Dodgers.Veterans like Jon Lester have done their part, but the younger players have had plenty of pivotal moments, too.None mmore so than Baez, a breakout star this postseason with his lightning-quick tags and preternatural decision making in the field.ddddddddddddHe shared NLCS MVP honors with Lester after leading the Cubs to their 17th pennant and is batting .342 this postseason. He hit a winning homer off Johnny Cueto in Game 1 of the NLDS against San Francisco, then had a go-ahead single in the series-clinching victory in Game 4. He had four doubles and five RBI in the NLCS, too.Baezs biggest moments, though, mostly came outside the batters box. He stole home during Chicagos win in Game 1 of the NLCS, turned a heads-up double play by letting a soft liner bounce in front of him with two on in Game 2, and made a fantastic barehanded scoop to rob Adrian Gonzalez of a hit in Game 5.Baez is doing all that after emerging as a super utility player for manager Joe Maddon this season. Baez cut down on his swing and hit .273 with 14 homers and 59 RBI in 142 games, and as important, he embraced a role shuffling between positions.This guy never faltered, Lester said. He accepted his role as being a bench player and kind of a platoon guy. Thats hard to do at 20 or whatever he is.Bryant is on the short list of NL MVP candidates after joining Rogers Hornsby (1929), Hack Wilson (1930) and Derrek Lee (2005) as the only players with the franchise to get at least 120 runs, 35 doubles, 39 homers and 100 RBI. Hes 13 for 39 with a homer and six RBI in the postseason.Russell is only starting to make an impact in October, busting a 1-for-24 slump by going 6 for 13 with two homers in the final three games of the NLCS. Contreras, meanwhile, hit his first career playoff homer against Clayton Kershaw in the series clincher.You should not change what youre doing regardless of the time of the year, Maddon said after Game 6. You want to come out in the middle of October and play the same game weve been playing all summer.The youngsters have given the Cubs a lot of good games so far. Four more, and as Maddon said, We can really have a party. 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