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Former champ Desiree Linden to compete in her eighth Boston Marathon

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Former champ Desiree Linden to compete in her eighth Boston Marathon

Desiree Linden took her place in the front row in a gathering of former BAA Boston Marathon champions assembled on Friday afternoon at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.

Linden earned her station among the elite by winning the BAA race in 2018, becoming the first American women to don the laurel wreath since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985.

Linden will make her eighth appearance in the arduous 26.2-mile jaunt from Hopkinton to Boston on Monday morning in the 125th running of the Boston Marathon.

“I’m super happy, I’m excited to be here and excited to feel like things are making forward progress,” said Linden. “I think right from the beginning that this was the race that captured my heart and I fell in love with the distance here.

“It is a pleasure to be back and to continue to be invited back.”

Linden is the most decorated American runner, male or female, to run the Boston Marathon in this century. In her previous seven races, Linden has a win, a second-place finish in 2011 with four top fives and six top 10s. Linden has been in the top five in nine Abbott World Marathon Majors and represented the United States in two Olympiads that included a seventh-place finish at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Linden’s victory in 2018 was due to her ability to adapt to some of the worst weather conditions in the history of the BAA race. A springtime Nor’easter greeted the runners on April 16, bringing with it driving rain, perilous wind guts and unseasonably cold temperatures. Those conditions remained prevalent throughout the race.

Linden passed Mamitu Daska and Gladys Chesir on the downturn at Boston College and labored to victory in the climate inflated time of 2:39:54. Many to the favorites from Africa and Europe had a DNF instead of a time next to their names that day.

“You know when you sign up for spring marathon in Boston you can get that day,” said Linden. “Anyone who was surprised by that hasn’t been paying attention and I was certainly ready for that.

“When I moved out to Michigan it was not “how does this feel” or “this is tough.” It is about being ready or not and I was prepared that day.”

The victory in 2018 put Linden on a perch, but it was the race in 2011 that was the watershed moment in her professional career. Running under her maiden name Desiree Davila, Linden engaged in a three-way race with Kenyan veterans Caroline Kilal and Sharon Cherop and they employed merciless team tactics against her.

Kalil and Linden broke free of Cherop by Kenmore Square and exchanged surges down Boylston Street to a wild reception from the sidelines. Kalil made the final push and broke the tape in 2:22:36, two seconds ahead on Linden. Her time of 2:22:38 was the fastest ever run by an American at Boston in the closest women’s race in BAA history. Cherop would come back and win the race in 2012.

“I had been building and building and bridging the gap to that front group and I felt like I was ready to have that type of day,” said Linden. “I don’t think the outside world thought of me as a contender just yet but it made it a lot more fun to get in there and mix it up.

“I think afterwards it was kind of a turning point where you get that belief that I can compete with these athletes and I belong here. It was such an amazing field with fast times and it was just an amazing day across the board.”

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Lionel Messi and Alexia Putellas win Ballon d’Or awards

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Lionel Messi and Alexia Putellas win Ballon d’Or awards

PARIS — Lionel Messi won the men’s Ballon d’Or for a record-extending seventh time on Monday, ending the year in style after a brilliant final season with Barcelona and earning his first major international trophy with Argentina.

Alexia Putellas became the third winner of the women’s award for an outstanding season with Barcelona and Spain.

The 34-year-old Messi led Argentina to the Copa America title in July after losing in four major international finals.

“I’m very happy to be here, happy to keep fighting for new trophies,” he said through a translator. “I don’t know how many years I have left, but I hope many more. I’d like to thank all my (former) teammates at Barcelona and Argentina.”

Messi finished with 613 points to top prolific Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski on 580.

“I would like to say to Robert that it’s an honor to be your rival, and everyone would say you deserved to win it last year,” Messi said.

Awarded by France Football magazine, the Ballon d’Or has been given out to men every year since 1956 when Stanley Matthews won.

Both 2020 awards were canceled because the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season.

The 33-year-old Lewandowski set a new single-season scoring record for the Bundesliga with 41 goals — one more than late Germany great Gerd Müller — when he scored in the last minute of the last game.

Lewandowski netted in 19 consecutive games in all competitions for Bayern from February to September and he just missed out on equaling the record of scoring in 16 Bundesliga games in a row. Overall, he already has 25 goals in 20 games for Bayern this season.

His 11 goals in 12 games for Poland this year took his international tally to 74 in 128 games, just six less than Messi.

Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho was third with 460 points after helping the London club win the Champions League and his nation win the European Championship. Real Madrid and France forward Karim Benzema was fourth on 239.

Putellas helped Barca win the treble and scored 26 goals in 42 games overall. The midfielder netted in the Champions League final against Chelsea, and in August she was named UEFA women’s player of the year.

“I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment,” she said at the Paris ceremony through a translator. “I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current (Barcelona) teammates. For me it’s a collective success.”

The only previous women’s award winners are Norway striker Ada Hegerberg in 2018, and U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe in 2019.

Putellas tallied 186 points to finish far ahead of club and country teammate Jenni Hermoso on 84.

Hermoso netted 31 goals to top the Spanish first division scoring charts for a third straight season. Hermoso was joint-top scorer in the Champions League with Chelsea’s Fran Kirby on six goals.

Chelsea and Australia striker Sam Kerr placed third in the voting after 21 goals in the English Women’s Super League and six for Australia at the Tokyo Games. Kerr has maintained her excellent form with 13 goals in 12 games this season.

Messi, meanwhile, counts two more Ballon d’Or awards than longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sixth in the voting.

Messi’s staggering tally of 672 goals for Barcelona included an extraordinary 50-goal league season in 2012; 96 league goals across 2012 and 2013; eight Spanish league and six Champions League scoring titles.

In his final season with the Spanish giant he netted 38 overall, winning his last trophy with a superb performance in the Copa del Rey final. At the Copa America, Messi was inspirational, finishing joint-top scorer with four goals and leading with five assists.

Then he stunned the soccer world by joining Paris Saint-Germain.

He has made a modest start with four goals in nine games. But he remains a constant threat, even when he’s not in top form, as he showed on Sunday in a 3-1 win at Saint-Etienne where he set up all three goals.

In other awards, the Kopa Trophy for the best under 21 player went to 19-year-old Spain and Barcelona midfielder Pedri. He caught the eye at Euro 2020 and reached the Olympic final.

The Lev Yashin for best goalkeeper was won by Gianluigi Donnarumma, who helped Italy win the Euros.

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Editorial: Since Boebert seems incapable, we’ll apologize to Omar for her

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Editorial: Since Boebert seems incapable, we’ll apologize to Omar for her

The Denver Post editorial board has mostly tried to ignore U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s antics because they add so little to the public discourse. Since the Western Slope representative was elected in November 2020, we’ve published two editorials about her. The first urged an investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and whether her words and actions helped former President Donald Trump spark the insurrection; the other editorial defended Boebert from sexist and elitist attacks targeting her on social media for her physical appearance and her lack of a college education.

But last week, Boebert crossed a line and now we must stand up for common decency. Boebert is intentionally using her platform to peddle a gross and false narrative about Muslim Americans. We cannot fathom what evil intent drives this behavior, but after first apologizing, Boebert now has made matters worse.

In a video that was circulated widely last week after being tweeted out by Patriot Takes — a group that describes its mission as “to research, monitor and expose the extremism and radicalization of the far-right across the darkest parts of the Internet” — Boebert told supporters a story about getting on an elevator and seeing a security guard rush toward her as the doors were closing:

“I look to my left and there she is: Ilhan Omar. And I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,’” Boebert said in the video to cheers from the audience. “I looked over and I said, ‘Oh look, the jihad squad decided to show up for work today.’ ”

Making a joke about suicide bombers and suggesting that a congresswoman is a threat to safety and security because she is a Muslim is both racist and a form of religious bigotry. Boebert did apologize to “anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar,” and she pledged to call Omar directly, however, Boebert reported in a strange video on Monday that that phone call went poorly, and it’s no wonder given that she prefaces the conversation by once again raising the scepter of concern about Omar and threats to American security.

“Make no mistake. I will continue to fearlessly put America first. Never sympathizing with terrorists. Unfortunately, Ilhan can’t say the same thing, and our country is worse off for it,” she said.

Rep. Ilhan Omar deserved nothing short of a full apology. Instead, Boebert used the phone call as a publicity stunt and further insulted Omar. Boebert is clearly incapable of remorse or reflection, so as her fellow Coloradans — a beautiful place of tolerance and respect, diversity and freedom — we will help her.

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Ravens place CB Kevon Seymour on reserve/COVID-19 list, release ex-Calvert Hall QB Kenji Bahar

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Ravens place CB Kevon Seymour on reserve/COVID-19 list, release ex-Calvert Hall QB Kenji Bahar

The Ravens on Monday placed newly signed cornerback Kevon Seymour on the reserve/COVID-19 list, threatening his availability for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Seymour played 17 special teams snaps in the Ravens’ 16-10 win Sunday night over the Cleveland Browns, his first game since being signed off the practice squad Saturday. He’s the first Raven to be added to the team’s coronavirus list since outside linebackers Jaylon Ferguson and Justin Houston and defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike were designated in late September.

Coach John Harbaugh has said the Ravens’ vaccination rate is above 90%. Under NFL protocols, fully vaccinated players who test positive need to return two negative tests at least 24 hours apart to be cleared for team activities, as long as they’re asymptomatic. Vaccinated players will not be designated as high-risk close contacts but can be held to daily testing for five days. Unvaccinated players with infections must quarantine for at least 10 days, while unvaccinated players who are deemed high-risk close contacts must sit out at least five days and continue to test negative throughout.

“I know I don’t want to test positive, I can tell you that,” Harbaugh said Monday, in the wake of Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy’s reported infection. “Does anybody? I’m praying about it. Got my toes crossed. Fingers crossed, too, probably.”

The Ravens also made a practice squad move, releasing quarterback Kenji Bahar (Calvert Hall) and signing Chris Streveler in a corresponding move. The Arizona Cardinals released Streveler, 26, last week before signing Trace McSorley off the Ravens’ practice squad.

Bahar, a Baltimore native who spent time with the Ravens during rookie minicamp and in training camp, set school records at Monmouth, a Football Championship Subdivision program, for touchdown passes (70), passing yards (9,642) and 300-yard games (nine).

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