Left to right: Christian Taylor, Sanya Richards-Ross, Wallace Spearmon, Morgan Uceny, Leo Manzano at Friday's news conference

Left to right: Christian Taylor, Sanya Richards-Ross, Wallace Spearmon, Morgan Uceny, Leo Manzano at Friday's news conference

Track and field

Relay this, out-of-the-box thinkers

NASSAU, Bahamas — The first race has not even been run. Action gets underway Saturday at jam-packed Thomas A. Robinson Stadium.

But, already, barring a security breach or unforeseen disaster, this inaugural edition of the IAAF World Relays can already be proclaimed a fantastic success.

Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen Eaton after practice at Westmont College

Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen Eaton after practice at Westmont College

Track and field

Living in the moment: track’s It Couple

The world’s greatest athlete is taking his first outdoor runs of the season in the pole vault.

His coach, Harry Marra, is here, of course, at the Westmont College track, in the hills above Santa Barbara, California. His wife, Brianne, herself the reigning indoor and outdoor silver medalist in the women’s versions of the all-around event, is here, too, practicing her javelin throws and running some hard sprints.

Michael Phelps diving in for his first race back -- over Ryan Lochte, who would go on to win the 100 fly final later Thursday night // photo Getty Images

Michael Phelps diving in for his first race back -- over Ryan Lochte, who would go on to win the 100 fly final later Thursday night // photo Getty Images

Swimming

Phelps having fun, and it’s all good

Thirty years ago, amid the delivery of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, which proved a huge success, Peter Ueberroth reminded the world of a classic strategy. It works in business. It works in sports. Really, it’s the best strategy for pretty much everything.

You under-promise and then you over-deliver.

Women's slalom gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin // photo courtesy Tom Kelly and U.S. Ski Team

Women's slalom gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin // photo courtesy Tom Kelly and U.S. Ski Team

Skiing

Shiffrin’s ‘sure as heck’ gold

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — The first Olympics he went to, in his very first race, 15-year-old Michael Phelps took fifth place. He got right back in the pool and, soon enough, he set his first world record. In his next Olympic race — which, because of the calendar, had to wait four years — he won gold.

In her first Olympic race, the women’s giant slalom here Tuesday, 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin took fifth. She said, “I think this is supposed to happen,” adding, “The next Olympics I go to, I sure as heck am not getting fifth.”