Welcome to The Sports Examiner SPEED READ, a 100 mph (44.7 m/s) review of what happened over the last 96 hours in Olympic sport:
Wednesday: The World Anti-Doping Agency left Russia as “compliant” after the Moscow Lab data was retrieved – after the 31 December deadline – but put a red line down that, if violated, would put Russia back on suspension and bring a host of new sanctions. Moreover, there is another major step ahead for Russia and that’s providing possibly hundreds of samples for re-testing outside of Russia by 30 June.
Friday: A by-product of Sen. Cory Gardner’s bill to form a commission to evaluate the operations of the United States Olympic Committee is that some of the yelling has stopped. The self-named “Team Integrity” – one of the loudest groups – has submitted a detailed list of recommendations and some are quite good. We go through them, one by one.
THE BIG PICTURE
Monday: Sad news of the tragic suicide of former U.S. Pairs Champion John Coughlin, found dead one day after he was suspended from all activities in figure skating by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport and the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
Thursday: Bad news for international weightlifting as four Thai lifters – including two 2018 World Champions – were found to be doping at last year’s World Championships. That makes six Thais caught for doping at the 2018 Worlds, meaning they could be suspended for up to four years. And what about the 2019 World Championships, scheduled to be in Thailand in September?
GLOBETROTTING by Phil Hersh
Thursday: The John Coughlin story, tragic for all involved, should lead to empathy and understanding instead of finger-pointing. Coughlin’s death leaves many questions specific to his case that likely will never be answered and other, broader questions that should continue to be asked.
Monday: Our all-in-one compilation of results from 15 sports during the week of 14-20.
Tuesday: the U.S. women’s National Team got back to its winning ways in Alicante, Spain, with a 1-0 win over Spain. Christen Press was the best U.S. player and scored the game’s only goal in the 54th minute.
Previews of events coming up:
Tuesday: Austria’s Marcel Hirscher tries for his 10th win of the season – for the second year in a row – in the Slalom at Kitzbuehel, with a Downhill and Super-G also scheduled. In Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER), the women have a Downhill and Super-G. Italy’s Olympic Downhill champ Sofia Goggia will race, but not Lindsey Vonn and what about Mikaela Shiffrin?
Thursday: The opener of the IAAF World Indoor Tour is the New Balance Grand Prix in Boston, with enticing action in multiple events, but especially the 2019 debuts of young stars Rai Benjamin in the men’s 300 m and Sydney McLaughlin in the women’s 500 m.
Monday: Four no. 1-ranked entries in five divisions in Indonesia Masters in Jakarta this week.
Monday: Sixth of nine stops on the IBU World Tour, with Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe on a tear: three World Cup wins in a row, six of the last seven and nine of 12 this season. Can anyone stop him this week in Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)?
BOBSLED & SKELETON
Tuesday: Germany has won 15 of 15 World Cup races in the men’s 2, men’s 4 and women’s 2 two this season. And Francesco Friedrich hasn’t lost in any of the two-man races. He will try to keep his record perfect in the final European World Cup of the season, in St. Moritz (SUI). Russians Alexander Tretiakov and Elena Nikitina lead the seasonal Skeleton standings.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
Thursday: Will Norway’s amazing Therese Johaug win again, this time in Ulricehamn (SWE)? She’s been in six races and won them all, coming off of a doping suspension for a loaded lip balm!
Tuesday: The UCI Track Cycling World Cup wraps up in Hong Kong, with home favorite Wai Sze Lee trying to win two titles, in the Sprint and Keirin.
Monday: First Epee Grand Prix of the season is in Doha (QAT), with 371 total entries, with stellar fields including 2018 World Champions Yannick Borel (FRA) and Mara Navarria (ITA). Plus a men’s Foil World Cup in Tokyo, women’s Foil World Cup in St. Maur and a women’s Sabre World Cup in Salt Lake City.
Tuesday: Nathan Chen is the headliner, looking for his third straight U.S. Nationals title in Detroit. The other big stars looking for another title are ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who have the world’s no. 2 score this season.
Tuesday: Complete confusion in Freestyle Slopestyle as the season reaches the halfway mark in Seiseralm (ITA). France’s Bastien Midol and Swiss Fanny Smith have built solid leads in the Freestyle Ski Cross standings heading into competition at Blue Mountain in Canada.
Thursday: Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury failed to win a World Cup medal in his last event, the first time in three seasons that has happened. But he gets to start a new streak this week in front of his home fams in Tremblant on Saturday. Plus the U.S. Aerials Nationals is being held this week in Lake Placid.
Monday: Israel has faced severe discrimination at other IJF World Tour events, but now it gets to host an IJF World Tour Grand Prix in Tel Aviv.
Thursday: Start of the 2019 Karate 1 Premier League in Paris (FRA), with all of the no. 1 and no. 2-ranked fighters in all 12 classes signed up to compete.
Thursday: Germany is expected to dominate – as usual – the World Luge Championships, taking place this week in Winterberg (GER). How dominant are they? German teams have won the most medals in 18 straight World Championships, going back to 1995.
Tuesday: American Chris Corning has the seasonal lead going into the next-to-last Slopestyle World Cup of the season, in Seiseralm (ITA), but just barely.
Wednesday: Many of the world’s top wrestlers are in Siberia for the 30th Ivan Yarygin Tournament in Krasnoyarsk, an event which has been designated as a UWW world-ranking event. Olympic champion Kyle Snyder (97 kg) and Worlds medalists James Green (70 kg), Sarah Hildebrandt (53 kg), Becka Leathers (57 kg) and Tamyra Mensah-Stock (72 kg) will all be in action for the U.S.
In Colorado Springs, the annual Dave Schultz Invitational will also be held, with some excellent fields.
Highlights of the coming week, with coverage coming in TheSportsExaminer.com:
● Football: First game for the U.S. men’s National Team under new coach Gregg Berhalter, vs. Panama in Arizona, on Sunday.
● Handball: Final of the IHF men’s World Championships in Germany and Denmark.
● Freestyle & Snowboard: The FIS Freestyle and Snowboard World Championships, in the Sale Lake City area.
We’ll have a recap of an enormous weekend of sports action – we’re tracking 38 events – over the weekend and on Monday at www.TheSportsExaminer.com.