Welcome to The Sports Examiner SPEED READ, a 100 mph (44.7 m/s) review of what happened over the last 72 hours in Olympic sport:
Monday: Things have changed a lot since 1980, and one of them is merchandising. The U.S. team that didn’t go to Moscow missed out on a lot of things, and one of them was “U.S. Olympic Team” gear. Contrast that with today, when the United States Olympic Committee has 1,929 branded items on sale on its Web site! And the most outrageous is?
Sunday: A big win for American shooting star Brady Ellison, who claimed his first World Cup tournament victory since 2016, in the season opener in Colombia. Ellison also teamed with 15-year-old Casey Kaufhold for a silver in the Mixed Team event, a good sign for possible success in this new event in Tokyo!
Monday: Pretty good turnout for the FINA World Series meet in Tokyo, with Russia taking five titles, including three for World Champion Svetlana Kolesnichenko. But Japan’s Yukiko Inui showcased her rise to medal class with four excellent performances in the Solo and Duet events.
Saturday: Pretty miserable weather at the Drake Relays in Des Moines made the performances even more impressive, especially Kentucky’s Daniel Roberts in his 13.28-13.29w victory over 2016 Olympic Omar McLeod (JAM). World-record holder Keni Harrison braved the cold and rain for a 12.65w victory in the 100 m hurdles.
Sunday: Stunning 2:02:38 victory for Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge in the London Marathon, his fourth career win, a new course record and more proof that he is the greatest marathoner of all time. How he did it …
Monday: Even more world leaders from over the weekend, led by a 5.94 m (19-5 3/4) clearance for Mondo Duplantis of Sweden (and LSU), a brilliant 49.05 400 m win for Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH) and an impressive, early-season 11.10/22.53 double for American Jenna Prandini.
Sunday: New stars were showcased in the four-star Xiamen Open in China as Russians Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Viacheslav Krasilnikov won their fourth medal in their last five starts and second win of the season, while Brazil’s Ana Patricia and Rebecca won their third tournament of the 2018-19 campaign.
Saturday: Sweden, led by superstar Anna Hasselborg, won the WCF World Mixed Doubles Championship in Stavanger (NOR) in a tight final match with Canada. The U.S. pair of Cory Christensen and John Shuster won the bronze, only the second medal ever for the U.S. in this event!
Sunday: The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling concluded with the Humpty’s Champions Cup in Saskatoon (CAN), with Edmonton-based Brendan Bottcher’s rink pulling off a stunning win over two-time World Champion Kevin Koe to win their third straight GSOC title to end the season! The women’s title went to Silvana Tirinzoni’s Swiss World Champions.
Sunday: Breakaway wins were the order of the day at the famed Liege-Bastogne-Liege races in Belgium. First, Dutch star Annemiek van Vleuten ran away with the women’s race, winning by 1:39 after a breakaway with about 30 km to go. Then Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang – having a career year – attacked with 13 km left and finished unchallenged with a 27-second victory, the biggest win in his career so far!
Sunday: The UCI BMX and Mountain Bike World Cup seasons opened, with a surprise in Sunday’s BMX men’s race as unheralded Kye Whyte (GBR) won in front of the home fans in Manchester for his first-ever World Cup medal. The Mountain Bike World Cup opened with a Downhill in Maribor (SLO), with veterans Loic Bruni (FRA) and Tahnee Seagrave (GBR) the winners.
Sunday: Nothing lasts forever, and China’s 20-event win streak in the FINA World Series finally ended in the first event of the Montreal leg, as a North Korea pair won the women’s 10 m Synchro competition. But Chinese divers then reeled off seven more wins in a row and finished with eight in the 10 events. But British Platform star Tom Daley won the men’s 10 m to end the Chinese individual-event streak at 11.
Sunday: Another win for Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan in the second FIE Sabre Grand Prix in Seoul (KOR), giving her an astonishing 50 career medals – at age 28 – in the FIE Grand Prix and World Cup circuits in her career. Wow! Korea’s Sang-Uk Oh won the Grand Prix for the men, defeating Hungary’s Olympic champ Aron Szilagyi, just as he did in the first Grand Prix this season, in Cairo!
Sunday: Major showdown in the final FIG Rhythmic World Cup of the season in Baku (AZE), but the outcome was the same. Russia’s Dina Averina – with three golds – is still the best Rhythmic gymnast in the world. American Laura Zeng, the only U.S. performer to ever win a World Cup medal, grabbed her sixth career podium with a Hoop bronze.
Sunday: Brazil confirmed its standing as the top judo nation in the Americas by heading the medal count at the Pan American Championships in Lima (PER), with four golds, eight silvers and three bronzes. They had two 1-2 finishes, with Ivan Felipe Silva Morales and Rafael Macedo in the men’s 90 kg class and Rafael Silva and David Moura at +100 kg.
Sunday: India has the strongest showing at the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Beijing, winning three events, including both of the Mixed Doubles competitions. But the biggest noise may have been from 46-year-old twice Olympic champ Maria Grozdeva (BUL), who won the 25 m Pistol event for her 18th career World Cup gold, and from 50-year-old Nino Salukvadze (GEO), who finished fifth in the 10 m Air Pistol, but earned an Olympic quota place that will likely send her to a ninth Olympic Games in Tokyo!
Sunday: While Janja Garnbret (SLO) was winning her third straight Bouldering World Cup competition this season, a new star emerged in women’s Speed: China’s YiLing Song. Competing in front of a home crowd in Chongqing, she broke the world record in the quarterfinals and then almost broke it again in the semis!
Saturday: The new FINA Champions Series debuted in Guangzhou, with China the biggest winner with seven victories in the 15 events. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom was sterling with two wins in her two events, but Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu swam in five (winning $29,000) and American Michael Andrew swam in four!
Sunday: Sweden’s Sjostrom the biggest star and the biggest winner as the first leg of the Champions Series concluded. There was one new world-leading performance, but the most amazing efforts came from Andrew and Hosszu: between them, they swam 17 events in two days!
Sunday: China demonstrated its preeminence once again by sweeping all five titles – both singles, both Doubles and Mixed Doubles – at the annual ITTF World Championships in Budapest. It’s the ninth time they have done it, but the first since 2011. Rio Olympic champ Long Ma wrote his name into the record books with his third straight World title in the men’s Singles, only the third man to ever win three in a row.
Saturday: Is American Katie Zaferes now the world’s top women’s triathlete? She’s two-for-two this season with a dominating win at the World Series tri in Bermuda, while the men’s race had a shocking upset winner: Dorian Coninx of France. Who? How? Why?
Saturday: Sensational performance by a resurgent U.S. weightlifting squad, with 22 golds and 43 total medals – plus both the men’s and women’s team titles – at the Pan American Championships! Sarah Robles, the 2017 World Champion at +87 kg, won her third straight Pan American title.
Sunday: A wild U.S. Open in Las Vegas decided half of the fields for the Final X competitions coming in June. Four women defended their Freestyle titles from 2018, but there were no repeat winners in any of the men’s Freestyle or Greco-Roman divisions. The biggest surprise? How about Worlds medalist James Green being defeated at 70 kg on a late takedown, 8-6, by Ryan Deakin, who placed sixth for Northwestern in the recent NCAA Championships!
Highlights of the coming week, with previews in the coming days on TheSportsExaminer.com:
● Athletics: Start of the IAAF Diamond League season, in Doha on Friday!
● Swimming: The USA Swimming Open Water Nationals will be held in Miami.
And an LA28 budget update, scheduled to be announced this week!