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: Does track & field matter? UCLA’s gymnastics program shows it could, IF they can learn from what retiring UCLA coach Valorie Kondos Field did to create what has now become a media machine!
Sunday: Fabulous showdown in the men’s Singles final of the Malaysia Open, where 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion Dan Lin (CHN) faced down 2016 Olympic gold winner Long Chen (CHN)! Plus a third straight Malaysia Open title for Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Ying Tai.
Sunday: Sweden is now the power in men’s curling, as Niklas Edin collected his fourth world title as skip of the Swedish rink, defeating Canada’s Kevin Koe in the Worlds finals in Lethbridge, Canada, 7-2.
Sunday: The 103rd running of the Ronde van Vlaanderen – the Tour of Flanders – ended with Italy’s Alberto Bettiol winning first career World Tour race! Wow! The women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen was won by another Italian, World Tour leader Marta Bastianelli, the only women to beat the Dutch riders this season.
And American Kate Courtney easily won the Pan American Mountain Bike Cross Country title, in a 1-2 with teammate Erin Huck, in Aguascalientes (MEX).
Sunday: Germany’s Isabell Werth, now 49, was never better in winning her fifth World Cup Dressage title in Goteborg (SWE), finishing just ahead of American Laura Graves for the third year in a row. In the World Cup Jumping Final, Swiss Steve Guerdat won his third title, but needed a perfect final run to do it!
Sunday: The U.S. women had an easy time – as expected – with no. 20 Belgium, winning 6-0 at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The first four goals were all on headers!
Sunday: The U.S. had a good day at the FIG All-Around World Cup in Tokyo, winning both the men’s competition (Sam Mikulak) and women’s (Morgan Hurd). Impressive!
Sunday: Russia essentially owns Rhythmic Gymnastics and the current superstars are Dina and Arina Averina and they dominated the first Rhythmic World Cup in Italy, as Russia swept all eight events.
Sunday: The women’s World Championship is continuing in Espoo (FIN), but the U.S. women are flying, winning their first three games impressively, defeating Finland, Canada (!) and Switzerland. In terms of goals, it’s U.S. 17, opponents 4 (so far).
Sunday: The Antalya Grand Prix in Turkey had three Olympic gold medalists entered, but none of them won. But Korea’s World Champion Chang-Rim An did win the men’s -73 kg class, and the leading medal winner was Georgia, with five.
Sunday: Fiji won the Hong Kong round of the World Rugby Sevens Series for the fifth year in a row, but the U.S. finished third and continues to lead the seasonal series, with three legs to go!
Highlights of the coming week, with lots of coverage in the coming days on TheSportsExaminer.com:
● Figure Skating: The season ends with the World Team Trophy in Fukuoka (JPN);
● Shooting: The ISSF Shotgun World Cup – with Olympic qualification places on the line – gets going in the UAE,
● Swimming: The third Tyr Pro Swim Series in Richmond, Virginia starts 10 April.
Off the field will be the IOC Athletes Forum in Lausanne, starting on 13 April!