HIGHLIGHTS: Bernal wins Giro d’Italia; Malone claims American javelin record; Jim Ryun’s U.S. junior 1,500 m mark falls to Kessler

Colombia's Egan Bernal - in the pink jersey - winner of the Giro d'Italia (Photo: Giro d'Italia)

Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world/updated/:

Archery ● USA Archery continued its Olympic Trials in Salt Lake City, Utah, to determine the top American archers eligible to go to Tokyo. According to the federation, “The U.S. has qualified only one men’s and one women’s spot for Tokyo so far, with one more chance to qualify full teams of three at the final qualification tournament in Paris next month.”

Stage 4 will continue through 1 June with elimination matches among the top eight remaining archers. World Champion Brady Ellison leads the men’s qualifying rankings so far with 133.00 points, ahead of Jack Williams (106.50), Jacob Wukie (95.00) and Thomas Stanwood (72.25).

The women’s leader is Casey Kaufhold (128.25) in a tight battle with Mackenzie Brown (112.25), but well ahead of Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez (85.75) and Erin Mickelberry (74.25).

Artistic Swimming ● The fourth leg of the FINA World Series was held online, with videotaped submissions, and hosted by Canada Artistic Swimming.

The Solo Technical was won by Asaka Hosokawa (JPN: 82.2329), ahead of American Ruby Remati (82.0855) and Lara Mechnig (LIE: 80.8713). Canadian star Jacqueline Simoneau won the Solo Free (90.7000) over Anita Alvarez (USA: 87.0667) and Hosokawa (84.7333).

Americans won the Duet Technical with Alvarez and Lindi Schroeder (84.6649), over Uta Kobayashi and Ami Wada of Japan (85.5193). Alvarez and Schroeder won the Duet Free, scoring 86.3333, ahead of Spain’s Gema Arquero and Gabriela Fernandez (84.5000).

In the Team events, Belarus won the Team Technical (81.0866); Spain won the Free Combination (87.4333); the U.S. took the Team Free Final (89.0667) and Canada won the Team Highlight (87.9667).

The men’s Solo Technical was a win for Russian Alexander Maltsev (89.8282), with the Solo Free won by Jimma Iwasaki (JPN: 81.8667). The Mixed Duet Technical was a clear victory for Maltsev and Mayya Gurbanberdieva (89.8193); Maltsev and Olesia Platonova took the Duet Free at 92.4667.

Athletics ● The NCAA Division I Preliminary Rounds in Jacksonville, Florida and College Station, Texas continued the hot competitions from the conference championships, breaking into the record books this time.

At College Station, Texas A&M freshman sensation Athing Mu claimed the collegiate women’s 400 m record at 49.68 – fourth on the 2021 world list – with a win at the NCAA Division I West Regionals in College Station, Texas.

Two women went sub-11 in the 100 m, with USC’s Twanisha Terry winning her quarterfinal in 10.89 (no. 5 in the world for 2021) and Kemba Nelson (Oregon/Jamaica) winning the first quarter at 10.98.

In the men’s 400 m, Texas A&M’s Bryce Deadmon (USA) led all qualifiers with a 44.57 win in the quarterfinals.

At Jacksonville, LSU’s Tonea Marshall (USA) screamed to a 12.44 win in the women’s 100 m hurdles to jump to no. 2 on the 2021 world list (and fastest in the U.S.), while Cambria Sturgis (USA/North Carolina A&T) won her women’s 100 m quarterfinal in 10.92.

Tamara Clark (Alabama/USA) won her quarterfinal of the women’s 200 m in 22.13, no. 3 on the 2021 world list. North Carolina A&T’s Trevor Stewart (USA) won the first round men’s 400 at 44.55, moving to fourth on the 2021 world list (teammate Randolph Ross (USA) won an earlier heat at 44.63), and ran a 43.69 anchor on the school’s world-leading 4×400 m relay win (2:59.21). Stewart won the first quarterfinal at 44.59, with Ross taking the second at 44.86.

The USATF Chula Vista Field Festival had world leads, American records and a lot more:

Maggie Malone grabbed the American Record in the women’s javelin, winning at 66.82 m (219-3) on her third throw. That’s a 10-foot PR, and displaces Kara Winger and her 66.67 m (218-8) toss in 2010. Malone is now no. 2 on the world list for 2021.

● Nigeria’s Ese Brume claimed the world lead in the women’s long jump with a win over 2012 Olympic champ Brittney Reese of the U.S. at 7.17 m (23-6 1/4), to 7.10 m wind-aided (23-3 1/2w) for Reese.

Vashti Cunningham (USA) took the outdoor world lead in the women’s high jump, clearing a lifetime best 2.02 m (6-7 1/2) and no. 4 on the all-time U.S. list.

The men’s long jump was hot as well, with Rio 2016 Olympic champ Jeff Henderson leaping to no. 3 on the 2021 world list at 8.39 m (27-6 1/2), ahead of fellow Americans Marquis Dendy (8.29 m/27-2 1/2) and Corey Crawford (also 8.29 m).

One of the fastest 1,500 m races in U.S. history was at the Portland Track Festival on Saturday, with six men running sub-3:35, led by a lifetime best for Craig Engels (USA) at 3:33.64, just ahead of Charlie Grice (GBR: 3:33.82), Jake Heyward (GBR: 3:33.99 PR) and American Henry Wynne (3:34.08 PR) in fourth.

Michigan prep star Hobbs Kessler (Ann Arbor Skyline) was fifth in a fabulous 3:34.36, shattering the high school record of Alan Webb of 3:38.26 from 2001 and the U.S. Junior Record of Jim Ryun (3:36.1) from 1966!

Donavan Brazier won the 800 m in 1:45.09, ahead of Jesus Lopez (MEX: 1:45.14) and Emmanuel Korir (KEN: 1:45.74). Grant Fisher of the U.S. won the 5,000 m in 13:19.52.

The women’s 800 m was a lifetime best for Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford (1:58.70), over Americans Sabrina Southerland (lifetime best 1:58.82), Kate Grace (1:59.04), Chanelle Price (1:59.12) and Cory McGee (1:59.17). American Elise Cranny won the 1,500 m in a lifetime best of 4:02.62, beating Dani Jones (4:04.26 PR) and Canada’s Natalia Hawthorn (4:04.47 PR).

/Update/ Sunday’s late meets included the Pure Summer Invitational in Clermont, Florida, where Isiah Young continues his charge into contention for the U.S. team in Tokyo, winning the men’s 100 m in 9.89 over Noah Lyles (10.05) and 17-year-old Jaylen Slade (10.09). That’s a lifetime best for Young and puts him no. 2 on the world list for 2021.

Trinidad & Tobago’s Machel Cedenio won the men’s 400 m at 45.37, but look who was second: 34-year-old LaShawn Merritt, in 45.45, his fastest since 2017!

The annual multi-event festival in Gotzis, Austria saw not just a world-leader in the decathlon, but one of the greatest competitions ever, as Canada’s Damian Warner ran away with the event and scored 8,995 points.

That’s a national record and the fifth-highest score in history. Only three others have scored more: world-record holder Kevin Mayer (FRA: 9,126), Ashton Eaton of the U.S. (twice over 9,000) and Roman Seberle (CZE).

Warner won his sixth Gotzis gold and set a first-day scoring record with 4,743 points, including a Canadian national record in the long jump at 8.28 m (27-2). He also won the 100 m (10.14), co-led the high jump (2.09 m/6-10 1/4). He was second in the 400 m at 47.90.

Warner then opened the second day with a world decathlon best of 13.36 in the 110 m hurdles, and then won the discus (48.43 m/158-10). He cleared 4.80 m (15-9) in the vault and threw the spear 59.46 m (195-1) before winning the 1,500 m in 4:25.19.

Warner now owns world decathlon bests for the 100 m (10.12), long jump (8.28 m/27-2) and the 110 m hurdles (13.36).

Fellow Canadian Pierce LePage was second with a big lifetime best of 8.534, followed by lifetime bests for Thomas van der Plaetsen (BEL: 8,430) and Vitaliy Zhuk (BLR: 8,331).

The women’s heptathlon was also a world-leading performance, this time for Xenia Krizsan of Hungary, who scored 6,651 to best Anouk Vetter (NED: 6,536) and Kendell Williams of the U.S. (6,383).

American Annie Kunz led after day one at 3,897, but had three fouls in the long jump and did not continue.

At the European Team Championships Super League in Poland, Germany’s Johannes Vetter continued his assault on the all-time javelin list, reaching 94.24 m (309-2) in the first round – the ninth-farthest throw in history – and then a sensational 96.29 m (315-11) – no. 3 ever! – in the second round.

Vetter has now thrown past 90 m (295-3) in five straight meets; he and world-record holder Jan Zelezny (CZE) now own the top 12 throws ever, with six apiece. Vetter now has 25 career throws beyond 90 m. Wow!

On Saturday, a new contender in the 800 m emerged with Elias Ngeny winning the Kenyan Pre-Trials meet in a world-leading 1:43.84, shortly after Wyclife Kinyamal’s 1:43.91 winner at the Diamond League meet in Doha. Hillary Biwott was second in 1:44.80.

More world leaders are popping up everywhere, with two in Havana, where Jordan Diaz took the men’s outdoor triple jump lead at 17.46 m (57-3 1/2) on 21 May, and women’s discus star Yaime Perez threw 68.99 m (226-4) the next day.

American women’s vault star Katie Nageotte took the world lead on 23 May in a meet in Marietta, Georgia at 4.93 m (16-2), moving her to no. 6 in world history and no. 3 in U.S. history.

Basketball ● FIBA ‘s 3×3 Olympic Qualifier in Graz, Austria offered three tickets to Tokyo for the men’s and women’s medal winners, with the U.S. women advancing to the Games and the U.S. men eliminated.

The men’s tournament started with the U.S. as the reigning 3×3 World Cup champions from 2019, but with only half of its roster returning, in Robbie Hummel and Kareem Maddox. The Americans won their pool, but were eliminated in the quarterfinals in the playoffs, beaten by the Netherlands by 21-16. The Dutch then secured their place in Tokyo with a 21-13 semifinal win over France, while Poland edged Latvia, 20-18, in the other semi. Latvia took third by beating France, 21-15, in the third-place game.

The Netherlands and Poland moved on, while the U.S. will stay home. Its team was made up of non-current NBA players who were college stars:

Robbie Hummel: Purdue, for Minnesota in the NBA, and elsewhere
Dominique Jones: South Florida, played for a dozen pro teams (NBA and elsewhere)
Joey King: Minnesota, professionally in Finland
Kareem Maddox: Princeton, professionally in England and the Netherlands

In contrast, the U.S. women’s team featured four current WNBA players:

Kelsey Plum: WNBA Las Vegas
Allisha Gray: WNBA Dallas
Katie Lou Samuelson: WNBA Seattle
Stefanie Dolson: WNBA Chicago

The American women won their pool games by 21-7, 22-5, 21-17 and 21-12, then beat Belarus in the quarterfinals (21-10) and Spain, 21-13, in the semifinals vs. Spain. France defeated Japan, 15-14 in the other semifinal (France goes to Tokyo), while Japan defeated Spain, 20-18 in the third-place game, to qualify for Tokyo (home team not reserved a place in 3×3 basketball).

Interesting how the WNBA allowed its players to compete, but not the NBA.

Beach Volleyball ● Americans Sara Sponcil and Kelly Claes picked a good time to win their first FIVB World Tour event at the Sochi 4-star in Russia, defeating Swiss stars Tanja Huberli and Nina Betschart, 21-19, 21-17 on Saturday.

The victory gave the U.S. pair their fourth World Tour medal and first gold after two silvers and a bronze. But it also moved them into a fight with Brooke Sweat and Kerri Walsh Jennings for the second U.S. spot at the Tokyo Games. The latter pair did not make it out of their group and the top-ranked pair between the two sides will go to Tokyo. There are two FIVB 4-star tournaments left before the Games.

The top-seeded pair coming in, Russians Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina, also won their fourth World Tour medal together, defeating Anastasija Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina (LAT), 21-18, 21-11, for the bronze medal.

The men’s tournament belonged to Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak, who disposed of Italy’s Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi in the semis (25-23, 21-16), then out-lasted Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan (QAT) in the final by 17-21, 23-21, 15-10. It was the fifth final of the year for the Qataris and their third silver.

For Kantor and Losiak – seeded 18th – it was their third career World Tour win, but their first medal on the circuit since 2018!

Christiaan Varenhorst and Steven van de Velde (NED) won the bronze over Carambula and Rossi in three sets: 21-16, 26-28, 15-9.

Cycling ● The challengers tried, but could not knock out Colombia’s Egan Bernal, who added the 104th Giro d’Italia to his resume on Sunday, to go with his 2019 Tour de France championship.

Bernal took control of the race after winning the ninth stage and never let go, winning the difficult climbing Stage 16 and falling back just a little the next day. He faced two determined challenges on the rough climbing stages on Friday and Saturday, but was equal to the task.

Stage 19 was a 166 km route with three major climbs and an uphill finish to the Alpe di Mera in Valsesia. Britain’s Simon Yates, standing third (+3:23) at the start of the day, attacked with 5.5 km remaining and managed to win the stage in 4:02:55 over Joao Almeida (POR: +0:11), but with Bernal staying close in third (+0:28) and still adding to his lead over second-place Damiano Caruso (ITA: +0:32).

That left Bernal up by 2:29 over Caruso and 2:49 over Yates.

On Saturday, another triple climb ended at the Alpe Motta after 164 km, with Caruso breaking away in the last two kilometers from France’s Romain Bardet to win in 4:27:53, but with Bernal second, just 24 seconds behind and countryman Daniel Felipe Martinez third (+0:35) and Bardet fourth. Yates was sixth (+0:51) and so lost time to the leader.

The results saw Bernal standing 1:59 clear of Caruso, 3:23 up on Yates and 7:07 ahead of Russian Aleksandr Vlasov, with only Sunday’s 30.3 km time trial from Senago to Milan remaining.

The final-day time trial held no surprises, with World Champion Filippo Ganna (ITA) winning in 33:48, with Remi Cavagna (FRA) second in 34:00 and Edoardo Affini (ITA: 34:01) third. Bernal finished 24th, some 1:53 behind the winner, but took the overall title by 1:29 over Caruso, 4:15 over Yates and 6:40 over Vlasov.

At just 24, Bernal has won the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia and will try for the career Grand Tour sweep at the Vuelta a Espana in August. He stands to win a lot more of these before he is finished.

Bogota, Colombia was the site for the third and fourth legs of the BMX Supercross World Cup for 2021, with races on both Saturday and Sunday.

This was a big weekend for France’s Joris Daudet, who won the opener in 32.694, ahead of Cedric Butti (SUI: 33.143) and Latvia’s Helvijs Babris (33.823). He came back to take Sunday’s race, winning in 32.663, beating Carlos Ramirez (COL: 33.358) and French countryman Arthur Pilard (33.585).

The first women’s race was a 1-2 finish for Colombia, with star Mariana Pajon taking the win (36.474) by daylight in front of teammate Gabriela Bolle Carrillo (38.060) with Russian Maria Afremova third (38.197). American Payton Ridenour was fourth (38.794).

Pajon doubled up on Sunday, winning again by more than a second from Ridenour, 36.244-37.400, with Afremova third again (37.744).

This was the last BMX Supercross for a while; the season won’t continue until October, with four more rounds of races in Sakarya, Turkey!

Football ● The U.S. men’s National Team provided another desultory performance against a quality opponent with a 2-1 loss to world no. 13 Switzerland in a friendly at St. Gallen (SUI).

The American side started well, with Sebastien Lleget taking advantage of a Swiss defensive breakdown in the fifth minute for a 1-0 lead, firing a left-footed shot from the center of the box. But the advantage was short-lived as a Ricardo Rodriguez shot deflected off of American defender Reggie Cannon and past keeper Ethan Horvath for a 1-1 tie. That’s the way the first half ended, with the U.S. holding a 7-2 edge in shots and surviving a bad penalty shot by Rodriguez in the 42nd minute that missed the goal completely.

But the U.S. defense was compromised time and again in the second half, and a bad clearance in the 63rd minute allowed Steven Zuber to connect from the left side of the box, beating Horvath for a 2-1 lead.

Switzerland had several more excellent chances, and the U.S. offense sputtered. The game ended with the Swiss with a 55-45 possession advantage and each side had 11 shots.

The U.S. men are now 1-4-4 all-time against Switzerland and 1-2-2 on Swiss soil.

Gymnastics ● The Artistic World Challenge Cup in Varna (BUL) was a tune-up opportunity for mostly European competitors before Tokyo. Ukraine’s Ilia Kovtun, the 2021 European All-Around bronze medalist, won the Pommel Horse (14.550) and Parallel Bars (15.100), the only men’s double winner.

Tin Srbic (CRO), the 2017 World High Bar champ, won his specialty at 14.850, and Austria’s Vinzenz Hock took the Rings (14.800). Croatia’s Aurel Benovic, the 2020 European Floor silver medalist, won the Floor with 14.950 over Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat (also 14.950).

The women’s event winners included Anastasiia Bachynska (UKR) on Beam (13.250), France’s Coline Devillard on Vault (14.150), Dildora Aripova (UZB) on Floor (13.150) and Uliana Perebinosova (RUS) on Uneven Bars (14.500).

The FIG Rhythmic World Cup was in Pesaro, Italy, with a good look at what the Olympic final in Tokyo might look like, headed by Russia’s Averina sisters.

Three-time World All-Around winner Dina Averina scored 108.800 points to win the All-Around, followed by Arina Averina (106.475) and Alina Harnasko (BLR: 105.150). Israel’s Linoy Ashram was fourth (103.950) and American Laura Zeng was seventh (96.425).

In Sunday’s Apparatus finals, Dina Averina won in Hoop (26.900), with Ashram second (26.850) and Arina Averina third (26.800). Arina got the golds in Clubs (28.800) and Ribbon (24.700), and was third in Ball (28.300).

Dina also won medals in Ball (second), Clubs (third) and Ribbon (second). Ashram won in Ball (28.550) and was second in Clubs (28.600). All together, the Averinas won 10 of the 15 medals awarded in Pesaro.

Ice Hockey ● Round-robin play is almost complete at the IIHF men’s World Championship in Riga, Latvia with Switzerland, Russia and Slovakia leading Group A and Finland and the U.S. the best so far on Group B.

The Swiss and Slovakians are 4-2 this far and Russia is 4-1, so all three teams have 12 points each. Finland, the reigning World Champion, is 4-0 in regulation games, plus one overtime win and one overtime loss (15 points). The U.S. has 12 points, from a 4-1 record, including a 2-1 opening loss to the Finns. The Americans will play Germany (3-2) on Monday in its final group-stage game.

The top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals, beginning on 3 June. The medal games will be on 6 June.

The scoring leader so far is Peter Cehlarik, currently playing in Sweden’s professional league, who has 8 points (3 goals + 5 assists), ahead of Swiss Niklas Jensen (7: 4+3) and Roman Starchenko (KAZ: 7: 3+4). Finnish goalie Harri Sateri is the top keeper so far, giving up only one goal – to the U.S. – in 125 minutes so far.

Sport Climbing ● The second of two IFSC World Cups in Salt Lake City, Utah included both Bouldering and Speed events, including new world marks for Speed!

Indonesia’s Katibin Kiromal won the men’s semifinal round in 5.258, the best on record for a 15 m event, shredding the four-year-old mark of 5.48 by Iran’s Reza Alipour from 2017.

That didn’t last long, as teammate Veddriq Leonardo ripped up the wall in a stunning 5.208 to win the event and grab the world mark for himself, while Kiromal fell in the final and had to settle for second. Poland’s Marcin Dzienski was third and American John Brosler fourth.

The women’s Speed winner, Poland’s Alexsandra Miroslaw, won her fifth career World Cup title, winning in 7.382 in the final over American Emma Hunt, 18, who managed 7.539, but won the first-ever World Cup women’s Speed medal for the U.S. Miho Nonaka (JPN) was third, ahead of Patrycja Chudziak (POL).

/Update/ Sunday’s Bouldering competition was a good one for the home team, as American teen Natalia Grossman scored her second straight World Cup victory. She edged Olympic favorite Janja Garnbret with 4 tops and 4 zones, to Garnbret’s 3 tops and 4 zones. American Brooke Raboutou was third (3T4Z).

The men’s final produced another shocker, as American Sean Bailey won his first-ever World Cup, climbing to 2 tops and 4 zones to best Japanese stars Kokoro Fujii (1T4Z) and two-time World Champion Tomoa Narasaki (1T3Z). American Zach Galla was fifth (0T1Z).

Swimming ● Remember this name: Summer McIntosh. The Canadian 14-year-old won a Toronto High Performance meet time trial last week in the women’s 400 m Freestyle in 4:05.13, believed to be one of fastest – if not the fastest – ever for that age.

It moves her to no. 2 all-time on the Canadian list and is a bit faster than American superstar Katie Ledecky at the same stage. The latter swam 4:05.00 just after her 15th birthday at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Earlier in May, McIntosh also set Canadian age-group records in the 200 m Free (1:57.65), 800 m Free (8:35.30), and 1500 m Free (16:15.19). Wow.

Wrestling ● The United States, as expected, dominated the Pan American Championships held in Guatemala City, Guatemala, taking the team titles in the men’s and women’s Freestyle divisions and Greco-Roman:

/Update/ In men’s Freestyle, the U.S. pulled off an almost unbelievable sweep of all 10 weight classes, finishing the team scoring with a perfect 250 points. The champions: Vito Arujau (57 kg), Shelton Mack (61 kg), Joey McKenna (65 kg), Alec Pantaleo (70 kg), Kyle Dake (74 kg), Tommy Gantt (79 kg), David Taylor (86 kg), Nate Jackson (92 kg), Kyle Snyder (97 kg) and Gable Steveson at 125 kg.

Canada ended up second, at 116 points, with three silver medals.

The superb U.S. women’s Freestylers won nine of 10 weight classes, with gold-medal performances from Sarah Hildebrandt (50 kg), Ronna Heaton (53 kg), Jacarra Winchester (55 kg), Maya Nelson (59 kg), Kayla Miracle (62 kg), Jennifer Rogers Page (65 kg), Tamyra Mensah-Stock (68 kg), Alexandria Glaude (72 kg) and Adeline Gray (76 kg). Hildebrandt won her sixth Pan-American title, while Mensah-Stock won her fourth.

The U.S. also overwhelmed the field in Greco-Roman, winning five of the nine titles and finishing second in the other four. The champions included Xavier Johnson (67 kg), Jamel Johnson (72 kg), Peyton Walsh (77 kg), Ben Provisor (82 kg) and John Stefanowicz (87 kg).

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