HIGHLIGHTS: Bobsled star Humphries close to making debut American season a World Cup winner

New American (and already two-time Olympic champ) bobsled star Kaillie Humphries

Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:

There was no doubt that once two-time Olympic champ and three-time World Cup winner Kaillie Humphries received her release from the Canadian bobsled federation and joined the U.S. federation, she was going to be a force. After another World Cup win this weekend, she’s in position to add yet another seasonal title! Check out all the week’s action below.

Alpine Skiing ●The women’s Downhill in Rosa Khutor (RUS) for Saturday had to be cancelled due to heavy snowfall, but the Super-G was held on Sunday. Italy’s Federica Brignone led a 1-2 with teammate Sofia Goggia, the sixth straight World Cup race in which Italy has won at least one medal! It was also Brignone’s fourth win of the season so far. Full results here.

The men were in the famed German resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, with home favorites Thomas Dressen getting his second win of the season (both in Downhills) over Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR), and France’s Alexis Pinturault getting his fourth win in Sunday’s Giant Slalom. Full results here.

Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen won the mid-week Slalom race in Schladming (AUT) over Pinturault for his third win this season. The seasonal battle continues to be tight, with Kristoffersen still leading at 877, with Pinturault at 822 and Aamodt Kilde at 820, after 27 of 44 races.

Athletics ● The second stage of the World Athletics Indoor Tour took place Friday evening in front of a full house of 5,000 in Karlsruhe (GER), highlighted by a 2.02 m (6-7 1/2) win for Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh.

Still just 18, the mark is a World U-20 Indoor Record and her second of 2020; she cleared 2.01 m (6-7) on 18 January. She’s clearly a medal favorite for Tokyo.

Another Ukrainian star, long jumper Maryna Bekh-Romachuk, the World Championships silver medalist in Doha last year, scored a mild upset over Worlds gold medalist Malaika Mihambo (GER), winning by 6.92 m-6.83 m (22-8 1/2 to 22-5).

American Sam Kendricks told reporters prior to the meet that by his own calculations, he had cleared 5.80 m (19-0 1/4) in 16 straight meets (14, actually), but that came to an end on Friday as he managed only 5.50 m (18-0 1/2) and finished ninth. France’s Renaud Lavillenie won at 5.70 m (18-8 1/4).

Two world-leading marks were set in the 3,000 m. Kenyan Bethwell Birgen won in 7:38.50 and Ethiopia’s Fantu Worku won the women’s race in 8:37.58. Full results here.

Two other recent competitions of note were the annual Dubai Marathon and the U.S. 50 km Walk trials. In Dubai, 11 men finished under 2:07 and Ethiopia’s Olika Adugna won with a lifetime best of 2:06.15. Fellow Ethiopian star Worknesh Degefa won the women’s race in an impressive 2:19:38.

Former Swede Andreas Gustafsson won the U.S. 50 km Olympic Trials held in Santee, California in 4:12:11 on 25 January. That time is well beyond the qualifying standard of 3:50:00 and would have ranked 139th in the world for 2019. The women’s 50 km Walk is not an Olympic event for 2020, but Robyn Stevens won the women’s race in 4:37:33, the no. 6 performance in U.S. history.

Bobsled & Skeleton ● The penultimate World Cup stop of the 2019-20 season was in St. Moritz (SUI), but this was the final race in the four-man competition. Canada’s Justin Kripps, who won the first two races of the season, won the finale by 0.13 over Latvia’s Oskars Kibermanis and German star Johannes Lochner. Even though he only finished fifth, Francesco Friedrich (GER) won the seasonal crowd with 1,686 points to 1,649 for Lochner and 1,603 for Kripps.

Lochner won the two-man races, ahead of Friedrich and Kibermanis. Going into the final two races in Latvia in two weeks, Friedrich leads with 1,320 to 1,066 for Kripps and 1,028 for Kibermanis.

American Kaillie Humphries teamed with Lauren Gibbs for a fourth win this season in the two-woman racing, beating 2018 Olympic gold medalist Mariama Jamanka by 0.16, with Gwerman Stephanie Schneider third. That gives Humphries a 1,484-1,411-1,381 edge over Schneider and Jamanka with one race left.

In Skeleton, Latvia’s Martins Dukurs won his second race in the last three for the men and is poised to win his ninth career World Cup title in front of his home fans in Sigulda. He leads the standings with 1,440 points to 1,419 to Alexander Tretiakov (RUS). Germany’s Tina Hermann won her second straight World Cup, ahead of teammate Jacqueline Loelling. With one race left, Loelling (1,472) leads Hermann (1,419) and Austrian Janine Flock (1,414). Full results here.

Cycling ● The sixth annual Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race in and around Geelong (AUS) crowned a first-time champion in 36-year-old Belgian Dries Devenyns. He edged Russian Pavel Sivakov at the line for his first-ever World Tour victory with South Africa’s Daryl Impey leading a four-man chase group four seconds behind. Detailed results here.

The women’s race was won by Liane Lippert (GER) – also a first-time World Tour winner – who sprinted away with the race, finishing 15 seconds ahead of Arlenis Sierra (CUB), Amanda Spratt (AUS) and American Tayler Wiles. This was the opening race of the Women’s World Tour for 2020; detailed results are here.

In the BMX Supercross World Cup in Shepparton (AUS) – the first of five stages this season – it was a great weekend for 2017 World Champion Alise Willoughby of the U.S. She won both stages, beating back home favorite Saya Sakikibara (AUS), 36.345-36.471, in the first race and then finishing ahead of teammate Felicia Stancil, 37.129-37.406, in the second event.

In the men’s racing, Dutch star and two-time defending World Cup champ Niek Kimmann started off with a win over Anthony Dean (AUS), 33.040-33.188 with the top five separated by just 0.892 seconds in race one. But American Connor Fields – the 2013 World Cup titlist – won the second race over Carlos Ramirez (COL), 33.869-33.960. Full results here.

Football ● The U.S. Men’s National Team won a hard-fought friendly over Costa Rica, 1-0, before a sparse crowd (announced at 9.172) at the Dignity Sports Health Park in Carson, California on Saturday.

The Americans, with a young team and devoid of most of its familiar faces, had multiple chances to score, but only broke through in the 50th minute on a penalty. Reggie Cannon was taken down by Costa Rican defender Randall Leal to the right of goal and 18-year-old Uly Llanez scored his first national-team goal (in his national team debut) by drilling the penalty to his right, past keeper Esteban Alvarado.

The win gives the U.S. a 17-16-6 record all-time vs. Costa Rica; all 17 wins have come on U.S. soil.

The U.S. women stomped Panama, 8-0, with a hat trick from Lindsey Horan, to move to 2-0 in Group A of the CONCACAF women’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Houston. Costa Rica is also 2-0 in the group and the two teams will meet on Monday (3rd) to decide the group winner. Both will advance to the semifinals in Carson, California on 7 February.

Group B is being played in Edinburg, Texas, with Canada and Mexico both 2-0 and meeting on Tuesday (4th) to decide the group champion.

Freestyle Skiing ● Lots of action in four different disciplines, with Halfpipe and Slopestyle events at Mammoth Mountain in California. Reigning World Champion Aaron Blunck of the U.S. won Saturday’s Halfpipe event over Noah Bowman (CAN) and Lyman Currier (USA), while Canada’s Cassie Sharpe took the women’s Halfpipe ahead of Russian Valeriya Demidova,

Friday’s Slopestyle events were swept by the Swiss. Sarah Hoefflin defeated Isabel Atkin (GBR) and American Maggie Voisin in the women’s event, and veteran star Andri Ragettli finished ahead of Colby Stevenson and Deven Fagen of the U.S.

In the Moguls events in Calgary, Canadian superstar Mikael Kingsbury won for the third time in four events this season, in front of Swede Walter Wallberg and France’s reigning Olympic champ Perrine Laffont continued her perfect season with a fourth straight victory, finishing ahead of Yulia Galysheva (KAZ) for the third straight time.

At Megeve, France, Canada swept both of the Ski Cross titles. Kevin Drury won the men’s event over home favorite Bastien Midol and Marielle Thompson won her third event of the season over Swedish star Sandra Naeslund. Links to results are here.

Luge ● The final World Cup prior to the 2020 World Championships – in two weeks – was in Oberhof (GER), with another German sweep.

Johannes Ludwig won his second race of the season, ahead of Semen Pavlichenko (RUS) in the men’s Singles, and Anna Berreiter was a surprise women’s Singles winner over Tatiana Ivanova (RUS) and Summer Britcher of the U.S.

Twice Olympic gold medalists Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt won the Doubles, with a close win over Andris Sics and Juris Sics of Latvia, 1:23.695-1:23.812. Full results here.

Nordic Skiing ● The Cross Country skiers had the week off, but the star of Nordic Combined was busy.

Defending World Cup champ Jarl Magnus Riiber won all three legs of the annual Nordic Combined Triple in Seefeld (AUT), with jumping off a 109 m hill and races of 5-10-15 km. The other medals were won by teammate Jorgen Graabak (bronze-silver-silver) and Vinzenz Geiger (silver-bronze-bronze), so only three athletes won the nine medals on the weekend. Full results here.

In men’s Ski Jumping in Saporo (JPN), home favorite Yukiya Sato won the first of two events off the 137 m hill, turning back Austria’s 2017 World Cup leader Stefan Kraft and Pole Dawid Kubacki. Kraft came back to win the second competition, on Sunday, and took the seasonal lead in the World Cup standings.

The women’s jumping in Obertsdorf (GER) was dominated by Austria’s Chiara Holzl, who won both events off the 137 m hill there over reigning World Cup champ Maren Lundby (NOR). That places Holzl in the seasonal lead, taking over from Lindby, 830-815, after 11 of 21 events. Full results here.

Rugby ● Both the men’s and women’s Seven Series were in action in Sydney (AUS), with the first win of the season for the Fiji men and the fourth straight for the New Zealand women.

Fiji, South Africa, the U.S. and England all went 3-0 in pool play, then Fiji edged England, 17-14, in its semifinal and South Africa scooted past the U.S., 19-12. In the final, Fiji defeated South Africa, 12-10, and the American Eagles got by England, 17-10. Full results here.

In the women’s division, New Zealand, Canada and Australia were unbeaten in pool play and advanced with France to the semis. There, the Black Ferns skated past the French, 24-7, and Canada rushed Australia, 34-0. In the final, the New Zealanders proved superior by 33-7 over Canada, with Australia edging France, 12-10, for third. Full results here.

The Black Ferns lead the seasonal standings with 96 points to 80 for Australia; the New Zealand men also lead, with 76 points to 67 for South Africa.

Sailing ● Better late than never, the ISAF’s World Cup Series in Miami finished on 25 January, with American sailors taking three of the seven events.

Pedro Pascual took the RS:X title, Caleb Paine (29.0) won the Finn Class ahead of Canada’s Kyle Martin (40.0) and Luke Muller of the U.S. (48.0), and Erika Reineke won the women’s Laser Radial in a tight match with Vasileira Karachaliou (GRE), 24.0-30.0.

World Championships medalists Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nicolas Rodriguez (ESP) won the men’s 470 class, and Olympic bronze medalist Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz (FRA) too the women’s 470.

The men’s Laser title went to Peru’s Stefano Perchiera and the women’s RS:X was a 1-2 for Mexico with Demita Vega de Lille and Mariana Aguilar (MEX). Full results here.

Snowboard ● Lots of action at Mammoth Mountain in California, with Halfpipe and Slopestyle events on Friday and Saturday. Japan’s Yuto Totsuka finally broke through with a win in the men’s Halfpipe, after Scotty James (AUS) had won the first three events (and did not compete at Mammoth).. Totsuka out-pointed American Taylor Gold (USA) and Japan’s Ruka Hirano.

China’s Xuetong Cai won the women’s Halfipipe, with Maddie Mastro (USA) winning her third medal in four events this season and Jaiyu Liu (CHN) third; Liu has now won medals in all four events on the season.

Americans won both of the Slopestyle events, with Dusty Hendrickson winning the men’s Slopestyle over Ryoma Kimata (JPN) and Justus Henkes (USA). Jamie Anderson won the women’s Slopestyle – even with a magnitude 4.7 earthquake during the proceedings! – with Laurie Blouin (CAN) second and Britain’s Katie Ormerod third.

The SnowCross events in Feldberg (GER) were cancelled due to high temperatures. Links to  all of the results are here.

Speed Skating ● The International Skating Union took a page from its figure skating program with a Four Continents Championships to give skaters from nations outside Europe to have a “regional” title event.

Not all of the top skaters attended the event, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with Korea and the U.S. both winning four events. Americans Brianna Bocox scored lifetime bests in the 1,000 m (1:15.537) and 1,500 m (1:57.176) to win both events, and distance star Mia Kilburg-Manganello took the 3,000 m and Mass Start, plus a bronze in the 1,000 m.

Korean men won the 500 m (Joon-Ho Kim), 1,500 m (Min-Seok Kim) and Mass Start (Cheonho Kim), and Min-Sun Kim won the women’s 500 m. The other winners included Koki Kubo (JPN) in the men’s 1,000 m, and Vitaliy Schigolev (KAZ) took the men’s 5,000 m. Full results here.

Table Tennis ● The reigning Olympic Singles gold medalists came up short to teammates in the finals of the German Open in Magdeburg. Chinese star Xin Xu defeated Rio Olympic champ Long Ma, 4-0, in the men’s final, and Meng Chen dispatched Ning Ding, 4-1, in the women’s championship match.

China won two of the Doubles titles as well. Chen and Manyu Wang won the women’s Doubles (3-1 over Japan’s Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa), and Xu and Shiwen Liu took the Mixed Doubles crown, skipping past Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito (JPN), 3-1.

It wasn’t a clean sweep for China, however, as Korea’s Daeseong Cho and Woojin Jang won the men’s Doubles over Gaoyuan Lin and Long Ma (CHN), 3-2. Full results here.

Tennis ● Played despite the continuing brushfires, the 2020 Australian Open ended with a big surprise on the women’s side. American Sofia Kenin, just 21 and seeded only 14th, dispatched 15-year-old U.S. sensation Coco Gauff in the fourth round, top-seeded and home favorite Ashleigh Barty (AUS) in the semifinals, and then stopped unseeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in the final, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

The men’s Singles title went to Novak Djokovic (SRB: seeded 2nd), who came from 2-1 down to defeat Dominic Thiem (AUT: 5) in five sets, 6-4. 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, for his eighth career Australian Open victory.

The Doubles titles all went to mixed-nationality teams. Rajeev Ram (USA) and Joe Salisbury (GBR) took the men’s Doubles; Timea Babos (HUN) and Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) won the women’s, and Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic (CRO) triumphed in the Mixed Doubles. Find in-depth results here.

Weightlifting ● The IWF Rome World Cup offered Olympic qualifying points as a second-tier qualifier, with multiple quality results for the U.S.

Travis Cooper won the men’s 89 kg division and Wesley Kitts took the 109 kg class, while Jessie Bradley won the women’s 81 kg and Mattie Rogers took the 87 kg title.

That made the U.S. the event leader with four titles, with Vietnam and the Philippines getting three wins each. Full results here.