HIGHLIGHTS: Fraser-Pryce wins Jamaican Champs in 10.71; crashes and Alaphilippe mark start of Tour de France; U.S. women take third straight FIVB Nations League title

Three-peat: U.S. women celebrate a third straight FIVB Nations League title in Rimini, Italy. (Photo: USA Volleyball)

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

Archery ● The third and final World Archery World Cup of 2021 was in Paris (FRA), in a last tune-up prior to Tokyo and the U.S. team continuing its hot shooting.

In the men’s Recurve (Olympic) division, the elimination rounds saw two U.S. shooters – World Champion Brady Ellison and Olympic team member Jack Williams – advance to the semifinals, facing Federico Musolesi (ITA) and Patrick Huston (GBR), respectively. Both Americans won by 6-2 scores and advanced to the final, where Ellison recorded a 6-2 win. Musolesi defeated Huston, also by 6-2, for the bronze medal.

The men’s team event ended with Belgium and Germany in the gold-medal match, won by the Germans, 6-2. In the bronze-medal match, France defeated Malaysia by 5-3.

In the women’s division, Olympic Trials winner Mackenzie Brown sailed into the semifinals as well, facing Elena Osipov of Russia. The match came down to an extra arrow and Osipov moved on with a 10-9 advantage. Mexico’s Ana Vasquez and India’s Deepika Kumari faced off in the other semi, with Kumari winning by 6-2.

Kumari continued her hot shooting and shut out Osipov, 6-0, in the final. Brown had another cliff-hanger, but this time won over Vasquez on the extra arrow, 10-9.

Mexico and India were not done, however, matched in the Recurve Team gold-medal event, with India winning by 5-1. France won the women’s Team bronze, 5-3, over Belarus.

The Mixed Team event saw India and the Netherlands reach the final, with another Indian win, by 5-3. Spain and Mexico shot for the bronze medal, with the Mexicans taking the win, 5-1.

Even without a medal, the U.S. teams made it to the quarterfinals in all three events.

Athletics ● Hot sprinting was expected at the Jamaican Championships in Kingston, and Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce did not disappoint. On Friday, the two-time Olympic 100 m gold medalist won in a speedy 10.71 over surprising Shericka Jackson – better known as a 400 m star – in 10.82, with defending Olympic champ Elaine Thompson-Herah third in 10.84. Jackson set a lifetime best of 10.77 in the semis.

The men’s 100 m saw Tyquendo Tracy upset 2011 World Champion Yohan Blake, 10.00-10.01, with Oblique Seville logging a personal best of 10.04.

In the men’s 400 m hurdles, Jaheel Hyde impressed with a win in a lifetime best of 48.18, no. 6 on the world list for 2021. Janieve Russell won the women’s 400 m hurdles in 54.07, moving to no. 5 in the world this year.

Elsewhere during this national championships break in the international schedule was a world lead in the discus by Sweden’s World Champion Daniel Stahl at 70.55 m (232-5) in Kuortane (FIN). Stahl was pushed to the limit by Slovenia’s Kristjan Ceh, who scored a national record of 70.35 m (230-9) in round three to briefly take the world lead, before Stahl reached 70.21 m (230-4) in the fourth and 70.55 m in the final round!

At the same meet, Germany’s Johannes Vetter demonstrated he is healed from a hip injury, winning with a monster 93.59 m (307-0) toss to win the men’s javelin. It was his ninth throw over 90 m this year and he is the only one to throw that far.

China’s Rio Olympic silver winner Lijiao Gong extended her world lead in the women’s shot to 20.39 m (66-10 3/4) at the Chinese Nationals in Chongqing; she now owns the top four throws of the year.

At the British Championships in Manchester, sprint star Dina Asher-Smith won the women’s 100 m in 10.97 and Holly Bradshaw won the women’s vault, jumping to no. 3 on the 2021 world list at 4.90 m (16-0 3/4) on her first attempt.

Reigning Olympic champion Mo Farah tried once again for the 27:28.00 Olympic qualifying standard in a specially-constructed 10,000 m race, and won in 27:47.04, meaning he will not be named to the British team for Tokyo.

In Osaka, Japan’s Shunsuke Izumiya won the men’s 110 m hurdles in a speedy 13.06, moving him to no. 3 on the 2021 world list, behind Grant Holloway of the U.S. and reigning Olympic champ Omar McLeod (JAM).

Cycling ● The opening of the 108th Tour de France in Brest was one to remember, but for all the wrong reasons.

There were two major crashes during the late stages of the hilly, 197.8 km route. With about 45 km remaining, a female fan stepped onto the course and held out a sign for the television cameras with German rider Tony Martin running right into it and falling, causing a mass crash for dozens of riders. The peloton stopped to allow them to catch up, but there were injuries and a loss of time for some of the race contenders, including Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic and Dutch star Wout van Aert. ASO, the race organizers, promised legal action against the spectator … if she can be found.

The second smash-up came from within the peloton with about 6 km remaining, with a touch of wheels sending riders flying off the road and towards the spectators. The riders recovered to finish, but four-time champion Chris Froome (GBR) ended the stage 14:37 behind the winner.

The race finally came down to the final climb up and over the Cote de la Fosse and French star Julian Alaphilippe attacked on the climb with 2.3 km left and no one could match him. He seized the yellow jersey for the third consecutive Tour, winning by eight seconds over Michael Matthews (AUS), Roglic and Jack Haig (AUS). After the finishes were finally sorted out, Alaphilippe had 12-second overall lead on Matthews, and major contenders lost time, including Richard Carapaz (ECU: +0:23) and Richie Porte (AUS: +2:23).

Sunday’s second stage was another hilly course in Brittany, this time 183.5 km with an uphill finish to the Mur-de-Bretagne. The final ascent, with just 2 km remaining, would be decisive and Australia’s Porte and Colombia’s Nairo Quintana both attacked but could not shake the front group. Italy’s Sonny Colbrelli tried go break away with 900 m left, but it was Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel who was best prepared, and his attack with about 500 m left was the winner.

Van der Poel won by six seconds, with defending champ Tadej Pogacar (SLO) and Roglic going 2-3, followed by Wilco Kelderman (NED) and then Alaphilippe (+0:08). With the time bonuses figured in, van der Poel took the race lead by eight seconds over Alaphilippe, 13 seconds over Pogacar and 14 seconds over Roglic.

Not as chaotic, but still dramatic was the eighth edition of La Course by Le Tour for women, which will turn into a full-blown multi-stage race in 2022. This was a hilly, 107.4 km race from Brest to Landerneau, that ended with a mass sprint of eight riders.

Multiple breakaways were retrieved by the peloton during the race, with the last one compressed just before the fourth and final climb of the Cote de la Fosse. On the way to the uphill finish, the eight leaders settled for a sprint with Dutch star Demi Vollering getting to the line just ahead of Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (DEN), Dutch legends Anna van der Breggen and Marianne Vos and Australia’s Grace Brown, all timed in 2:50:29.

After being delayed due to coronavirus conditions in Peru, the Pan American Track Cycling Championships started on Friday in Lima, continuing through Tuesday.

Powerhouse Colombia dominated the first two days, with Kevin Quintero winning the Keirin and leading the Team Sprint win. Jordan Parra won the Elimination race and anchored the Team Pursuit win as well. Trinidad & Tobago’s Akil Campbell won the Scratch Race.

The women’s racing saw Colombia win the Team Sprint and Team Pursuit and Ambar Joseph of Barbados take the Scratch Race.

Football ● The Copa America continues to play and continues to suffer from coronavirus infections.

Through last Monday, the South American confederation – CONMEBOL – announced that 22,856 tests had been administered in total, with 166 positives so far, or 0.7% of those tested. That’s up from 140 the week before, so the infection rate is slowing.

A total of 17 players have tested positive since the tournament began; of that number, 15 were available to play following a quarantine period. The tournament is being played without spectators; half of the 10 teams have reported at least one positive test among their delegation.

On the field, the group stage will finish today (27th), with Argentina (7 points: 2-0-1 W-L-T) leading Group A, followed by Paraguay (2-1-0) and Chile (1-1-2). Host Brazil is 3-0-0 in Group B, ahead of Colombia (1-2-1) and Peru (1-1-1).

The quarterfinals begin on 3 July and the title match will be on 10 July in Rio.

UEFA’s Euro 2020 finally completed the group stage with Italy (3-0), Belgium (3-0), the Netherlands (3-0) all undefeated, and England (2-0-1), Sweden (2-0-1) and France (1-0-2) winning their groups.

In the Round of 16, Italy eliminated Austria in extra time, 2-1 and Denmark stomped on Wales, 4-0, in Saturday’s matches. On Sunday, the Czech Republic surprised the Netherlands, 2-0, in Budapest, after the Dutch had to play with 10 men – following a red card for a hand ball – for the final 38 minutes of the game. The Czechs move on to play the Danes.

Sunday’s marquee match was a high-profile clash of Belgium and Portugal in Seville; no. 1-ranked Belgium finally solved the Portuguese defense with a Thorgen Hazard strike in the 42nd minute that twisted away from keeper Rui Patricio for a 1-0 halftime lead. The second half was uneven and chippy, but Portugal almost evened it with a header by Ruben Dias in the 82nd minute and then Raphael Guerrero hit the right post on a strike a minute later. Portugal mounted attack after attack and Joao Felix shot wide of goal at 90+4 on its last chance. Defending champion Portugal ended with a 23-6 edge in shots, but with a 1-0 loss and elimination.

The quarterfinals begin on 2 July and the tournament will finish on 11 July.

Golf ● The Women’s PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club saw Americans Lizette Salas and Nelly Korda tied for the lead entering the final round at -15, five shots clear of the field. But then Korda took off, with birdies on 3 and 14 and eagles on 5 and 12 to go to -6 for the day and -21 for the tournament with four holes remaining, and a five-shot lead.

Korda gave back two shots with a double-bogey on 15, but sailed home at -19 (269), with a 68 for the day and finishing three shots up on Salas (71 for 272 total), with Hyo Joo Kim (KOR) and Giulia Molinaro (ITA) tied for third.

Korda, still just 22, won her first major and her sixth win on the LPGA Tour.

Gymnastics ● The FIG Trampoline World Cup in Coimbrs (POR) was a 1-2 finish for Belarus on the men’s side, with reigning Olympic champ Uladzislau Hancharou winning over Aleh Rabtsau by 62.505-61.380. France’s Allan Morante was third (60.500).

Hancharou and Rabtsau teamed up to win the Synchro event, 50.450-50.150, over Russia.

Russia went 1-2 in the women’s final, as Susana Kochesok won with 55.770 points to Iana Lebedeva (55.270), with Palina Shadzko (BLR) in third. France’s Lea Labrousse and Marine Jurbert won the women’s Synchro with 47.460 points, ahead of Australia (46.990).

Shooting ● A full-program ISSF World Cup for pistol, rifle and shotgun is ongoing in Osijek (CRO), with events continuing through 2 July.

The U.S. highlight came from Will Shaner, who won the men’s 10 m Air Rifle with a 250.5-249.2 score against Russia’s 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, Vladimir Maslennikov. In the other men’s individual events, Iran’s Javad Foroughi won the 10 m Air Pistol, and Italy’s Tammaro Cassandro won in Skeet. Ukraine’s Rio Air Rifle silver medalist Serhiy Kulish won the 50 m Rifle/3 Positions by 460.0 to 458.6 over Russia’s Rio silver medalist Sergey Kamenskiy.

In the men’s team events, Italy won in 10 m Air Pistol, Russia took the 10 m Air Rifle, and Italy won in Skeet.

In the women’s competitions completed so far, Antoaneta Konstadinova (BUL) took the 10 m Air Pistol title, Hungary’s Eszter Meszaros won the 10 m Air Rifle, and Russian Zilia Batyrshina won the Skeet event.

The women’s team competitions saw Bulgaria win the 10 m Air Pistol, Iran take the 10 m Air Rifle and Russia win in Skeet.

In the Mixed Team events, Russia won in the 10 m Air Pistol, Hungary won the 10 m Air Rifle competition and Chile defeated Ukraine in the Mixed Team Skeet.

Sport Climbing ● The IFSC World Cup in Innsbruck offered the fourth Bouldering competition of the season and the first in Lead, but suffered from rainy conditions that hindered some of the events.

In the men’s Bouldering, Japan swept the top places, with Yoshiyuki Ogata winning with two tops and two zones (2T2Z 7/7), over two-time World Champion Tomoa Narasaki (1T3Z 2/11) and Kokoro Fujii (1T1Z 2/2). It was Ogata’s second career World Cup win. American Nathaniel Coleman was sixth (0T1Z 0/2). Delayed by rain, local regulations for public events required the event to end after the third problem.

The women’s final was marred by rain that also shortened the event to three problems, but Olympic favorite Janja Garnbret (SLO) still won easily, solving all three problems to win (3T3Z 3/3). American Natalia Grossman, 20, was second (3T3Z 9/9), her fourth medal in four Bouldering event this season (2-1-1). The 2017 World Games champ, Serbia’s Stasa Gejo was third (1T3Z 2/6).

Austria’s Jakob Schubert, the 2018 World Champion, won the opening Lead event of 2021, but just barely, reaching 47+ holds to 47 for Italy’s Stefano Ghisolfi and 38+ for Swiss Sascha Lehmann. The women’s title went to Garnbret, who reached the top, ahead of American Brooke Raboutou (40) and Japan’s Akiyo Noguchi (33+).

There was a strange outage on the video coverage of the Bouldering semi-finals, with a Twitter posting that noted:

“The video of the men’s and women’s Boulder semi-finals in Innsbruck has been temporarily removed from our YouTube channel.

“It will be edited and re-uploaded as soon as possible.”

This was followed by a notice from ORF, the Austrian national broadcaster:

“We acknowledge that, for a brief moment, we chose to display the sport of climbing in the wrong way. We commit ourselves to keep working for a fair, equal and better representation of women’s sports.

“Our apology goes out to Ms. Johanna Farber, the International Federation of Sport Climbing, Austria Climbing, and all those who felt concern and discomfort for our actions.”

As one poster on Twitter put it, “There were close-up camera shots of a female competitors backside. This wasn’t just the a shot of chalk handprints on black shorts though, it did feel like the competitor was being sexualised. I’m pleased IFSC is editing this out.”

Farber, an Austrian climber, was seventh in the semi-finals and did not advance to the final. She posted on Instagram, “having this slowmotion clip shown on NATIONAL TV and youtube livestreaming is so disrespectful and upsetting. … we need to stop sexualizing women in sports and start to appreciate their performance.”

Swimming ● The famed Sette Coli meet at the Foro Italico in Rome (ITA) produced noteworthy times just a month ahead of the Tokyo Games.

Of special interest was the comeback of Swedish superstar Sarah Sjostrom after her surgery to fix a broken elbow suffered in a fall last February. She won the 50 m Fly (a non-Olympic event), the 100 m Fly and was second to Femke Heemskerk (NED: 53.03, no. 8 in 2021) in the 100 m Free, all with encouraging performances:

50 m Free: 24.25 (2nd), close to 24.07 season’s best from February
100 m Free: 53.47 (2nd), no. 17 on the world rankings
50 m Fly: 25.42, no. 3 on the world rankings
100 m Fly: 57.65, only a little slower than her 57.34 in February

Sjostrom is the reigning Olympic champ in the 100 m Fly, and won silver in the 200 m Free and bronze in the 100 m Free in Rio.

Hungary’s Kristof Milak, the world-record holder in the 200 m Fly, won that event in 1:53.18, a time only he has bettered this season (1:51.10 at the European Championships). Countryman David Verraszto won the men’s 400 m Medley in a speedy 4:09.57, no. 3 on the 2021 world list, while Italian Nicolo Martinenghi won the men’s 100 m Breast in 58.29 to move to no. 4 on the year list and equal-fourth all-time!

Italy’s Arianna Castiglioni won the women’s 100 m Breast in a national record 1:05.67, now no. 4 on the year list, just behind Americans Lilly King, Lydia Jacoby and Annie Lazor. Italian Freestyle star Simona Quadarella moved to no. 3 on the women’s 1,500 m year list with a win in 15:48.31, behind Katie Ledecky of the U.S. and Australia Maddy Gough.

Two-time World Champion sprinter Therese Alshammer had hopes of making a seventh Swedish Olympic team, this time only in the 4×100 m Free relay, but her 57.99 second-place finish in heat nine was considered too slow. Now 43, she owns two Olympic silvers and a bronze from the 2000 Games in Sydney, in the 50-100 m Frees and the 4×100 m Free relay.

Results from the Uzbekistan Open in Tashkent (UZB) last April, at which multiple Olympic qualifying times were achieved have been annulled by FINA, according to reports from India.

Complaints about manipulation of the times given at the event surfaced quickly and Indian swimmer Likith Prema provided video evidence demonstrating “that timings were tampered with to suit home swimmers.”

Observed: Even in our high-tech age, nothing can be taken for granted.

Volleyball ● The U.S. women’s team continued its perfect record in the FIVB Women’s Nations League: three titles in three seasons.

After finishing with a 14-1 record in round-robin play in a sequestered environment in Rimini, Italy, the U.S. sailed into the playoff rounds as the top seed. In the semifinals, the U.S. squeezed past Turkey in contested sets, winning 25-21, 25-23 and 25-20. Brazil defeated Japan, 3-1, in the other semi.

The championship match saw Brazil take the first set, 28-26, but the Americans rebounded to win the next three – and the title – by 25-23, 25-23 and 25-21. American star Michelle Bartsch-Hackley was named Most Valuable Player, just as she was in 2019.

The all-tournament designations went to Americans Jordyn Palmer (best setter), Justine Wong-Orantes (best libero) and Bartsch-Hackley as Best Outside Hitter, along with Brazil’s Gabriela Guimaraes. Brazil also had three selections, with Tandara Caixeta selected as Best Opposite and Carol Gattaz as Best Middle Blocker, along with Turk Eda Erdem Dundar.

Said U.S. captain Jordan Larson: “It’s a really hard tournament. I am really proud of our team that kept fighting and kept competing through this whole five weeks. It’s been fun but long.”

The men’s Nations League saw Brazil win the round-robin at 13-2, trailed by Poland and Slovenia at 12-3 and France at 11-4. The U.S. finished seventh at 8-7.

In the semifinals, Brazil and Poland both won in straight sets. Brazil cruised past France, 25-20, 25-18 and 25-19, while the Poles defeated Slovenia, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23.

Sunday’s medal matches saw Brazil win its first Nations League title by thrashing Poland: 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-14. France swept Slovenia for third, 3-0.

Co-Most Valuable Players were Wallace de Souza (BRA) and Bartosz Kurek (POL). The awards for positions went to Michal Kubiak and Yoandy Leal (outside hitter), Kurek and de Souza (opposite hitter), Fabian Drzyga (POL) for setter, Thales Hoss (BRA) for libero and Mateusz Bienek (POL) and Mauricio Souza (BRA) for middle blockers.

Water Polo ● The FINA men’s World League Super Final in Tbilisi (GEO) began on 26 June and will continue to 1 July. Group A comprises Japan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Italy, with Group B including Montenegro, USA, Greece and France.

Italy won its first two matches to sit atop Group A, ahead of France and Greece (both 1-1). Montenegro beat the U.S., 10-6, in the opener of Group B and is 2-0, with the U.S. at 1-1 after defeating Japan, 15-7. Georgia is also 1-1 and plays the U.S. on Monday. Playoff matches will start on Tuesday.

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