HIGHLIGHTS: Mantia, Bowe and U.S. relay skate to World Cup wins, two Super-G bronzes for Shiffrin, Monobob win for Meyers Taylor

Calgary World Cup winner Joey Mantia of the U.S. (Photo: International Skating Union)

Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:

● Alpine Skiing ● The FIS Alpine World Cup for women was in St. Moritz (SUI) for two Super-G races, with familiar faces on the podium, including American star Mikaela Shiffrin.

Saturday was the second Super-G of the season, after Sofia Goggia (ITA) and Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI) went 1-2 at Lake Louise in Canada last week. This time, it was home favorite Gut-Behrami, the 2016 World Cup overall winner, who took the title for her 33rd career World Cup win. Goggia was second this time, but not by much: 1:19.82-1:20.00. Shiffrin was third, an encouraging finish for her Olympic hopes in the speed events, in 1:21.00. Fellow American Breezy Johnson was 12th.

On Sunday, Italian star Federica Brignone won her 17th career World Cup race, in 57.81, leading an Italian 1-2 with Elena Curtoni second (+0.11). Shiffrin was third again, at 58.24 (+0.43).

That’s six medals for Shiffrin in 10 races held this season, and she has the overall lead at 525 points to 435 for Goggia, after 10 of 37 races on the schedule.

The men’s tour was in famed Val d’Isere (FRA), with Austrian Marco Odermatt winning his third race of the season (and second Super-G) in 2:12.31. French star Alexis Pinturault was second (+0.59) and Austria’s Manuel Feller was third (+1.24).

Sunday brought the first Slalom of the men’s season, with French star Clement Noel winning in 1:30.52, ahead of Kristoffer Jakobsen (SWE: 1:31.92) and Croatia’s Filip Zubcic (1:32.37).

● Biathlon ● The IBU World Cup circuit moved to Hochfilzen (AUT) this week, with Swede Sebastian Samuelsson taking his fourth medal in six races this season and rising to the men’s seasonal lead.

In Friday’s 10 km Sprint, Germany’s Johannes Kuehn got his first career World Cup victory in 26:05 over Sweden’s Martin Ponsiluoma (+14.3), with Samuelsson 14th. On Saturday, France enjoyed a 1-2 finish in the 12.5 km Pursuit, with Quentin Fillon Maillet winning his seventh career World Cup race, ahead of Emilien Jacquelin (+32.1) with Samuelsson third (+38.2). That gave Samuelsson a 250-243 lead over Jacquelin after six of 22 races.

The women’s 7.5 km Sprint was a win for Hanna Sola of Belarus, her first on the World Cup tour, in 20:44.4, ahead of Justine Braisaz-Bouchet (FRA: +46.8). Sunday’s 10 km Pursuit went to seasonal leader Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (NOR), who won in 30:04.1, 4.1 seconds ahead of Sola. It’s Roeiseland’s 11th career World Cup win and second this season.

● Bobsled & Skeleton ● The IBSF World Cup was in Winterberg (GER) with two four-man and one two-woman race.

On Saturday, German superstar Francesco Friedrich drove his team to its fourth consecutive victory this season, winning in 1:47.95, ahead of teammate Johannes Lochner (1:48.00) and Canadian star Justin Kripps (CAN: 1:48.09). American Hunter Church’s team was 10th (1:48.72) and Codie Bascue’s squad was 12th (1:48.80).

On Sunday, Friedrich won again for his fifth straight win this season (in five races) and ninth straight over two seasons. His combined time of 1:49.38 was 0.30 better than Britain’s Brad Hall (1:49.68) and 0.36 better than Austria’s Benjamin Maier. Hunter Church had the top American finish in a tie for 11th.

The women’s racing was a German sweep for Laura Nolte (1:53.77), Olympic champ Mariama Jamanka (1:53.84) and Kim Kalicki (1:54.13). This was Nolte’s third win in four races this season; the top American finishers were Kaillie Humphries (with Sylvia Hoffman) in fifth (1:54.38) and Elana Meyers Taylor (1:54.46, with Kaysha Love) in sixth.

In Skeleton in Winterberg, Russian Alexander Tretiakov won his second race of the season, timing 1:51.05 to beat Germans Christopher Grotheer (1:51.34) and Axel Jungk (1:51.64), with Grotheer now the only man to medal in all four races this season.

Kimberley Bos (NED) got her first win of the season in the women’s Skeleton races (1:53.68), her third medal in four races, ahead of four-time World Champion Tina Hermann (GER: 1:53.93).

The Women’s Monobob World Series held races on Saturday in both Winterberg (GER) and Sigulda (LAT), with American Meyers Taylor winning her third race of the season in Winterberg in 1:57.83. She was followed by Breanna Walker (NZL: 1:58.06) and Cynthia Appiah (CAN: 1:58.24); Humphries was 13th (1:58.96).

Korea’s Yoo-ran Kim won the Sigulda race (1:49.51) ahead of Viktoria Cernanska (SVK: 1:49.57).

● Cross Country Skiing ● Sprint stars Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) and Maja Dahlqvist (SWE) are tightening their early-season grip on the World Cup leaderboard with wins in Davos (SUI).

Klaebo won Saturday’s 1.5 km Freestyle Sprint from two-time Worlds gold medalist Sergey Ustiugov (RUS), 2:22.84-2:23.71 for his second World Cup win in the last three races.

Sunday’s 15 km Freestyle was the second win in as many weeks for Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger (32:20.4), who out-distanced Klaebo by 22.9 seconds and Ustiugov by 27.2. Klaebo now has a commanding 476-315 lead over Ustiugov in the overall World Cup race, but after only eight of 32 events.

Dahlqvist won her Freestyle Sprint race by just 0.34 seconds over Swiss Nadine Faehndrich for her third win of the season, out of six races. American Rosie Brennan was fourth, 2.81 seconds off the pace.

The 10 km Freestyle race on Sunday was a second win this season for Norwegian distance superstar Therese Johaug. Her time of 23:40.1 was 14.5 seconds better than American Jessie Diggins – who won her second World Cup medal of the season – and Sweden’s Frida Karlsson (+17.1). Brennan was fourth (+24.3) and the U.S.’s Hailey Swirbul was sixth (+27.7).

Johaug, a 10-time World Champion in individual events, has been first or second in all four World Cup distance races this season.

● Curling ● World Curling has its final Beijing 2022 qualifying event ongoing in Leeuwarden (NED), with the Mixed Doubles completed and the U.S. sending Chris Plys and Vicky Persinger to Beijing after a 6-4 win over Russians Aleksei Timofeev and Anna Sidorova.

Two places for the 2022 Winter Games were available, with Australia (6-0) and Russia (4-2) finishing atop Group A and the U.S. (6-0) and South Korea (5-1) in Group B. In the final qualification matches, Australia’s Dean Hewitt and Tahli Gill overcame the Koreans, 6-5 and Plys and Persinger defeated the Russians, piling up leads of 3-0 and 5-1 before two late points in the seventh end made the end result closer.

There was a major controversy during the first week of the tournament as the Dutch sex-toy sales site EasyToys had on-ice and in-the-rink signage as a sponsor of the tournament. As the live stream of the broadcast was suspended in the U.S. and Japan due to “broadcast partner policy complications involving sponsor agreements and usage,” the company agreed to replacement of its logos with “#equalityforall.” The Associated Press reported:

“‘During an Olympic qualifying tournament, it must of course be about the sport and not about the sponsor,’ Eric Idema, CEO of EasyToys parent company EDC, said in the statement, which was emailed to The Associated Press and translated from Dutch. ‘Curling also deserves that, as a sport that is one of the few mixed sports that is way ahead of its time. In fact, just like us.’”

The qualifying tournaments for men and women are continuing, with three slots in the Beijing tournament for each, and continuing through the 18th.

● Cycling-BMX ● The Pan American Freestyle Championships were on in San Miguel (PER), but results were not available in time for this post.

● Fencing ● The FIE World Cup, continuing to be impacted by the pandemic, resumed with the women’s Foil matches in Saint Maur (FRA), with 2018 World Champion Alice Volpi facing off in the final against Tokyo Olympic champ Lee Kiefer of the U.S.

The two had split their six career meetings, 3-3, but Volpi had defeated Kiefer, 15-13, at the 2019 World Cup held in Saint Maur. The 2021 edition was another classic, with Volpi winning again, but this time by just 15-14, for her third career World Cup win.

Kiefer had to settle for her 14th career World Cup medal and third silver. American Jackie Dubrovich shared the bronze medal with Italy’s Francesca Palumbo.

● Freestyle Skiing ● The sixth Cross Alps Tour in Ski Cross began in Val Thorens (FRA), with France taking 1-2 in Saturday’s men’s race with Terence Tchiknavorian winning his first career World Cup race, beating teammate Bastien Midol to the line, with Germany’s Florian Wilmsmann third. On Sunday, Swiss veteran Alex Fiva, 35, took his 13th career World Cup win over Tchiknavorian and Italy’s Simone Deromedis.

The women’s race was the second straight win of the season (and 18th career) for Swedish star Sandra Naesland, beating Brittany Phelan (CAN) and France’s Marielle Berger Sabbatel. Naeslund got to the finish line first on Sunday as well, just ahead of 2013 World Champion Fanny Smith (SUI) and Canada’s Marielle Thompson.

In the Moguls at Idre Fjall (SWE), 2017 World Champion Ikuma Horishima won the men’s event on Saturday, ahead of Swede Albin Holmgren, 88.49-87.81, and France’s two-time Worlds silver medalist, Benjamin Cavet (85.06).

Sunday’s Dual Moguls was the 67th career World Cup win for Canadian superstar Mikael Kingsbury, defeating Horishima in the final, with Ludvig Fjallstrom (SWE) taking the bronze medal race.

The women’s Moguls saw 17-year-old Anri Kawamura (JPN) get her first career World Cup victory, scoring 85.99 to beat France’s PyeongChang 2018 gold medalist, Perrine Laffont (84.63). Australian Jakara Anthony was third, ahead of Tess Johnson (USA), 84.55–82.25.

Laffont won the Dual Moguls on Sunday over Rino Yanagimoto (JPN) in the final. Anthony third once again, this time beating American Olivia Giaccio in the bronze race.

The second week of Aerials in Ruka (FIN) started with a third straight win for Russia’s Maxim Burov, who scored 133.03 to best Swiss Noe Roth (128.51) and Pirmin Werner (128.50). The two women’s Aerials events went to Ukraine’s Anastasiya Novosad (98.70) over Chinese star Mengtao Xu (91.83), and Australia’s 2017 Worlds silver medalist Danielle Scott (102.93) over teammate Laura Peel (99.37), with Xu third (98.28).

The Halfpipe season started at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mountain, Colorado (USA), with American Alex Ferreira winning the men’s event over New Zealand’s Nico Poterous and Brendan MacKay (CAN) as all three scored over 90 points: 93.50-92.25-91.50. American Birk Irving was fourth (88.25).

American-born but now Chinese star Eileen Gu won the women’s Halfpipe, scoring 90.50 to 90.00 for Rachel Karker (CAN), with Estonian Kelly Sildaru (88.75) third. Americans Britta Sigourney and Hanna Faulhaber were 4-5.

● Handball ● The IHF Women’s World Championship in Spain turned toward its final week, with the quarterfinalists shaping up nicely.

In Group I of the Main Round, France leads at 4-0 (8 points) with Russia at 3-0-1 (7) and both are through to the quarters. The Netherlands and Norway are both 3-0-1 in Group II (7 points), but Sweden (2-0-2: 6) is a threat with one match remaining.

Group III will send Denmark and Germany (both 4-0: 8) to rhe quarters and Spain and Brazil (4-0: 8) will also advance from Group IV.

The quarterfinals will begin on 14 December, with the championship match in Granollers on the 19th. The Dutch are the defending champions from 2019 and the winners of the last 12 Worlds appear to be headed to the playoffs.

● Luge ● The fourth of nine FIL World Cup stages was in Altenberg (GER), with two Austrian triumphs on Saturday:

Madeleine Egle, the surprise winner of the women’s season opener in Yanqing (CHN), won again in 1:45.208, ahead of German stars Julia Taubitz (1:45.501) and Anna Berreiter (1:45.793), confirming her status as a medal contender for the Winter Games. American Emily Sweeney was fifth (1:46.041) and Summer Britcher was 10th in 1:46.320.

Austrian teammates Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller, the 2019 Worlds bronze medalists, took the Doubles title in 1:23.767, beating four-time World Champions Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken (GER: 1:23.770) and Latvians Martins Bots and Roberts Plume (1:23.980).

The men’s Singles race on Sunday was a wild affair, with 2017 World Champion Wolfgang Kindl leading after the first run. But he faded to third on the second run and Germany’s Max Langenhan came up from sixth with the fastest second run in the field and they tied for the win at 1:47.997! German Johannes Ludwig, winner of the first two races of the season, was third (1:48.030).

● Nordic Combined ● It’s still early in the season, but Norway’s Jarl-Magnus Riiber, the three-time defending World Cup champion, is looking set for a fourth title.

In Otepaa (EST), Riiber won the first of two 97 m/10.0 km events in 23:27.2, with teammate Espen Bjoernstad second in 23:35.5 and German Manuel Faist third. It’s Riiber’s third straight World Cup win and fourth in five events this season.

Sunday’s race saw Riiber win again, in 23:33.2, with Germany going 2-3: Fabian Riessle (+33.5) and Julian Schmid (+33.7).

The women’s World Cup had the third straight Norwegian 1-2 on the season, with Gyda Westvold Hansen winning the 97 m/5 km program on Saturday in 13:47.7, just 1.8 seconds up on Ida Marie Hagen and 24.3 seconds ahead of Japan’s Yuna Kasai. Sunday’s results were almost the same: Westvold won her fourth race – without a loss – this season in 13:47.4, trailed by Hagen (+49.0) with Marte Leinan Lund (+49.4) completing the Norwegian medals sweep.

● Ski Jumping ● Both the men and women were in Klingenthal (GER), jumping off the 140 m Vogtland Arena hill, with Austria’s Marita Kramer continuing to dominate the women’s season.

She won both events, on Friday and Saturday, both times ahead of Norway’s Silje Opseth: 247.9-245.3 and 260.3-239.0. For Kramer, a Team gold medalist at the 2021 Worlds, it’s her fourth win in six competitions this season and she now has 12 career World Cup titles.

The men’s opener on Saturday was another Austrian victory, the 22 career win for three-time World Champion Stefan Kraft. He scored 267.0 to overcome Norway’s Halvor Egner Granerud (262.0) and Polish star Kamil Stoch (261.9).

Japan’s 2019 World Cup champ Ryoyu Kobayashi – returned to the tour after a Covid positive – won for the second time this season on Sunday, scoring 262.8 off the 140 m hill to edge Norway’s Daniel Andre Tande (260.2) and Marius Lindvik (256.6).

● Snowboard ● Lots of action on the weekend, with the Snow Cross crowd in Montafon (AUT), where home favorite Alessandro Hammerle won over American Nick Baumgartner; Hammerle has won both races this season.

The women’s race went to 2021 World Champion Charlotte Bankes, over Australian Belle Brockhoff and 2017 Worlds silver medalist Chloe Trespeuch.

The Halfpipe season opened at Copper Mountain, Colorado, with Japan taking 1-3 in the men’s final behind Ruka Hirano (89.25) and Yuto Totsuka in third (87.75). Swiss Jan Scherrer was second (88.50); American Taylor Gold was fifth, with teammates Chase Josey sixth and three-time Olympic champ Shaun White eighth.

The women’s Halfpipe winner was Chinese star Xuetong Cai (80.50), ahead of Sena Tomita (JPN: 76.00) and Queralt Castellet (ESP: 70.50).

In Bannoye (RUS), the Parallel racing season started with a Giant Slalom and a first career World Cup win for Sangho Lee (KOR: 1:12.82), beating Germany’s Stefan Baumeister (1:13.61). Sunday’s Slalom saw Lee back in the final again, but finishing second to 41-year-old Andreas Prommegger (AUT) by 0.27 seconds, the 20th career individual World Cup win for the Austrian. Fellow Austrian Arvid Auner won the bronze, his second career World Cup medal.

The women’s Parallel Giant Slalom was a win for the home favorite, Russia’s Sofiya Nadryshina, 18, with her third individual World Cup gold. She finished in 1:17.17 to slide past Germans Ramona Theresia Hofmeister (1:18.12), with Carolin Langenhorst winning the bronze-medal race.

The Slalom race on Sunday was won by 2019 World Champion Julie Zogg (SUI), beating Japan’s Tsubaki Miki in the final. Russian Anastasiia Kurochkina was third, edging Hofmeister in the bronze race.

● Speed Skating ● The Calgary Olympic Oval was the site for the ISU Speed Skating World Cup, with a second straight win for three-time Mass Start World Champion Joey Mantia of the U.S.

This time, however, he continued his success in the men’s 1,500 m, which he won last week at Salt Lake City. His time of 1:41.86 was a clear winner over Canada’s Connor Howe (1:42.42), but was not what Mantia, now 35, was looking for:

“I was just tired. I had a big weekend last weekend and I thought I would be ready again this week, but I’m not.

“I flew in Wednesday, had a hard workout Thursday and I was pretty tired after that workout. I was questioning whether or not I’d be able to do anything this weekend. So it’s nice to know that even not prepared, or not what I think I should be to win, I’m able to hit the podium at least.

“The only thing I care about this year at all is winning a gold medal at the Olympics – multiple hopefully. So anything before that, the world record would have been icing on the cake.

“Maybe I could try again after the season or something, I don’t know. It’s always gonna be something that I want. I don’t think I’m not capable of it still.”

The U.S. picked up more hardware in the women’s racing. In the two 500 m sprints, Russian Olga Fatkulina won the first race over Japanese star Nao Kodaira, 36.726-36.817, with Angelina Golikova (RUS) third and American Erin Jackson fifth. In the second race, Golikova (36.669) won over Kodaira (36.764), but with Jackson picking up her sixth medal in eight races this season in 36.921.

The women’s 1,000 m was a win for Kodaira (1:12.510), this time over American star Brittany Bowe (1:12.543), with Fatkulina and Golikova finishing 3-4. Bowe has now medaled in all four races this season at 1,000 m and is in position to win the seasonal title: she leads Kodaira, 222-192, with one race to go.

Bowe came back on Sunday to win the 1,500 m in 1:52.054, ahead of Nana Takagi (JPN: 1:52.063) and Ayano Sato (JPN: 1:52.193). With one race remaining, Sato is leading Bowe, 188-184 in the seasonal points race, with Japanese star Miho Takagi close in third (180).

Italian star Francesco Lollobrigida won her first race of the season in the 3,000 m (3:54.437) over Canada’s Isabelle Weidemann (3:55.334), and then doubled in the women’s Mass Start, winning in 8:29.510 over Canada’s Ivanie Blondin (8:29.710).

In the men’s racing, Swede Nils van der Pohl, the world-record setter in the 5,000 m, won in Calgary easily, by 6:04.293-6:09.342 over Davide Ghiotto (ITA) with the returning Canadian star Ted-Jan Bloemen, the PyeongChang 10,000 m gold medalist, third. Albertus Hoolwerf (NED) won the Mass Start easily, by 7:38.880 to 7:46.360 for Belgium’s Bart Swings, the 2018 Olympic silver medalist.

The 500 m sprints went to Laurence Dubreuil (CAN: 33.778) and Russian Viktor Mushtakov (33.903). The men’s 1,000 m was a win for China’s Zhongyan Ning (1:06.656), trailed by American Jordan Stolz (1:06.968), just 0.31 behind.

The U.S. men, who set a world record in the Team Pursuit last week, won again in Calgary, but this time without Mantia. Casey Dawson, Emery Lehman and Ethan Cepuran finished in 3:35.592, well clear of runner-up Norway (3:36.242).

● Weightlifting ● The 2021 World Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent (UZB) will continue through the 17th, with more weight classes completed over the weekend.

In the men’s 73 kg class, Tokyo bronze medalist Rahmat Abdullah (INA) moved up to gold, lifting a combined total of 343 kg to edge Albania’s Briken Calja (342 kg). At 81 kg, Bulgaria’s Karlos Nasar won his first Worlds medal – a gold – at 374 kg combined, over Iran’s Mirmostafa Javadi (367 kg). Nasar won thanks to a world-record Clean & Jerk lift of 208 kg, eclipsing the mark of 207 kg by Xiaojun Lu (CHN) from the 2019 Worlds in Thailand.

The women’s 59 kg winner was Tokyo gold medalist Hsing-chun Kuo, who won her fifth world title at 230 kg, also winning the Clean & Jerk portion (130 kg) and second in Snatch (100 kg). Colombia’s Yenny Alvarez got the silver at a combined 226 kg. Egypt’s Neama Said won the women’s 64 kg class at 233 kg for her first-ever Worlds medal, just one kg better than Wen-huei Chen (TPE), the Tokyo bronze medalist.

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