HIGHLIGHTS: Nick Itkin wins first career Foil Grand Prix with win over Olympic champ Garozzo

American fencing star Nick Itkin (Photo: FIE/Augusto Bizzi)

Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:

Although most of the action this weekend was on snow and ice, the U.S. men’s Foil fencers made a major impression at the Challenge International de Paris over the weekend. American Nick Itkin won the individual title by defeating Rio Olympic champion Daniele Garozzo of Italy in the final, his first career World Cup victory.

The win moved Itkin up to no. 5 in the FIE World Rankings, giving the U.S. four stars in the top ten, including Race Imboden (4th), Itkin, Gerek Meinhardt (8th) and Alexander Massialas (9th). Remember to check on the men’s Foil results this summer in Tokyo!

ALPINE SKIING ● A busy weekend on the slopes was a good one for 26-year-old Swiss Daniel Yule. He won the Slalom at Madonna di Campiglio (ITA) on Wednesday (8th) and then took the Sunday Slalom race in front of home fans at Adelboden (SUI), for his second and third career wins. Second in both races was Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen, who now has the overall seasonal lead with 611 points to 533 for France’s Alexis Pinturault. Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec took the Giant Slalom in Adelboden on Saturday. Full results here.

The women were in Altenmarkt in Austria, with Corinne Suter (SUI) getting her first win of the season (and third medal) in the Downhill on Saturday. Italy’s Federica Brignone won the Alpine Combined of the season on Sunday over two-time Combined World Champion Wendy Holdener of Italy. Full results here.

The women will be in Flachau (AUT) on Tuesday for a Slalom and another opportunity for Mikaela Shiffrin to extend her 261-point seasonal World Cup lead.

ARCHERY ● The World Archery Indoor World Series moved to Oceania for the Sydney Indoor Archery Festival, with the home team dominating the men’s action with a sweep of the medals for David Barnes defeated James Gaze, 6-4, for the victory and Taylor Worth won the bronze over New Zealand’s Ben McLean, 6-2. Same for the women, as Madeline Boyle defeated Sarah Haywood, 6-5, in the women’s Recurve final and Melissa Spinocchia took the bronze, Full results here.

BIATHLON ● The fourth stop on the IBU World Cup tour was in Oberhof (GER), and showcased seven-time World Cup Champion Martin Fourcade of France, who won both the 10 km Sprint and the 15 km Mass Start. By winning both, Fourcade took over the seasonal lead with a 387-374 edge over reigning champ Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR). Could Fourcade win again?

The women’s Sprint was won by Marte Olsbu Roiseland, ahead of Germany’s Denise Hermann; Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen won the 10 km Mass Start, ahead of Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff and Roiseland. Italy’s Dorothea Wierer has the seasonal lead at 390 points over Eckhoff (381). Full results here.

BOBSLED & SKELETON ● The fourth stop of eight on the 2019-20 World Cup tour was in La Plagne (FRA) and it was another sweep for German superstar Francesco Friedrich. The 2018 Olympic champ in both the two-man and four-man, he won both, ahead of Latvia’s Oskars Kibermanis (2-man) and teammate Johannes Lochner (4-man), with Kibermanis third. Germany’s Laura Nolte teamed with Deborah Levi to post her first win of the season in the two-women race. Americans Kaillie Humphries and Lauren Gibbs were fourth for the second week in a row.

Russians won both of the Skeleton races, with Alexander Tretiakov winning his second race of the season, and Elena Nikitina taking her second in the women’s division. Full results here.

FENCING ● A huge weekend on the pistes, with five different Grand Prix or World Cup event ongoing!

In the Sabre Grand Prix in Montreal (CAN), France’s 34-year-old Bolade Apithy defeated 2910 Worlds bronze medalist Luca Curatoli (ITA) in the final, 13-12. The women’s title went to the evergreen Olga Kharlan (UKR), who won her 16th Grand Prix title by beating Russian Olga Nikitina in the final, 15-7.

In the men’s Epee World Cup in Heidenheim (GER), Hungary’s Gergely Siklosi defeated Sangyoung Park (KOR) in the final, 15-14. It was Siklosi’s first career World Cup gold. Hungary also won the team event over France.

The men’s Foil World Cup in Paris (FRA) was a big win for 20-year-old American Nick Itkin, who won his first World Cup gold with an impressive final win over Italy’s 2016 Olympic Champion Daniele Garozzo (ITA), 15-9. The win moves Itkin up to no. 5 in the FIE World Rankings and continues to strengthen the best event for the U.S. The American team of Itkin, Race Imboden, Gerek Meinhardt and Alexander Massialas won the team title, defeating Italy by 45-36 in the final.

The women’s Epee World Cup in Havana, Cuba was a victory for Poland’s Aleksandra Zamachowska, who won her first-ever Grand Prix title by out-dueling Romanian star Ana Maria Popescu, 15-8.

Russian superstar – and 2016 Olympic champ – Inna Deriglazova won the women’s Foil World Cup in Katowice (POL) over surprise finalist Camilla Mancini (ITA), 15-11. It’s the 13th career World Cup title for Deriglazova, who outlasted American Lee Keifer in the semifinals, 15-13. Still just 25, Keifer now has 13 career World Cup medals. Russia also won the team title over France, while the U.S. team was fourth. Click here for a full log of the fencing results.

FREESTYLE SKIING ● The first Slopestyle competition of the season was held in Font Romeu (FRA), with Canada’s Mark Hendrickson winning over Jesper Tjader (SWE) and Cody Laplante (USA). The home fans cheered France’s Tess Ledeux, who won ahead of Swiss Giulia Tanno and Sarah Hoefflin. Full results here.

LUGE ● The FIL World Cup moved to Europe for the remainder of the season, with competition in Altenberg (GER) for men and women. Austria’s surprise Olympic winner David Gleirscher picked up his first win of the season in men’s Singles, ahead of Italian Dominik Fischnaller, who won his fourth medal of the season. Austria’s Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller claimed their first win of the season – after two thirds previously – in the Doubles, beat perennial favorites Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken (GER) by 0.228.

Germany’s Julia Taubitz won the women’s Singles – her third win of the season – well ahead of Russian Tatyana Ivanova, 1:44.264-1:44.436. Full results here.

NORDIC SKIING ● A short schedule in Cross Country, with just a Freestyle Sprint in Dresden (GER) on the weekend, won by Lucas Chanavat (FRA) for the men and Linn Svahn (SWE) for the women. Full results here.

Two races were held in Nordic Combined in Val di Fiemme (ITA), with seasonal leader Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR) and Vinzenz Geiger (GER) going 1-2 in the first event, off a 104 m hill and a 10 km race. But Geiger came back to beat Riiber in the second event, with Norway’s Jorgen Graabak third both times. On the season, Riiber has a 860-582-571 lead over Geiger and Graabak. Full results here.

Also competing at Val di Fiemme were the men’s ski jumpers and it was a big weekend for Germany’s Karl Geiger. He won both events off the 104 m hill, with Stefan Kraft (AUT) and Dawid Kubacki (POL) second and third in both. Those results gave Geiger the seasonal lead by 699-655 over Kraft and reigning champ Ryoyu Kobayashi (JPN). Full results here.

The women were in Sapporo, jumping off a 137 m hill, with Austrians Marita Kramer and Eva Pinkelnig winning, with Norway’s Maren Lundby second both times. Lundby continues as the seasonal leader with 405 points to 330 for Chiara Holzl (AUT). Full results here.

SHORT TRACK ● The International Skating Union took page out of its figure skating program, adding a Four Continents Championship for Short Track to provide an annual event for the rest of the world as a companion to the European Championships.

Montreal (CAN) was the site for 2020, with Korea sweeping the overall titles. Dae Heon Hwang won for the men with 103 points, ahead of Steven Dubois (CAN: 65) and Ji Won Park (KOR: 37). The women’s title went to Min Jeong Choi (136) over teammate Whi Min Seo (KOR: 47).

Hwang and Dubois went 1-2 in the 500 m, 1,000 m and 1,500 m, with Park and Dagyeom Kim (KOR) winning gold and silver in the 3,000 m Superfinal.

Choi won all four of the women’s races; the best U.S. finish was a third place in the 1,500 m by Maame Biney. Full results are here.

SNOWBOARD ● The third Parallel Giant Slalom was held in Scuol (SUI), with Andrey Sobolev (RUS) taking the men’s race over Austria’s Benjamin Karl. The women’s race was the third straight win for Germany’s Ramona Hofmeister, with Russians Sofia Nadyrshina and Milena Bykova finishing 2-3. Full results here.

VOLLEYBALL ● The fields for the Tokyo 2020 volleyball tournaments were filled out with continental qualifying tournaments held for Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America.

The winners over the weekend for the men included Tunisia, Iran, France, Venezuela and Canada. They will join host Japan, Brazil, the United States, Italy, Poland, Russia and Argentina in the Olympic tournament. More here.

The women’s qualifiers were Kenya, South Korea, Turkey, the Dominican Republic and Argentina. They will contest with host Japan, Serbia, China, the United States, Brazil, Russia and Italy. More here.

Coming up this week are more winter events, but also the two legs of the FINA Champions Swim Series, both to be held in China. The first event will be in Shenzhen on 14-15 January and the final show on 18-19 in Beijing. Not to be outdone, the second stage of USA Swimming’s Tyr Pro Swim Series will be held from Thursday through Sunday in Knoxville, Tennessee.