HIGHLIGHTS: Richardson screams 10.74 and 10.77 at Mt. SAC + five world leaders (Benjamin 47.13!); Swiss win, U.S. women get Worlds Curling bronze

World 100 m leader Sha'Carri Richardson (USA) (Photo: USATF/Josh Gurnick)

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

Archery ● The Easton Foundation Gator Cup in Newberry, Florida was the second leg of the USA Archery World Team Trials for 2021, with familiar names at the top of the standings.

World Champion Brady Ellison was the clear winner in the men’s Recurve division, scoring 687/700 from the 70 m line, followed by Jack Williams (668), Tom Stanwood (660) and Joonsuh Oh (653). Ellison and Williams are 1-2 in the Team Trials standings, with one more event to go.

Rio Olympian Mackenzie Brown won the women’s Recurve division with 659 points, beating 15-year-old Gabrielle Sasai on having more 10s, 33-25. Casey Kaufhold, 17, was third with 639, ahead of Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez (628). Brown and Kaufhold are  now tied at the top of the World Team Trials.

In the elimination finals on Sunday, Ellison faced off against Rio Olympic teammate Zach Garrett, winning three tight ends by 29-27,. 29-26 and 29-28 for a 6-0 victory. Williams won the bronze by 6-2 over Michael Plummer.

Brown and Kaufhold met for the women’s title, with Brown winning by 6-0 (30-26, 27-23 and 29-28). Mucino-Fernandez took the bronze, shutting out Nicole Turina, 6-0.

Athletics ● Sunday’s USATF Golden Games at Mt. San Antonio College had sunshine, a brilliantly renovated Hilmer Lodge Stadium and sensational fields and even without spectators, produced four world-leading marks, and a tie:

Men/400 m hurdles: 47.13, Rai Benjamin (USA)
Men/Pole Vault: 5.91 m (19-4 3/4), Chris Nilsen (USA)
Men/Triple Jump: 17.15 m (56-3 1/4), Will Claye (USA) (equals world lead)
Women/1,500 m: 3:58.36, Elle Purrier (USA)
Women/400 m hurdles: 53.65, Shamier Little (USA)

The men’s 100 m went to former Oregon star Cravon Gillespie, finishing in 9.96 over Isiah Young (9.99) and Chris Belcher (10.01); favored Mike Rodgers did not finish. What about Seattle Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf, who ran the 100 m? He was eliminated in the heats, finishing ninth (and last) in heat two in 10.36, with Gillespie, Rodgers and Britain’s CJ Ujah running 1-2-3 in 10.11. Metcalf’s time is respectable, but he’s no world-class sprinter: 10.36 tied for 366th on the 2019 world list in the 100 m and equal-94th on the U.S. list for that year. So much for football speed.

World Champion Noah Lyles had to watch emerging star Kenny Bednarek pass him in lane six in the 200 m, but Lyles charged into the straightaway and finally caught Bednarek about 7 m from the line and eased in for a 19.90 to 19.94 win (+0.7 m/s). The times move Lyles and Bednarek to nos. 3-4 on the world list, but this was easily the best showing for Lyles in 2021.

In the men’s 400 m, Tokyo medal favorite Michael Norman went out strongly and looking comfortable down the finishing straight, won in 44.40. That’s the no. 2 performance in the world for 2021 and he was unpressed in the last 50 m.

Bryce Hoppel was impressive in winning the 800 m in an American-leading 1:44.94, pulling away from Michael Saruni (KEN: 1:45.18) and Clayton Murphy (1:45.31). Australia’s Ollie Hoare, under pressure to show his fitness in order to get named for the Tokyo team, ran powerfully from the start and out-lasted Justin Knight (CAN) down the straight in lifetime bests for both: 3:33.19 to 3:33.41, the nos. 2-3 performers of the year.

In the 400 m hurdles, Benjamin ran strongly down the back straight, then charged away on the far turn and ran away from an excellent field in 47.13, an astonishing time for a season opener and the equal-14th fastest race in history! It is also the fastest race ever run before 8 June (!), showing how ready Benjamin right now! Wow!

Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands was second in 47.50, a national record and previous world leader Alison dos Santos (BRA) was third in 47.68, also a national record.

Nilsen won the vault at 5.70 m (18-8 1/4) as no one else could claim a higher height. He then went to a world-leading 5.91 m (19-4 3/4) and cleared on his first try, but missed three times at 6.00 m (19-8 1/4). In the men’s triple jump, two-time Olympic silver medalist Claye rallied in the fifth round to win at 17.15m (56-3 1/4), equaling the world best for 2021.

Shot putter Darrell Hill exploded to 22.34 m (73-3 1/2) for third on the world list in 2021; he’s the third over 22 m, and all are Americans, including Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs.

The women’s 100 m was expected to be a showcase for world leader Sha’Carri Richardson, and she delivered. In the heats, she exploded with the no. 2 time in the world for 2021, 10.74, with a +1.1 m/s wind. American Javianne Oliver won the second heat at 10.97. In the final, Richardson got out slowly, then steamed to the lead and ran away from the field in 10.77, the no. 3 performance of the year, but this time into a headwind of 1.2 m/s. The conversion tables say that hurt her time by 0.08, so her win was “worth” 10.69?!? Almost unimaginable, especially in May. Oliver was second in 11.08.

Gabby Thomas won the 200 m in a mass finish with Allyson Felix, Lynna Irby and Jenna Prandini. The time was slightly wind-aided (2.1 m/s), with Thomas at 22.12, then 22.26 for Felix, 22.27 for Irby and 22.30 for Prandini.

British icons Jemma Reekie and Laura Muir came from Europe to star in the 800 m, running 1-2 in 1:58.27 and 1:58.46, the nos. 2-3 performers of 2021. Reekie, who broke through to stardom indoors, passed Canada’s Melissa Bishop-Nriagu (1:58.62) on the home straight and Muir passed her in the final meters as well. Britain’s Adelle Tracy got fourth in a lifetime best of 1:59.50.

In the women’s 1,500 m, Purrier broke away from Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford and American Shannon Osika around the final straight, and smashed her lifetime best of 4:00.77 with a win in 3:58.36, moving her to no. 6 all-time U.S. (and eighth American to break 4:00). DeBues-Stafford finished in 4:00.69 and Osika claimed a personal best of 4:00.73.

World-record holder Keni Harrison won the 100 m hurdles in 12.48 (+2.0 m/s), equaling her seasonal best and equal-no. 2 position on the world list. Cindy Sember (GBR: 12.53) and Tobi Amusan (NGR: 12.61) went 2-3, but note Sidney McLaughlin getting a lifetime best and Olympic qualifying time of 12.56 in fifth!

Little, who has been running brilliantly in the 400 m (49.91 lifetime best), finally ran her specialty and exploded for a world leader in 53.65, She crushed the prior world leader, Puerto Rico’s Gianna Woodruff, who ran a lifetime best and national record of 54.70 in second.

Update: There were no additional world-leading marks in the evening section of distance races. The men’s 3,000 m Steeple was won by American Sean McGorty in 8:20.77, no. 5 on the 2021 world list, with Dan Michalski (USA: 8:21.25) second and Obsa Ali (USA: 8:22.67) third. Former Worlds silver medalist Courtney Frerichs won the women’s Steeple over fellow Americans Leah Falland and Marisa Howard, 9:27.70-9:28.72-9:29.65 for the places 2-3-4 on the 2021 world list. Canada’s Julie-Anne Staehli won the women’s 5,000 m in a lifetime best 15:02.34, and Mason Ferlic (USA) set a lifetime best of 13:24.94 to win the men’s 5,000 m.

At the Ready, Steady Tokyo test event at the Olympic Stadium, American Justin Gatlin led a small continent of star foreigners with a 10.24 win in the men’s 100 m. Qatar’s World Champion in the high jump, Mutaz Essa Barshim, tied with Japan’s Naoto Tobe at 2.30 m (7-6 1/2), no. 3 on the world list (with others) for the year.

Elsewhere, Olympic shot champ Ryan Crouser won the Arkansas Twilight meet in Fayetteville at 22.69 m (74-5 1/2), the no. 2 outdoor mark in the world for 2021. Crouser had four throws over 22 m (72-2 1/4): 22.42 m (73-6 3/4), 22.53 m (73-11), 22.37 m (73-4 3/4), foul, 21.89 m (71-10) and the winner at 22.69 m on his final try. Incredible.

Swiss high jumper Loic Gasch claimed the world lead, clearing 2.33 m (7-7 3/4) in Lausanne on Saturday (8th) and setting a national record.

Germany’s javelin world leader – and 2017 World Champion – Johannes Vetter claimed the no. 2 mark in the world this year with a mighty 91.12 m (298-11) throw to win the European Throws Cup event in Split (CRO) on Saturday. It was his 12th career toss beyond the 90 m mark (295-3).

Curling ● One of the stranger editions of the WCF women’s World Championship was finally completed in Calgary, Canada. While the tournament itself was completed with only one Covid incident – on the German team – at the start of the round-robin, the broadcast of the event was severely disrupted.

Due to positive tests from six broadcast staff on 2 May, television coverage of the event was suspended – although the games continued – until Friday (7th), using a minimal crew for the rest of the tournament.

On the ice, reigning (2019) champs Switzerland dominated the round-robin, compiling a 12-1 record, trailed by Russia (11-2), Sweden (10-3), Denmark (8-5), the U.S. (7-6) and Canada (7-6).

The defending world champion Swiss, skipped by Silvana Tirinzoni, achieved an amazing feat in its game against Denmark, scoring all eight stones in the seventh end, the first time this has been done in World Championships history, on the way to a 13-4 win. Wow!

In the quarterfinals, the U.S., skipped by Tabitha Peterson, edged Denmark (Madeleine Dupont) by 8-7 with a point in the 10th end. Sweden (Anna Hasselborg) eliminated Canada (Kerri Einarson) by 8-3 after piling up a 5-1 edge after the first five ends.

Switzerland and Tirinzoni then defeated the U.S. for the second time in the tournament in the semifinals, 7-3, scoring in five of the nine ends. Russia, skipped by Alina Kovaleva, raced off to a 6-1 lead against Hasselborg and Sweden after five ends, mostly thanks to a four-point fourth end. But the Swedes closed to 7-6 before both teams scored in the final ends and the Russians moved on to their second Worlds final ever, 8-7.

In the final, the Swiss jumped out to a 3-1 lead after four ends, but this was a taut, defensive battle. Russia scored once in the eight end to close to 3-2, but Tirinzoni & Co. added a point in the 10th end and won, 4-2. It was Switzerland’s sixth world title – 2012-13-15-16-19 – in the last nine championships and second straight for Tirinzoni!

Russia, hardly known as a curling power, won its fifth Women’s World Championships medal – and second silver – in the last six editions.

Peterson and her U.S. teammates – Nina Roth, Becca Hamilton, Tara Peterson and Aileen Geving – won the bronze medal with a 9-5 victory over Sweden. The difference was the seventh end, where the U.S. came from 4-2 down to score five points and take a 7-4 lead that it did not relinquish. It’s the first U.S. medal in the women’s Worlds since a silver (to Sweden’s gold) in 2006!

Cycling ● The first of the 2021 Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia, got underway in Turin on Saturday, with home favorite – and World Time Trial Champion – Filippo Ganna leading a 1-2 Italian finish.

Ganna finished the flat, 8.6 km course in 8:47, 10 seconds ahead of Edoardo Affini (ITA) and 13 seconds up on Tobias Foss (DEN).

Sunday’s second stage was a fairly flat sprinter’s course of 179 km from Stupinigi to Novara, with Belgium’s Tim Merlier getting to the line first ahead of Italians Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Viviani, with Dylan Groenewegen (NED) fourth and Peter Sagan (SVK) fifth, all in 4:21:09.

The 2021 route includes five flat stages, nine hilly stages and seven climbing stages (21 total), with the decisive final week featuring five mountain routes in the final eight stages, half of which have uphill finishes! Ouch!

The projected contenders for one of cycling’s great prizes include:

● 2019 Tour de France winner Egan Bernal (COL)
● 2017 Giro bronze medalist Mikel Landa (ESP)
● 2020 Giro fourth-place Joao Almeida (POR)
● 2018 Vuelta a Espana winner Simon Yates (GBR)
● 2016-17 Tour de France medalist Romain Bardet (FRA)
● 2013-16 Giro d’Italia champ Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)

The sprint stages will be contested by a great line-up, including Fernando Gaviria (COL), Caleb Ewan (AUS), Sagan, Viviani and many more.

The 2021 UCI BMX World Cup got underway in Verona (ITA) with races on Saturday and Sunday, with the Swiss enjoying a nice weekend with four medals across the four finals.

Swiss Simon Marquardt won Saturday’s men’s final in 35.093, a clear victory over Arthur Pilard (FRA: 35.518) and Argentina’s Nicolas Torres (35.850). Teammate David Graf led a 1-2 with Marquardt on Sunday, timing 34.912-34.958, with Dutch star – and former World Champion – Niek Kimman third (35.205).

Dutch stars Judy Baauw and Merel Smulders went 1-2 in the women’s Saturday final, 35.982-36.021, with Sae Hatakeyama (JPN) third in 36.353. Americans Payton Ridenour, Felicia Stancil and Ashley Verhagen went 4-5-6.

Sunday’s women’s final saw 2018 World Champion Laura Smulders – Merel’s older sister – take the win in 35.120, ahead of Zoe Claessens (SUI: 35.440) and Russian Natalia Afremova (35.960). Merel Smulders was fourth and Stancil was seventh.

Albstadt, Germany was the site for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, but it was two French stars who carried away the victories in the featured Cross Country races.

Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel led the men’s race in the early stages, then gave way to Brazil’s Henrique Avancini. But while Swiss stars Nino Schurter (the 8-time World Champion) and Mathias Flueckiger battled at the front, France’s Victor Koretzky moved up to challenge and when Schurter made his move on the final lap, Koretzky stayed close, then surged ahead and won by just two seconds: 1:20:23 to 1:20:25, with Flueckiger third (1:20:46) and Czech Ondrej Cink fourth (1:20:48).

The women’s race was a runaway for 21-year-old Loana Lecomte, who rushed to the lead and was never headed, winning by 53 seconds in 1:21:38, ahead of reigning World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA: 1:22:31), with Americans Haley Batten (1:22:53) and 2018 World Champion Kate Courtney (1:22:58) third and fourth.

In the 9.5 km Short Track race, van der Poel won in 20:39, just two seconds ahead of Koretzky (20:41) and three seconds up on Schurter (20:42). Ferrand Prevot won the women’s 8.3 km Short Track event in a four-way fight over Linda Indergand (SUI), 20:37-20:38, with Annie Last (GBR) and Courtney third and fourth, both in 20:39.

Diving ● With China sending only a couple of athletes, Great Britain was the big winner at the twice-delayed FINA World Cup in Tokyo, Japan.

After winning both of the men’s synchro events last week, two-time World 10 m Champion Tom Daley won the men’s Platform title, outscoring Mexico’s Randal Willars, 541.70-514.70, with Canada’s Rylan Wiens third (488.55).

The men’s 3 m Springboard title went to Germany’s Martin Wolfram (467.75), ahead of Britain’s James Heatly (461.25) and Alexis Jandard (FRA: 434.25).

China sent 2017 women’s World 3 m Champion Yani Chang and 2019 World 1 m Champion Yiwen Chen to Tokyo and they won the 3 m Synchro event easily and went 1-3 in the 3 m Springboard event. Chen won at 383.55, ahead of American Sarah Bacon (348.75) and Chang (344.40, continuing after hitting the board with her legs in the semis). Bacon was the silver medalist in the World 1 m event in 2019, behind Chen.

In the women’s 10 m, Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong – the 2016 Olympic silver medalist – won in Tokyo, scoring 355.70, defeating Japan’s Matsuri Arai (342.00) and Caeli McKay (CAN: 338.55).

This was a significant test event for the Tokyo organizers, with 224 athletes from 46 countries competing, in contrast to most events with solely Japanese competitors. The event, once it started, went smoothly enough to be a confidence booster for the Games.

Gymnastics ● The FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku (AZE) saw Russia score a 1-3 finish in the All-Around with second-line stars Daria Trubikova (98.800) and Lala Kramarenko (97.600) sandwiched around Bulgarian star Boryana Kaelyn (98.525). Of note was the fifth-place finish of Israeli star – and three-time Worlds All-Around medalist – Linoy Ashram, a Tokyo medal contender, but who scored only 96.575 on Saturday. American Laura Zeng was ninth (91.500).

In the Sunday apparatus finals, Ashram was on a mission, winning in Hoop (27.150) and Clubs (27.800) and also finishing fifth in Ball (25.750). Kramarenko (26.850) and Alina Harnasko (BLR: 26.600) were the other Hoop medal winners and Zeng finished sixth (24.450).

In Clubs, Kaleyn (27.400) and Kramarenko (27.150) finished 2-3 and Kaelyn, Harnasko and Katrin Taseva (BUL) went 1-2-3 in Ribbon: 24.300-23.450-21.500. Italian star Alexandra Agiurgiuculese won in Ball (26.350), followed by Trubnikova (26.100) and Kaelyn (26.100).

Ice Hockey ● The 2021 IIHF men’s World U-18 Championships was completed on 6 May, with Canada winning its fourth title in this competition, 5-3, over Russia.

The event was held in Frisco (Comerica Center) and Plano (Children’s Health StarCenter) in Texas, with Canada sweeping through Group A (4-0) and then through the three playoff rounds to win the title with a combined score of 51-12. Finland won Group B ahead of Russia, with both earning a two wins, one overtime win and one overtime loss (9 points). The U.S. was third, with one win, two overtime wins and one overtime loss (8 points).

Russia, Canada, Finland and Sweden won the quarterfinal games; the Swedes eliminated the U.S., 5-2. Canada stomped Sweden by 8-1 in its semi and Russia slid past Finland, 6-5, in their rematch from the group stage. Canada won the final, 5-3, while Sweden shut out the Finns, 8-0, in the third-place game.

Matvei Michkov of Russia led in goals (12) and points (16) and was named Most Valuable Player and Best Forward by the tournament committee. The top keeper was Canada’s Benjamin Gaudreau (2.20 goals-against average) and the top defenseman was Finland’s Aleksi Heimosalmi.

Judo ● A rare week-day IJF World Tour Grand Slam in Kazan, Russia drew 407 athletes from 79 countries, with the home team dominating with four wins and 15 total medals. Japanese competitors claimed three wins and France two.

The home team claimed victories in the men’s 66 kg class (Murad Chopanov), men’s 73 kg (Makhmadbek Makhbedbekov) and men’s +100 kg (Tamerlan Bashaev), plus Madina Taimazova in the women’s 70 kg division.

Japan earned golds in the men’s 90 kg class with Sanshiro Murao and the two lightest women’s classes: 48 kg (2019 Worlds runner-up Funa Tonaki) and 52 kg (2019 World Champion Uta Abe).

The 2019 World Champion in the men’s 60 kg class, Lukhumi Chkhvimiani (GEO), won in Kazan, beating Russia’s Robert Mshvidobadze in the final.

Wrestling ● The UWW World Olympic Qualifier was filled with drama in Sofia, Bulgaria, as the final tickets for Tokyo were handed to the finalists in all 18 divisions (six each for men’s and women’s Freestyle and for Greco-Roman).

Russia earned four additional spots in Tokyo, the most of any country, with Sergey Kozyrev winning the men’s Freestyle 125 kg class, and Olga Khoroshavtseva (53 kg), Veronika Chumilova (57 kg) and Lyubov Ovcharova (62 kg) all winning in the women’s Freestyle tournament.

The U.S. gained no additional qualifiers. Jordan Oliver lost in the semifinals at 65 kg in men’s Freestyle and finished fifth. In Greco-Roman, Jesse Porter (77 kg) lost in the Round of 16 and Adam Coon (130 kg) lost in the quarterfinals.

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