HIGHLIGHTS: Shiffrin opens season with 70th World Cup win; Zhou surprises at Skate America; U.S.’s Nedoroscik wins Pommel Horse gold

American skiing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin

Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:

● Alpine Skiing ● The FIS Alpine World Cup season opened in Soelden (AUT) with Giant Slaloms for men and women and the return of American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin to the top of the podium.

Shiffrin trailed Swiss rival Lara Gut-Behrami by 0.02 seconds after the first run, but stormed down the hill with the fastest second run (1:04.40) and ended with a tight, 2:07.22-2:07.36 win for the 70th World Cup victory of her career. It was her first in Soelden since 2014.

Gut-Behrami was second and Slovakian star Petra Vlhova (2:08.52) was third. American Nina O’Brien was ninth.

Swiss Marco Odermatt recorded his fifth career World Cup win on Sunday, edging Austria’s Roland Leitinger, 2:05.94-2:06.01. American River Radamus was sixth (2:06.62).

The skiers will rest for a month and then start the season in earnest in Levi (FIN) on 20-21 November.

● Athletics ● Another weekend, another world road record, as Ethiopia’s Letsenbet Gidey mauled the Half Marathon mark, winning in Valencia (ESP) in 1:02:52, destroying the 1:04:02 mark by Kenyan star Ruth Chepngetich in April.

Sunday’s race was the debut at the distance for Gidey, who won the 10,000 m bronze in Tokyo and owns the world records on the track for 5,000 m (14:06.63 in 2020) and 10,000 m (29:01.03 in 2021).

Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw was a distant second, but also under the old mark at 1:03:51, and Kenyan Sheila Chepkirui was third at 1:04:53.

The men’s race was also speedy, won by Abel Kipchumba (KEN) in a world-leading 58:07, followed by Rhonex Kipruto (KEN: 58:09) and Daniel Mateiko (KEN: 58:26), with seven under 59 minutes.

For Kipchumba, he moves to no. 6 on the all-time list (no. 6 performance) and Kipruto’s time is the seventh-fastest performance in history.

Olympic bronze medalist Bashir Abdi (BEL) won the always-fast Rotterdam Marathon in 2:03:36, no. 2 on the world list for 2021.

Abdi beat Kenya’s Marius Kipserem (2:04:04: no. 6 in 2021) and Dawit Wolde (ETH: 2:04:27) to the line and is now equal-14th fastest ever, in his sixth career marathon.

Kenyan Stella Barsorio won the women’s race in 2:22:08 over Natalya Lehonkova (UKR: 2:30:28) and Bornes Kitur (KEN: 2:30:41).

● Badminton ● The BWF Thomas and Uber Cup in Aarhus, Denmark got new champions as the 2020 tournament was finally played – thanks to Covid – in 2021.

In the Thomas Cup (for men), Indonesia won its first title since 2002, defeating China in the final by 3-0. The Chinese had won six of the last eight.

The Uber Cup final (for women) saw China sail past Japan, 3-1, in the final, for its 10th victory in the last 12 editions of the event.

In the Victor Denmark Open that concluded on Sunday, home favorite – and Tokyo Olympic champ – Viktor Axelsen won the men’s Singles over no. 1-ranked Kento Momota of Japan by coming from behind: 20-22, 21-18, 21-12.

Japan won three other divisions, with Akane Yamaguchi winning the women’s Singles, Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi winning men’s Doubles and Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino taking the women’s Doubles. China’s DongPing Huang and Yu Zheng won the Mixed Doubles.

● Cycling ● Germany, the Netherlands and Italy dominated the UCI World Track Cycling Championships in Roubaix (FRA), with Dutch sprinter Harrie Levreysen and Germany’s Lea Friedrich both taking three golds each.

Lavreysen, the Olympic champ in the Sprint, won his third Worlds Sprint title over teammate Jeffrey Hoogland, then also won the Keirin over Hoogland and teamed with Hoogland and Roy van den Berg to win the Team Sprint.

Hoogland got an individual gold in the 1,000 m Time Trial. American Ashton Lambie won the only U.S. men’s medal with a win in the Individual Pursuit. France’s Donovan Grondin and Benjamin Thomas won the Scratch and Points races, respectively and Italian star Elia Viviani took the Elimination Race. Danes Lasse Norman Hansen and Michael Morkov won the Madison and Ethan Hayter (GBR) won the Omnium.

German women won six of the 11 races, with Friedrich winning the 500 m Time Trial, Keirin and teaming with Emma Hinze (who won the Sprint) and Pauline Grabosch to win the Team Sprint. Lisa Brennauer won the Individual Pursuit and led the German Team Pursuit squad to victory.

Italy got wins from Martina Fidanza in the Scratch Race and Letizia Paternoster won the Elimination Race. Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky won the Points Race and British star Katie Archibald won the Omnium. Amy Pieters and Kirsten Wild (NED) won the Madison.

American Jennifer Valente, the Tokyo Omnium champ, won bronzes in the Scratch and Elimination races, giving her a career total of 11 Worlds medals at just age 26!

The UCI Women’s World Tour concluded on Saturday with the famed Ronde van Drenthe race in the Netherlands, won by home favorite Lorena Wiebes in a final sprint ahead of Italy’s Elena Cecchini and Eleonora Gasparinni, with all times in 4:07:34 for the 134.1 km route.

The final seasonal standings saw Dutch star Annemiek van Vleuten win her second title with 3,177 points, well ahead of Demi Vollering (NED: 2,563).

In Sakarya, Turkey, the first of two weeks of BMX SuperCross World Cup racing was held, with Swiss Simon Marquardt winning the first race over French veteran Joris Daudet. On Sunday, it was Colombia’s Carlos Ramirez – the Tokyo bronze medalist – who got to the line first in 35.682, over Romain Racine (FRA: 36.276).

American Felicia Stancil – fourth in Tokyo – won the first women’s race, out-distancing Czech Elena Bartunkova, 37.656-38.445. Stancil was strong again on Sunday, but Dutch star Laura Smulders – the 2018 World Champion – prevailed by 39.603-39.829.

● Figure Skating ● American Vincent Zhou won his first ISU Grand Prix title with a sterling 295.56-point performance at Skate America at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, finishing well ahead of Japan’s Shoma Uno (270.68) and World Champion Nathan Chen (USA: 269.37). Zhou won both the Short Program and the Free Skate, while Chen was fourth and second, with his worst finish in a Grand Prix since 2016. American Jimmy Ma was fifth (228.12).

Russians took the top two places in the women’s skating, with Alexandra Trusova taking her third Grand Prix title at 232.37 points, winning both the Short Program and Free Skate. Daria Usacheva was second (217.31) and Korea’s Young You (216.97) third. American Amber Glenn finished sixth (201.02).

In Pairs, Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov won easily at 222.50, ahead of Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara (JPN: 208.20) and Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii (RUS: 205.53). Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were fourth (202.97) and Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson fifth (197.42).

The U.S. claimed gold and silver in Ice Dance, with Worlds silver medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue winning at 209.54, followed by Madison Chock and Evan Bates (208.23), both finishing well ahead of Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen (CAN: 190.13).

● Football ● The U.S. Women’s National Team played to a dreary 0-0 tie with South Korea on Thursday (21st) in Kansas City, ending a 22-game win streak on home soil thanks to star goalkeeping from Younggeul Yoon for the visitors.

The U.S. had a 19-8 edge in shots and 8-1 on goal, but Yoon was equal to the challenge every time. American keeper Adrianna Franch had only one shot to face, but saved a dangerous shot near the end of the first half.

The U.S. women will face the Koreans once again, in what is expected to be the final game of Carli Lloyd’s brilliant international career, on Tuesday (26th) in St. Paul, Minnesota at 8 p.m. Eastern time (shown on FS1 and TUDN).

● Freestyle & Snowboard ● The FIS World Cup seasons got going in Chur (SUI), with Big Air events in both disciplines and big results for the local favorites.

In Freestyle, Swiss fans cheered home hero Matej Svancer – the 2021 World Junior Champion – to a tight win in the men’s Big Air, scoring 99.00 to just edge Canada’s Teal Harle (98.00) and Norway’s Birk Ruud (97.25); all three got their scores on their second (final) run. The women’s event was won by 2019 World Champion Tess Ledeux (FRA), who beat 2018 Olympic Slopestyle winner Sarah Hoefflin (SUI), 95.25-93.25.

In Snowboard, Swiss Jonas Boesiger won his first career World Cup title, easily winning the men’s division by 162.00-141.00 over Finn Rene Rinnekangas. It was 16-year-old Kokomo Murase (JPN) with an upset in the women’s competition, taking her first career World Cup title and beating 2018 Olympic champ Anna Gasser (AUT), by 173.75-150.00.

● Gymnastics ● The 50th World Gymnastics Championships in Kitakyushu (JPN) produced several surprises, not the least of which was a Worlds gold for American Stephen Nedoroscik on the Pommel Horse.

Second in the qualifying at 15.366, Nedoroscik received the best score in the final for execution at 8.766 and won with 15.266 points, ahead of co-silver medalists Hao Weng (CHN) and Kaya Kazuma (JPN), both 14.900. American Alec Yoder was fifth (14.766).

It was the first-ever Worlds Pommel Horse title for the U.S. and first men’s gymnastics Worlds golds since Danell Leyna won on Parallel Bars in 2011!

The U.S. men also got a bronze on the Horizontal Bar from Brody Malone for his first career Worlds medal.

The men’s All-Around saw Olympic champ Daiki Hashimoto drop to silver, as China’s Boheng Zhang won by 87.981-87.964. The difference ended up being on Rings, where Zhang scored 14.600 to Hashimoto’s 13.966. Ukraine’s Ilya Kovtun was third (84.899) and American Yul Moldauer was fourth (84.365), the best American finish in the men’s All-Around since 2010.

The individual events went to Nicola Bartolini (ITA: 14.800) on Floor, beating Minami Kazuki (JPN: 14.766); Xingyu Lan (CHN: 15.200) over Marco Lodadio (ITA: 14.866) on Rings; Carlos Yulo (PHI: 14.916) defeated Yonekura Hidenobu (JPN: 14.866) on Vault; Huwei Hu (CHN: 15.466) bested Yulo (15.300) on Parallel Bars (Moldauer was fifth), and Hu (15.166) outscored Tokyo winner Hashimoto (15.066) on the Horizontal Bar with Malone third.

Many of the stars of the Tokyo Games skipped this Worlds, and the U.S. women entered a team of emerging stars. The American women won three medals – one silver and two bronzes – but missed out on a Worlds gold for the first time since the 2006 event.

In the All-Around, Olympic bronze medalist Angelina Melnikova (RUS) was the favorite and won in a tight battle with Americans Leanne Wong and Kayla DiCello, 56.632-56.340 and 54.566.

Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade won the Vault – as she did in Tokyo – scoring 14.966, ahead of Italy’s Asia D’Amato (14.083); China’s Xiaoyuan Wei (CHN) took the Uneven Bars (14.733) ahead of Andrade (14.633); Urara Ashikawa (JPN) won the Beam at 14.100, with Pauline Schaefer-Betz (GER: 13.800) second, Wong fourth and DiCello eighth, and Japan’s retiring Mai Murakami won on Floor, scoring 14.066, with Melnikova second (14.000) and Wong third (13.833); DiCello was fifth.

● Ice Hockey ● The “My Why Tour” between arch-rivals Canada and the U.S. opened with a 3-1 Canadian win in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday (22nd).

Canada went up, 1-0, on a Sarah Fillner goal in the first period, but Hayley Scamurra tied for the U.S. in the second period. But two goals from Emily Clark in the third period – one on a power play – proved to be too much for the Americans. The U.S. out-shot Canada, 29-19, but it didn’t matter.

The tour will continue on Monday (25th) with a re-match in Hartford, Connecticut (shown on NHL Network).

● Shooting ● The ISSF President’s Cup in Shotgun was held in Larnaca, Cyprus, ending on Sunday, including good performances from two U.S. stars.

In the Men’s Skeet final, it was Gabriele Rossetti (ITA) with the win; American Vincent Hancock – the Tokyo gold medalist – was fourth. The women’s division saw Austen Smith of the U.S., still just 20 and the youngest 2021 U.S. Olympian in shooting, defeated Slovakian star Danka Bartekova, 33-32 for the victory.

In Trap, Tokyo silver winner David Kostelecky (CZE) won the men’s final by 31-29 over countryman Jiri Liptak (the Tokyo gold medalist), and Spain’s 2015 World Champion, Fatima Galvez, edged Olympic silver medalist Kayle Browning of the U.S. in the women’s event by 32-29.

● Short Track ● The ISU World Cup opener in Beijing was also the test event in advance of the 2022 Winter Games.

The races were highly competitive, with five different countries winning the six individual events. Hungarian star Sandor Shaolin Liu took the 500 m Sprint in 40.711; Korea’s Daeheon Hwang won the men’s 1,000 m (1:26.020) and Russia’s Semen Elistratov won the 1,500 m (2:18.285).

The women’s 500 m was an impressive win for Natalia Maliszewska (POL): 43.226); Dutch star Suzanne Schulting won the 1,000 m (1:28.275) with American Kristen Santos third (1:28.433), and Korea’s Yubin Lee won the 1,500 m (2:21.833) with Santos third again (2:22.176).

● Swimming ● The third leg of the FINA (25 m) World Cup was held in Doha (QAT), with five-time World 25 m Championships gold medalist Daiya Seto of Japan showing he is in form, even though Japan will not be sending a team to the 2021 World 25 m Championships in December due to quarantine restrictions.

Seto won four events in Doha, taking the men’s 200 m Breast, 200 m Fly and the 100 m and 400 m Medleys. He was followed by South Africa’s Peter Coetzee, who won all three Backstroke events – 50-100-200 m – and three men who won twice: Matthew Sates (RSA: 400 m Free, 200 m Medley), American Tom Shields (50-100 m Flys) and Dutch star Arno Kamminga (50-100 m Breast).

The top women’s winner was Dutch backstroker Kira Toussaint, who won the 50-100-200 m events, and Russian Breaststroke star Yuliya Efimova, who won the 50-100-200 m events in that stroke. The double women’s winners included Swiss Maria Ugolkova (100-200 m Medleys), Madison Wilson (AUS: 200-400 m Frees), Emma McKeon (AUS: 100 Free, 100 m Fly), Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Jakabos (200 m Fly, 400 m Medley) and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED: 50 m Free, 50 m Fly).

You can receive our exclusive TSX Report by e-mail by clicking here. You can also refer a friend by clicking here, and can donate here to keep this site going.

For our 743-event International Sports Calendar for 2021 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!