Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:
● Alpine Skiing ● The FIS Alpine World Cup finished up on Sunday in Lenzerheide (SUI), surviving cancellations due to the coronavirus and the usual bad weather, to crown two new seasonal champions.
American Mikaela Shiffrin was a long-shot to pull out a seasonal win in Saturday’s Slalom, but ran into a hot Katharina Liensberger of Austria, who led after the first run, with Shiffrin third. But Liensberger poured on the gas in the second run and won convincingly, 1:49.77-1:51.01 over Shiffrin, who was third on the first run and second on the final time down the hill. Swiss Michelle Gisin was third (1:51.72), and American Paula Moltzan was seventh.
All that combined for Liensberger to take the seasonal Slalom title with 690 points, to 655 for Shiffrin and 652 for early-season leader Petra Vlhova (SLO).
But even with her sixth-place finish, Vlhova clinched the overall title over Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami and Gisin as the speed events were canceled earlier due to bad weather.
Sunday’s Giant Slalom looked like a possible season-ending win for Shiffrin, who led after the first run. But New Zealand’s Alice Robinson zoomed to the fastest clocking of the day, 1:07.63 on the second run and took over from Shiffrin (1:08.68) second run for a 2:19.48 total, ahead of Shiffrin’s 2:19.76, with Meta Hrovat (SLO: 2:19.96) third. Italy’s Marta Bassino won the seasonal G-S title at 546 points to 420 for Shiffrin and 391 for Tessa Worley (FRA).
All told, Vlhova finished with 1,416 points to 1,256 for Gut-Behrami, 1,130 for Gisin and 1,075 for Shiffrin.
As the Downhill and Super-G were lost to bad weather, Sofia Goggia (ITA) won the seasonal Crystal Globe for the Downhill with 480 points to 410 for Corinne Suter (SUI) and 383 for Gut-Behrami. Gut-Behrami won the Super-G title with 525 points over Federica Brignone (ITA: 323) and Suter (310).
In the men’s division, France’s Alexis Pinturault won his fifth race of the season in Saturday’s Giant Slalom and clinched his first World Cup overall title, ahead of Swiss Marco Odermatt and Austria’s Marco Schwarz.
Pinturault won four Giant Slaloms during the season and won that discipline with 700 points to 649 for Odermatt and 606 for Croatia’s Filip Zubcic. On Saturday, Zubcic finished second and France’s Mathieu Faivre was third.
Schwarz had already locked up the seasonal Slalom title going into Sunday’s finale, won by Austria’s Manuel Feller over Clement Noel (FRA) and Pinturault, 1:47.24-1:47.32-1:47.35. Schwarz ended with 665 points to 553 for Noel and 503 for Ramon Zenhaeusern (SUI).
Pinturault finished with 1,260 points to 1,093 for Odermatt and 814 for Schwarz.
With the speed events canceled, Swiss Beat Feuz was the seasonal Downhill champion, beating Matthias Mayer (AUT) and Dominik Paris (ITA) by 486-418-338. Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr took the Super-G title by 401-318 over Odermatt, with Mayer third at 276.
● Athletics ● China’s Jaiyu Wang crushed the women’s 20 km Walk world record with a stirring win in 1:23:49 at the Chinese nationals in Huangshan on Saturday (20th).
Rio Olympic champion Hong Liu had the record at 1:24:38 from 2015 in Spain, but Wang and Liu – in second in 1:24:27 – were both under that standard. Worlds silver medalist Shenjie Qieyang was third in 1:24:45, and was the race served as the Chinese Tokyo trials, all three earned a place on their Olympic team.
The men’s race was also a scorcher, with Kaihua Wang winning in 1:16:54, moving to no. 3 on the all-time list and the world leader for 2021. Zelin Cai, the Rio Olympic silver winner, and Lihong Cui went 2-3 with both timed at 1:17:39.
At the Chinese sprint meet in Shenzhen, Bingtian Su claimed the world lead at 100 m with a win in 10.05 and the Chinese 4×100 m relay timed 38.29 for another world lead.
● Badminton ● One of the season’s major events, the All-England Open was played as scheduled in Birmingham (ENG), with some skipping the event due to Covid restrictions, but with seven of the 10 finalists from Japan, and four of five event winners!
The only non-Japanese winner was sixth-seeded Zii Jia Lee (MAS), who upset second-seed Viktor Axelsen (DEN) in men’s Singles, 30-29, 20-22, 21-9. Second-seed Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) dispatched Pornpawee Chochuwong (THA), 21-12, 21-6 to win the women’s Singles.
All of the Doubles matches were all-Japan finals, with Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe beating Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda in men’s Doubles, 21-15, 17-21, 21-11; second-seeded Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagihara defeated top-seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota, 21-18, 21-16 in the women’s final, and Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino eased past Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo, 21-14, 21-13, in the Mixed Doubles.
● Biathlon ● The IBU World Cup season ended in Ostersund (SWE) with a full program that saw Norway clinch a 1-2 seasonal finish in both the men’s and women’s standings.
In just his second World Cup season, 24-year-old Sturla Holm Laegreid (NOR) logged his seventh victory on Saturday in the 12.5 km Pursuit with a convincing win over seasonal leader Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) by 22.5 seconds. Laegreid had two shooting penalties, but Boe had three and that was sufficient. Italy’s Lukas Hofer was third, 32.4 seconds behind.
That meant that Sunday’s 15 km Mass Start race would settle the season title between Laegreid and Boe. However, the winner was France’s Simon Desthieux, who had two shooting penalties and won comfortably in 35:43.7 over Eduard Latypov (RUS: +8.9). Boe finished third, suffering three penalties and was 17.5 seconds behind the winner. That was enough for the seasonal title, as Laegreid finished eighth (+48.4). Boe finished with 1,052 points to 1,039 for Laegreid, with France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet third (930) and Tarjei Boe (NOR) fourth (893).
In the 10 km Sprint held on Friday, Hofer was the winner by 4.0 seconds over Sebastian Samuelsson (SWE), with Norway’s Tarjei Boe third (+14.4).
The women’s season title was already settled for Tiril Eckhoff, who came into Ostersund having won four races in a row. She won one more in the 7.5 km Sprint, finishing 2.5 seconds up on Italian star Dorothea Wierer, despite having one penalty to none for Wierer. Norway’s Ingrid Tandrevold was third (+6.7).
Echkoff’s streak was ended in Saturday’s 10 km Pursuit, won by teammate Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (NOR) in 32:54.8, despite four shooting penalties. Eckhoff also had four, and finished second, 29.3 seconds behind, with Hanna Sola (BLR) third (+44.0).
On Sunday, Tandrevold, 24, won her first World Cup gold despite five shooting penalties, winning the 12.5 km Mass Start in 34:53.1, with Dzinara Alimbekava (BLR) second (+6.9) and Franziska Preuss (GER: +11.1) third.
The final tally showed Eckhoff with 1,152 points to 963 for Roeiseland and 840 for Preuss.
● Cycling ● The sport of cycling is huge in Belgium and Jasper Stuyven is the hero of his country after a thrilling sprint victory in the 112th edition of Milan-Sanremo on Saturday in Italy.
It’s the biggest win of Stuyven’s career – at age 28 – and his second win in a spring Classics race after his victory in front of home fans at Omloop Het Niewusbald in 2020.
The 299 km race had a mid-route rise up the Colle de Giovo, but the decision was always going to depend on the race in from the final descent from the Poggio di Sanremo. Stuyven launched a fierce attack with 2 km left, then was challenged by Denmark’s Soren Kragh Andersen, who took the lead. But Stuyven moved in front for good with less than 1,000 m to go.
He got to the finish line first, just ahead of a mad dash by Australia’s Caleb Ewan, Wout van Aert (BEL), Peter Sagan (SVK) and Mathieu van der Poel (NED), among others. The first 17 riders across the line were given the same time.
The UCI Women’s World Tour lined up on Sunday for the traditional Trofeo Alfredo Binda of of 141.8 km from Cocquio Travisago to Cittiglio, with home favorite Elisa Longo Borghini dominating the race.
The winner of this event in 2013, Longo Borghini attacked with 25 km to go and steadily built a lead of more than a minute with about 7.5 km left and coasted home. The trailing pack was finally led by Dutch star Marianne Vos – the four-time and defending champion in this race – some 1:42 back, ahead of Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (DEN) and Kasia Niewiadoma (POL).
● Fencing ● The FIE World Cup schedule is back on track, with the Epee stars in Kazan (RUS) and familiar faces on the podium.
The men’s tournament ended in a 15-11 win for Ukraine’s Igor Reizlin over Gergely Siklosi of Hungary. For Reizlin, it was his second career World Cup win and fifth career medal, while the 23-year-old Siklosi – ranked no. 1 in the world – won his third career World Cup medal and first silver. Bronzes went to Elmir Alimzhanov (KAZ) and Ahmed El-Sayed (EGY).
The women’s title went to Korea’s no. 2-ranked In-jeong Choi for her second career World Cup win, in a 15-9 duel with Aliya Luty of France, 21, who earned her first World Cup medal. Korean Young Mi Kang and German Ricarda Multerer shared the bronze.
● Football ● The second round of games in the CONCACAF U-23 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Mexico comes later today (Sunday: 21st) with the U.S. playing the Dominican Republic in Zapopan, followed by Mexico and Costa Rica.
The U.S. and Mexico both won their openers and will meet on Wednesday in Guadalajara to complete group play. The top two teams in each group will advance to the tournament semifinals, with the two winners obtaining a berth in the Tokyo Olympic tournament.
● Freestyle Skiing ● Due to the coronavirus and the weather, the one and only Halfpipe World Cup this season was held as part of the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen, Colorado (USA) on Sunday.
American Aaron Blunck won his sixth career World Cup gold – and the seasonal title – with a come-from-behind win, scoring 96.50 points in the third round to move up from ninth! Canada’s Brendan MacKay led for most of the competition with his 92.75 score in the first round and even with a 95.00 routine in the third round, it wasn’t enough. New Zealand star Nico Porteous had the most consistent series of the day with scores of 84.75, 94.50 and 94.00 and finished third.
Canada’s Rachel Karker took the women’s event and seasonal title at 93.25, just ahead of Britain’s Zoe Atkin (91.50) and Americans Brita Sigourney (89.00) and Devin Logan (85.50).
In the Aspen Slopestyle competition, Americans grabbed a 1-2 in the men’s event, with Colby Stevenson winning here after a silver in the World Championships, over teammate Mac Forehand (19). Stevenson’s first run scored 89.58 and would have been enough to win, but he improved in the third round with the final score of 91.40. Forehand’s 86.60 in the first round was his best, with Swede Henrik Harlaut third (84.46). In the women’s competition, France’s Tess Ledeux won for the second time in two World Cup events, posting the best scores of the day in the second round (82.17) and again in the third round (83.90). Second was Kirsty Muir (GBR: 81.00) and Anastasia Tatalina (RUS: 78.55) was third. World Champion Eileen Gu (CHN) was fourth at 74.91.
The final Ski Cross World Cup was held Sunday in Veysonnaz (SUI), with Germany’s Florian Wilmsmann scoring his only win of the season, outlasting Jonathan Midol (FRA) and Tim Hronek (GER) in the men’s final. Canada’s Reece Howden won the seasonal title with 691 points over Jonas Lenherr (SUI: 405).
World Champion Sandra Naeslund (SWE) won her second event of the year and finished with gold or silver in her last four races in the women’s final. She finished ahead of Swiss star Fanny Smith and France’s Alizee Baron. Smith was the easy winner in the seasonal standings, piling up 945 points to 495 for Baron and 475 for Marielle Thompson (CAN).
● Nordic Skiing ● In Nordic Combined, Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber finished off his third straight World Cup overall title with two wins in the final stop of the season, in Klingenthal (GER). Jumping off a 140 m hill plus a 10.0 km race, Riiber barely beat former World Cup champ Akito Watabe (JPN) by 0.7 seconds on Saturday, with Johannes Lamparter (AUT: +1:05.3) third.
On Sunday, Riiber led a Norwegian 1-2, winning in 24:43.6, with Espen Bjoernstad (NOR) second by 3.7 seconds, and Fabian Riessle (GER: +17.2) third. For the season, Riiber scored 1,140 points, easily ahead of Vinzenz Geiger (GER: 810) and Watabe (757).
In Ski Jumping, the women’s tour landed in Nizhny Tagil (RUS) for two weeks of jumping in the second Russian Blue Bird Tour. Jumping off the 97 m Tramplin Stork hill, Austria’s Marita Kramer – who won three of the first four events of the year – won on Saturday and Sunday.
She out-pointed Japan’s Sara Takanashi on Saturday, 232.1-224.1, with Slovenia’s Nika Kriznar third (218.1). On Sunday, Kramer – still just 19 – upped her game to score 243.1, ahead of Kriznar (232.3) and Takanashi (230.0).
With two more events coming next week, the seasonal battle is right, with Kriznar at 751 points and Takanashi – a four-time World Cup winner – at 746, and Kramer rising at 660.
● Shooting ● American shooters were in good form in the opening events of the 12-day ISSF World Cup in New Delhi (IND).
Mary Tucker, 19, started the party, leading a 1-2 finish in the women’s 10 m Air Rifle, scoring 251.5 to edge Alison Weisz (250.4) with Hungary’s Eszter Denes third (230.2). Then Lucas Kozeniesky followed with his own win in the men’s 10 m Air Rifle; his score of 249.8 just edged Istvan Peni (HUN) at 249.7 with Divyansh Panwar (IND: 228.1) third.
Kozeniesky, Will Shaner and Tim Sherry combined to win the men’s Team Air Rifle by 15-14 over India. The U.S. women finished second to Denmark in the women’s Team Air Rifle, 16-8.
India scored three golds during the tournament’s first weekend. Yashaswini Deswal won the women’s 10 m Air Pistol, scoring 238.8 to 236.7 for teammate Manu Bhaker, with Viktoria Chaika (BLR) third at 215.9. Indian teams also won the women’s Air Pistol (over Poland) and the men’s Air Pistol (over Vietnam).
Iran’s Javad Foroughi took the men’s 10 m Air Pistol, edging India’s Chaudhary Saurabh by 243.6-243.2, with Abhishek Verma (IND) third at 221.8.
In Sunday’s men’s Skeet final, Dane Jesper Hansen scored 58 in the final to best Saif Bin Futais (UAE: 51) and Nasser Al-Attiya (QAT: 44). Britain’s Amber Hill took the women’s Skeet title, winning a shoot-off by 4-3 over Zoya Kravchenko (KAZ) after they tied at 51 after the first 60 shots. India’s Ganemat Sekhon (IND) was third at 40.
Competition continues through next Sunday.
● Snowboard ● World Cup competition wrapped up in three disciplines this weekend: SnowCross, Parallel Snowboard and Halfpipe, each in a different location.
The finale in SnowCross was in Veysonnaz (SUI), where Austria’s Alessandro Hammerle got to the line first ahead of American Hagen Kearney and Merlin Surget (FRA) in the men’s final, which confirmed Hammerle’s seasonal win with 430 points. Canada’s Eliot Grondin was second with 304, followed by Surget at 252.
Czech star Eva Samkova won her third race of the season to clinch her third career seasonal title, just ahead of Italy’s Michela Moioli, who finished second in the race and second on the season by just 450-430. Britain’s Charlotte Bankes was third in the race; American Faye Gulini took the seasonal bronze with 302 points.
The Parallel Slalom in Berchtesgaden (GER) was the last of the nine-race World Cup circuit, with Italian Aaron March winning for the second time this season and defeating Alexander Payer (AUT) in the final. Arvid Auner (AUT) won the bronze over Edwin Coratti (ITA). March took the Parallel seasonal title with 424 points to 339 for Andreas Prommegger (AUT), with Dmitry Loginov (RUS: 333) third. March also won the Parallel Slalom seasonal title at 238 points, over Loginov (191).
Swiss Julie Zogg won her second race – and fourth medal – of the season in the women’s Parallel Slalom, this time over German rival Selina Joerg by just 0.06. That gave her the seasonal Parallel Slalom title over Sofia Nadyrshina (RUS), by 295-249, but German Ramona Theresia Hofmeister won the seasonal Parallel overall title, 593-532 over Nadyrshina, with Zogg third (512).
On Saturday, the next-to-last Slopestyle event was held in Aspen, Colorado (USA) with World Champion Marcus Kleveland (NOR) scoring the win in the men’s division with 87.58 points. He topped Olympic champ Red Gerard of the U.S. (82.16) and Canadian Mark McMorris (81.90). The women’s title went to Austria’s Olympic champ Anna Gasser earning her ninth career World Cup gold, scoring 81.90, to 72.30 for American Hailey Langland and 71.91 for Finland’s Enna Rukajarvi.
The second and final World Cup in Halfpipe this season was also held in Aspen, on Sunday, with superstar Chloe Kim winning again and clinching the women’s season title. She put away the competition with her first-round run of 90.50, and was only challenged by Spain’s Queralt Castellet (86.00) and Japan’s Sena Tomita (82.50).
Like Kim, Japan’s Yuko Totsuka completed a short, undefeated season in men’s Halfpipe, winning his second World Cup competition by scoring 91.75 points in the first round. That held up against teammate Raibu Katayama (86.75) and German Andre Hofelich (84.00). Three-time Olympic champion Shaun White of the U.S. finished fourth (81.50).
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