HIGHLIGHTS: World Indoor Series win for Brady Ellison; U.S. women’s 69-game water polo win streak snapped

U.S. shooting star Brady Ellison (Photo: World Archery)

Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:

ALPINE SKIING ● An especially busy week for the women’s World Cup circuit, with a mid-week stop in Flachau (AUT) before the weekend in Sestriere (ITA). Slovakian star Petra Vlhova won the Slalom in Flachau for her third victory of the season, finishing 0.10 ahead of Sweden’s Anna Swenn-Larsson and 0.43 ahead of American star Mikaela Shiffrin.

In Italy, there was a rare tie in the women’s Giant Slalom, with home favorite Federica Brignone and Vlhova finishing in a tie at 2:21.15 for the two runs, with Shiffrin just 0.01 behind! France’s Clara Direz won Sunday’s Parallel Giant Slalom, defeating Elisa Morzinger (AUT) in the final. Shiffren continues to lead the overall standings, 975-726-715 over Vlhova and Brignone after 18 of the 40 scheduled races.

The men’s events were held Wengen (SUI), with Matthias Mayer (AUT) edging French star Alexis Pinturault in the second Alpine Combined of the season, and Swiss star Beat Feuz winning his second Downhill this season, over Italy’s Dominik Paris. In Sunday’s Slalom, France’s Clement Noel got his second win this season, ahead of overall World Cup leader Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway. Full results are here.

ARCHERY ● The famed Nimes Indoor Tournament saw an all-American men’s final and an all-Korean women’s sweep in the fifth of six regular-season tournaments in the World Archery Indoor World Series. Reigning World Champion Brady Ellison won the men’s title over fellow American Jack Williams – 19 years old – with a 6-4 victory in the final.

The women’s final was all-Korean, as Ye-Ji Sim defeated Hye-Jin Chang, 6-0, in the gold final and Chae-Yun Kim eased past Na-Yeon Wi, 6-2, in the bronze final. Full results here.

BADMINTON ● Home fans were happy with the final day of the Indonesia Masters Tournament, as the home favorites won three titles: Anthony Ginting in the men’s Singles (over Denmark’s Anders Antonsen), the top-ranked pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo won the men’s Doubles and Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu won the women’s Doubles. Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon won the women’s Singles title over comeback Carolina Marin (ESP), the 2016 Olympic champ, in a thrilling 21-19, 11-21, 21-18 final. Full results here.

BIATHLON ● The IBU Biathlon World Cup zoomed past the halfway mark in Ruhpolding (GER), with France’s Martin Fourcade continuing to impress.

After 12th in the standings last season, the seven-time champion has roared back, scoring his 80th and 81st individual wins in the 10 km Sprint and 12.5 km Pursuit. He’s now won all four individual World Cup races in 2020 and extended his overall lead to 507-436 over teammate Quentin Filon Maillet, who was second in both races.

The women’s races were swept by Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff, who took the 7.5 km Sprint over Sweden’s Hanna Oberg and the 10 km Pursuit ahead of Paulina Fialkova (SVK). Eckhoff now has six wins on the season – far more than anyone else – and is the overall leader at 501-459 over Italy’s Dorothea Wierer. Full results here.

BOBSLED & SKELETON ● The second half of the IBSF World Cup tour started with another German sweep. Superstar Francesco Friedrich piloted both the winning two-man and four-man sleds, with surprises behind him. Unheralded Brad Hall (GBR) took the two-man silver and Richard Olsner (GER) the bronze; in the four-man, German star Johannes Lochner was second, but Hunter Church piloted the U.S. to an unexpected third-place finish.

Olympic champ Mariama Jamanka (GER) won her first race of the World Cup season, ahead of teammate Laura Nolte, with Americans Kaillie Humphries and Sylvia Hoffmann third.

In Skeleton, six-time World Champion Martins Dukurs (LAT) scored his first win of the season, ahead of 2018 Olympic winner Sung-Bin Yun (KOR). Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling won for the second time this season in the women’s race, with Austria’s Janine Flock third for the third time in 2019-20. Flock is the only racer to have won a medal in all five races! Full results here.

CURLING ● The fourth of six stages of the Grand Slam of Curling had familiar faces atop the podium: Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg and Canadian Brad Jacobs.

Hasselborg skipped the Olympic-winning Swedish team in PyeongChang in 2018, and won a tight final against Korea’s Worlds bronze medalist Min-Ji Kim, 7-5. She had to defeat reigning Swiss World Champion Silvana Tirinzoni in the quarterfinals (7-3) and Olympic bronze medalists Satsuki Fujisawa (JPN) in the semis by 10-5.

Jacobs, the Sochi 2014 Olympic winner, defeated former World Champion Glenn Howard in the quarterfinals, 8-4, then skipped past fellow Canadian Mike McEwen, 6-3 in the semis and John Epping (CAN) in the final by 6-5. Full results are here.

FREESTYLE SKIING ● A fairly light weekend in the Freestyle World Cup, with Ski Cross in Nakiska (CAN) and Slopestyle competitions in Seiser Alm (ITA). In the Ski Cross, Canada went 1-2 in the men’s division with Reeve Howden and Kevin Drury, and Swede Sandra Naeslund taking the women’s event, ahead of Brittany Phelan (CAN).

In the Slopestyle event in Italy, Olympic silver winner Birk Ruud (NOR) won his second gold of the season – the other in Big Air – finishing ahead of Fabian Bosch (SUI) and American Colby Stevenson. American Caroline Claire took the women’s division, ahead of Norway’s Johanne Killi. Links to results are here.

LUGE ● A couple of first-time winners this season marked the FIL World Cup in Lillehammer (NOR), as Dominik Fischnaller (ITA) won the men’s Singles over Semen Pavilchenko (RUS) and Russians Alexander Denisyev and Vladislav Antonov won the men’s Doubles over Austria’s Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller.

The women’s Singles was won by Tatyana Ivanova (RUS) for her fourth victory in seven races on the season, in a tight finish with American Summer Britcher and German Julia Taubitz. Full results here.

NORDIC SKIING ● In Cross Country, World Cup overall leader Alexander Bolshunov won both races in Nove Mesto (CZE), to pad his lead. Bolshunov won the 15 km Freestyle and the 15 km Classical Pursuit, with Ilvo Niskanen second (15 km Free) and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) second in the Pursuit. Norway’s Therese Johaug dominated – once again – both distance races, winning the 10 km Freestyle and the 10 km Classical Putsuit, both over Natalya Nepryaeva (RUS). Full results here.

In Ski Jumping, Poland’s Dawid Kubacki won twice off the 142 m hill in Titisee-Neustadt (GER), over Stefan Kraft (AUT) and Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi in the first event, and then Kobayashi and Timi Zajc (SLO). Austrian Eva Pinkelnig won both of the women’s jumps on the 102 m hill in Zao (JPN), beating Sara Takanishi (JPN) on Friday and Chiara Holzl (AUT) on Sunday. Full results here.

SNOWBOARD ● In the Halfpipe event in Laax (SUI), Australian three-time World Champion Scotty James won for the third straight time this season, with Yuto Totsuka second, also foe the third time in a row. American Taylor Gold took the bronze, preventing Japan’s Ruka Hirano for being third for the third straight time! Spain’s Queralt Castellet won the women’s division, defeating China’s Xuetong Cai and Jaiyu Liu.

The men’s Slopestyle event was won by Sebastien Toutant (CAN) over Olympic champion Red Gerard of the U.S. and teammate Justus Henkes. In the women’s event, American Julia Marino won her fifth World Cup victory, ahead of Japanese star Reira Iwabuchi.

An Italian skier won the Parallel Giant Slalom for the fourth time in six events this season, with Edwin Coratti winning his first medal of the campaign, ahead of two-time winner, teammate Ronald Fischnaller. Czech Olympic gold medalist Ester Ledecka won the women’s event, ending German Ramona Hofmeister’s four-meet winning streak. Hofmeister finished second and Russian Natalia Soboleva was third. Full results here.

SWIMMING ● Lots of action in the pool with both legs of the FINA Champions Swim Series and the second stage of the Tyr Pro Swim Series in the U.S. in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The headline from the University of Tennessee aquatic facility was an excellent 1:56.01 win by triple Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt in the 200 m Freestyle. It’s her third-fastest time since 2012 and stamps her as one to watch at the Olympic Trials. Backstroke world-record holder Regan Smith was outstanding in the 100 and 200 m Back events, setting a national age 17-18 record in the 100 m event in 56.28, the fastest time ever recorded before April 1!

The FINA Champions Series in Shenzhen and Beijing, China, included an impressive win by Japanese star Daiya Seto in Beijing in the 200 m fly in 1:52.53, the no. 3 performance ever. Dutch sprint star Ranomi Kromwidjojo won the most medals over the two meets, collecting four wins and nine total podiums.

Hungary’s famed Katinka Hosszu was everywhere in both meets, competing in six individual events in each meet and taking home – by our count – $96,000 for the four days, including appearance fees. China’s Freestyle star Yang Sun, waiting for a decision on his future eligibility by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, won the 400 m Free in both meets and the 200 m Free in Beijing. Much more here.

WATER POLO ● the U.S. men and women took a long trip for a three-time exhibition series in Brisbane vs. Australia, another of the top teams in the world and perhaps second-best to the Olympic and World Champion American women’s team.

The U.S. managed to win the first game, taking a 7-5 halftime lead and then holding on for a 10-9 win. It was the 69th straight win for the U.S. women. But that streak, which reached back to April of 2018, was snapped in the second game on a goal by Australian captain Rowie Webster on a penalty shot with 30 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. The American women came back to win the finale, 10-7.

The U.S. men won one of three games, losing the opener 13-12, then taking the second game by 10-9 and losing the finale, 14-8. More here.

WRESTLING ● The first of the United World Wrestling Ranking Series events took place in Rome (ITA) at the Matteo Pellicone tournament, and it was a good meet for the U.S.

Among 16 total medals for American entries were tournament wins for Tom Gilman (57 kg), Kyle Dake (74 kg) and Zahid Valencia (86 kg) in men’s Freestyle and Sarah Hildebrandt at 50 kg in women’s Freestyle.

Joe Colon finished second in the men’s Freestyle at 57 kg, losing to Gilman in the final by 4-2; another all-American final saw David Dieringer losing to Valencia at 86 kg, 7-5. Jordan Oliver finished second to India’s Bajrang Bajrang at 76 kg.

In Greco-Roman, Max Nowry won silver at 55 kg, and China’s Feng Zhou upset World Champion Tamyra Mensah-Stock of the U.S. on criteria after an 8-8 tie. Full results are here.