HIGHLIGHTS: World Indoor shot record for Ryan Crouser; Chloe Kim and Jamie Anderson score Snowboard golds, two skating wins for Brittany Bowe!

American speed skating star Brittany Bowe (USA). (Photo: ISU)

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Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:

Alpine Skiing ● The women’s racing at Crans-Montana (SUI) was a showcase for 2018 Olympic Downhill champ Sofia Goggia and continued the breakthrough season for American Breezy Johnson.

Two Downhills and a Super-G were on tap, and Goggia won both, giving her medals in all five Downhills this season and four golds. She won the first in 1:10.20, just 0.20 in front of Czech star – and fellow 2018 Olympic gold medalist – Ester Ledecka (CZE: 1:10.30), with Johnson third in 1:10.67. It’s the fourth straight bronze medal in a World Cup Downhill for Johnson, who had never won a World Cup medal coming into the season.

Goggia followed up with a second win in 1:27.75, 0.27 seconds ahead of Lara Gut-Berhami (SUI) and 0.60 in front of Elena Curtoni (ITA). Johnson finished fifth in 1:28.64, missing a medal by just 0.30. These results keep Goggia in front in the seasonal Downhill points table with 480 after five races, with Johnson second at 285.

Gut-Berhami, the 2016 World Cup overall champion, won Sunday’s Super-G, ahead of Austrian Tamara Tippler and Italian star Federica Brignone. It was Gut-Berhami’s 28th career win, of which half have been in the Super-G.

The men’s speed racers were in Kitzbuehel (AUT), with weather affecting the expected schedule. Friday’s Downhill was the 14th career World Cup gold for Swiss star Beat Feuz, and came 370 days after his last win, at Wengen (SUI) on 18 January 2020. Feuz’s 1:53.77 time was just 0.16 better than home favorite Matthias Mayer (1:53.93), with Italy’s Dominik Paris third (1:54.33).

Saturday’s Downhill had to be postponed to Sunday and the Super-G to Monday (25th). No problem for Feuz, however, who won again in 1:55.29, 0.17 better than France’s Johan Clarey and 0.38 in front of Mayer.

Athletics ● The first American Track League meet, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, drew a star-studded field hungry to compete, and they did not disappoint.

Ryan Crouser did what he almost always does: throw well past 22 m, but he exploded for a world indoor shot put record of 22.82 m (74-10 1/2) in the first round, besting the old 22.66 m (74-4 1/4) mark set by Randy Barnes (USA) at the Sunkist Invitational in 1989!

He reached “only” 21.03 m (69-0) in the second round, surpassed Barnes’s mark again in the third round, at 22.70 m (74-5 3/4), then fouled in the fourth and fifth rounds. He finished at 22.48 m (73-9) and now owns the two best indoor throws in history and four of the top six.

Quite a start for me for 2021,” Crouser said afterward. “It feels like it’s been a long road to get back. I felt like I had a ton of energy on the first throw. I just wanted to relax and feel the rhythm. You was just really patient on that.

“I feel like there’s more there: first meet, first throw. The consistency was pretty good. We’re in heavy training right now, I’m excited for when we taper down.”

In addition to Crouser, world-leading marks were set in:

Men/60 m: 6.48, Trayvon Bromell (USA)
Men/400 m: 45.03, Fred Kerley (USA)
Men/60 m Hurdles: 7.35, Grant Holloway (USA)

Women/300 m: 35.92, Gabby Thomas (USA)
Women/400 m: 51.76, Quanera Hayes (USA)
Women/60 m Hurdles: 7.86, Tonea Marshall (USA)

Holloway ran away from the field on the way to a clear win; his 7.35 equals his all-time best from 2019 and the equal-fourth-fastest ever. His 7.38 in the heats was also a world leader and was the equal-15th fastest ever at the time.

Thomas’s 300 m win moves her to no. 7 all-time, and no. 2 all-time U.S. Among the other women’s winners was Vashti Cunningham, in the high jump at 1.90 m (6-2 3/4).

At College Station, Texas, Texas A&M frosh Athing Mu continues to impress, winning the women’s 600 m at the Texas Aggie Invitational in 1:25.80, shattering the collegiate mark of 1:26.56 by Delisa Walton-Floyd (Tennessee) from 1981! Even so, it’s not as fast as Mu’s 1:23.57 from 2019, the no. 2 performance ever.

Baylor junior K.C. Lightfoot backed up his collegiate record of 5.94 m (19-5 3/4) with a win at 5.90 m (19-4 1/4). He missed three times at 5.05 m (19-6 1/4).

Badminton ● The $1,000,000 Toyota Thailand Open finished on Sunday with some of the same results as the Yonex Thailand Open a week ago, especially in the men’s and women’s Singles.

Another match between no. 1-ranked Tzu Ying Tai (TPE) and Spain’ 2016 Olympic Champion Carolina Marin ended with another Marin win, this time in straight sets by 21-19, 21-17. The men’s Singles title was won again by Dane Viktor Axelsen, this time in an all-Denmark final against Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghaus, 21-11, 21-7.

More of the same in the doubles finals, as Yang Lee and Chi-Lin Wang took the men’s title for the second week in a row, again over a Malaysian pair, but this time it was Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh, 21-13, 21-18. In Mixed Doubles, the Thai duo of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai took their second straight title, beating Seung-Jae Seo and YuJung Chae (KOR) by 21-16, 22-20.

The only new winners in this week’s tournament were So-Yeong Kim and Hee-Yong Kong (KOR), who won the women’s Doubles over So-Hee Lee and Seung-Chan Shin (KOR), 21-18, 21-19.

Biathlon ● The IBU World Cup stopped in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy, for the last competition before the World Championships in Slovenia in February.

The women’s competition marked the first World Cup without a Norwegian winner. Austria’s Lisa Theresa Hauser won the 15 km Individual event and was third in the 12.5 km Mass Start as the only women’s double medalist. France’s Julia Simon won the Mass Start event for the second straight week, followed by Swede Hanna Oberg and Hauser. Ukraine’s Yuliia Dzhima won her country’s first World Cup medal of the season – men or women – in the 15 km and Anais Chevalier (FRA) was third. Seasonal leader Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (NOR) was 31st and 7th in the two races, but is still in front.

Seasonal men’s leader Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) won his fourth race of the season in Sunday’s 15 km Mass Start (35:44.2), trailed by France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet (+31.3) and Slovenia’s Jakov Fak (+44.2). Russian Alexander Loginov won the 20 km Individual race on Friday (48:41.8), almost a minute ahead of Sturla Holm Lagreid (NOR: +58.5) and Fillon Maillet (+1:10.6).

Bobsled & Skeleton ● The IBSF World Cup reached its penultimate stop in Koenigssee (GER), for a full slate of races, but with the usual results: Germany in the winner’s circle.

Superstar Francesco Friedrich piloted the winning men’s 2-man and 4-man sleds once again: that’s 10 of 11 in the 2-man this season and 3 for 3 in the four-man. Countryman Johannes Lochner, his most consistent challenger – and the only pilot to beat Friedrich this season – was second for the sixth time this season in the 2-man, 1:38.69-1:38.89, with Benjamin Maier (AUT) third. Friedrich won the 4-man race over Maier for the second straight week, with Lochner third.

Germany’s Kim Kalicki, who had won medals in five of the prior six races in the 2-women sled, won for the first time this season, edging teammate Stephanie Schneider, 1:41.71-1:41.96. American Elana Meyers Taylor, riding with Sylvia Hoffman, finished third in 1:42.17; Kaillie Humphries and Lauren Gibbs of the U.S. were sixth (1:42.30).

Humphries and Meyers Taylor ran 1-2 in the women’s Monobob races, which will debut in the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Humphries won her second race of the season, won both runs and was 0.62 better than Meyers Taylor. Germany’s Schneider was third (+0.75).

For the second consecutive stop, Germans swept the Skeleton races, with Alexander Gassner winning for the second time in a row, and Jacquelline Loelling winning her third medal in the last four races.

Gassner was second-fastest on both runs, totaling 1:39.88, just good enough to get by PyeongChang Olympic champ Sung-bin Yun (1:39.92) and Russian Alexander Tretiakov (1:40.01). Loelling won her 12th career World Cup gold, coming back from third-fastest after the first run to fastest on the second. Her total time of 1:42.30 was 0.47 better than Anna Fernstaedt, a first-time medalist this season, and 0.63 ahead of overall leader Janine Flock (AUT), who finished third (tied with Canadian Jane Chanell). American Katie Uhlaender was seventh (+1.25).

Football ● The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Colombia, 6-0, on Friday in Orlando, Florida to sweep the two-friendly series by a combined 10-0 score.

The game got out of hand early, with Catarina Macario scoring her first National Team goal just three minutes in. Megan Rapinoe scored in the 33rd minute and on a penalty just before halftime for a 3-0 advantage. The three second-half goals came from Lynn Williams (60th minute), Lindsey Horan (73rd) and Midge Purce (86), her first National Team score.

The U.S. had 67% of the possession and out-shot the visitors by 33-2. Next up is the SheBelieves Cup, also in Orlando from 18-24 February.

Freestyle Skiing ● A massive Ski Cross program was held at Idre Fjall (SWE) from 20-24 January, with three competitions each for men and women at the site of this year’s World Championships next month.

The first race was a tight final with French star Bastien Midol crossing first, ahead of Viktor Andersson (SWE) and Francois Place (FRA). But the Saturday and Sunday races both belonged to Canadian Reece Howden, 22, who won his third and fourth career World Cup golds. On Saturday, he finished ahead of Swiss Jonas Lenherr and German Niklas Bachsleitner, and on Sunday, it was Swiss Ryan Regez taking silver and Lenherr collecting the bronze.

Howden, the seasonal points leader, has now won four of the seven races this season.

Four-time World Championships medalist Fanny Smith (SUI) has been even more dominant on the women’s side, winning the first and third races for her fourth and fifth wins in the seven races this season. She won the first race (on the 20th) over Canada’s Marielle Thompson and Swiss Talina Gantenbein, and Sunday’s slide, just ahead of Alizee Baron (FRA) and Thompson.

Saturday’s racing saw Baron win her second career World Cup gold, beating teammate Marielle Berger Sabbatel and Smith to the line.

The Aerials competition in Moscow (RUS) was a showcase for Russian star Maxim Burov, the 2019 World Champion, who won his fourth straight event without a loss this season. He was a clear winner, scoring 126.24, with American Christopher Lillis second (116.74) and Swiss Noe Roth third (103.54).

The U. S. picked up a win in the women’s Aerials, with the aptly-named Winter Vinecki winning her first-ever World Cup medal! Already a noted marathoner and triathlete, the 22-year-old from Michigan scored 94.11 to edge Australia’s Laura Peel (92.72) and Marion Thenault (CAN: 90.59).

Handball ● The 27th IHF men’s World Championship continues in Egypt, with the group stage complete and the second round almost complete, and the competition heading to the quarterfinals starting on the 27th.

The winners in the group stage included Hungary, Spain, Croatia, Denmark, France, Portugal, Sweden and the “Russian Handball Federation.” In the second round, Hungary and Spain are poised to advance to the knock-out round in Group I, but will finish play on Monday. In Group II, defending champ Denmark is through to the knock-outs, and Monday’s play will determine the second qualifier among Argentina, Croatia and Qatar.

In Group III, France finished undefeated at 5-0 and qualified with Norway (4-1) for the quarterfinals. Sweden (3-0-2) and host Egypt (3-1-1) advanced from Group IV.

Luge ● The next-to-last World Cup of the season was in Innsbruck, Austria, with mostly the same results: German victories.

German superstar Felix Loch kept his record perfect in the standard races this season with his eighth straight win in 1:39.771, coming from second on the first run to the fastest on run no. 2. He finished just 0.006 better than first-run leader Semen Pavlichenko (RUS) and 0.216 faster than third-placer Johannes Ludwig (GER).

Loch had won one of the two Sprint races coming into the weekend, but managed a bronze this time, with Pavlichenko winning over Italy’s Kevin Fischnaller, 32.341 to 34.421. Loch timed 32.428.

The Doubles provided a huge shock with a win by Italy’s Ludwig Rieder and Patrick Rastner, who had the fastest first run and second-fastest final run to edge the Latvian brothers Andris and Juris Sics, 1:19.436-1:19,517, with seasonal leader Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller third (1:19.520). For Rieder and Rastner, it was their second medal of the season, as they won a bronze in the season-opening Spring race in Innsbruck last November!

Andris and Juris Sics won the Doubles Sprint, ahead of Steu and Koller, with Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken (GER) third.

The women’s race saw a GeGlennrman 1-2 as Natalie Geisenberger won for the second week in a row, 1:19.728-1:19.810 over Julia Taubitz, maintaining Geisenberger’s seasonal lead. American Summer Britcher was third (1:20.014) for the first U.S. medal of the World Cup season; teammate Ashley Farquharson was eighth.

Taubitz came back to win the Sprint, 30.041-30.070 over Geisenberger, with Dajana Eitberger completing the German sweep in third (30.132). Britcher was fourth, Farquharson was seventh and Emily Sweeney eighth for the U.S.

The sliders head to Koenigssee (GER) next week for the World Championships.

Nordic Skiing ● The FIS Cross Country World Cup continued in Lahti, Finland, after a two-week break following the Tour de Ski, with Norway’s stars returning to the startling line in a big way.

Distance superstar Theresa Johaug won her third gold of the season, in the 15 km Skiathlon, with a 7.5 km Classical and 7.5 km Freestyle leg. She led a Norwegian sweep, followed by Helene Marie Fossesholm and Heidi Weng, but Johaug finished 28.1 seconds ahead of everyone. American Jessie Diggins, the seasonal leader, was fifth, and leads with 991 points over teammate Rosie Brennan (824 points) and Yuliya Stupak (RUS: 802).

The men’s 30 km Skiathlon (15 km Classical + 15 km Freestyle) was another Norwegian sweep, but this time of the top four places, with Emil Iversen first across the line in 1:10:18.4, followed by Sjur Roethe (+0.4), Paal Golberg (+6.6) and Simen Hegsted Krueger (+9.5). It was Iversen’s second medal of the World Cup season and his first win.

The Nordic Combined World Cup was also in Lahti, jumping off the 130 m hill and in a 10 km race, with 2017-18 World Cup champ Akito Watabe (JPN) claiming his first win of the season, by 10.8 seconds over seasonal leader Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway. Japan’s Ryota Yamamoto was third (+25.1).

The men’s Ski Jumping World Cup, again in Lahti, was a showcase for the best moustache in winter sports – that’s Robert Johansson of Norway – who scored 265.9 on the 130 m hill to best Germans Markus Eisenbichler (264.2) and Karl Geiger (264.0). Norway’s Halvor Egner Granerud still has the seasonal lead by 1,006-796 over Eisenbichler.

The women’s Ski Jumping World Cup tour was in Ljubno (SLO), for the first competition in more than a month, this time off a 94 m hill. Norway’s Eirin Maria Svandal, 19, won her first World Cup gold, scoring 244.2 to edge Ema Klinec (SLO: 242.8) and Marita Kramer (AUT: 238.1).

Snowboard ● The first and only scheduled Halfpipe event of the season was held in Laax (SUI), along with the first of three events in Slopestyle.

Japan’s Yuko Totsuka, the 2019 Worlds silver medalist, won the Halfpipe at 95.25, 1.5 points up on three-time World Champion Scotty James (AUS: 93.75) and well ahead of teammate Ruka Hirano (JPN: 88.25).

PyeongChang Olympic champ Chloe Kim of the U.S. won the women’s event (and the seasonal title) with a score of 89.75, easily defeating Japan’s Mitsuki Ono (76.50) and Sena Tomita (75.75). It was Kim’s third win at Laax and eight career World Cup gold.

The U.S. also got a gold in the women’s Slopestyle from veteran Jamie Anderson, 30, who collected her 10th World Cup victory. Her second-try jump scored 84.35 and was the best of the day, ahead of Australians Zoi Sadowski Synnott (82.96) and Tess Coady (74.18).

The men’s Slopestyle event was won by Swede Niklas Mattson, his second career World Cup win. He scored 84.28 to out-pace Leon Vockensperger (GER: 78.90) and Norwegian veteran Marcus Kleveland (78.30).

The Snowcross World Cup season finally got started in Chiesa in Valmalenco (ITA), with two events each for men and women. The last two World Cup champions, Italy’s Michela Moioli and Czech Eva Samkova won the two races, with American Faye Gulini second in both. Samkova finished third on Saturday and Julia Pereira (FRA) was third on Sunday.

The men’s Snowcross races were won by Glenn de Blois (NED) on Saturday, his first World Cup medal, at age 25. He edged Eliot Grondin (CAN: 19), who won his second career World Cup podium, and Lorenzo Sommariva (ITA), who took his third career World Cup medal. American veteran Hagen Kearney was fourth.

Speed Skating ● The ISU World Cup season opened in a sequestered environment for the first of two straight weeks in Heerenveen (NED), with the Dutch sweeping the men’s events, but American Brittany Bowe taking the women’s 1,000 m and 1,500 m.

Bowe, now 32, a three-time World Champion, won the 1,500 m in 1:53.881 over Dutch stars Irene Wust (1:54.575) and Antoinette de Jong (1:54.710), then won the 1,000 m on Sunday ahead of Dutch skaters Jorien ten Mors and Femke Kok, 1:13.607-1:13.943-1:14.076.

Said the winner: “I came into that race really confident. But you never know what you’re going to get or give at World Cup level. For that to be the fastest time I ever did in Thialf, it goes to show that I’m really strong.”

“We had to wear masks in training and only at times where we gave full effort were we allowed to take it off. You just kind of adapt and go. Anytime I started feeling sorry for myself, I would think of the Canadians who had no ice [the Calgary Olympic Oval was shut down in September due to a mechanical malfunction]. Someone’s always got it worse than you.”

Kok won the 500 m over Russian Angelina Golikova, 37.809-37.304, with Bowe finishing 14th. In the 3,000 m, Irene Schouten led a Dutch sweep in 3:57.155, follow by de Jong and Joy Beune, and Schouten won the Mass Start race, ahead of Canada’s Ivanie Blondin.

The men’s sweep by the Netherlands included wins for Dai Dai Ntab at 500 m, Thomas Krol at 1,000 m and 1,500 m (American Joey Mantia was seventh), then Patrick Roest and Sven Kramer finishing 1-2 in the 5,000 m. The Mass Start race was won by Arjan Stroetinga (NED); Mantia finished 15th.

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