TSX DAILY: U.S. swimmers win 11 medals in one night; world record for Brady Ellison, and Simone Biles ready for history

Tom Shields (USA), winner of the 100 m Fly at the 2019 Pan American Games (Photo: Lima 2019)

= TSX DAILY ~ 8 August 2019 =

| 1. |  PAN AMERICAN GAMES: U.S. swimmers win six of seven events, score 11 medals in one session!

USA Swimming sent essentially its third team to the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, but what a team it is!

During Wednesday’s evening session, the United States won six of the seven events held, had three 1-2 finishes and collected 11 total medals out of a possible total of 13! And against good competition, especially from Brazil:

 200 m FreestyleClaire Rasmus and Meghan Raab went 1-2 in the women’s final, with Rasmus winning by just 0.06, followed by Drew Kibler finishing third in the men’s race, behind a 1-2 finish for Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer and and Bruno Correia.

● 100 m Fly: Veteran Kendyl Stewart won the women’s race in 58.49 ahead of Canada’s Danielle Hanus (58.93) with Sarah Gibson third (59.11).

The men’s race showcased why sport outdraws theater. No matter where in the world, or in what language Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is performed, you know that neither character will make it to the end. American Tom Shields, a relay gold medalist at the 2015 Worlds and 2016 Olympics, finished dead last in the 200 m Fly final on Tuesday – almost five seconds behind everyone else – and tweeted, “No excuses. I’m ashamed. I’m sorry.”

On Wednesday, he was back in the pool for the 100 m Fly. He got off to a late start – seventh out of eight – and was fifth at the turn. But he somehow moved to a different gear, buzzed the field with the fastest second lap by almost 2/10ths of a second and won in 51.59, out-touching Pan American Games record holder Luis Martinez (GUA) by 4/100ths of a second. No need to apologize for this one; he wore the wry smile of vindication on the victory stand (pictured above; courtesy Lima 2019).

● 200 m Back: Americans Alexandra Walsh and Isabelle Stadden were stroke-for-stroke in the women’s final, but Walsh edged ahead in the final 15 m to touch first in 2:08.30, moving to no. 10 on the world list for 2019. Stadden was only 0.09 behind and now ranks 12th. The men’s final was more of the same, with Daniel Carr taking a slight lead on the third lap and then expanding his advantage over Nick Alexander on the way home for another 1-2 and a 1:58.13-1:58.30 win.

● Mixed 4×100 m Free Relay: The U.S. got a reasonable opening leg from Michael Chadwick (49.09), but Nathan Adrian closed the deficit to Brazil with a great second lap and a 47.56 split with Rasmus going third. She held close to Brazil’s Larissa de Oliveira and left U.S. anchor Margo Geer with just a 6/10ths of a second deficit. No problem for Geer, who swam 53.09 to 54.83 for Etiene Medeiros and the U.S. had its sixth gold, 3:24.84-3:25.97.

That’s 19 medals in two nights for the American swimmers and Thursday’s program includes Adrian swimming in the 100 m Free and the Mixed 4×100 m Medley Relay.

The startling success of the U.S. in the pool overshadowed a lot of other great stuff happening in Lima:

● In track & field, American Mike Rodgers won his first individual international championship in his 12-year professional career with a 10.09 victory in the men’s 100 m. He started well as usual, but moved smartly through the middle of the race to establish a clear lead over the fast-charging Paulo Camilo of Brazil and won by 0.07. The victory was all the sweeter as his gold medal was presented by organizing committee guest Carl Lewis, elegantly attired in a suit and tie!

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, the 100-200 m Olympic winner in Rio, had no trouble with the field in Lima, running away in the second half of the race to beat Michelle-Lee Ahye (TTO), 11.18-11.27.

The most exciting event was the men’s shot put, which go crazy in the final round. Brazil’s Darlan Romani was the clear leader at 21.54 m (70-8) and appeared safe, with Canada’s Tim Nedow second at 20.47 m (67-2). But then Mexico’s Uziel Munoz spun the ball out to 20.56 m (67-5 1/2) and Nedow was third. Then Jordan Geist of the U.S., standing fourth, got into his final throw and sent the shot to 20.67 m (67-9 3/4), zooming into second and moving Nedow out of the medals. Nedow couldn’t pass either on his final toss and finished fourth, but then Romani exploded on his final throw, reaching 22.07 m (72-5) and taking the Pan American Games record away from countryman O’Dayne Richards, who finished fifth. Whew!

Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria won a tense duel with Jamaican Tajay Gayle in the long jump, 8.27 m (27-1 3/4) to 8.17 m (26-9 3.4), and Canada’s Damian Warner was a clear winner in the Decathlon with 8,513 points.

● American cycling star Chloe Dygert won her second gold of the Games, taking the 18.5 km Time Trial by more than a minute in 23:36.51. It was an impressive double, after she won a gold with the U.S. Team Pursuit squad in track cycling last Friday!

● In fencing, the U.S. was expected to lead the way and won five of the six individual events, with 2016 Olympic silver winner Daryl Homer winning the men’s Sabre and Katharine Holmes taking the women’s Epee. The team competitions are next.

The Pan Am Games continue through Sunday, and with four competition days left, the U.S. is up to 180 total medals (73-57-50), well ahead of Canada’s 104 (25-41-38) and 102 for Brazil (31-26-45). You can consult the complete results from Lima here.

| 2. | ARCHERY: Stunning world record in Pan Am ranking round for American Brady Ellison

Think about competing in archery, with a bow more than five feet in height and the string so tight it requires 48 pounds of draw weight to shoot each arrow.

Now consider shooting 72 arrows at a target that is 70 m or about 77 yards away. On a football field, that would be shooting from your own 20-yard line to the opponents 3-yard line.

The reigning World Champion, Brady Ellison of the U.S. shot exactly that program on Wednesday in the ranking round of the Pan American Games. He didn’t just hit the target consistently, he shot 55 of his 72 arrows in the 10-ring, plus 15 in the nine-ring and two in the eights. Add it all up and he scored 702 points to set the world record, held by Korea’s Woo-Jin Kim from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

It didn’t win him a medal – this was only the seeding round for the eliminations – but it’s a very meaningful record among archers and places Ellison at the very top of the world as World Champion and world-record holder. Much more on his day (and a photo of the scorecard!) here.

| 3. | GYMNASTICS: Sam Mikulak and Simone Biles going for history at the U.S. Nationals in Kansas City

Both of the defending national All-Around Champions from 2018 are looking for a share of history at the 2019 USA Gymnastics Championships starting on Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City:

● Sam Mikulak, now 26, will be trying for his sixth All-Around national title, which would tie him with Makoto Sakamoto, who won six between 1963-70 for second all-time. The leader in U.S. All-Around national titles in Alfred Jochim, who won seven between 1925-33.

● Simone Biles, still just 22, is also trying for her sixth A-A crown, to tie Clara Schroth, who won in 1945-46-49-50-51-52, for the most ever. During her 2018 triumph, Biles achieved the first Nationals event sweep of her career, not only taking the All-Around, but all four of the individual events as well, for a total of five golds.

Check out the leading contenders for honors and their performances over the last couple of years of the Nationals in our preview here.

| 4. | SWIMMING: Remembering double Olympic gold medalist Mike Troy

Sad news from Arizona, where Mike Troy, winner of two Olympic gold medals in 1960, passed away at the age of 78 on 3 August.

Troy won the 200 m Butterfly and swam on the 4×200 m Freestyle Relay in Rome, with both swims resulting in world-record times. He set the 200 m Fly world record six times, but he held it only until 1961.

He starred at Indiana University, swimming under the direction of Doc Counsilman. He finished his competitive career after college but kept swimming, serving in the U.S. Navy with the underwater demolition program that eventually became known as the S.E.A.L.S. He received the Silver Star for his service in Vietnam.

He moved to San Diego, California after his military service concluded and later to Arizona. He remained active in swimming as a coach of both able-bodied swimmers and Paralympic swimmers, and serves as the national director of the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team.

(Thanks to reader Pete Cava for the tip!)

| 5. | SKIING: Really, skiing? Time for the Roller Ski World Championships in Madona

Believe it or not, the Federation Internationale de Ski is quite busy these days and this week sees the FIS World Roller Ski Championships taking place in Madona, Latvia.

This is a summertime substitute for Cross Country skiing, with a Classical race for men (20 km) and women (10 km), a 200 m Freestyle Sprint, a Freestyle Mass Start race (15 km women, 20 km men) and a Freestyle Team Sprint.

The biggest names on the entry list are Russia’s 2018 triple Olympic silver medalist Alexander Bolshunov and 2019 Worlds bronze medalist Natalia Nepryaeva. Look for results here.

Oh yes, and the World Cup is coming up quickly for Freestyle and Snowboard, with opening events in Cardrona (NZL) on 24-25 August!

| 6. | BOXING: Interim AIBA chief Moustahsane to resign late this month

Multiple sources are reporting that AIBA Interim President Mohamed Moustahsane (MAR) has agreed to resign at the next AIBA Executive Committee meeting to be held later this month.

The Executive Committee will appoint another interim chief until a special Congress is held – possibly in November – where a permanent President is scheduled to be elected.

Moustahsane was appointed in March after elected President Gafur Rakhimov (UZB) resigned in view of criminal allegations against him.

What’s important about AIBA’s actions now – despite its suspension until after the 2020 Tokyo Games – is that the International Olympic Committee’s task force has been meeting with the federation and working with them on a “roadmap” for reinstatement. No doubt this is part of it, as Moustahsane was involved in prior AIBA activities which came under IOC scrutiny on the way to its suspension.

| 7. | IOC to Italy: leave CONI alone, or else …

A proposed law in Italy that would allow the government to “reorganize” the country’s National Olympic Committee (CONI) has draw the attention of the International Olympic Committee.

Agence France Presse reported that a letter from the IOC to CONI expresses deep concern about measures which would interfere with the autonomy of CONI. Sanctions could include the suspension of Italy from the 2020 Tokyo Games; the IOC did just that with Kuwait, where the government essentially took over that country’s NOC and the NOC was suspended from October 2015 until 5 July of this year.

This issue is a touchy one for the IOC and could color the work of the U.S. Congress as it considers changes to the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. For its part, the Italian government stated the IOC misunderstands the resolution that was actually passed.