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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. Budapest doubles Eugene tix sales with 10 days to go
2. Noah Lyles: “I will run 9.65 19.10”
3. Amazing Dygert adds road Time Trial gold in Glasgow
4. FIFA Women’s World Cup: Spain advances to semis
5. Ukraine legislature calls for Russian and Belarusian ban
● The Budapest organizers of the soon-to-start World Athletics Championships told local media that ticket sales have passed 300,000 with 10 days to go, more than double the number of ticketed attendees for the 2022 Worlds in Eugene, Oregon. A record number of 2,187 athletes have been entered.
● American sprint star Noah Lyles has called his shot, predicting he will run 9.65 for the men’s 100 m and a world-record 19.10 for the 200 m at the World Athletics Championships, in an Instagram post.
● U.S cycling star Chloe Dygert won the World Cycling Championships road Individual Time Trial for women, as she did in 2019, just a week after winning the women’s Individual Pursuit in track cycling! Wow!
● At the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Spain outlasted the Netherlands, 2-1, in extra time, to advance to the semifinals against the winner of the overnight (U.S. time) Sweden-Japan match.
● The Ukrainian legislature passed a resolution asking other governments not to allow Russian or Belarusian athletes to compete on their soil, and asking for an apology by the International Fencing Federation for its disqualification of Sabre star Olha Kharlan after her win against Russian “neutral” Anna Smirnova.
● World Championships: Cycling (Gaze and Ferrand-Prevot win Mountain Bike Short Track) = Sport Climbing (first-time winners in Speed finals) = Volleyball (U.S. to face Turkey in women’s U-19 Worlds final!) ●
● Panorama: PanAm Sports (Rudolph, Oerter, Spitz among the best from 1958-67) = Athletics (Oiselle to offer support to five unsponsored women for U.S. Marathon Trials) ●
Budapest doubles Eugene tix sales with 10 days to go
“In the announcement of the organizers on Wednesday, Balazs Nemeth, the Budapest 2023 CEO emphasized: the 300,000 tickets sold means that this will be the biggest sports event of all time in Hungary in terms of the number of spectators.”
That’s from Hungarian site Nemzetisport on Wednesday, meaning that 10 days prior to the start of the World Athletics Championships, the Budapest Worlds have sold more than double the number of tickets sold for the 2022 Worlds in Eugene, Oregon.
The Eugene Worlds, held for the first time in the U.S., reported attendance of 146,033 ticket holders for the 10-day program, across 17 sessions at the new Hayward Field.
The new National Athletics Centre in Hungary has a temporary capacity of 36,000, with 14 sessions in the stadium (and two others for out-of-stadium events), meaning the sales capacity is about 504,000. So, about 60% of the tickets have been sold so far. The stadium will be downsized to 14,000 seats after the Worlds.
This will also be the largest Worlds ever in terms of athletes, with the prior high of 1,895 for the 2009 World Championships in Berlin (GER). For Budapest:
● 2,187 total athletes entered from 202 countries
● 1,106 men from 177 countries
● 1,019 women from 128 countries
As far as the delegations, the largest is from the U.S., of course (totals include alternates):
● 164: United States (83 men + 81 women)
● 79: France (43 + 36)
● 79: Germany (39 + 40)
● 78: Italy (42 + 36)
● 76: Japan (48 + 28)
● 66: Australia (29 + 37)
● 64: Jamaica 932 + 32)
● 64: Poland (30 + 34)
● 63: Spain (31 + 32)
● 63: Hungary (29 + 34)
● 56: Brazil (25 + 31)
● 55: Canada (26 + 29)
● 55: Great Britain (21 + 34)
● 49: Kenya (28 + 21)
● 42: Ethiopia (20 + 22)
China entered 41 – 20 men and 21 women – as did the Netherlands (19 + 22). Ukraine entered a remarkable 30 athletes, with 12 men and 18 women.
World Athletics reported that 38 of the 44 event winners from 2022 will return for Budapest.
Noah Lyles: “I will run 9.65 19.10″
Never one to shy away from self-promotion, reigning World 200 m Champion Noah Lyles, 26, of the U.S. has called his shot. He posted his predictions for the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Instagram:
I will run
“They say if they don’t know your dreams then they can’t shoot them down. But I have always been more of a guy who loves to hear the screams from the heaters, got a nice ring to it. #Budapest2023″
Now those would be pretty spectacular times:
● 100 m: 9.65
If true, it would be a lifetime best by a healthy 0.21 seconds from his 9.86 in 2019 to win the U.S. nationals in Shanghai, the fastest time in the world this year by 0.18 (currently 9.83) and move Lyles from no. 25 all-time to no. 2 in history and break Tyson Gay’s American Record of 9.69 from the 2009 Berlin World Championships.
Will he win? Probably; no one has ever run that fast and lost!
● 200 m: 19.10
This is a world-record prediction, as Jamaican icon’s Usain Bolt’s standard of 19.19 has stood since that 2009 Berlin Worlds.
Lyles stands at no. 3 all-time and is the American Record holder with his 2022 Worlds victory in 19.31, breaking the 19.32 mark by Michael Johnson from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Of the 11 marks under 19.50 all-time, Bolt has four, Lyles has three, Yohan Blake (JAM) has two and Johnson and fellow U.S. star Erriyon Knighton each have one.
Lyles can feel ownership of this event, as he had led the world list in five consecutive years – 2018-19-20-21-22 – and is the world leader in 2023 at 19.47.
But he’s not looking at leading now, he’s looking at history.
Amazing Dygert adds road Time Trial gold in Glasgow
American cycling star Chloe Dygert won the World Cycling Championships gold in track cycling in the Individual Pursuit back on 3 August, her fourth career victory in that race.
A week later, she was on the roads in the 36.2 km Individual Time Trial, a race she won in 2019, but which also led to a brutal injury at the 2020 Worlds in Italy, when she crashed and eventually required surgery on her left leg.
On Wednesday, she was sick and didn’t know if she could race on Thursday. And her training had hardly been smooth; she told USA Cycling:
“In November, I had my heart surgery. One month later, I got sick for four weeks. Then I crashed in a team camp, and I tore a little bit more of the muscle in my bad leg. I didn’t really get to start training until March. I went to Washington State, that’s where I trained before Yorkshire. That’s where my training really started, and I had my first race in Milton in April.”
None of that mattered, as Dygert, 26, dominated the Time Trial and won her second Worlds gold in the event and her 10th World Championships gold, counting both road and track.
She started 19th out of 86 riders, and put down a tremendous time of 46:59 for the curving course and was the easy leader. But there were 67 more riders, including teammate and two-time World Champion Amber Neben of the U.S. and the 2022 runner-up, Australia Grace Brown.
Dygert had smoked them all. No one was even close except Brown, who finished second for the second straight year in 47:05 (+0:06), followed by Christina Schweinberger (AUT: +1:13), with Neben a creditable eighth at +1:52.
Said the winner, “I’m really lost for words. It’s really amazing to be able to win this jersey again. I gave everything I had until the finish. It’s a very special victory.”
Same-year wins in the track Individual Pursuit and road Time Trial had reportedly only been done by Italy’s Filippo Ganna, which he did in 2020 … in February (track) and September (road), not a week apart!
FIFA Women’s World Cup: Spain advances to semis
A contrast in styles in Wellington, New Zealand Friday afternoon with possession-oriented Spain finally prevailing against a clever Dutch squad, 2-1, in extra time, in the first quarterfinal of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It sends Spain, in its third Women’s World Cup, to the semifinals, the furthest it has ever gone.
The first half was a mismatch, as the Spanish owned the ball and created chance after chance … and couldn’t score, mostly thanks to bad luck and Dutch keeper Daphne van Domselaar.
In the 17th, forward Alba Redondo got a strong shot at goal that was saved by van Domselaar, then hit the post, came back to Redondo for a second chance, that also hit the post and was finally cleared.
In the 38th, forward Mariona Caldentey sent a cross that found Redondo in the box, but her shot missed and was followed up by striker Esther Gonzalez for a goal … that was ruled offsides.
Another drive by Gonzalez in the 42nd was saved by van Domselaar, and the half ended scoreless. The Spanish had 61% of possession and a 12-1 advantage on shots.
Spain continued to hold possession in the second half, and the Spanish got a huge break in the 62nd, as defender Irene Paredes shoved Dutch striker Lineth Beerensteyn to the ground in the box as she charged for a through ball. The obvious penalty was reviewed by referee Stephanie Frappart (FRA), and not given. Wow.
The game did change in the 79th, as a hand-ball was called against Dutch defender Stefanie van der Gragt on an innocuous and unintentional touch at the right side edge of the box off a cross by substitute striker Salma Paralluelo from the right side. In the 81st, Caldentey took the penalty and pinged it off the left post and into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
The Dutch then super-charged their offense, changing formation and adding more scorers. A Beerensteyn dribble through two defenders resulted in a promising 89th-minute shot from the left of goal that went wide to the right. A staggering 12 minutes of stoppage time was added and just one minute later, midfielder Victoria Pelova sent a lead pass to van der Gragt on the right side; she dribbled into the box and smashed a left-footed strike that moved hard left and into the Spanish goal for a 1-1 tie.
Regulation time ended with Spain at 62% of possession and an 18-6 shots edge. The first extra period saw modest chances for both sides, with Spain again controlling possession and getting five shots to two.
In the second extra period, Beerensteyn got a great chance in the 107th, but her left-footed shot from the middle of the box went just beyond the right post and harmlessly out of bounds. Then Paralluelo got a left pass down the left side, leaving her one-on-one with a defender, and she dribbled to the left of the box and sent a bullet past van Domselaar that hit the far post and caromed in for a 2-1 lead in the 111th. And that’s how it ended, with Spain still at 62% possession and 27-10 on shots.
The Spanish will meet the winner of the Japan vs. Sweden match in Auckland, played overnight in the U.S. time zones.
Ukraine legislature calls for Russian and Belarusian ban
The Ukrainian national legislature is known as the Verkhovna Rada and on Thursday, it took action once again on the issue of the admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competition in the aftermath of the Olha Kharlan-Anna Smirnova incident at the World Fencing Championships.
Zhan Beleniuk, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Greco-Roman gold medalist at 87 kg and a two-time World Champion, is also a member of the Rada – as it is known – posted on his Telegram account a recap of the resolutions passed:
“Today, the parliament approved two important resolutions:
“1. approved the appeal of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the leaders and parliaments of foreign states (r.n. 9409) with a proposal to ban entry to their territory of Russian and Belarusian athletes and sports delegations in order to prevent them from participating in international sports competitions
“The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine appeals to the leaders and parliaments of foreign countries to restrict entry to its territory for Russian and Belarusian athletes and sports delegations. This will directly prevent them from participating in international sports competitions.
“2. draft resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the appeal of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the parliaments and governments of Democratic states of the world, the International Olympic Committee, international sports federations on condemnation of illegal disqualification by the International Fencing Federation of Ukrainian fencer, Olympic champion, six-time world champion, eight-time European champion Olga Kharlan (r.n. No. 9554)
“The parliament, among other things, called on the International Fencing Federation: to completely cancel the disqualification of Olga Kharlan and officially apologize to her; to bring to justice all persons involved in the decision to disqualify Olga Kharlan; to disqualify Russian athlete Anna Smirnova for life for a provocative act contrary to the Olympic spirit.
“We will always fight for our athletes, including at the parliamentary level!”
The FIE anounced on 28 July that it had suspended the “black card” penalty imposed on Kharlan the day before, that would have suspended her for two months after Smirnova’s tantrum on the piste following their match, won by Kharlan, 15-7. Kharlan did not shake hands as it noted in the rules, but offered her Sabre in salute, which had been an acceptable substitute for tournaments held under special rules during the Covid pandemic.
It has been noted that Kharlan’s disqualification was not made by the bout referee, but by the head of the FIE Technical Directorate for the Worlds, Dieter Lammer (GER), who may have been influenced by Russian officials.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Cycling ● In addition to Chloe Dygert’s heroics in the women’s road Individual Time Trial, the Mountain Bike Cross Country Short Track races were held at the World Cycling Championships in Glasgow, with defending champion Sam Gaze (NZL) winning a final sprint for the mens title, and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot of France doing the same.
Gaze was at or near the front the whole way, sharing the lead with Martins Blums (LAT) and German Luca Schwarzbauer, then took over on the final two laps to win in 20:27. He got to the line just ahead of Victor Koretzky (FRA), who came from fifth on the penultimate lap to record the same time. Tom Pidcock (GBR) finished third, moving up from seventh after lap 8 to get the bronze in 20:29. Blums finished sixth (20:35) and Schwarzbauer was ninth (20:36).
The 10-lap women’s race belonged to Ferrand-Prevot, the four-time Cross Country World Champion, who dueled with Evie Richards (GBR) and Puck Pieterse (NED) over the final two laps. Ferrand-Prevot ended with the fastest lap in the field on the final circuit and that was enough for a 21:17 to 21:21 to 21:16 over Pieterse and Richards.
Sevilla Blunk was the top American, in eighth at 22:01.
The Worlds continue through Sunday.
● Sport Climbing ● At the IFSC World Championships in Bern (SUI), the Speed titles were decided Thursday, with Italy’s Matteo Zurloni and Indonesia’s Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi as first-time winners.
Zurloni, 21, had never finished higher than eighth in an IFSC World Cup, and was sixth in the qualifying round. But he set a European Record of 5.02 in his quarterfinal, qualified second in the semis and then won the final in 5.56 as China’s Jinbao Long suffered a false start.
Indonesian Rahmad Adi Mulyono won the bronze at 5.05 over Rishat Khaibullin (KAZ: 7.34).
Made Rita Kusuma Dewi was second in the women’s qualifying, had the fastest time in the semifinals and won the title at 6.49 over Emma Hunt of the U.S. (6.67). World-record holder Aleksandra Miroslaw won the all-Polish bronze-medal match from Aleksandra Kalucka, 6.55 to 8.07.
Five of the six medal-winners are first-timers; only Miroslaw had won a medal previously; she took bronze for the second straight year, after winning in 2018 and 2019. The gold-medal finalists all qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic competitions.
● Volleyball ● The U.S. charged into the final of the FIVB Girls’ World U-19 Championship in Osijek (CRO), defeating Italy, 3-1, by 25-18, 22-25, 25-20 and 25-15, and will meet Turkey on Friday for the title. The Turks shut down Japan, 3-0 (25-16, 25-12, 25-10).
The U.S. won this tournament in 2019 and was the bronze winner in 2021. Turkey won in 2011 and has a 1-1 record in gold-medal matches. The U.S. is 1-2.
In San Juan, Argentina, the U.S. boys team lost to France in its semifinal in the FIVB Boys’ World U-19s, 3-0, by 25-10, 25-17 and 25-12. The Americans will play for third place on Friday against South Korea, while France will meet Iran for the title.
The U.S. has already made history, as even a fourth-place finish would be its best ever!
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● PanAm Sports ● The second installment of the salute to the 75 years of the Pan American Sports Organization covered 1958-67, including some big names from the U.S.
Six of the 10 selections were Americans, starting with tennis star Althea Gibson for 1958, an 11-time Grand Slam winner who won the women’s gold at the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago. West Virginia basketball star Jerry West was honored for 1960; he played on the winning U.S. basketball team in 1959 in Chicago and was also a star on the 1960 Olympic winners.
Another star in Chicago in 1959 was sprinter Wilma Rudolph, who earned a gold on the women’s 4×100 m relay and a silver in the women’s 100 m, just a year before her 100-200-4×100 m triple at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
The 1963 honoree was the immortal Al Oerter, the men’s discus winner at 1959 in Chicago, who went on to win four straight Olympic discus golds in 1956-60-64-68. For 1965, swimmer Donna de Varona was selected, a gold medalist in the women’s 4×100 m Free and 4×100 m Medley relays, ahead of her 400 m Medley and 4×100 m Free golds in Tokyo in 1964.
Mark Spitz, who won seven golds in swimming at Munich 1972, but warmed up with five golds at the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, taking the 100 and 200 m Butterfly events and on the 4×100 m and 4×200 m Free relays and 4×100 m Medley relays.
● Athletics ● Fascinating offer from women’s sports apparel company Oiselle, aimed at helping unsponsored women’s marathoners with support in advance of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando, Florida next February:
“Oiselle, an innovator and thought leader in the women’s running space announces their new sponsorship program, ‘Year of the Underbird.’ This initiative will support 5 unsponsored female marathon runners as they prepare for the Olympic Trials in Orlando in 2024. Sponsorship includes a stipend, gear, amplifying each athlete’s unique story and athletic journey, and community support through Oiselle’s Volée, and a potential bonus should the athlete make the US Olympic team. These athletes will embody the core values that Oiselle upholds: to improve the sport and build the sisterhood.”
Applications are required and will close on 20 August. Per the announcement: “The team of athletes will be announced in early September. Benefits on the contracts include housing and transportation costs associated with the Olympic Trials, a $2,000 health and training stipend, an athlete essentials kit of Oiselle gear plus another $1,000 gear stipend, pregnancy protections, and the potential for a $50,000 bonus if the athlete makes the team.”
For our updated, 787-event International Sports Calendar (no. 3) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!