TSX REPORT: Canada to appeal 2022 Russian Team bronze; smallest Russian team in 116 years in Paris? U.S.’s Schumacher stuns in Minneapolis!

Joy for the first FIS Cross Country World Cup win by an American man in more than 10 years: Gus Schumacher (Photo: U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

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1. Skate Canada to appeal 2022 Olympic Team Event decision
2. World Aquatics’ Nowicki: no change on Russia, Belarus
3. IOC’s Oswald: maybe 50-60 Russians at Paris 2024
4. Shiffrin might return to Alpine World Cup in March
5. Downtown L.A. “gondola” project includes 2028 Olympic concern

● Canada’s national federation for skating will appeal the International Skating Union decision to place Russia third in the 2022 Olympic Winter Games figure skating Team Event to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. No surprise whatsoever, as it appears that the ISU did not follow its own rules.

● Brent Nowicki, the Executive Director of World Aquatics, said in an interview that no change is expected in the rigorous criteria for Russian or Belarusian athletes to compete at Paris 2024, even though some top swimmers will be impacted.

● International Olympic Committee veteran member Denis Oswald of Switzerland said that the IOC’s rules on Russian and Belarus are a correct response to the situation and that only 50-60 Russians can be expected in Paris, a fraction of their usual team size.

● A proposal to install a gondola in Los Angeles with service to Dodger Stadium has met with multiple conditions from the area’s transit authority, including specific guarantees relative to the 2028 Olympic Games!

Spotlight: A link to our special coverage of the USATF Indoor Nationals, with three world records, world leads in eight events and Lyles vs. Coleman!

World Championships: Aquatics (2: Armstrong wins seven medals, Curzan wins six to lead U.S. to top the swimming medal table; U.S. women and Croatian men win polo golds) = Biathlon (Norway and France dominate) = Speed Skating (Stolz and Schouten star at World Single Distance Champs) ●

Panorama: Alpine Skiing (2: Hintermann and Kreichmayr win in Norway; Gut-Behrami, Bassino and Vernier take speed races in Crans-Montana) = Athletics (3: Bol gets world 400 m record, Tebogo gets world 300 m best; Geleta’s world-leading 2:03:27 wins Seville) = Bob & Skeleton (Germany wins six of seven in Altenberg) = Cross Country Skiing (big crowds see Schumacher’s “Miracle in Minneapolis”) = Freestyle Skiing (Ferreira and Gu take Halfpipe season titles) = Gymnastics (three medals for Ukraine in Apparatus World Cup opener) = Judo (three Azerbaijan wins in Baku Grand Slam) = Luge (Germany and Austria sweep Oberhof World Cup) = Short Track (seasonal World Cup title for U.S.’s Santos-Griswold!) = Ski Jumping (2: Kraft stays ahead of Kobayashi in men’s World Cup; women’s jumping canceled) = Weightlifting (U.S.’s Reeves “wins” at European Champs) ●

Skate Canada to appeal 2022 Olympic Team Event decision

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Skate Canada announced Friday that it would appeal the decision of the International Skating Union to award the 2022 Olympic Winter Games Team Event bronze medal to Russia:

“Skate Canada, together with the Canadian athletes from the team figure skating event at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games and the Canadian Olympic Committee, have made the decision to formally appeal the International Skating Union’s (ISU) decision in respect of the bronze figure skating team medal. Our appeal is rooted in a commitment to fairness, transparency, and the integrity of the sport.

“Skate Canada believes that it is crucial for the integrity of competitive figure skating that rules and regulations are upheld consistently and fairly. While we respect the decisions made by the ISU, we disagree with the conclusion they have reached and believe that an independent review will provide much needed clarity for all impacted parties.

“While we pursue this appeal, we want to express our full support and admiration for the gold and silver medallists from the United States of America and Japan. Their hard work, dedication, and exceptional performances deserve to be recognized, and we sincerely hope that they receive their well-deserved medals in a timely manner.”

After the Court of Arbitration for Sport imposed a four-year doping sanction on Russian skater Kamila Valieva and disqualified her from the Olympic figure skating Team Event in 2022, the ISU re-scored the event, subtracting Valieva’s 20 points. But it did not, as its own Technical Rule 353 (4) indicates, move the other competitors up one place each, which would have given Canada the bronze medal. Instead, Russia was left with 54 points – in third place – to 53 for Canada.

The ISU also did not implement Rule 11.2.2 of the ISU Anti-Doping Rules, which would allow for the entire Russian team to be disqualified. And it posted a weak explanation, without details, that noted that “For the sake of clarity Rule 353 para 4 in the ISU Special Regulations is not applicable in this case.

So, instead of bringing closure to the Valieva matter as regards the results of the 2022 Team Event, the ISU opened the door to a certain Canadian appeal, which will take even more time to resolve.

World Aquatics’ Nowicki: no change on Russia, Belarus

In September of 2023, World Aquatics adopted a seven-page Criteria for the Participation of Russian and Belarusian Athletes in World Aquatics Competitions which spelled out the conditions under which Russian or Belarusian athletes could participate in events that would include the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

These included, “No contract with the Russian or Belarusian military or with any other national security agency” and “No support for the war in Ukraine,” which was further defined. A maximum of one entry per event per country was authorized for individual events only, flags or anthems, white uniforms and no media contact or interviews.

Reuters spoke with World Aquatics Executive Director Brent Nowicki (USA) about the continued use of the regulations, in view of the Russians refusing to send any athletes to the just-concluded World Aquatics Championships in Doha (QAT), although Belarus did send four.

Nowicki was resolute:

“As I sit here right now, I’m standing by the policy 100%. I don’t think it’s too restrictive. I think it’s a policy that reflects the voice of our community, and whether or not they want to do it is up to them. …

“You always want the best swimmers in the pool, right?

“Everybody wants to have the best competition possible, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices. In the interest of the sporting competitive balance that we’re trying to strike and fairness, sometimes it means the best swimmers out there …. won’t be in the water.”

Multiple Russian swimmers have been at least tangentially involved in pro-war events, and several have said publicly that they will not swim in Paris if not able to perform with full national identification, flag and anthem.

IOC’s Oswald: maybe 50-60 Russians at Paris 2024

Swiss Denis Oswald has been in the middle of the Olympic Movement for parts of six decades now and is one of the most respected members of the International Olympic Committee. And he is especially sensitive to the issue of Russian participation in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as he chaired the IOC’s Disciplinary Commission that considered Russia’s state-sponsored doping program in 2016-17.

The “Oswald Commission” as it became known, banned 43 Russian athletes for life and rescinded 13 medals won at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Although 30 of the 43 had their bans overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Oswald and his team were commended for their thorough approach.

The FrancsJeux.com site interviewed Oswald on current issues before the IOC, especially on the question of Russian and Belarusian participation at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. In part (computer translation from the original French):

“[T]he criteria we have defined are strict enough so that the delegation of neutral athletes will be small in number at Paris 2024. According to our estimates, there should not be more than 50 or 60 Russians, compared to the usual 350.

Vladimir Putin said he would not prevent their participation, but his speech is political. In the end, I think we found the right balance. Rejecting athletes based solely on possession of a passport was in contradiction with the Olympic values and [the Olympic] Charter.”

Oswald made his comments prior to the TASS report of Russian Deputy Minister of Sports Alexey Morozov, who said last week:

“Up to 100 people can qualify for the Olympic Games. But the criteria for admitting Russians to international tournaments are changing, so this number may change. Our athletes participated in tournaments in eight sports around the world.”

Under the current edicts of the International Olympic Committee, Russian qualifiers will only be able to compete as neutrals, and their “neutrality” will be reviewed by the IOC independent of any approvals by the International Federations.

Surprise Ukrainian men’s 50 m Free gold medalist Vladislav Bukhov told reporters at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha (QAT):

“It’s hard. It’s really hard for us. We train while Russian rockets fly around swimming pools or other training buildings [in Kyiv]. So you never know if you’ll be alive or dead. So it’s difficult for all the Ukrainians. To be here and speak is very important for all Ukrainians, for me, and I want to say that Russia is dangerous, and they’re not supposed to be in the competitions; they should be banned from Paris too. It’s good when you can talk about this and let people know about it.”

It’s worth noting that since the Soviet Union first sent athletes to the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, the smallest Russian or USSR delegations were 282 athletes for Rio 2016 – in the aftermath of the RUSADA doping scandal – and 283 at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

To find a smaller Russian delegation, you have to go back to the Russian Empire entries for Paris 1900 (5), London 1908 (6) and 159 for the 1912 Stockholm Games. So if either Oswald or Morozov are correct on their projections, the Russian entries for Paris 2024 will be the fewest in 116 years.

Shiffrin might return to Alpine World Cup in March

U.S. alpine superstar Mikaela Shiffrin continues to recover from her late January crash in Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA) and indicated to NBC Sports last week that she might be able to make it back in early March:

“We knew Are was *likely* going to be the target, but didn’t rule out a shorter timeline in case my symptoms and load tolerance improved quicker. …

“One of the most important elements to returning to on-snow training and racing safely, is ensuring I have symmetrical power and quickness, which is simply not there yet.”

The NBC Sports story added that a message from Shiffrin’s team explained:

“We are working on a 4-6 week timeline from the crash, given what the injuries are: MCL sprain, Tib-Fib ligament sprain at both the knee and the ankle, and bone bruising.”

Shiffrin was leading the women’s overall World Cup at the of her crash, but Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami has taken over and has a 1,414-1,209 lead with four stops left:

24-25 Feb.: Val di Fassa (ITA): Downhill, Super-G
02-03 Mar.: Kvetfjell (NOR): Downhill, Super-G
09-10 Mar.: Are (SWE): Giant Slalom, Slalom
16-23 Mar.: Saalbach (AUT): Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G, Downhill

Shiffrin’s best races are the Slalom and Giant Slalom, while Gut-Behrami excels in the Downhill, Super-G and Giant Slalom. Shiffrin has won five seasonal titles while Gut-Behrami won in 2016.

Downtown L.A. “gondola” project includes 2028 Olympic concern

The latest demonstration that the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles is never far from the mind of local politicians came on Friday with the release of a detailed list of requirements being discussed about a proposed “gondola” that would ferry spectators from Union Station in downtown L.A. to and from Dodger Stadium. The project is described:

“In April 2018, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) received an Unsolicited Proposal from Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies LLC (ARTT), a private entity, to fund/finance, design, construct, operate, and maintain the Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit (LAART or Project), a gondola connecting Union Station and the Dodger Stadium.”

“The proposed gondola, stretching roughly 1.2 miles between Union Station and Dodger Stadium and including an intermediate station near Metro’s Chinatown A (Blue) Line Station, would include a maximum capacity of approximately 5,000 people per hour in each direction.”

What does this have to do with the 2028 Olympic Games, which would be only an incidental event in a long-term transit concept? Yet the Games was specifically mentioned, as the gondola – if approved – is expected to be in operation by mid-2028:

“If the Project is non-operational or experiences issues during the 2028 Games, ZET will compensate Metro for any and all transportation costs that the Agency would not have incurred but for LAART’s non-operation or issues”

The gondola project is up for initial approval by the Metro Board on Thursday, and the organization now promoting the project, Zero Emissions Transit – ZET – is being asked to ensure that no public funds will be used for it at any time, and that Metro staff study alternatives to the gondola to determine what its impact would be vis-a-vis other options.


Special coverage here of the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, including world-leading marks in eight events and indoor world records from Tia Jones in the women’s 60 m hurdles, Grant Holloway in the men’s 60 m hurdles and Daniel Haugh in the weight throw. And Noah Lyles vs. Christian Coleman!


● Aquatics ● The 21st World Aquatics Championships concluded in Doha (QAT) with China leading the medal count thanks to its domination – as usual – of diving. Seven countries won 10 or more medals, with China at 33 (23-8-2), followed by Australia (24: 7-12-5), the U.S. (23: 9-6-8) and then Italy (19), Great Britain (18), Canada (11) and Spain (10).

In contrast, in 2023, the U.S. won 44 medals to 40 for China, and 30 for Australia. But given the schedule, many countries and especially the U.S., saw many top swimmers stay home so as not to interrupt their training for their Olympic Trials and possibly the Olympic Games in Paris.

The swimming finished with its usual rush, with 21 finals in the last three days – half of the schedule – and the U.S. somehow finishing with the most medals again: 20 (8-6-6) to 16 for Australia (3-9-4), 12 for Italy (2-5-5) and 11 for China (7-3-1).

American Claire Curzan made history by completing a backstroke triple with her victory in the 200 m Back in 2:05.77, ahead of 17-year-old Jaclyn Barclay (AUS: 2:07.03) and Belarus’ Anastasiya Shkurdai (2:09.08). Curzan is only the third to win all three backstrokes, as Kaylee McKeown (AUS) and China’s Haiyang Qin did it in 2023.

Moreover, Curzan added a 100 m Fly silver and a Mixed 4×100 m Free relay bronze for six total medals. That was second to fellow American Hunter Armstrong, who won seven total medals (3-1-3), including the men’s 100 m Back. Australian Freestyle stars Shayna Jack (1-3-2) and Brianna Throssell (1-3-2) also won six medals. Three others – Nic Fink and Luke Hobson of the U.S. and Abbey Harkin of Australia – won five.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, now 30, won the 50 m Butterfly gold for the sixth time, her 13th career Worlds gold and her 23rd career Worlds medal. She dazzled in 24.63 – the no. 3 performance all-time – with Melanie Henrique (FRA: 25.44) taking silver and Egypt’s Farina Osman (25.67) getting her third career bronze in this event, but her first since 2019!

Sjostrom finished on Sunday with another win, in the 50 m Free in 23.69, her third in a row in the event and fourth overall, with the equal-fourth performance in history. More history came behind her as Kate Douglass of the U.S. took the silver in 23.91, breaking Simone Manuel’s 2017 American Record of 23.97; Douglass is now no. 8 all-time in the event.

The shocker of the meet had to be the 50 m Freestyle, where Ukraine’s Vladyslav Bukhov won in 21.44 after setting a national record of 21.38 in the semis. He beat defending champ Cameron McEvoy (AUS: 21.45) by 0.01 and 2022 Worlds winner Ben Proud (GBR: 21.53), and American Michael Andrew (21.71).

Highlights of the rest of the weekend action:

Men/1,500 m Free: Ireland’s Daniel Whiffen completed the 800-1,500 double with a dominating win in 14:34.07, now no. 5 all-time. German Florian Wellbrock, the 2019 World Champion in this event, was second (14:44.61) and David Aubry (FRA: 14:44.85) took the bronze.

Men/50 m Back: Twenty-year-old Isaac Cooper (AUS) was a clear winner over the U.S.’s Armstrong, 24.13 to 24.33, with fellow American Andrew eighth (24.86). It’s Cooper’s first individual Worlds medal.

Men/200 m Back: Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez moved up from the silver in the 100 Breast to win with a fast final lap in 1:55.30 to overtake Roman Mityukov (SUI: 1:55.40) while South Africa’s Pieter Coetze (1:55.99) moved up from eighth with a lap to go to get the bronze. American Jack Aikins faded on the final lap to finish fourth in 1:56.21.

Men/200 m Breast: Another fast close, this time for China’s 18-year-old Zhihao Dong, who got his first Worlds medal with a victory in 2:07.94, coming from sixth to first on the final lap. Caspar Corbeau (NED: 2:08.24) was passed, but still won silver ahead of Americans Fink (2:08.85) – who medaled in all three Breaststroke races – and Jake Foster (2:09.31).

Men/100 m Fly: Portugal’s Diogo Ribeiro followed up his 50 m Fly victory with the 100 in 51.17, clear of Simon Bucher (AUT: 51.28) and Jakub Majerski (POL: 51.32). Zach Harting of the U.S. was sixth in 51.68.

Men/400 m Medley: Lewis Clareburt of Australia came on during the Freestyle leg to pass American Carson Foster and win in 4:09.72, bettering his Worlds bronze in this event in 2019. Britain’s Max Litchfield won the silver for his first Worlds medal (4:10.40) and six-time winner Daiya Seto (JPN) passed a fading Foster for third, 4:12.51 to 4:12.62. David Johnston of the U.S. tied for fifth (4:13.05).

Men/4×200 m Free: The U.S. got out well with Hobson and Carson Foster building a big lead, but China moved up thanks to 100 m Free record-setter Zhanle Pan, who closed some of the gap on Armstrong. Zhanshuo Zhang overcame David Johnston on the final leg for the win (7:01.84), and Korea’s Sun-woo Hwang stormed past Johnston as well for the silver (7:01.94). The U.S. settled for the bronze (7:02.08).

Men/4×100 m Medley: The U.S. was a clear winner in 3:29.80 with Armstrong, Fink, Harting and Matt King, with King’s 47.32 the difference in the margin over the Netherlands (3:31.23). Italy got third at 3:31.59.

Women/100 m Free: Dutch star Marit Steenbergen won her first individual Worlds gold with a lifetime best of 52.26 to move to no. 8 all-time and beat Siobhan Haughey (HKG: 52.56), Australian Shayna Jack (52.83) and American Kate Douglass (53.02).

Women/800 m Free: Italy’s Simona Quadarella won her second gold of the meet in 8:17.44, just ahead of 1,500 m bronzer Isabel Gose (GER: 8:17.53) and New Zealand’s 400 m Free winner, Erika Fairweather (8:22.26). Gose won medals in all three distances races, with 400/1,500 bronzes and the 800 silver. It’s Quadarella’s third career Worlds gold.

Women/50 m Breast: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) defended her 2023 Worlds gold in 29.40 over Qianting Tang (CHN: 29.51) and Italian Benedetta Pilato (30.01). American Piper Enge was sixth in 30.69. It’s the fifth career Worlds gold for Meilutyte and eighth career Worlds medal.

Women/200 m Breast: Tes Schouten (NED) was third in this race at the 2023 Worlds, got the gold with a lifetime best of 2:19.81, becoming the ninth-fastest swimmer ever in this race. She was a clear winner over Douglass of the U.S. in second (2:20.91) and Canada’s Sydney Pickrem (2:22.94).

Women/400 m Medley: Britain’s Freya Colbert won her first Worlds individual medal with a 4:37.14 win over Anastasia Gorbenko (4:37.36), who won Israel’s first-ever Worlds swimming medal in second. Sara Franceschi (ITA) was third in 4:37.86, also winning her first career Worlds medal.

Women/4×100 m Medley: Australia won in 3:35.98 with Jack anchoring the win over Sweden’s Michelle Coleman on the final lap, with the Swedes holding off Canada, 3:56.35 to 3:56.43.

Mixed 4×100 m Free: China won again, with Pan starting in 47.29 and Yiting Yu finishing in 53.37 for a 3:21.18 total. Australia was second in 3:21.78 with the U.S. third in 3:22.28, with Curzan picking up another medal on the third leg and Douglass (52.85) on anchor.

The U.S. women’s water polo squad reclaimed the World title with an 8-7 win over Hungary. The Americans took a 3-2 lead at the quarter mark and it was 5-4 at half and tied, 5-5 at the end of three. The U.S. scored three times in the fourth, with goals from Maggie Steffens and Rachel Fattal for a 7-5 lead and Ryann Neushul scored what turned out to be the winner for an 8-5 lead. The Hungarians scored two more, but Ashleigh Johnson’s 12 saves made the difference.

It’s the eighth Worlds gold for the American women – the most ever – with Fattal scoring three times and Steffens twice. Krisztina Garda and Rita Keszthelyi both scored twice for Hungary.

Steffens, Fattal and Maddie Musselman won their fifth Worlds golds and coach Adam Krikorian led his squad to a sixth title. Spain won the bronze over Greece, 10-9.

The men’s final between Italy and Croatia was tied at 11 at the end of regulation and went to a shoot-out, with Croatia winning, 4-2. Andrea Fondelli led all scorers with five goals for Italy. Spain won the men’s bronze as well, 14-10, over France.

● Biathlon ● The IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto (CZE) finished on Sunday, with Norway and France finishing with outstanding performances in the men’s and women’s divisions.

In Saturday’s relays, Sweden pulled an upset in the men’s 4×7.5 km as Sebastian Samuelsson passed Norway’s Vetle Christiansen on the anchor, thanks to two penalties vs. three for Christiansen, and won 1:16:22..6 (9) to 1:16.34.4 (11). France won the bronze at 1:16.35.4 (13), and the U.S. was an encouraging fifth, with Vincent Bonacci, Sean Doherty, Campbell Wright and Jake Brown (1:17:44.8/8).

France continued its domination of the women’s events, winning in 1:15:00.8 (11) to 1:15:39.1 (12) for Sweden, with Germany third (1:16:15.0/9). The U.S. was lapped.

The men’s 15 km Mass Start was the third win of the championships for Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe, who won in 34:50.2 (1) over surprise Latvian runner-up Andrejs Rastorgujevs (35:05.3/0) and Quentin Fillon Maillet (FRA: 35:23.2/1). Wright was the top American, in 18th (36:56.4/4). Boe, 30, now has a career total of 38 Worlds medals, including 20 golds. Wow.

France won its fourth event of five for women in the 12.5 km Mass Start, with Olympic champ Justine Braisaz-Bouchet getting her first Worlds individual gold in 34:37.2 over Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi – the 15 km winner – and French teammate Lou Jeanmonnot, 35:08.4 and 35:33.9 (1).

The medal table showed France with 13 total (6-1-6) and Norway with 12 (4-5-3); Italy (1-3-0) was next with four.

● Speed Skating ● The 2024 ISU World Single Distance Championships were in Calgary (CAN), with American teen sensation Jordan Stolz showing his triple world title performance from 2023 was no fluke.

On Friday, he dominated the men’s 500 m again, winning with a lifetime best of 33.69, moving to no. 2 on the all-time list. Canada’s 2021 World Champion Laurent Dubreuil was second in 33.95.

On Saturday, Stolz won in 1:06.05, a time only he and Russian Pavel Kulizhnikov have ever achieved. China’s Zhongyan Ning was second (1:06.53) and 2018 Olympic champ Kjeld Nuis (NED: 1:06.80) got the bronze.

In the men’s 1,500 on Sunday, Stolz skated in the 10th of 12 pairs and rocketed to the lead in 1:41.44, almost a second-and-a-half faster than the rest of the field. Only 2018 Olympic runner-up Patrick Roest (NED) had a chance to catch him – skating in the final pair – but ended up 13th. Nuis was second in 1:42.66, just 1000ths ahead of Peder Kongshaug (NOR: 1:42.66). American Emery Lehman was seventh (1:44.14).

Stolz, still 19, has now won back-to-back 500-1000-1500 triples; no other male skater has ever done that once. Next up: the ISU Allround and Sprint Championships at Inzell (GER) on 7-10 March.

Defending 5,000 m World Champion Roest defended his crown in 6:07.28, ahead of Davide Ghiotto (ITA: 6:08.81) and then Ghiotto defended his 10,000 m title in 12:38.82, ahead of Canadian Ted-Jan Bloemen, the 2018 Olympic gold medalist (12:47.01).

Belgium’s Olympic winner Bart Swings took the Mass Start for the second straight year, trailed by Canada’s Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu (63 to 40) with Livio Wenger (SUI: 20) in third.

In the men’s team events, Canada repeated as champions in 1:17.17 with Dubreuil, Gelinas-Beaulieu and Anders Johnson, ahead of the Netherlands (1:17.17) and Norway (1:17.31); the U.S. was sixth (1:17.40).

Italy took the men’s Team Pursuit in 3:35.00, beating Norway (3:36.07), Canada (3:36.72) and the U.S. in fourth (3:38.64).

The Dutch dominated the women’s racing, except for Japan’s nearly-unbeatable Miho Takagi, the 2022 Olympic 1,000 m champ, who won in 1:12.83 for her first Worlds gold, after two bronzes. China’s Han Mei took the silver in 1:13.27, with Olympic runner-up Jutta Leerdam (NED) third (1:13.28). American Kimi Goetz was fifth (1:13.68) and Brittany Bowe was 11th (1:14.84).

Takagi also won the 1,500 m in 1:52.29 from Mei (1:52.72) and Dutch star Joy Beune (1:52.91) with Americans Goetz seventh (1:53.98), Bowe in 11th (1:55.73) and Mia Manganello in 12th (1:55.78).

Dutch star Femke Kok won her third straight Worlds 500 m gold in 36.83 from Min-sun Kim (KOR: 37.19) and Goetz (37.21), who won her first individual Worlds medal. Olympic champ Erin Jackson of the U.S. was fifth (37.25).

Beijing 2022 Olympic 3,000-5,000-Mass Start winner Irene Schouten (NED) won her first Worlds 3,000 m title in 3:57.10 from Canada’s Isabelle Weidemann (3:58.01) and six-time champ Marina Sabilkova (CZE: 3:58.33) in third.

Schouten also took her third Worlds Mass Start gold with 60 points to 42 for Canadian Ivan Blondin and 21 for Marijke Groenewoud (NED); Manganello finished eighth. But Schouten had to settle for silver in the 5,000 m as Beune won in 6:47.72 for her first individual Worlds medal, with Schouten at 6:48.98 and the 36-year-old Sabilkova third (6:51.88).

Canada won the Team Sprint in 1:25.14, beating the U.S. (Bowe, Jackson and Sarah Warren: 1:26.04), with Poland third (1:26.53). The Dutch – with Schouten aboard – took the Team Pursuit in 2:51.20 over Canada (2:54.03) and Japan (2:54.89); the U.S. was fourth in 2:57.80 with Bowe, Manganello and Giorgia Birkeland.


● Alpine Skiing ● Surprises were in order at the FIS World Cup in Kvitfjell (NOR), starting on Saturday with a win for Swiss Niels Hintermann in the Downhill in 1:44.62, ahead of Vincent Kreichmayr (AUT: 1:44.70) and Canada’s Cameron Alexander (1:44.81). Hintermann scored his third career win and first of the season; his only other Downhill win came in Kvitfjell in 2022.

The U.S.’s Bryce Bennett was fourth (1:44.91) and Ryan Cochran-Siegle finished tied for seventh (1:45.37).

Then Kreichmayr, the 2021 World Champion in the Super-G, got just his second medal of the season, but also his second win, in Sunday’s Super-G in 1:09.23, ahead of Jeffrey Read (CAN: 1:09.40) with Dominik Paris (ITA) and seasonal leader Marco Odermatt (SUI) tied for third at 1:09.42. Cochran-Siegle was the top U.S. finisher, in 11th (1:09.65) with Kyle Negomir 12th (1:09.67).

The women’s World Cup stop was in Crans-Montana (SUI) for two Downhills and a Super-G, with seasonal leader Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI) taking Friday’s Downhill in 1:19.11, with a 0.21 margin over runner-ups Jasmine Flury (SUI) and Cornelia Huetter (AUT). Jacqueline Wiles was the top U.S. finisher in 13th (1:19.93). It’s the seventh win of the season got Gut-Behrami.

Saturday’s Downhill was an Italian 1-2 for 2023 World Super-G champ Marta Bassino (1:26.84) and Federica Brignone (1:27.38) with Gut-Behrami third (1:27.95). Wiles was 13th again (1:28.72). It was Bassino’s first medal of the season and first win since December of 2022.

She didn’t wait long for another, as Brignone (1:16.56) and Bassino (1:16.67) went 2-3 in the Super-G, behind Stephanie Venier (AUT: 1:16.52), who got her second win of the season. Isabella Wright had the top American finish, in 17th (1:18.10).

● Athletics ● Dutch star Femke Bol did it again, improving her own women’s 400 m indoor world record from 49.26 to 49.24 at the national indoor championships in Apeldoorn. She won easily over countrywoman Lieke Klaver, who improved to 50.10 and now no. 9 all-time.

Bol had already run 49.69 and 49.63 this season and now has six of the 14 indoor performances ever under 50 seconds and half of the top 12.

Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo, 20, crushed the world best in the rarely-run outdoor 300 m at the Simbine Curro Shoot-Out in Pretoria (RSA) on Saturday, winning by more than a second in 30.69. That’s a big improvement on the 30.81 mark by 400 m world-record holder Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) in 2017.

A world-leading 2:03:27 for Ethiopia’s Deresa Geleta to win the Zurich Maraton de Sevilla in Spain on Sunday, well ahead of France’s Morhad Amdouni (2:03:47) and Israel’s Gashau Ayale (2:04.53) as they ran the top three performances of the year.

Amzera Gebru (ETH) won the women’s race in 2:22:13.

● Bobsled & Skeleton ● The seventh of eight stops on the IBSF World Cup was held in Altenberg (GER), despite a bad crash of Michael Vogt’s Swiss four-man sled earlier in the week that resulted in serious injuries to brakeman Sandro Michel.

Germany’s Adam Ammour won his second straight two-man World Cup race, this time with Costa Laurenz, in 1:51.41, ahead of teammates (and twice Olympic champs) Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis (1:51.59), who finished second for the fifth time in seven races! Americans Frank Del Duca and Manteo Mitchell finished eighth in 1:52.57.

Friedrich has done better with the four-man sled and won for the fourth time this season – and with medals in all seven – at 1:48.55, in a tie with Latvia’s Emils Cipulis, twice a bronze medalist earlier in the season. Swiss Simon Friedli was third (1:49.08).

The women’s Monobob went to 2023 World Champion Laura Nolte, who won for the first time this season in 2:01.29, ahead of American legend Elana Meyers Taylor (2:01.52), who won a medal for the second straight race. Lisa Buckwitz (GER), the 2023 Worlds bronze winner, took third (2:01.55), and American Kaysha Love was 10th (2:02.87).

Nolte, the 2022 Olympic two-woman gold medalist, won for the fourth time this season, this time with Deborah Levi (1:52.53), ahead of teammates Kim Kalicki (the 2023 World Champion) and Anabel Galander (1:53.17).

In the Skeleton races, China’s Yin Zheng got his second straight win in the men’s race in 1:52.49, ahead of 2022 Olympic champ Christopher Grotheer (GER: 1:52.58) and 2023 World Champion Matt Weston (GBR: 1:52.61). Austin Florian was eighth for the U.S. (1:53.12).

Four-time World Champion Tina Hermann (GER) won her second race of the season in 1:56.46, ahead of teammate Susanne Kreher (1:56.56) and American Mystique Ro (1:56.70), who won her third medal of the season (0-2-1).

Germany’s Kreher and Axel Jungk won the Mixed Team race in 2:00.92, with the U.S. pair of Katie Uhlaender and Florian third (2:01.66).

● Cross Country Skiing ● The first FIS World Cup in the U.S. since 2001 was in Minneapolis, celebrating the success of American star Jessie Diggins. And celebrate they did, with crowds of up to 20,000 reported at Theodore Wirth Park for the Stifel Loppet Cup, and an unexpected star of the weekend.

Diggins was good, finishing fourth in the Freestyle Sprint, won by Sweden’s Jonna Sundling in 3:06.40 – her first win after two silvers and three bronzes this season – ahead of teammate Linn Svahn (3:07.35) and Kristine Skistad (NOR: 3:09.08). Diggins finished in 3:11.29.

The crowd was wild for Diggins in Sunday’s Freestyle 10 km Interval Mass Start and she was game, but Sundling claimed a second win by 15.4 seconds over teammate Frida Karlsson, 22:38.9 to 22:54.3, with Diggins a solid third in 23:10.7.

Norway’s two-time defending World Cup overall champ Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo won the men’s Sprint in 2:54.24, ahead of Italy’s two-time Olympic silver winner Federico Pelligrino (2:54.51) and Haavard Taugboel (NOR: 2:55.45). It was Klaebo’s ninth win of the season, six in sprints.

But no one was ready for Sunday’s men’s Freestyle 10 km Interval Mass Start, with seasonal leader Harald Amundsen (NOR) in front early, but then American Gus Schumacher, 23, coming on by midway and storming to the finish in a stunning 20:52.7 for a 4.4-second victory over Amundsen (20:57.1), and Paal Golberg (NOR: 20:58.5).

What? Gus Schumacher? Who hadn’t ever finished higher than fourth in any World Cup race?

Yep! The FIS online report was headlined, “Miracle in Minneapolis: dream World Cup return for USA as Schumacher wins 10 km” and he said afterwards:

“I felt really good and the cheering just got louder and louder, which I think helped the pacing. The second-to-last hill the fans coordinated in a ‘U-S-A’ chant and I couldn’t feel my body. I knew I was going fast, and I knew I could go faster, but I didn’t know I was going to win. …

“It’s hard to believe. I’m just so grateful for this whole team and everyone being here. It’s just feels like it represents such a big thing for our team. I really love doing it with these guys and I hope this is the first of many. Thanks everybody for coming, this has been the best day ever.

“I gave everything I could like I do every day, and everything just went perfectly. Thank you, Minneapolis!”

/Updated/He’s the first American cross-country skier to win a FIS World Cup race  since Noah Hoffman (15 km Pursuit) and Simi Hamilton (Sprint) won in December 2013, more than 10 years ago!

● Freestyle Skiing ● The FIS World Cup circuit was in Calgary (CAN) for the final two events in the Halfpipe season, with two-time Olympic medal winner Alex Ferreira of the U.S. taking his fourth straight win on the season at 96.50. Brendan MacKay (CAN) was second (94.25) and Finn Jon Sallinen was third (92.00).

And Ferreira finished off a perfect season on Saturday, winning again at 95.50, ahead of Sallinen (94.50) and Korea’s 18-year-old Seung-hun Lee (94.00), who won his first career World Cup medal. Ferreira’s 400 points (top four finishes) was well ahead of fellow American Hunter Hess, runner-up on the season at 265.

China’s Olympic champ Eileen Gu won the first two events of the season, then finished second to Canada’s Amy Fraser at Mammoth Mountain on 2 February, but rebounded to win both events in Calgary and take the seasonal title.

She won on Thursday at 93.25 to Fraser’s 89.25 with Britain’s Zoe Atkin third (88.00), and on Saturday with an impressive 97.00 to Atkin’s 92.00 and 90.25 for American Svea Irving, 21, who won her first World Cup medal (90.25). Gu scored 400 points on the season (top four finishes) to 290 for Fraser and 260 for Atkin.

● Gymnastics ● The season opener of the FIG Apparatus World Cup was in Cairo (EGY), with Ukrainian stars Ilia Kovtun – a two-time Worlds All-Around medalist – and 2016 Olympic champ Oleg Verniaiev going 1-2 on Parallel Bars at 15.600 and 15.233. Countryman Nazar Chepurnyi, the 2023 Worlds Vault bronze winner, was second on Vault at 14.899 to Armenia’s 2022 World Champion, Artur Davtyan, 14.933 to 14.899.

Korea’s Sung-hyun Ryu (14.066) won on Floor; Ahmad Abu Al-Soud (JOR: 15.066) was the Pommel Horse winner; North Korea’s Ruong-il Jong topped the Rings (14.600), and Chia-hung Tang (TPE: 14.500) won on Horizontal Bar.

Tokyo Olympic Uneven Bars gold medalist Nina Derwael (BEL) won the Balance Beam gold in Baku at 13.633, while China’s Zhuofan Huang won on Uneven Bars at 14.233. North Korea’s Chang-ok An took the Vault at 14.233 and Japan’s Mana Okamura won on Floor (13.066), ahead of Emma Malabuyo (PHI, who competes at UCLA) at 12.666.

● Judo ● The home team led the medal parade at the Baku Grand Slam in Azerbaijan, with three golds and eight total medals, including by 2023 European Champion Hidayat Heydarov in the men’s 73 kg class, Zelim Tckaev in the men’s 81 kg and Murad Fatiyev in the men’s 90 kg division.

Romance Dicko (FRA), the 2022 World Champion, took the women’s +78 kg class; Dutch star Guusje Steenhuis, the 2022 Worlds runner-up, won at 78 kg; two-time Worlds gold medalist Barbara Matic (CRO) prevailed at 70 kg and Canada’s 2023 Worlds winner Christa Deguchi triumphed at 57 kg.

● Luge ● The seventh of nine FIL World Cup stops in the 2023-24 season was in Oberhof (GER), with German and Austrian sleds winning all eight races.

Jonas Muller (AUT), the 2023 World Champion, won the men’s Singles at 1:26.033 over 2024 World Champion Max Langenhan (GER: 1:26.109) and two-time Olympic winner Felix Loch (GER: 1:26.131). Tucker West was the top American, in 10th (1:26.712). Langenhan came back to win the Sprint (33.562) over Muller (33.586) and 2022 Beijing Olympic runner-up Wolfgang Kindl (AUT: 33.595).

Beijing bronze winners Thomas Steu and Kindl (AUT) won the men’s Doubles in 1:23.333 over triple Olympic champs Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt (GER: 1:23.406), with Hannes Orlamunder and Paul Gubitz (GER: 1:23.452) in third. Orlamunder and Gubitz came back to take the Sprint (26.027) over Steu and Kindl (26.049) and Wendl and Arlt (26.123).

German Julia Taubitz, the 2021 World Champion and 2024 runner-up, continued her march toward the seasonal women’s Singles title, winning the Singles event in 1:24.426 over teammate Anna Berreiter (1:24.477) and Austria’s Worlds bronze winner Madeleine Egle (1:24.542), with Ashley Farquharson of the U.S. in seventh (1:24.757). Taubitz took the Sprint, too, in 25.864, over Natalie Maag (SUI: 25.958) and Berreiter (26.014), with Emily Sweeney of the U.S. sixth (26.094).

Dajana Eitberger and Saskia Schirmer (GER) got their first Doubles win of the season at 1:25.889, beating Worlds runner-ups Andrea Voetter and Marion Oberhofer (ITA: 1:25.897) and World Champions Jessica Degenhart and Cheyenne Rosenthal (GER: 1:25.898). American pairs Chevonne Forgan and Sophia Kirkby and Maya Chen and Reannyn Weiler were 6-7 in 1:26.448 and 1:27.046. Austrians Selina Egle and Lara Kipp won the Sprint (26.425) over Eitberger and Schirmer (26.537) and Voetter and Oberhofer (26.539).

● Short Track ● The sixth and final ISU World Cup of the season was in Gdansk (POL), with a seasonal title for American Kristen Santos-Griswold!

Completing her best World Cup season ever, she won the women’s 1,000 m in 1:32.944, ahead of Korea’s Gil-li Kim (1:33.037) and fellow American Corinne Stoddard (1:33.178). It was Santos-Griswold’s third win of the season in the 1,000, and she won the seasonal title with 585 points to 540 for Kim and 372 for Stoddard.

Santos-Griswold was not in contention to win the 1,500 m title, but had won four medals on the season and broke through with a win in 2:22.820, followed by 2021 World Champion Suzanne Schulting (NED: 2:23.562) and Stoddard (2:23.600). Korea’s Kim won the seasonal title at 655 points from Belgian Hanne Desmet (504), Santos-Griswold (495) and Stoddard (419).

Dutch stars Selma Poutsma and two-time World Champion Xandra Velzeboer won the two women’s 500 m races in 43.033 and 42.684, respectively, and Velzeboer and Poutsma finished 1-2 on the season, with 650 and 610 points.

The Dutch won the women’s 3,000 m relay in 4:13.319 over Korea (4:13.394) and the U.S. (4:24.313), and took the seasonal title with 400 points to 320 for the Koreans.

The men’s 500 m races were won by Korean Yi Ra Seo (41.451) and Canada’s Olympic bronze winner Steven Dubois (40.303), with Jordan Pierre-Gilles (CAN) taking the seasonal win with 486 points to 433 for Dubois.

Korea’s Ji-won Park and Gun-woo Kim were 1-2 in Gdansk in the 1,000 m in 1:28.193 and 1:28.304, with Park an easy seasonal winner with 625 points to 399 for Dubois.

Two-time Worlds 1,500 m medalist Pascal Dion (CAN) won the 1,500 m over Sung-woo Jang (KOR) by 2:16.060 to 2:16.087, but fellow Canadian William Dandjinou won the seasonal crown (500) over Kim (KOR: 456).

Canada also won the men’s 5,000 m relay in 6:55.577 to 6:55.915 for Korea and that secured the seasonal title, 380-340.

The Dutch won the Mixed Relay at 2:40.737, ahead of Korea (2:41.357) and Canada (2:41.469), and took the seasonal title with 380 points, ahead of China (330); the U.S. was fourth (284).

● Ski Jumping ● Austria’s three-time World Champion Stefan Kraft continues to lead Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi in his quest for a third World Cup seasonal title. Last week in Lake Placid, New York, he was only 24th in the first event while Lovro Kos (SLO: 278.9) won his first individual World Cup gold and Kobayashi was second (278.1). But Kraft won the second competition at 281.6, with Kos second (278.4) and Kobayashi fifth (267.1).

This week’s jumping was in Sapporo (JPN) and Kobayashi was ready to make up ground on the 137 m hill. But Kraft was too good on Saturday, winning again for the ninth time this season (263.0), with Kobayashi second. And on Sunday, Slovenia’s Domen Prevc got his first win of the season (273.6), with Kobayashi second again (269.8) and Kraft fourth (260.0). For Koyabashi, it was his ninth runner-up finish of the season (with one win)!

Kraft now leads, 1,386-1,181, after 20 of 32 events.

The women’s jumping off the 97 m hill in Rasnov (ROU) had to be canceled due to bad weather and snow conditions.

● Weightlifting ● U.S. lifters had another signal day on Friday at the European Championships in Sofia (BUL), with Olivia Reeves and Meredith Alwine “winning” and “fourth” as guest competitors.

Reeves, 20, the 2023 Worlds bronze medalist at 71 kg, equaled her American Record of 115 kg in the Snatch and lifted 140 kg in the Clean & Jerk to finish at 255 kg, which was well ahead of gold medal winner Loredana Toma (ROU: 241 kg).

Alwine, the 2021 World Champion in this class, was in her first meet of the season and made only her first lift in the Snatch (98 kg), but all three in the Clean & Jerk (last: 135 kg) to total 233 kg, which was behind the first two Europeans.

The U.S. is competing at the Europeans as a guest due to security concerns at the Pan American Championships in Caracas, Venezuela. However, their results do count for Olympic qualifying points.

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