TSX REPORT: Ex-IBU chief Besseberg guilty, gets 37-months; Glasgow proposes cheap Commonwealth Games; all smiles for Salt Lake City!

Sensational: American Torri Huske scared the world women’s 100 m Butterfly record at the Tyr Pro Swim San Antonio! (Photo courtesy USA Swimming)

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1. Ex-IBU chief Besseberg found guilty and sentenced to 37 months
2. Glasgow proposing ultra-low-cost 2026 Commonwealth Games
3. All positive vibes from IOC visit to Salt Lake City
4. Venezuela’s TJ star Rojas out for Paris 2024
5. UWW sets up two investigations into Chamizo bribe allegations

● Former International Biathlon Union chief Anders Besseberg, now 78, of Norway was convicted of “aggravated corruption” in a Norwegian court on Friday, from gifts he received to help cover up Russian doping. He was sentenced to 37 months in prison, but filed an immediate notice of appeal.

● Glasgow, the site of the successful 2014 Commonwealth Games, has proposed to hold the 2026 Commonwealth Games on a low budget of £130-150 million, using existing facilities and a reduced program of 10-13 sports. Thanks to a subsidy of £100 million from the Commonwealth Games Federation, Glasgow’s effort can be financed with little to no public funding.

● The International Olympic Committee’ Future Host Commission was delighted with what it saw during its visit to Salt Lake City in advance of a recommendation to the IOC Executive Board to formally select Salt Lake City as the site for the 2034 Winter Games.

● Venezuelan triple jump superstar Yulimar Rojas suffered a left achilles tendon injury that has required surgery and she will be unable to defend her Tokyo Olympic gold medal at the 2024 Paris Games.

● Following the allegation of bribery to throw his semifinal match at the European Olympic Qualifying tournament in Azerbaijan by two-time World Champion Frank Chamizo of Italy, United World Wrestling has commission two investigations into the matter.

World Championship: Ice Hockey (Canada trips U.S. women in overtime in gold-medal final) ●

Panorama: Archery (U.S. women’s team qualifies for Paris) = Athletics (3: Jacious Sears screams 10.77 (!) in women’s 100 at Tom Jones Memorial; Negeeye and Ashete win Rotterdam Marathon; another 2012 Russian doping positive) = Cycling (2: Valente strikes gold at Track Nations Cup III; Vos and Pidcock win Amstel Golds) = Fencing (U.S. stars Kiefer and Meinhardt putting off medical school for Paris 2024) = Swimming (Huske scares women’s world 100 Fly record at Tyr Pro Swam San Antonio) = Taekwondo (U.S. gets three qualifiers at Pan Am qualifier) ●

Ex-IBU chief Besseberg found guilty and sentenced to 37 months

The former long-time head of the International Biathlon Union was convicted by a Norwegian court of “aggravated corruption” and sentenced to three years and one month in prison on Friday.

Anders Besseberg (NOR), now 78, said he was surprised by the verdict and would appeal. The prosecutors – the Norwegian OKOKRIM agency – issued a detailed statement:

“In 2023, The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim) indicted a Norwegian man who was president of the IBU from 1993 to 2018, for aggravated corruption. The offences took place during the period 2009 to 2018.

“The charges included accepting bribes in the form of watches, hunting trips and trophies, prostitutes and a leased car which he enjoyed the use of from 2011 to 2018 in Norway.

“The man is now sentenced to 3 years and 1 month in prison.”

The Senior Public Prosecutor, Marianne Djupesland, commented:

“The verdict is an important signal that corruption is uncovered and prosecuted, also in the international sports federations.

“International top-level sports generate large revenues and handle large assets. The federations are managing large assets and make important decisions that affect both athletes and businesses. We therefore do hope that this verdict will have preventive effects.”

The former IBU chief was convicted on two of three counts by a three-judge panel, which was unanimous in finding that he accepted Russian gifts, and that he acted in favor of Russian interests in both word and deed. The judges determined that he will not have to pay a fine as requested by prosecutors, but the gifts he received, including NOK 1.4 million will be confiscated (about $128,437 U.S.). Said the court:

“The defendant breached the trust that accompanied his position in the IBU by accepting the benefits. … In light of the time series of documents that have been referred to, as well as witness statements, the court has no doubt that he has acted in favor of Russia, by both word and deed.”

Besseberg, in return for the favors, worked to cover up doping violations by Russian athletes and the removal of IBU competitions from Russia.

The Associated Press reported Judge Vidar Toftoy-Lohne saying during the reading of the verdict, “The defendant clearly lacks understanding of the position he held and self-awareness, as the court sees it.”

The Besseberg matter drew attention at least eight years ago, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency, which “welcomed” the verdict:

“WADA initiated an investigation into this matter in November 2016 through its independent Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) Department. Information collected at that stage gave the criminal investigation its initial impetus and WADA investigators were in close communication with law enforcement authorities in Austria and Norway, as well as INTERPOL. …

“Today’s verdict should be seen as a warning to other administrators who threaten the integrity of sport. WADA commends the diligence of the Austrian and Norwegian law enforcement, as well as the prosecutors who brought the case to court, in using WADA’s information and taking it further for the protection of clean sport.”

The IBU, for its part, issued a short statement:

“The IBU has taken note of the verdict in the case against Anders Besseberg. The IBU welcomes the conclusion of the trial which brings to a close a deeply troubling period in the federation’s history. The IBU is looking forward and committed to continuing to build on the significant reforms that have positioned the IBU at the forefront of good governance and ensured it delivers the very best sport for its athletes and fans.”

Biathlon Integrity Unit head Greg McKenna (GBR) stated in court testimony in January that the federation also plans action against Besseberg: “We have concluded that he should be banned for life from office and activities and receive a fine of up to 100,000 euros. We have also filed a motion for reprimand.”

Glasgow proposing ultra-low-cost 2026 Commonwealth Games

“Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) can confirm the development of an innovative concept that could provide a solution for the 2026 Commonwealth Games without the need for significant public investment.”

That’s from a Friday announcement, with significant detail (£1 = $1.25 U.S.):

● “The Games concept that has been developed can be delivered within two years and for a budget of £130-150 million, with no significant ask of public funds.

● “The Games would be funded by £100million from the Commonwealth Games Federation as part of the Victoria financial settlement towards the cost of the Games. The remaining £30-50million would be funded predominantly by commercial income (ticketing, sponsorship, broadcasting etc).

● “The Games would be expected to deliver a Gross Value Added of £100-200 million, with additional spending from outside the UK of at least £100million.

● “We are planning for an 11-day sporting competition in July/August 2026.

● “The concept has been developed on a core offering of approximately 10 sports.”

Importantly, the statement gave a reason to have the Commonwealth Games:

“The Commonwealth Games is crucial to the health of Scottish sport; the four-yearly event is the pinnacle for several sports and represents the only chance for many athletes to compete for Scotland on a global stage.”

The proposal is all the more interesting because Glasgow was the site for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and has a wealth of existing sites. No new sites would be built and athletes would be accommodated in a range of options, but not in a custom-built “Commonwealth Village.”

The 2014 Games had 17 sports, 261 events and 4,947 athletes; the BBC reported that “the budget for 2014 was £543m, with £425m from the Scottish government and from Glasgow City Council.”

However, the Commonwealth Games was as small as 10 sports as recently as 1994 in Victoria (CAN) and then jumped to 15 in Kuala Lumpur (MAS) in 1998. Moreover, Scotland just experienced the 2023 UCI World Championships, a first-time, 13-discipline, 10-venue, 11-day program with 2,600 competitors and about one million total spectators. The calculated Gross Value Added to the Scotland economy was £205 million, of which £129 million was in the Glasgow area alone.

The Commonwealth Games Scotland statement noted:

“We are satisfied that the concept developed could see a refreshed format for the Games, that would see it be delivered on time and on budget, providing significant benefit to the Scottish economy and a potential blueprint for a sustainable Games model of the future.”

Observed: This gives the Commonwealth Games Federation choices, with Ghana also interested in the 2026 Games. The Glasgow concept is another move is the politically-popular format of putting on a Games with essentially private-sector financing, introduced 40 years ago for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

The Scotland statement said that there could be as many as 13 sports and a Commonwealth Games strategy document from 2019 indicated that only athletics and swimming are required, with a suggested (but flexible) maximum of 15.

The Commonwealth Games Federation said it would have news on the 2026 situation in May.

All positive vibes from IOC visit to Salt Lake City

All good signs from the visit of the International Olympic Committee’s Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games to Salt Lake City that concluded on Friday. Said a beaming Fraser Bullock, chief executive of the Utah-Salt Lake City Committee for the Games, and the chief operating officer of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City:

We could see how much they love Utah and how much they love the relationships that we’ve put together. We feel like we’re in a great spot.”

The IOC visit was thorough, taking in venues such as Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah, the Delta Center arena, Deer Valley, Utah Olympic Park, Park City Mountain, Soldier Hollow, Snowbasin Mountain, the Olympic Oval in Kearns and more.

Said Karl Stoss (AUT), the head of the Future Host Commission:

“We could feel the enthusiasm and the spirit of Utah. The spirit from the Games from 2002 is still here.”

He was especially enthusiastic about the no-build bid that Salt Lake City is offering, using the same venues as in 2002, with no added sites to be built for the Games:

“This is one of the most important thing for the IOC. Could you offer all the venues still with no new buildings? Start with souvenirs. Starting with the venues from the previous Olympic Games, and this is a fantastic concept.

“It is incredible how you maintained all these venues since 2002. This is one of our success stories I think in the IOC. We would like to build our legacy on the venues you had before.”

Christophe Dubi (SUI), the IOC’s Executive Director for the Olympic Games, added:

“You have not only the venues, but you have the people. Because in the end, this is what matters. Organizing the games is about having competent people, the expertise, the knowledge. And this is right here, right now.

At the opening presentation, Dubi was also impressed by the Salt Lake City he was seeing now:

“When you leave a gap of 20 years … it’s not the same at all anymore. I remember coming to Salt Lake some Sundays, and you would feel quite alone around because of the little residents that there was. … This is really night and day.”

Bullock summed up the visit this way:

“They love the venues and they are turnkey ready. I think the other thing: they see the passion of the people that are there. Every venue we go to we have the people that were there in ’02 and the future people going forward and we also have young athletes.”

Utah Governor Spencer Cox, who has been significantly involved in supporting the effort, added: “The reception has been enormously positive. Everything that we’re hearing from the IOC, everything that we’re hearing from people adjacent to the IOC? This has been a wildly successful trip out here.”

In terms of process, the Future Host Commission will make a report to the IOC Executive Board, no doubt to recommend the election of Salt Lake City for the 2034 Games. If approved, the final approval must be given by the IOC Session meeting in Paris in July – possibly 24 July – for the formal award.

The IOC Future Host Commission will stay busy, moving next to view the plan for the French Alps 2030 plan – also in “Targeted Dialogue” – from 26-30 April.

Venezuela’s TJ star Rojas out for Paris 2024

The defending Olympic women’s triple jump champion and four-time World Champion and world-record holder Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela will not defend her title at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. She wrote on Instagram on Friday (computer translation from the original Spanish):

“To my Venezuela, to the family of the Olympic and Sports Movement, especially to my followers; I want to inform you that I will not be able to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“With a lot of pain and sadness I want to tell you that while training when I fell in the descent of a jump I had an intense pain that was diagnosed to an injury to the left achilles tendon. My heart is broken and I feel so much sadness that I want to apologize for not being able to represent you at Paris 2024.

“These have been very complex hours, in which I have questioned and analyzed why this has happened, however I understand that, in God’s designs, we are only instruments of His will. Today I feel very emotionally affected by not being able to represent them, the desire to defend my Olympic title excited me enormously but today I have to stop, understand this, recover and come back with a lot of strength to continue flying together.

“I want to thank my family, friends and my entire work team, who at the moment have not separated from me trying to make me understand the very complex situation I am going through. To all my sponsors and sports institutions in my country for all the support provided.

“I wish a lot of success to our Venezuelan delegation in Paris 2024, since I am already very proud of you, and to my track teammates, may you give the maximum to also achieve glory.

“See you soon, with the same dreams and desires.”

She said in a post on X that she had surgery on 11 April in Madrid (ESP). She has dominated the women’s triple jump since winning the Rio Olympic silver medal and then taking the Tokyo Olympic gold and World titles in 2017-19-22-23 and World Indoor titles in 2016-18-22.

UWW sets up two investigations into Chamizo bribe allegations

Bribery, gambling and match-fixing are bad words in sports and the International Olympic Committee is pushing harder to head off future issues in competition integrity.

In view of the explosive allegations made last week by two-time Freestyle World Champion Frank Chamizo (ITA) about his bout with Azerbaijan’s Turan Byramov in the semifinals of the 74 kg class of the European Olympic Qualifier in Baku (AZE), United World Wrestling has responded with two investigations:

“United World Wrestling has set up two different panels to independently and separately analyze the refereeing decisions, including the challenge decisions, of the match between Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) and Turan BYRAMOV (AZE) at the European OG Qualifier in Baku, Azerbaijan.

“Each panel will be composed of three members, respectively the chairman of the Refereeing Commission plus two experts, and three Bureau members with expertise in refereeing and International Wrestling Rules.

“In addition, the Chairman of the UWW Disciplinary Chamber will appoint a panel of three members to review the outcomes of the ongoing investigation concerning the allegations of attempted corruption and alleged violation of the integrity of our sport. This panel will decide on the disciplinary actions to be taken in this matter.

“UWW is resolutely committed to thoroughly investigating and clarifying all aspects of the 74kg semifinal bout between Chamizo and Bayramov, ensuring transparency and upholding the integrity of wrestling.”

Byramov won on criteria after an 8-8 tie in regulation, after Chamizo’s apparent, winning two-point score near the end of the match was reversed on an appeal from the Azerbaijan corner. According to an interview with the La Repubblica daily, Chamizo said:

“I knew I had to give double, triple in Azerbaijan, because I was fighting at their house and they had bought everything. The same referee was with the Azerbaijanis throughout the tournament. I made it, but then something happened that reminds me of boxing from many years ago. And so yes, I mean it, they came to me offering me money, $300,000 to lose.

“But Chamizo (not kindly) returned the offer to the sender: ‘I don’t want to say who did it, but it happened on the morning of the weigh-in. I sent them to … because I represent not only myself, but also Italy, my federation FIJLKAM, and the Army. I’m so disgusted that I don’t feel like talking about sports.”

By winning the match Byramov qualified for the Paris 2024 Games; Chamizo will have one more chance at the World qualifier from 9-12 May in Istanbul (TUR).


● Ice Hockey ● The U.S. had participated in all 22 finals of the IIHF Women’s World Championship coming into the 2024 edition, held in Utica, New York. That streak continued for a 23rd straight final with a 5-0 semifinal rout of Finland on Saturday at the Adirondack Ice Center, while Canada reached the final for the 22nd time (out of 23) by defeating the Czech Republic, 4-0.

The U.S. was on offense from the drop against the Finns, out-shooting them 22-4 in the first period, but only scoring once on a Hannah Bilka goal at 12:01. Finland suffered two penalties in the first 13 minutes of the second period and the Americans got a power-play goal at 13:14 from Laila Edwards for a 2-0 lead at the end of two periods. The issue was decided just 2:34 into the final period as Edwards scored an equal-strength goal and she got a hat trick at 6:24 of the period to extend the lead to 4-0. Defender Savannah Harman added a final score at 16:10 for the 5-0 final, with the U.S. enjoying a 55-15 shots advantage. Aerin Frankel got her fourth shutout of the tournament in goal for the U.S.

Canada, which lost only to the U.S. so far, got its first score just 4:32 into the game, from Blayre Turnbull, and closed out the period with another goal at 18:15 from defender Jocelyne Larocque. Shots were 13-1 for Canada.

Emily Clark scored another fast goal in the second, at 1:39 for a 3-0 lead, and Sarah Fillier made it 4-0 at 4:40 of the third and that’s how it ended. Canada finished with a 47-9 edge on shots and Ann-Marie Desbiens got the shutout in goal.

Going into Sunday’s final, the Canada had won 12 of the 21 gold-medal meetings with the U.S., but the American women had taken six of the last eight, including a 6-3 decision in 2023. This was another classic.

Both teams scored in the first, with Erin Ambrose opening for Canada at 6:32 and Edwards tying it for the U.S. at 8:12. Each side scored twice in the second, with the U.S. taking a 3-2 lead on an Alex Carpenter goal at 16:32, but Marie-Philip Poulin evening it at 18:58 for Canada.

On to the third, with Hilary Knight putting the U.S. back on top at 8:56, but Clark tying at 10:46. Then Canada got the lead again at 5-4 on Poulin’s second goal at 12:19, but once again, the U.S. got even with Caroline Harvey scoring at 14:58. All tied at the end of 60, with Canada having the edge on shots, 29-23.

The pool-play game between these two was also an overtime, won by the U.S., 1-0. This time, there were goals galore in regulation, but again one overtime goal. This time it went to Canada’s Danielle Serdachny, who beat U.S. keeper Frankel at 5:16 of the period for Canada’s 13th women’s world title.

In the third place game, Finland and the Czech Republic went to a shoot-out, with the Finns winning, 2-1, for a 3-2 victory. Finland now has 14 bronze medals in this tournament, but its first since 2021.


● Archery ● The U.S. women’s team booked their places in Paris at the Pan American qualifier in Medellin (COL), making it to the final against already-qualified Mexico with a 6-2 win over home favorite Colombia, thanks to a final 10 by no. 1-ranked Casey Kaufhold, finishing up for Catalina GNoriega and Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez.

The all-Canadian women’s individual final saw Kristine Esebua defeat Virginie Chenier, 6-4, with Puerto Rico’s Alondra Rivera winning the bronze on a shoot-out against teammate Nilka Cotto, 6-5. Esebua, formerly of Georgia, qualified for Paris, as did Rivera, since only one per country was allowed to qualify at this event.

Colombia’s Santiago Arcila punched his ticket for Paris by winning the men’s individual title, 6-2, over Nicholas D’Amour (ISV). Both finalists qualified for Paris.

In the men’s Recurve team qualifying final, Arcila and Colombia defeated Canada in a shoot-off, 28-25, to qualify for Paris. The U.S. was eliminated in the semis by Colombia.

In the individual Pan Am Championships, Mexico’s Matias Grande won the gold over American Jackson Mirich, 6-4. Jack Williams of the U.S. won the bronze over Cuba’s Hugo Franco, 6-5. Kaufhold took the women’s title, 6-5 in a shoot-off with Alejandra Valencia (MEX).

A final qualifying event for individuals and teams will be held on 15-16 June in Antalya (TUR).

● Athletics ● Ever heard of Jacious Sears? You have now.

The Tennessee senior exploded at the Tom Jones Memorial in Gainesville, Florida on Saturday, winning the women’s 100 m final in 10.77 with 1.6 m/s wind, easily the fastest in the world this year.

The NCAA Indoor fourth-placer in the 60 m in 2024, she lowered her lifetime best from 10.96 and is now equal-15th on the all-time list and no. 7 all-time U.S. Only Sha’Carri Richardson and English Gardner have ever run faster among still-active American women! Georgia’s Kaila Jackson was a distant second at 11.10.

There were lots more world leaders:

Men/200 m: 19.90, Tarsis Orogot (UGA)
Men/200 m: 19.88, Courtney Lindsey (USA)
Men/110 m hurdles: 13.21, Grant Holloway (USA)
Men/400 m hurdles: 47.95, Chris Robinson (USA)

Women/400 m: 49.95, Kaylyn Brown (USA)
Women/100 m hurdles: 12.44, Nia Ali (USA)
Women/4×100 m: 41.94, USA Red (Brisco, Steiner, Prandini, Hobbs)
Women/4×400 m: 3:23.83, Empire Athletics (mixed nationalities)
Women/Long Jump: 6.71 m (22-0 1/4), Quanesha Burks (USA)

A new star, Arkansas frosh Kaylyn Brown, won the women’s 400 m in 49.95, the first under 50 seconds this season, ahead of Georgia’s Aliyah Butler (50.05). In the women’s 100 m hurdles, Ali won the final in 12.44 (-0.8 m/s), just ahead of Tonea Marshall (12.45).

Two U.S. women’s relay teams ran the nos. 1-2 times in the world this season, with Mikiah Brisco, Abby Steiner, Jenna Prandini and Aleia Hobbs winning a tight race in 41.94, ahead of Tamari Davis, Anavia Battle, Kiara Parker and Melissa Jefferson (41.99).

All of this overshadowed the men’s 100 m, with Noah Lyles winning at the line over Kenny Bednarek, with both timed in 10.01 (+1.7 m/s), and Kyree King third in 10.02. The women’s 100 m final was just as tight, with Tamari Davis edging Jefferson, with both at 10.94 (+1.2 m/s).

Goodness gracious, Jacious Sears!

The Rotterdam Marathon, at which the late Kenyan star Kelvin Kiptum was going to try for a sub-2:00 world record, was won by Dutch star Abdi Nageeye, the Tokyo Olympic silver winner, in a national record of 2:04:45, ahead of Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn (2:04:56), with two-time Tokyo Marathon winner Birhanu Legese (ETH) third in 2:05:16.

Four were in contention at 35 km, but Kenneth Kipkemoi (KEN) was dropped and then Legese let go past 40 km, and Nageeye sprinted home for the win. Leonard Korir was the top American, in 19th at 2:12:47.

Ethiopia’s Ashete Bekere, the 2019 Berlin Marathon champ, ran away from the women’s field after 30 km and won easily in 2:19:30, with Viola Kibiwot (KEN: 2:20:57) and Sally Chepyego (KEN: 2:22:46) finishing 2-3. The top U.S. finisher was Layne Hammer, in 30th at 2:48:19.

Another Russian doping positive from 2012, against Nikolay Chavkin, now 39, for two samples that were initially shown as negative as part of the state-sponsored doping program from 2011-15, but finally shown to be positive after retrieval of data from the Moscow Laboratory of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.

Chavkin was an Olympic steeplechaser at London 2012, but did not make it out of the heats. He tested positive for the steroid methyltestosterone and was banned for 30 months, with his results from 4 July 2012 to 3 January 2015 nullified.

● Cycling ● The third and final Track Nations Cup was in Milton (CAN), with another win for American star Jennifer Valente.

The Tokyo Olympic Omnium champion, she won the women’s Elimination Race, beating Letizia Paternoster of Italy and could be in line for another win in the Omnium.

British star Kate Archibald scored two wins, first in the Team Pursuit – where she won a Rio 2016 gold – and then in the Madison – where she won in Tokyo in 2021 – this time with Neah Evans. Fellow Brit Ethan Hayter, the two-time Omnium World Champion, collected golds in the Omnium (of course) and in the men’s Team Pursuit.

Dutch stars Harrie Lavreysen (Tokyo Sprint champ) and Jeffrey Hoogland were busy, going 1-2 in the men’s Keirin, with Lavreysen winning and the two together with Roy van den Berg in the Team Sprint.

Canada’s 20-year-old star, Dylan Bibic, the 2022 World Scratch Race gold medalist, won the men’s Elimination Race. France’s Mathilde Gros, the 2022 women’s Sprint winner, won over the 2023 Worlds bronze winner, Ellesse Andrews (NZL).

At the Amstel Gold Race, the women started first and a crazy race ensued, with the peloton stopped with 45 km to go on the planned 158 km course from Maastricht to Berg en Terblijt due to an accident further ahead. After an hour’s delay, the route was shortened to comprise only 101.4 km and of course, resulted in a mass sprint to the finish.

There were 23 in the group heading to the line and Dutch star Lorena Wiebes, already with two Women’s World Tour wins this season, found a path and looked like the winner, throwing her arms up in celebration. But just at that moment, countrywoman (and three-time World Road Champion) Marianne Vos threw her bike ahead and won at the line in 2:35:02, her second win in this race and a shocking finish to a wild ride. Norway’s Ingvild Gaskjenn finished third.

The 68th men’s Amstel Gold Race was re-routed (but still 253.6 km) to avoid the women’s finish and found a group of four in front with 11 km remaining: Marc Hirschi (SUI), Tokyo Olympic Mountain Bike gold medalist Tom Pidcock (GBR), Tiesj Benoot (BEL) and Mauri Vansevenant (BEL). With 2 km to go, those four had a 30-second lead on the peloton, and Benoot attacked with 1,000 m left. He could not get away and Vansevenant sprinted with 300 m to go, but Pidcock had the most left in the tank and led Hirschi across the line in 5:58:17. Benoot and Vansevenant finished 3-4.

Pidcock is hardly unknown in road racing, winning a stage in the 2022 Tour de France and the Strade Bianche in 2023. But this is a signal win for him, perhaps a sign of more road work to come? He also made some history as the first British winner of this race; he was second in 2021.

● Fencing ● The U.S. husband-and-wife fencing duo of Lee Kiefer and Gerek Meinhardt – both Olympic medalists – are plotting their return to medical school once the Olympic season is completed.

Kiefer won the Tokyo gold in the women’s Foil and Meinhardt won a Team bronze there (also in Rio in 2016) and said in an interview:

“I was trying to figure out what direction my life was going after Tokyo. I really wanted to keep fencing because I still love it and enjoy doing it. I felt like I could keep growing my skills, my routine.

“However, the biggest obstacle was the [University of Kentucky] College of Medicine. I was not sure they would let me continue, which would have been totally understandable.”

Kiefer and Meinhardt are both studying medicine at Kentucky:

“My husband also felt the same way. We thought through the timeline and decided to keep fencing and came up with a logical proposal. We talked to the dean and here we are (still competing).

“Your last two years are in the hospital, so I will come back and restart my third year. We plan to rematriculate in June of 2025 when the semester starts after we have had some time to re-study. We know it won’t be easy, but that’s what we plan to do.”

They also have a good chance of landing on the podium in Paris, as Kiefer is ranked no.1 in the world in women’s Foil and Meinhardt is no. 9, with two Americans – Nick Itkin (1) and Alex Massialas (5) – ahead of him and forming a powerful entry in the Team Foil competition.

● Swimming ● Torri Huske was the story at the Tyr Pro Swim Series in San Antonio, Texas, especially in the women’s 100 m Butterfly, where she scared the world record and won in the no. 3 time in American history, in 55.68.

Huske, 21, was the 2022 World Champion in the 100 Fly and won three more relay golds, then took the bronze at the 2023 Worlds. Now she is back to top form and her 55.68 is now only the world leader for 2024, but the equal-9th performance in history and she owns three of those 10 fastest swims. Runner-up Gretchen Walsh touched in 56.14, now no. 5 in the world for 2024, but also no. 3 in U.S. history!

Huske wasn’t done and also won the 200 m Medley in 2:08.47, moving to no. 4 on the 2024 world list, beating 2022 World Champion Alex Walsh (2:08.60).

The comeback of Tokyo superstar Caeleb Dressel continued, tying for the win in the men’s 100 m Fly with Hungary’s Hubert Kos, both at 50.84, with Dressel storming up from fifth at the turn. It’s the fastest Dressel has swum in this event since his comeback and the time places he and Kos at no. 3 in the world for 2024. Kos also won the 100 m Back from Justin Ress of the U.S., 53.08 to 54.36.

Dressel was third in the men’s 50 m Free at 21.85, behind Mexico’s Gabe Castano (21.70) and fellow American Ryan Held (21.79).

Five-time Worlds gold winner Regan Smith was busy, winning three events: the women’s 200 m Fly on Thursday (2:05.97), the 200 m Back on Friday (2:05.46) and the 100 m Back on Saturday (57.74)

Freestyle superstar Katie Ledecky took the women’s 400 m Free on Thursday (4:01.41), then won the 800 m Free on Saturday in 8:12.95 – the second-fastest time this season – and was second in the 200 m Free in 1:54.97, moving to fourth on the world list for 2024.

The winner was Hong Kong star Siobhan Haughey, who finished in 1:54.52, now no. 2 for 2024, after Thursday’s win in the 100 m Free (52.74).

An upset in the men’s 200 m Breast had 2023 Worlds bronze winner Matt Fallon beating French star Leon Marchand, 2:08.18 (world no. 5 in 2024) to 2:08.40, after Marchand had won their 200-yard duel at the NCAA Championships. Marchand announced at the meet that would skip his remaining eligibility at Arizona State and was turning professional.

Another upset had Venezuela’s Alfonso Mestre winning the men’s 800 m over Tokyo Olympic champ Bobby Finke of the U.S., 7:52.22 to 7:54.48; Finke had won the 1,500 m Free on Wednesday.

In a fast women’s 50 m Free, Poland’s Kasia Wasick got to the touch in 24.20, ahead of American Abbey Weitzeil (24.27, equal-4th in 2024) and Gretchen Walsh (24.29, no. 6).

This was the last major U.S. tune-up meet ahead of the Olympic Trials that begin on 15 June at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

● Taekwondo ● At the Pan American Olympic qualifier in Santo Domingo (DOM), nine countries won places for Paris 2024, including Jonathan Healy, Faith Dillon and Kristina Teachout of the U.S.

All three reached the finals of their weight classes (there was no final), with Healy qualifying in the men’s +80 kg class, Dillion in the women’s 57 kg group and Teachout in the women’s 67 kg division.

Along with no. 2-ranked C.J. Nickolas at 80 kg, the U.S. has qualified a full complement of athletes for Paris. Brazil also qualified three for Paris in Santo Domingo, including 2022 Worlds 74 kg silver medalist Edival Pontes and 2023 Worlds bronze winner Maria Pacheco at -57 kg.

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