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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. IOC pledges aid for Ukrainian athletes kept from competing
2. World Athletics announced new Olympic walk event
3. Indonesia loses FIFA Forward funding as U-20 World Cup removed
4. UCI’s 2022 economic impact: $43 million for road and track
5. Massive, 516-lot memorabilia auction includes $200,000 torch!
With the Ukrainian government forbidding its athletes to compete against Russians and Belarusians, the International Olympic Committee announced that it would support Ukrainian athletes who do want to compete, setting up a potential showdown that could have long-term implications. World Athletics revealed its format for the promised mixed-team walking event in Paris, a 42.2 km “marathon” relay with one man and one woman contesting two, non-consecutive legs each. After trying to remove Israel from the FIFA U-20 men’s World Cup, Indonesia saw the event removed by FIFA and now has lost its FIFA Forward development funding, for an undetermined period. The Union Cycliste Internationale published an independent report that showed an economic impact of about $43 million for its World road and track-cycling championships in 2022. This is an important marker ahead of the first UCI World Championships in Glasgow this year, with 13 disciplines and an expected $83.2 million economic impact. A new Olympic memorabilia auction includes one of only 33 Olympic torches used for the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games, with an opening bid of $200,000!
● World Championships: Curling (Scotland wins men’s Worlds) = Ice Hockey (Canada & U.S. unbeaten in women’s Worlds) ●
● Panorama: Athletics (4: Richardson 10.57w!; Hobbs 10.87 world leader; Jeruto suspended for doping; switching bibs gets six-month ban) = Badminton (USA’s Zhang reached Orleans Masters final) = Cycling (2: van der Poel, Julian win Paris-Roubaix; Vingegaard wins in Spain) = Equestrian (Bredow-Werndl, von Eckermann take World Cup Finals) = Football (U.S. women shut down Ireland, 2-0) = Golf (Rahm wins Masters) = Rugby (Kiwis win again in men’s Sevens) = Sailing (familiar winners at Trofeo Princesa Sofia) ●
IOC pledges aid for Ukrainian athletes kept from competing
The Ukrainian government’s stated position that its athletes should not compete against Russians or Belarusians in view of the new International Olympic Committee recommendations in favor of “neutral” athletes could lead to the IOC funding Ukrainian competitors.
The IOC dealt with this issue in its latest update to its “Q&A regarding the participation of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international competitions,” which was revised last week to include:
● “If implemented, such a decision would … hurt only the Ukrainian athlete community and the National Sports Federations, and in no way impact the war that the world wants to stop, and that the IOC has so vehemently condemned. The IOC has always maintained that it is not up to governments to decide which athletes can participate in which international competitions.”
● “Therefore, if this was implemented, the athletes who want to compete and would lose the support of their National Sports Federation and their National Olympic Committee because of government interference, could count on the direct support of the Olympic Movement’s Solidarity Fund for the Olympic community of Ukraine and the athletes’ support programmes of the IOC.”
Observed: This places the IOC in the astonishing position of potentially paying Ukrainian athletes to compete against Russians and Belarusians in international competitions where international federations allow them to enter as neutrals, against the wishes of the Ukrainian government.
As has now been set in stone by President Thomas Bach (GER):
“The IOC has always maintained that it is not up to governments to decide which athletes can participate in which international competitions.”
Although there is no immediate threat of changes, this position will inevitably come to the attention of governments who fund athletes, coaches, national federations and National Olympic Committees that since they have no say in what their athletes do – according to the IOC – perhaps the IOC should fund them.
There is only one National Olympic Committee in the world – the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee – which does not receive direct government support, if not for its own operations, for the funding of elite athlete development, competitions, coaching, travel and so on. If the Russian invasion of Ukraine becomes a catalyst for governments to dedicate funding only to grass-roots and community sport and leave elite competition to the IOC, it could radically change the nature of international sport just as much as the IOC fears over government interference in who competes where and when.
It’s not happening yet. Yet.
In the meantime, the head of the All-Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation, Irina Viner, told Russian Channel One that their participation at Paris in 2024 is unlikely:
“The fact is that I don’t believe that [our athletes] will compete in these sports at the Olympic Games in Paris. I know that fencing was given permission, but immediately Germany canceled [their World Cup] competition. There was a complete rift in boxing, too.
“I think that the IOC strives to ensure that there are no restrictions, that gymnasts and other athletes speak for themselves. But I think such conditions will be set that they will not be able to perform.”
She is, however, in favor of having Russians compete as neutrals:
“We have already performed under a neutral flag. I think we need to perform anyway. The theory is dry, my friend, and the tree of life is luxuriantly green. Athletes should perform in any case, we will still work, everything is fine with us.”
World Athletics announced new Olympic walk event
The race walking community has been in turmoil with massive changes to the discipline’s events, with the 50 km walk reduced to 35 km for both men and women and the men’s 50 km walk removed from the Olympic program after being first contested in 1932 (but not held in 1976).
The International Olympic Committee and World Athletics agreed to remove the 35/50 km walks altogether from the Paris 2024 program in favor of a new, mixed-team event that the IOC favors. The details were announced on Saturday:
“The Marathon Race Walk Mixed Relay will feature 25 teams, each comprising one male and one female athlete, who will complete the marathon distance (42.195km) in four legs of approximately equal distance.
“Each athlete will complete two legs of just over 10km each, alternating male, female, male, female.
“The marathon distance was selected because of its existing popularity in athletics and link to the traditions of the Olympic Games.”
This is an unusual format for track & field – with athletes coming back into a relay after already competing on once leg – but is well known in winter sports. The Single Mixed Relay in biathlon uses the same format, alternating one man and one woman across four legs.
The Paris 2024 schedule has the men’s and women’s 20 km walks on 1 August and the mixed relay on 7 August in order to allow adequate rest.
Indonesia loses FIFA Forward funding as U-20 World Cup removed
The demand by Indonesia regional political leaders that Israel not compete in the FIFA U-20 World Cup cost the country the hosting rights to the event last week, and was a direct breach of the agreement with the federation to place the event in Indonesia.
FIFA announced late last week that the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) was also “provisionally recommended a restriction on the use of FIFA Forward funds until further notice.”
Indonesia was already recovering from the 1 October 2022 riot and resulting crowd crush at Kanjuruhan Stadium following a club match that ended up with 135 dead and 583 injured, the worst fan disaster in the history of Asian football.
PSSI President Erick Thohir presented FIFA with a strategic plan for Indonesian football, and a commitment of the government to further fund more football fields in the country. The plan will be reviewed before the development-funding sanctions are lifted.
The Argentine Football Federation has proposed to host the FIFA men’s U-20 World Cup instead, and on the same dates, beginning in May.
UCI’s 2022 economic impact: $43 million for road and track
While the Union Cycliste Internationale staged 93 events in 22 countries last year, it chose to have Ernst & Young compile economic impact studies on only the two largest: its Road championships in Australia and its Track Worlds in France. The UCI Events Economic Impact Report for 2022 demonstrated the popularity of both.
The week-long UCI Road Worlds in Wollongong attracted unique 96,000 spectators, but most importantly, an estimated 40,500 from outside the area, who stayed an average of five nights and spent an average of €140, or €28.350 million (about $31.170 million U.S.).
The event had a total attendance of 236,000 — from those 96,000 uniques – with 58% of the attendance coming from the local community, 37% from elsewhere in Australia and 5% from visitors from other countries. That’s 95% from the host nation. Visitor spending was mostly concentrated on accommodations, food and drink and transportation
The event, in total, created a Gross Value Added of €35.60 million, or about $39.14 million U.S. Some 82% of this was directly due to visitor spending.
The UCI Track Cycling Worlds, at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome was a much smaller event, over five days, with 10,600 unique spectators and 17,000 total. Of these, 4,000 or 39% were from outside the local area and spent €3.7 million (about $4.1 million U.S.) About 9% of spectators were from outside France.
The Gross Value Added was €3.5 million (about $3.9 million U.S.).
The total is then €39.1 million (about $43.0 million U.S.) for these two events alone. It will be fascinating to compare this impact with the massive, new UCI World Championships in Glasgow (SCO), an 11-day event from 3-13 August. It will include road, track, BMX, freestyle, mountain biking, trials, gran fondo and para-cycling across 13 specific World Championships!
Some 8,000 cyclists are expected to enter, with an economic impact estimated at £67 million, or about $83.2 million U.S. If successful, it’s expected to be repeated in 2027.
Massive, 516-lot memorabilia auction includes $200,000 torch!
A rare Olympic Torch from the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games, one of just 33 produced, highlights the Ingrid O’Neil auction no. 94, open now through 22 April.
Some 5,000 torchbearers were part of the Grenoble 1968 torch relay, sharing the 33 torches, and now one is available, with an opening bid of $200,000! Yowsah!
The auction includes plenty of medals (43) and torches (35), but also a remarkable victory statue from the 1896 Athens Games. That’s right: a victory statue!
It’s a 9 1/2-inch bust of the Greek goddess of victory – Nike – of which 21 were made by sculptor Georgios Vroutos to be given to non-Greek winners. Only one other is known to exist and is in the National Museum in Athens. The statue up for auction was given to American Ellery Clark, who won both the high jump and long jump and was inscribed to “E.H. Clarc.” The opening bid is set at $95,000.
There are 22 more items with starting bids of $10,000 or more:
● $65,000: 1992 Albertville Winter torch
● $50,000: 1956 Melbourne IOC President’s badge
● $35,000: 1994 Lillehammer torch
● $28,000: 1964 Tokyo torch
● $20,000: 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter gold medal
● $20,000: 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter torch
● $20,000: 2016 Rio gold medal
● $19,000: 2016 Rio silver medal
● $18,000: 1932 Lake Placid Winter bronze medal
● $18,000: 2002 Salt Lake City Winter bronze medal
● $18,000: 2016 Rio bronze medal
● $15,000: 1928 St. Moritz Winter silver medal
● $15,000: 1964 Tokyo torch
● $15,000: 1968 Grenoble Winter gold medal
● $15,000: 1994 Lillehammer Winter silver medal
● $14,000: 1976 Innsbruck Winter gold medal
● $14,000: 1988 Calgary Winter silver medal
● $12,000: 1924 Chamonix Winter bronze medal
● $12,000: 1952 Oslo Winter bronze medal
● $12,000: 1960 Squaw Valley Winter bronze medal
● $12,000: 1964 Innsbruck Winter gold medal
● $12,000: 1984 Los Angeles gold medal
The 1956 Melbourne Games badge for the International Olympic Committee President – American Avery Brundage at the time – is noted as “Of utmost rarity, the only IOC badge from Melbourne available to collectors.”
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Curling ● The WCF men’s World Championship in Ottawa (CAN) was historic, with Scotland winning its first men’s gold since 2009 and skip Bruce Mouat his first in four tries.
Switzerland, with Yannick Schwaller as skip, was tops in round-robin play, compiling an 11-1 record, followed by Beijing 2022 Olympic runner-up Scotland and Norway (Magnus Ramsfjell) at 10-2. The U.S., with 2018 Olympic gold medalist John Shuster as skip, finished 5-7 and did not advance to the playoffs.
In the qualification matches to the semifinals, 2006 Olympic winner Brad Gushue and Canada ushered Sweden and six-time World Champion Niklas Edin out of the tournament with a 9-1 victory. Italy, with 2022 Worlds bronze medalist Joel Retornaz as skip, defeated Norway, 8-4.
On Sunday, Gushue’s rink broke a 3-3 tie with two points in the seventh end and then had to score in the 10th to eliminate the Swiss, 7-5. Mouat and Scotland overcame an early 4-2 deficit, scoring two points in the fifth, seventh and ninth ends to lead 8-6, only to be tied by Retornaz and Italy in the 10th. It took a point in the 11th for the Scots to advance to the championship match, 9-8.
The final was no contest, as Mouat’s Scots took leads of 4-0 and 6-1 in the way to a 9-3 win and Scotland’s fifth title and first since 2009. Mouat skipped his team to a Worlds bronze in 2018, a silver in 2021, the Olympic silver in 2022 and now the 2023 Worlds gold. Grant Hardie (third), Bobby Lammie (second) and Hammy McMillan Jr. (lead) were with Mouat for all four of these medal performances.
Gushue was in his fourth Worlds championship final and now 1-3, winning in 2017, but losing to Sweden’s Edin twice and now Mouat.
The Swiss scored in four straight ends to roll up a 8-0 lead on Italy and won the bronze medal, 11-3. It’s the fifth bronze for Switzerland since 2014.
● Ice Hockey ● The 25th IIHF women’s World Championship continues in Brampton (CAN) with pool play that will conclude on Tuesday and Canada and the U.S. rolling toward a showdown on Monday.
Two-time defending champion Canada sailed to its third win by defeating Japan on Saturday, 5-0, as forward Sarah Fillier got two goals. The Canadians have outscored their first three foes by 14-1.
The American women fell behind the Czech Republic, 2-1, in the first period, then got a goal from Hayley Scamurra to tie it with 3:49 left in the period. Then came more goals, with Lacey Eden and Tessa Janecke scoring for a 4-2 lead at the end of the second period, and Hilary Knight and Abby Roque both scoring in the first eight minutes of the third for a 6-2 lead and that’s how it ended. The U.S. has outscored its three foes, 22-4, and will play Canada for the top spot in the group on Monday.
Playoffs will begin on the 13th with quarterfinals, followed by semis on the 15th and the finals on the 16th.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Athletics ● It was windy, but it was really fast, as Sha’Carri Richardson won the women’s 100 m at the Miramar Invitational in Florida on Saturday in 10.57 (!!!) with an aiding wind of 4.1 m/s.
Adjusting for wind, the 10.57w is worth +0.21 over a 0.0 reading (so, 10.78 at 0.0) or +0.10 over a 2.0 m/s reading, so 10.67! It’s the third-fastest time (all-conditions) in history, behind the wind-legal marks by Florence Griffith-Joyner (10.49 ‘88) and Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.54 ‘21).
Richardson ran away from TeeTee Terry (10.83w), and Natasha Morrison (11.05w) in race two; Cambrea Sturgis won race one in 10.98w (+3.2).
Richardson won heat three in 10.75w (+2.8), with Terry winning heat one in 10.89w (+4.5). Wow.
U.S. women’s 200 m champ Abby Steiner claimed the world lead in 2023, winning in 22.23 (+1.8), beating Tamari Davis (22.31), a lifetime best. Shamier Little impressed in the 400 m, with the no. 2 mark in 2023 so far, winning in 50.73. Ajee Wilson won the 800 m in 2:02.95 and Tonea Marshall took the 100 m hurdles in a windy 12.62 (+2.2).
Jamaica’s Oblique Seville and Ackeem Blake went 1-2 in the men’s 100 m in 9.91w and 9.93w (+2.2) in race two. Seville had a legal (+1.8) win in heat one in 9.95. American sprint star Christian Coleman won the 200 m at the line from Letsile Tebogo (BOT), with both in 20.00 (+1.9) and now sharing the world lead.
American Will Williams won the men’s long jump with a wind-aided 8.25 m (27-0 3/4).
More hot times, including a world-leading 10.87 in the women’s 100 m from American star Aleia Hobbs, with a legal 2.0 m/s wind at the Lloyd Wills Invitational on her home track at LSU.
In Los Angeles, at the Allice Trojan Invitational at USC, Tokyo 400 m hurdles silver medalist Rai Benjamin got a lifetime best in the flat 400 m, winning in 44.21, moving to no. 2 in the world for 2023. Former Trojan 800 m star Isaiah Jewett was second in 45.90, also a lifetime best.
For Benjamin, it was his first 400 m best since 2019 (44.31). In comparison to his prime hurdles rivals, Norway’s Karsten Warholm has a 400 m best of 44.87 from 2017 and Alison Dos Santos (BRA) has run 44.54 from 2022.
At the always-wind-friendly Triton Invitational in La Jolla, California, Tokyo Olympic champ Valarie Allman jumped her world lead from 67.80 m (222-5) at the Texas Relays to 70.25 m (230-5), her third-best throw ever. She owns all six throws ever made by an American over 70 m.
In Berkeley, California, two world throws leaders at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational, as World Champs silver medalist (and Cal soph) Mykolas Alekna (LTU) got the men’s discus out to 68.39 m (224-4) and former Golden Bear and Worlds runner-up Camryn Rogers (CAN) reached 77.30 m (253-7) with the hammer.
Norah Jeruto, the former Kenyan and now Kazakhstan distance star who won the 2022 World Athletics Championship in the women’s Steeple, was charged by the Athletics Integrity Unit on 5 April for “Use of a Prohibited Substance/Method” based on a review of her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP). No more details were posted.
Jeruto won the Worlds Steeple last July, but then only competed in the Kazakhstan 10 km national road championship in September (second) and in the Asian Indoor Championships 3,000 m in February (seventh).
The AIU imposed a six-month sanction on marathoners Camilo Santiago of Spain and Ivan Zarco Alvarez of Honduras for swapping race bibs at the Itelligence Citylauf Invitational Marathon in Dresden, Germany on 21 March 2021. The AIU noted:
“Mr Zarco’s and Mr Santiago’s accounts of events were directly inconsistent with other evidence and did not demonstrate an honest attempt to correct the Marathon results, particularly in circumstances where Mr Zarco must have known that the result in question would have been a Honduran national record …The fact that Mr Zarco and Mr Santiago swapped bibs at all and were caught out in a public forum demonstrates that their conduct was unreasonable and it brought the sport into disrepute …The bib swap was an intentional arrangement for the purpose of altering Mr Zarco’s Marathon results.”
Both admitted the swap and are suspended through 8 August 2023.
● Badminton ● At the Orleans Masters in France, there was a rare appearance by an American star in a BWF World Tour final: Beiwen Zhang.
Now 32, Zhang had appeared in three prior finals, all in 2018, and she was matched against Rio 2016 winner and top seed Carolina Marin of Spain. The first set was a marathon, with Marin winning, 25-23, only to have Zhang came back with a dominant, 21-9, win in the second set. But Marin had more left in the tank and took the third set, 21-10.
A three-time World Champion, Marin now has a career record of 6-2 against Zhang.
Priyanshu Rajawat (IND) took the men’s Singles final, 21-15, 19-21, 21-16 over Magnus Johannesen (DEN). Bo Yang Chen and Yi Liu (CHN) won the men’s Doubles over Muhammad Fikri and Bagas Maulana (INA), 21-19, 21-17 and Rena Miyaura and Ayako Sakamoto (JPN) edged Sheng Shu Liu and Ning Tan (CHN), 21-19, 16-21, 21-12 in the women’s Doubles final.
In the Mixed Doubles, Tang Jie Chen and Ee Wei Toh (MAS) swept, Hong Wei Yi and Chia Hsin Lee (TPE), 21-19, 21-17.
● Cycling ● The iconic Paris-Roubaix race – the 120th – was the third “Monument” race of 2023, over 256.6 km with 29 cobblestone sections that make this race so unpredictable.
It was no surprise that rivals Mathieu van der Poel (NED) and Wout van Aert (BEL) looked to be dueling for the victory, with van der Poel throwing in attack after attack in the final 60 km. The break finally came only in the final 15 km, as another cobbled section ended up causing Germany’s Jon Degenkolb to crash as Belgian Jasper Philipsen came though with van der Poel and van Aert going clear.
But a flat tire hampered van Aert and van der Poel’s breakaway saw him win in 5:28:41, with Philipsen and van Aert second and third, 46 seconds back and Mads Pedersen (DEN), Stefan Kung (SUI) and Filippo Ganna (ITA) following, all 50 seconds behind the winner.
Van der Poel won his second Monument in 2023 – also Milan-Sanremo – and owns four career Monument wins, having won Flanders in 2020 and 2022 (and second in 2023).
The third Paris-Roubaix for women was held on Saturday, over a flat, 145.4 km course – with lots of cobbled sections – that saw nine riders sprint for the line in the final kilometer. The winner was a shock: Canadian Alison Jackson, 34, in 3:42:56 for her first overall race victory on the UCI Women’s World Tour! She led a group of six at the line, just ahead of Katie Ragusa (ITA), Marthe Truyen (BEL) and Eugenie Duval (FRA).
A major crash with 37 km left eliminated many of the big names from contention, including defending champion Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA), Tour of Flanders winner Lotte Kopecky (BEL) and Ronde van Drenthe winner Lorena Wibes (NED).
The 62nd Itzulia Basque Country race in Spain finished on Saturday, with Danish star Jonas Vingegaard – the reigning Tour de France champion – winning three of the six stages on the way to the overall title.
Vingegaard won the third stage and took the overall lead and held it to the end. He won the hilly stage four and then the one true climbing stage on Saturday, in and around Eibar. His winning time overall was 24:45:24, some 1:12 ahead of Spain’s Mikel Landa and 1:29 up on 2019 winner, Ion Izagirre (ESP). American Brandon McNulty was seventh overall, 1:38 behind the winner.
Vingegaard moved up from second in 2021. Izagirre won his sixth medal in this race over the past eight editions (1-1-4).
● Equestrian ● The FEI World Cup Finals were in Omaha, Nebraska this year, with Germany dominating the medal standings.
In the Dressage Freestyle Final, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl defended her 2022 championship, scoring 90.482% (on TSF Dalera BB) to edge Nanna Skodborg Merrald (DEN: 87.164%, on Blue Hors Zepter) and the amazing Isabell Werth (GER: 85.671%, on Qyuantaz). American Steffen Peters, 58, the 2009 champion, finished fourth (83.921% on Suppenkasper). Anna Buffini of the U.S. was sixth (77.843% on Davinla La Douce), and Alice Tarjan was ninth (75.207% on Serenade).
Bredow-Werndl won her fifth career medal since 2015, with two wins and three bronzes. Werth, 53, won her 14th World Cup medal, including five titles, five silvers and now four bronzes; he’s won medals now in five straight World Cup Finals.
In the Jumping, Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (with King Edward), 41, got his first FEI World Cup victory to go along with his 2022 World Championships gold, totaling only five penalties across three rounds and none in the final competition. He had previously won two World Cup bronzes.
Harrie Smolders (NED, with Monaco N.O.P.) found himself in a familiar place – second – after compiling nine penalties for his third World Cup Final silver and second in a row. American Hunter Holloway (on Pepita Con Spita), 25, took the bronze with 11 penalties, her first World Cup medal.
Including the Dressage, Jumping and (non-Olympic) Vaulting competitions, Germany topped the standings with nine medals (5-2-2), followed by Austria, the Netherlands and the Swiss with two each.
● Football ● The U.S. Women’s National Team returned to play with a friendly against Ireland in Austin, Texas, with both teams getting ready to play in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The U.S. dominated play, with the Irish having a tough time getting the ball out of their own end for any meaningful possession time. But even with 8-9 players back, defender Emily Fox found room just beyond the top of the box, running to the right and then sending a right-footed laser toward the left corner and past Irish keeper Courtney Brosnan for 1-0 lead in the 37th minute. It was Fox’s first international goal in her 28th appearance, and that’s the way the half ended.
There was considerable concern with U.S. scoring star Mallory Swanson carried off the field after a left knee injury in the 41st minute; she did not return. She was diagnosed with a torn patella tendon and will receive further tests.
The Americans kept pressing, but could not score in the second half, despite multiple chances. Midfielder Julie Ertz returned to the field for the first time since August 2021 in the 67th and she sent a ball into the box in the 79th minute toward midfielder Lindsey Horan, who was dragged down by Irish defender Diane Caldwell for a penalty.
Horan pounded a right-footed shot from right to left and although Brosnan hit it, the ball popped behind her for U.S. and a 2-0 lead. Ireland got a couple of late chances in stoppage time, but U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher was solid and the game ended at 2-0. The U.S. finished with 70% of possession despite 13 Irish fouls; The Americans ended with 25 shots to six for Ireland.
The U.S. improved to 14-0-0 all-time against Ireland, in their first meeting since 2019. The two sides will play again on Tuesday (11th).
● Golf ● Bad weather imploded The Masters on Saturday, with American Brooks Koepka leading Spanish star Jon Rahm by four strokes when play was called off. Better weather on Sunday allowed round three to finish with Koepka two up on Rahm, and Norway’s Viktor Hovland one shot further back.
The final round saw Rahm take the lead by two at the turn with birdies at three and eight and a bogey on nine, while Koepka suffered bogies on 4-6-9. The big charge was made by 52-year-old Phil Mickelson (USA), who birdied five of the last seven holes to card a 65 for the day and finish the tournament at -8 (280).
Rahm stayed strong and birdied two more holes on the final nine and finished with a four-stroke win at -12 (276). It’s his fifth finish in the top 10; had been fourth in 2018.
Koepka had three bogeys and three birdies on the last nine and ended up at -8, tied with Mickelson for second; he was also tied for second in 2019. Rahm and Hovland (tie-7th) were the only non-American players in the top nine; Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Russell Henley tied for fourth (-7). Cameron Young tied Hovland for seventh (-6) and Sahith Theegala was ninth (-5).
● Rugby Sevens ● The Rugby Sevens Series for men was in Singapore, with seasonal leader New Zealand whipping through pool play with a 3-0 record, as did Samoa and Argentina; France won Pool C at 2-0-1.
The playoff rounds were tightly contested, but New Zealand sailed past Great Britain (22-10) and Fiji (19-10) to reach the final. Samoa and Argentina met in the semis, with the Argentines managing a 24-19 win to advance. A taut final saw the Kiwis pull out a 19-17 victory and take their fourth win in the last five tournaments. Fiji won the bronze-medal match, 24-19, against Samoa.
After nine of 11 stops, the seasonal standings show New Zealand still in front with 164 points, to 140 for Argentina, 130 for Fiji and 122 for France. The U.S. sits eighth at 94.
● Sailing ● The 52nd Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta drew 1,300 sailors from 67 nations for Olympic Class competitions off Palma de Majorca, with some familiar stars atop the podium once again.
Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, Olympic winners in Rio and Tokyo, won the 49erFX class with 61 net points (three wins), over two-time World Champion Odile van Aanholt and three-time World Champion Annette Duetz (both NED: 76); Americans Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea finished fifth (89).
Dutch star Marit Bouwmeester – four-time World Champion – won the Laser Radial class with 60 points and two wins, well ahead of Zoe Thomson (AUS: 87) and Maxime Jonker (NED: 90).
In the new mixed 470 class, Japan’s 2018 women’s Worlds winner Miho Yoshioka (JPN) teamed with Keiju Okada to win a tight battle, 56-63-66 against Luise Wanser and Philipp Autenreith (GER) and Spain’s Tokyo Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman Cabot. Americans Stuart McNay and Lara Dallman-Weiss finished eighth (100).
Two-time World Champions John Gimson and Anna Burnet won the mixed Nacra 17 class, with three wins and 43 points, just ahead of Italy’s Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari Diotallevi (47) and Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei (ITA: 61). The third Italian entry, Tokyo Olympic champs Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti, finished fourth (76).
Britain’s Michael Bennett scored an impressive win in the Laser Class, with seven top-three finishes and just 44 net points, over George Gautrey (NZL: 72) and Croatia’s two-time Olympic silver medalist Tonci Stipanovic (73). Two-time World Champion Pavlo Kontides (CYP) also finished with 73 points, but was placed fourth due to being behind Stipanovic in the medal race.
New Zealand went 1-3 in the men’s 49er class, with Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn winning with 67 points, beating out 2016 Rio gold medalist Tom Burton, now sailing with Max Paul (AUS: 76), and Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie (NZL: 79).
Singapore’s 16-year-old Maximilian Maeder was the winner of the men’s Formula Kite event with just 19 points, over Connor Bainbridge (GBR: 33) and Axel Mazella (FRA: 38); France’s former World Champion, Max Nocher, also scored 38, but was placed fourth. Lauriane Nolot (FRA) won the women’s Kite (24), with Ellie Aldridge (GBR: 33) second; American Daniela Moroz, the 2018 World Champion, was fourth (37).
Sam Sills (GBR) won the men’s IQ Foil races with 32 points, beating Sebastian Koerdel (GER: 37) and Israel’s Tom Reuveny (70). Britain’s Emma Wilson took the women’s IQ Foil (54), well ahead of Lucie Belbeoch (FRA: 91).
For our updated, 651-event International Sports Calendar (no. 2) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!