The Sports Examiner

TSX REPORT: ISU defends Russian Team bronze; Gabba redevelopment vaporizes; marathon record man Kiptum dies in car crash

Kelvin Kiptum won the 2023 Chicago Marathon in world-record time. On Sunday, he died in a car crash in Kenya (Photo: Bank of America Marathon/Kevin Morris)

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1. ISU defends handing Russia 2022 OWG Team bronze
2. Queensland’s A$2.7 billion Gabba project suddenly dead!
3. Montreal could demolish the Stade Olympique, but for C$2 billion?
4. World indoor marks for Charlton, Kerr, three U.S. at fab Millrose
5. Marathon record holder Kiptum killed in car crash

● The International Skating Union defended its re-scoring of the Beijing 2022 Team Event in figure skating, giving Russia the bronze and leaving Canada fourth. But this isn’t over, and the drama will go on and on.

● Suddenly, all the political backing for the A$2.7 billion re-development of the Brisbane Cricket ground – The Gabba – has vaporized and the project is expected to be severely downsized once an ongoing review is completed in March.

● Montreal’s Stade Olympique, the symbol of the 1976 Olympic Games, is set for a C$870 million roof renovation …. because it would cost C$2 billion to tear it down! Really?

● Fabulous Millrose Games in New York, with world indoor records for Devynne Charlton of The Bahamas in the women’s 60 m hurdles and Britain’s Josh Kerr in the men’s two-mile. Plus three American Records!

● Tragedy: Kenyan marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum, 24, died in a car crash outside Eldoret in Kenya on Sunday night.

World Championships: Aquatics (5: China’s Pan get 100 Free record; China sweeps Olympic diving events; China sweeps artistic team events) = Biathlon (Norway and France dominate Sprint and Pursuit) ●

Panorama: Alpine Skiing (2: Odermatt wins sixth straight G-S; Gut-Behrami takes seasonal lead) = Athletics (eight world leaders as Lievin as Girma, Holloway, Tsegay scare records) = Basketball (U.S. women survive Olympic Qualifying Tournament) = Cross Country (Diggins wins again!) = Cycling (France and Sakakibara wins BMX season openers) = Fencing (4: Olympic champs Kiefer and Cheung win Foil Grand Prix; Olympic champ Szilagyi wins Sabre World Cup; Kong takes Epee World Cup win; Kharlan gets 14th World Cup Sabre gold) = Football (U.S. women dominate CONCACAF U-17s) = Freestyle Skiing (2: Thompson sweeps Ski Cross; China and U.S. sweep Aerials) = Ice Hockey (Canada swamps U.S. three straight to win Rivalry Series) = Luge (Aparjods and Fraebel surprise in Oberhof World Cup) = Nordic Combined (Riiber on nine-race streak in Otepaa) = Shooting (Cassandro and Scocchetti take Trap World Cup titles) = Short Track (Korea scores five wins at Dresden World Cup) = Snowboard (Hirano and Ono win seasonal Halfpipe tiles in Calgary) ●

ISU defends handing Russia 2022 OWG Team bronze

The International Skating Union’s confusing award of the bronze medal to Russia in the re-score of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games Team Event in figure skating following the 29 January disqualification of Russian skater Kamila Valieva was compounded with an even more cryptic statement on Friday. It included:

“The decision of the ISU Council with regard to the consequences to the official results of the Team event of Beijing 2022, clearly expressed in the ISU Statement of January 30, 2024, was based on a comprehensive evaluation from legal experts. This evaluation was, in turn, founded on the applicable rules and principles that are specific to this OWG Team event and is, therefore, the only decision that complies with the CAS Panel’s award. For the sake of clarity Rule 353 para 4 in the ISU Special Regulations is not applicable in this case.

“In any complex and extraordinary situation like this, the reallocation of points could negatively affect the relative team ranking, adversely impacting teams that had nothing to do with the incident in question. Therefore, we have to abide by the rules and principles. In light of this case, we will further clarify the rules and principles moving forward to ensure any such cases are dealt with more efficiently in the future.

“The CAS decision itself may be subject to appeal, therefore the ISU will not be discussing this matter in further detail in public at this stage.”

Others will be discussing it, however. It was noted in the TSX Report for 31 January that:

Rule 353 of the ISU’s Special Regulations for Technical Rules for Singles, Pairs and Ice Dance, in section 4 – titled “Publication of Results” – the text is clear about scoring for disqualified competitors:

“Disqualified Competitors will lose their placements and be officially noted in the intermediate and final results as disqualified (DSQ). Competitors having finished the competition and who initially placed lower than the disqualified Competitor(s) will move up accordingly in their placement(s).”

● Moreover, Rule 11.2.2 of the ISU Anti-Doping Rules is in a section titled “Consequences to Teams” and states:

“An anti-doping rule violation committed by a member of a team, including substitutes, occurring during or in connection with an Event may lead to Disqualification of all of the results obtained by the team in that Event with all Consequences for the team and its members, including forfeiture of all medals, points and prizes, except as provided in Article 11.2.3.”

The key phrase here is “in connection with an Event,” which in the Valieva case would indicate that her doping positive, revealed literally minutes after the Team Event finished on 7 February 2022, would appear to apply here. If so, the entire Russian team should be disqualified, and the Canadians awarded the bronze medal.

The ISU makes only a blanket statement and gives no explanation for its ruling, other than its reference to “legal experts.”

Skate Canada protested the initial re-scoring and reserved its rights to take this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and once any appeal to the Court of Arbitration decision in the Valieva case proper is made (and if made, dealt with), there can be little doubt a filing will be made on behalf of the Canadian team which finished fourth.

Which means that this long-running drama, at least for the Canadian and Russian skaters, is likely not close to being finalized any time soon.

Queensland’s A$2.7 billion Gabba project suddenly dead!

The headline of the story on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation site was definite:

“Queensland politicians all agree the $2.7 billion Gabba redevelopment plan is dead”

The project, to tear down and redevelop the famed Brisbane Cricket Ground – “The Gabba” – in advance of the 2032 Olympic Games was a signature project of the Queensland government under Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk (Labor). But Palaszczuk retired on 15 December 2023 and her successor, Steven Miles, appointed a commission to review the project.

Former Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk and his team are in the midst of their effort, with their report due by 18 March. But the political will behind the project has evaporated.

Miles had originally supported the plan as Palaszczuk’s deputy, but once in charge, the continuing outcry over the expanded cost – and the impact of a two-year project on the surrounding community – led him to ask for a critical review, saying “My preference is to find a better value-for-money outcome, that has always been my preference.”

The most current cost estimate of A$2.7 billion (about $1.76 billion U.S.) has been the driving force on souring support for the concept. Even at the bid stage, the International Olympic Committee’s review pointed out that the existing Carrara Stadium in a Gold Coast suburb, functioned well as the site for ceremonies and athletes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Now, former Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates, also an important International Olympic Committee member and the driving force behind Brisbane’s bid, said “we should abandon the Gabba,” and current AOC President Ian Chesterman said in a statement:

“We believe there are other, more creative solutions than rebuilding the Gabba for the Games which provide a legacy for our sports and even greater access for fans to an exceptional Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Political opposition chimed in, with Shadow Olympic and Paralympic infrastructure minister Jarrod Bleijie saying “The Liberal National Party have always held the view we do not support the full Gabba knockdown, it was a $2.7 billion project without a business case, without any financial credibility behind it.”

And Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner (LNP) said in a television interview that “I think today we can officially say the Gabba rebuild is dead, buried and cremated – and that is a good thing. …

“Let’s use what we’ve got. Let’s have a look at the best and most cost-effective way to do it. If there’s spare money, we want it to go into transport and roads, not into stadiums.”

The question now is where to hold the ceremonies and track & field, with Suncorp Stadium – known as Lang Park or “The Cauldron” – an obvious choice. It’s an existing stadium for rugby and football seating 52,500, which could work for the ceremonies, but another location would be needed for track. Coates suggested the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, a 48,500-seat facility in the Brisbane suburb of Nathan.

Said Miles, “let Graham Quirk do his work on the review and I’ll wait for his findings.”

Montreal could demolish the Stade Olympique, but for C$2 billion?

The financial disaster that was the Games of the XXI Olympiad in Montreal, Quebec in 1976 was centered around the construction of multiple stadia, most notably the futuristic-looking Stade Olympique.

But it wasn’t even close to being finished by the time the Games was held, and the roof was only installed in 1987.

Now, the roof is causing more problems; the CBC reported:

“The venue can’t hold games or exhibitions half the year because of the roof’s fragility – events are cancelled if more than three centimetres of snow are forecast.

“But throughout the years, Quebec politicians have said that the only reasonable option is to continue maintaining the stadium – even if its roof has never really worked since it was completed in 1987 – than to get rid of the concrete behemoth in the city’s east-end.”

Caroline Proulx, the Quebec Tourism Minister, said last week that the preferred solution is to spend C$870 million to replace the roof – over four years – with the stadium to close in two years if nothing is done to fix it. (C$1 = $0.74 U.S.)

Why not tear it down? Well, Proulx said that could cost C$2 billion! That’s because the venue was built with pre-stressed concrete, making implosion almost impossible, moreover possibly damaging the subway lines which run around and under the stadium.

McGill University engineering professor Daniele Malomo told the CBC:

“The problem in demolishing something like that is that you can’t just cut the concrete,” explaining that to do so would release huge amounts of energy from the steel rebar inside; “It will behave like a bomb, essentially.”

The city of Montreal was left with C$1 billion debt after the Games, significantly due to the Stade Olympique, on which building continued. The debt was finally extinguished in 2006, with the stadium locally known as the “Big Owe.”

World indoor marks for Charlton and Kerr at fab Millrose, U.S. records for Monson, Fisher and St. Pierre!

There was great anticipation for possible world records at the 116th Millrose Games in New York on Sunday, but in the first event on the track? That’s what happened, along with another world mark, three American Records and world-leading performances in six events:

Men/Mile: 3:47.83, Yared Nuguse (USA)
Men/Two Mile: 8:00.67, Josh Kerr (GBR) ~ World Record

Women/60 m: 6.99, Julien Alfred (LCA)
Women/Mile: 4:16.41, Elle St. Pierre (USA) ~ American Record
Women/Two Mile: 9:04.84, Laura Muir (GBR)
Women/60 m hurdles: 7.67, Devynne Charlton (BAH) ~ World Record

In the first elite event on the track, Charlton was out fast and had the lead at the first hurdle against an excellent field that included world leader Tia Jones of the U.S. Jones came on as did Jamaica’s two-time World 100 m hurdles Champion Danielle Williams, but they could not dent the lead and she crossed in a world record of 7.67, busting the 2008 mark of 7.68 by Susanna Kallur (SWE). Williams and Jones went 2-3 in 7.79. Wow!

In the women’s 60 m, Alfred took the world lead with a powerful performance right from the start and ran away from everyone in 6.99, her fourth-fastest indoor 60 m ever. Jamaica’s Shashalee Forbes was a distant second at 7.14.

American distance star Alicia Monson took over the two-mile once the pacing ended and led British star Laura Muir at the mile in 4:35.40. Ethiopian teen Melknat Wudu came up to challenge Monson and then Muir took over with 300 m to go. At the bell, it was Muir, 19-year-old Medina Eisa (ETH) and Wudu as Monson fell back, and then Eisa shot back Muir for the win in the final 50 m in 9:04.39, moving her to no. 2 all-time!

But Eisa was subsequently disqualified for an improper move that cut off another runner. So Muir ended up the winner with a national record of 9:04.84 (now no. 2 all-time) and Wudu moved up to second in 9:07.12 (no. 4 all-time). Monson got third and an American Record of 9:09.70 (no. 5 all-time), moving aside Elle St. Pierre’s 9:10.28 from 2021.

The men’s two-mile had record aspirations, with World 1,500 m champ Josh Kerr (GBR) and 2022 Worlds 10,000 m fourth-place Grant Fisher of the U.S. at the front of the pack. Fisher passed 1 1/4 miles in the lead with Kerr just behind and well clear of the rest of the field. Kerr took over with 300 m left and was clear of Fisher at the bell and charged home – raising his hand to the crowd with 50 m to go – and winning in a world record of 8:00.67, shattering British icon Mo Farah‘s 8:03.40 time from 2015.

Fisher was second in 8:03.62 and claimed the American Record, displacing Galen Rupp’s 8:07.41 from 2014. Fisher is now no. 3 all-time and Cole Hocker of the U.S. finished third in 8:05.70 to move to no. 6 all-time. New Zealand’s George Beamish was fourth in 8:05.73 and now ranks seventh on the all-time list.

Australian Jessica Hull, the world leader at 3,000 m, took over the women’s Wanamaker Mile with a half-mile to go, trailed closely by American Record holder St. Pierre, who took the lead at the bell. St. Pierre opened up a 5 m lead with a half-lap left and steamed home in a world-leading 4:16.41, breaking her own U.S. mark of 4:16.85 from 2020. Hull got a national record of 4:19.03. St. Pierre stays at no. 3 all-time and Hull is now no. 10.

The men’s Wanamaker Mile was another world-record attempt, especially after the U.S.’s Yared Nuguse ran the no. 2 time in indoor history in 3:47.38 last year. This time, Nuguse was tracked early by World Road Mile champ Hobbs Kessler and Britain’s George Mills, with pacer Derek Holdsworth (USA) passing 440 yards in 55.64 and 880 yards in 1:52.28. Nuguse took over with four laps left, and passed the 1320 mark in 2:51.87, slowing to a 59.38 quarter.

Mills passed Kessler at the bell and Nuguse hit the gas and moved away to win decisively in 3:47.83, the no. 3 performance in history. Kessler came back to pass Mills on the final straight to get second in 3:48.66, now, the sixth-fastest indoor mile ever – at 20 – and now the no. 4 performer ever. Mills was third in 3:48.93, now no. 6 ever. Nuguse covered the final quarter in 55.96.

Everyone expected super-starter Christian Coleman – the world-record holder – to get out quick in the men’s 60 m, but Japan’s Hakim Sani Brown actually had the early lead. But Coleman came on and had the race in hand in the final 10 m and won in 6.51, equal-seventh in the world for 2024, but a good warm-up for next week’s USATF Nationals in Albuquerque. Sani Brown held fast for second in 6.54, equaling his lifetime best.

Bryce Hoppel came from behind in the men’s 800 m, moving past Kenyan Noah Kibet, the 2022 World Indoor runner-up, coming into the final straight and won in 1:45.54, to move to no. 7 on the year list. Kibet was second in 1:46.09 with Mark English (IRL) third in 1:46.61.

The men’s 60 m hurdles was a shocker, with Dylan Beard, who only got to the semis at the USATF outdoor champs in 2023, coming hard off the final hurdle to win in 7.44, moving to equal-third on the 2024 world list. He beat some big names, including 2023 Worlds bronze winner Daniel Roberts (7.51) and 2022 Worlds runner-up Trey Cunningham (7.52).

The men’s vault was down to Olympic silver winner Chris Nilsen and American Record man KC Lightfoot at 5.92 m (19-1), and neither could go higher, with Nilsen winning on the countback.

American Talitha Diggs – a Worlds 400 m finalist last year – came off the final turn and shot past Ireland’s Worlds 400 m fourth-placer Rhasidat Adeleke to win the women’s 300 m, in 36.21 to 36.42. It’s Diggs’ second-fastest ever at the distance.

Former Stanford All-American Olivia Baker sprang into the lead at the bell in the women’s 800 m and it looked like Tokyo Olympic 800 m bronzer Raevyn Rogers was ready to strike off the final turn, but it was emerging star Allie Wilson who came back on the final straight to win in 2:01.61, ahead of Baker (2:01.91) with Rogers fading to sixth (2:02.49).

World Champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh (UKR) and 2016 World Indoor champ Vashti Cunningham of the U.S. were the only ones left by 1.97 m (6-5 1/2) and Mahuchikh cleared cleanly on her first try and Cunningham got over on her third. At 2.00 m (6-6 3/4), Cunningham missed, but Mahuchikh got over on her third to win her sixth straight meet dating back to 2023.

Next week: the USATF Indoor Nationals, which will be the selection meet for the World Indoors in Glasgow in March.

Marathon record holder Kiptum killed in car crash

A terrible tragedy in Kenya, as men’s marathon world-record holder Kelvin Kiptum, 24, and coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a car crash outside of Eldoret, Kenya about 11 p.m. on Sunday evening.

Elgeyo Marakwet County Police Commander Peter Mulinge explained:

“This was a self-involved accident where one Kelvin Kiptum, the world marathon record holder, was driving his vehicle with two passengers. Kiptum and Hakizimana died on the spot and the third person was rushed to Racecourse hospital in Eldoret.

“He lost control, veered off the road, entered into a ditch 60 meters away and hit a big tree.”

A third passenger, a woman, was also hurt seriously, but survived and was taken to a hospital in Eldoret.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga posted on X (ex-Twitter): “Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, world record holder and Kenyan athletics icon. Together with his coach, they tragically passed on in an accident tonight. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”

Kiptum set the world marathon record of 2:00:35 in winning the Chicago Marathon on 8 October and was ready to try for the first sub-2:00 marathon in competition at the Rotterdam Marathon in April. He ran his first marathon at Valencia (ESP) in December 2022, winning in a sensational 2:01:53, then won in London last April in 2:01:25 before taking the world record in Chicago.

He had been a half-marathon runner beginning in 2018 before exploding to marathon fame in 2022. An unimaginable tragedy.


● Aquatics ● Swimming began at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha (QAT), with many of the top stars missing, but even so, with a sensational world record on the first day.

Korea’s Woo-min Kim, the 2022 Asian Games champion, won the men’s 400 m Free in 3:42.71, fastest in the world this year, ahead of 2022 World Champion Elijah Winnington (AUS: 3:42.86) and Lukas Martens (GER: 3:42.96).

The big news came in the men’s 4×100 m Free relay, as Chinese star Zhanle Pan led off in 46.80, a world record for the 100 m Free, shaving 0.06 off of Romanian David Popovici’s 46.86 from 2022. Pan had been no. 5 with his 46.97 mark from last season. China won the race in 3:11.08, trailed by Italy (3:12.08) and the U.S. squad of Matt King, Shaine Casas, Luke Hobson and Carson Foster won the bronze at 3:12.29.

Australia’s Erika Fairweather, the 2023 Worlds women’s 400 m Free bronze medalist, won in Doha at 3:59.44, maintaining her spot as no. 5 on the all-time list, and the world leader for 2024. China’s Bingjie Li was second (4:01.62) and Germany’s Isabel Gose got the bronze and a national record of 4:02.39.

Australia and the U.S. had won the last six editions of the women 4×100 m Free, but the Netherlands returned to the top of the podium for the first time since 2011, winning at 3:36.61, ahead of Australia (3:36.93) and Canada (3:37.95). The U.S., already qualified for Paris, did not enter a team.

In diving, China completed a sweep of the Olympic-program events, with victories in the men’s 10 m Platform and women’s 3 m Springboard and scored nine golds during the Worlds.

Hao Yang had finished second on the men’s 10 m in 2019, then third in 2022 and 2023, but got the gold in Doha at 564.05, ahead of Tokyo Olympic champ Yuan Cao (553.20). Both were well clear of Ukraine’s 18-year-old Oleksiy Sereda (528.65), who won his first Worlds individual medal. Brandon Loschiavo of the U.S. was eighth at 453.35.

Yani Chang and Yiwen Chen, who won the women’s 3 m Synchro, went 1-2 in the women’s individual 3 m, scoring 354.75 and 336.60, with Korea’s Su-ji Kim third (311.25). For Chang, it’s her first Worlds individual gold, after a bronze in this event in 2022 and silver in 2023. Chen earned her first silver after wins in 2022 and 2023. American Sarah Bacon finished fifth (302.65).

In the non-Olympic Mixed 3 m Synchro, Australia’s Domonic Bedggood and Maddison Keeney won at 300.93, moving up from silver in 2023; it’s the second gold in the event for Keeney (also in 2019). Italy’s Matteo Santoro and Chiara Pellacani won the silver (287.49); the U.S. pair of Noah Duperre and Bridget O’Neil finished seventh (262.17).

The final two events in artistic swimming saw China complete a sweep in the Team events, taking the Free Routine at 339.7604, well ahead of Japan (315.2229) and the U.S. (304.9021), which scored bronzes in this event and the Team Acrobatic Routine.

In the Mixed Duet Free, China’s Wentao Cheng and Haoyu Shi – second in the Mixed Duet Technical – won this time at 224.1437, with Dennis Gonzalez and Mirela Hernandez (ESP: 208.3583) second and Mexico (Miranda Barrera and Diego Villalobos: 192.5772) third.

China won seven golds and nine medals in all to lead the medal table.

In the men’s water polo tournament, Spain, Greece and Serbia all finished group play at 3-0 and Hungary won its three games, with one by penalty shoot-out. The U.S. was 1-2 with a penalty shoot-out loss, but advanced to the playoffs.

On Sunday, Montenegro, Croatia and France won their games to advance, and Italy defeated the U.S., 13-12. The quarterfinals will be played on Tuesday, with Spain vs. Montenegro, Italy vs. Greece, Serbia vs. Croatia and defending champ Hungary against France.

Serbia, Croatia, Spain and Italy all qualified for the Paris Games; the U.S. was already qualified as the Pan American Games gold medal winners.

In the women’s tournament, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and Greece advanced from the play-in round to the quarterfinals on Monday. The U.S. will face Australia and possibly then the winner of Spain and Canada in the semifinals.

● Biathlon ● Norway has dominated the men’s IBU World Cup and France the women’s events and that continued at the IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto (CZE).

In the opening event – the Sprint – the Norwegian men swept the men’s medals and the French swept the women’s. Sturla Holm Largreid won the men’s 10 km Sprint in 25:23.9 (0 penalties), giving him three career Worlds individual gold, after two in other events in 2021. Three-time (and defending) champion Johannes Thingnes Boe took the silver (25:27.4/1) for his 33rd career Worlds medal (wow), and Vetle Christiansen was third (25:42.5/1). Campbell Wright of the U.S. was an encouraging 11th in 26:31.8 (0).

The French women swept the first four places in the 7.5 km Sprint, with Julia Simon winning her fourth career Worlds gold – but first in this event – in 20:07.5 (0), trailed by teammates Justine Braisaz-Bouchet (20:12.4/1), Lou Jeanmonnot (20:48.3/1) and Sophie Chauveau (20:51.7/1) in fourth. Deedra Irwin was the top American, in 39th, at 22:32.1 (2).

Simon kept up the pressure on Sunday, winning the women’s 10 km Pursuit in 29:54.8 (1), ahead of Italian star Lisa Vittozzi (30:41.1/1) and Braisaz-Bouchet (30:44.1/4), with Chauveau fourth (30:52.4/3). It’s Vittozzi’s ninth career Worlds medal (1-4-4).

Norway utterly dominated the men’s 12.5 km Pursuit, taking the top five places, with Boe winning in 32:36.9 (3), followed by Lagreid (33:05.6/2) and Christiansen (33:15.4/3). Wright continued his success for the U.S., finishing 12th at 34:58.4 (2), and Sean Doherty was 26th (36:58.2/1).

The Worlds continue through the 18th.


● Alpine Skiing ● If it’s a Giant Slalom, it’s going to be Swiss Marco Odermatt on top of the podium, as he won his sixth straight in the event in this FIS Alpine World Cup season on Saturday, at Bansko (BUL).

No one was close as Odermatt led after the first run by 0.35 over Alexander Steen Olsen (NOR) and then extended his advantage to 0.91 on the second run to win with 2:15.75 to Steen Olsen’s 2:16.66. Austria’s Manuel Feller was third (2:16.83), with River Radamus the top American in 12th (2:17.91).

Sunday’s Slalom was canceled after 31 starters on the first run due to heavy rains. Odermatt continues as the seasonal leader with 1,506 points vs. 684 for France’s Cyprien Sarrazin.

There’s a new seasonal leader for the women as Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI), who won the World Cup title in 2016, won her third straight World Cup race, this time in Soldeu (AND). Saturday’s Giant Slalom was her sixth win of the season – four in Giant Slaloms – as she came from ninth after the first run to win with the no. 2 time in the second run.

Her total of 1:59.27 was just 0.01 better than New Zealand star Alice Robinson, who her second straight silver and 15/100ths better than American A.J. Hurt in third (1:59.42). For Hurt, 23, it’s her second career World Cup medal – both bronzes – and both this season. Paula Moltzan of the U.S. was 11th (2:00.43).

The Slalom went to Sweden’s Anna-Svenn Larsson for her second career World Cup win and first since November of 2022, when she tied with Swiss Wendy Holdener. This time, she was all alone at 1:49.25, winning the first run and hanging on as Zrinka Ljutic (CRO) won her second silver of the season (1:49.60) and Moltzan took the bronze for her first World Cup podium this season, in 1:50.08.

With U.S. star Mikaela Shiffrin still recovering from a crash, Gut-Behrami took over the seasonal lead at 1,214 to 1,209 after 28 of 41 events.

● Athletics ● Hot running and jumping at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meet, the Hauts de France, in Lievin (FRA) on Saturday, with world leads in eight events:

Men/200 m: 20.21, Erriyon Knighton (USA)
Men/800 m: 1:45.10, Eliott Crestan (BEL)
Men/2,000 m: 4:51.23, Lamecha Girma (ETH)
Men/60 m hurdles: 7.32, Grant Holloway (USA)
Men/Shot: 22.37 m (73-4 3/4), Leonardo Fabbri (ITA)

Women/400 m: 49.63, Femke Bol (NED)
Women/3,000 m: 8:17.11, Gudaf Tsegay (ETH)
Women/Vault: 4.84 m (15-10 1/2), Eliza McCartney (NZL)

Knighton moved to no. 12 all-time and no. 8 all-time U.S. with a decisive win in the men’s 200 m, 20.21-20.56 over France’s Ryan Zeze, while Crestan got a tight win over Mariano Garcia (ESP: 1:45.50) in the 800 m.

The rarely-run indoor 2,000 m saw Tokyo Olympic Steeple runner-up and indoor 3,000 m world-record holder Lamecha Girma get close to the world mark of 4:49.99 by Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) in 2007, but come up just short at 4:41.23, the no. 2 performance in history. All the distance races were hot, as Azeddine Habz set a French national record in the 1,500 m at 3:34.39, edging Vincent Keter (KEN: 3:34.44). The 2022 World Indoor champ in the 3,000 m, Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega, won in 7:31.38, a mark only three others (including himself) have surpassed this season.

World hurdles champ Grant Holloway dominated the 60 m hurdles, winning the final in 7.32, the equal-fourth-fastest time in history, which he has done three times! Just Kwaou-Mathey (FRA) was second in a national record of 7.43. Holloway now owns 10 of the top 13 hurdles performances in history.

Italy’s Leonardo Fabbri moved to no. 6 all-time indoor with his second-round win in the shot; he also reached 22.06 m (72-4 1/2) on his final try. American Sam Kendricks won the vault at 5.76 m (18-10 3./4) and triple jump World Champion Hugues Fabrice Zango (BUR) took the triple jump at 17.21 m (56-5 3/4).

Dutch star Femke Bol continues to be a blur, improving her 400 m world lead to 49.63, the no. 4 performance in history; she’s already the world-record holder at 49.26 from last year. Ethiopia’s Tsegay, the world indoor 1,500 m record holder, took a shot at the 3,000 m mark of 8:16.60 by countrywoman Genzebe Dibaba from 2014, and came up only a little short, at 8:17.11, the no. 3 performance of all-time (she ran 8:16.69 last year). She won by more than 12 second over fellow Ethiopian Hirut Meshesha. A third Ethiopian, Freweyni Hailu, the world leader at 1,500 m, won that event at 3:57.24, the no. 4 performance of the season. Britain’s Jemma Reekie took the women’s 800 m in 2:00.40.

World outdoor hurdles record holder Tobi Amusan (NGR) won the women’s hurdles in 7.83 and Eliza McCartney got a world lead in the women’s vault at 4.84 m (15-10 1/2), her best-ever indoors.

● Basketball ● Four Olympic Qualifying Tournaments for women were in Belgium, Brazil, China and Hungary, with the already-qualified U.S. and France participating, but everyone else looking to book a spot in Paris.

In front of 13,700 in Antwerp, the seven-time defending Olympic champion U.S. had to mount a big fourth-quarter rally to get close to Belgium. With the game at 79-79 and with the ball with five seconds left, the U.S. inbounded to guard Kelsey Plum, who drove and missed a short runner, but the put-back by Breanna Stewart gave the Americans an 81-79 win. The Americans won the game with a 24-13 fourth-quarter surge after being down nine at half and at the end of three quarters.

The U.S. crushed Nigeria, 100-46, in their second game, and Senegal, 101-39, in their final game to win the tournament at 3-0, but Belgium (2-1) and Nigeria (1-2) both advanced to Paris.

In Belem (BRA), Australia barely got by 1-2 Serbia, 75-73, in their final game to finish 3-0 and win the tournament, as both qualified for Paris, along with Germany (2-1).

In X’ian (CHN), France cruised to a 3-0 record, with China qualifying at 2-1 and Puerto Rico at 1-2. In Sopron (HUN), Japan and Spain were both 2-1 and advanced to Paris, as did Canada, which was 1-2 but had a +3 point differential as against -7 for fourth-place Hungary.

● Cross Country Skiing ● Thanks in part to the Covid-19 pandemic, the FIS Cross Country had not been in North America since 2019, but it came back this past weekend to Canmore (CAN) and will head to Minneapolis for racing next weekend.

And back in North America, of course American Jessie Diggins was ready to roll and scored an ecstatic win in the women’s 15 km Freestyle Mass Start on Friday. It was tight to the finish, but Diggins scored a 40:26.0 victory, just ahead of France’s Delphine Claudel (40:28.6) and Norway’s Heidi Weng (40:29.3). Sophia Laukli of the U.S. finished eighth in 40:34.6. It was Diggins’ sixth win of the season and increased her overall World Cup lead.

The Freestyle Sprint was won by Norway’s Kristine Stavaas Skistad – her second gold of the season – in 3:03.88, ahead of Swedes Maja Dahlqvist (3:04.45) and Linn Svahn (3:05.28), with Diggins fifth in 3:05.89.

Sunday’s 20 km Classical Mass Start was the second win of the season for 10-time Worlds medalist Frida Karlsson (SWE: 57:08.2), just ahead of Finnish star Kerttu Niskanen (57:09.8) and Weng (57:16.3). Diggins was 10th in 57:50.5 and has a 2,055-1,731 lead over Svahn after 24 of 34 events.

The men’s 15 km Free was the fifth straight win for Norway, this time with World Champion Simen Hegstad Krueger taking the victory over seasonal leader Harald Amundsen, 36:06.5 to 36:16.3. Scott Patterson was the top American, eighth in 36:35.4.

The men’s Freestyle Sprint was another Norwegian win, as two-time Olympic Sprint winner Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo getting his seventh gold of the season in 2:44.40, with Erik Valnes second (2:44.83 and Swede Edvin Anger third (2:45.03).

The 20 km Classical Mass Start was the seventh World Cup win in a row for Norway, with four-time Worlds gold medalist Pal Golberg winning at the line in 52:10.7, ahead of Klaebo (52:10.9) and teammate Mathis Stenshagen (52:11.2). It’s the sixth Norwegian medals sweep this season.

The Canmore stop will wrap with a Classical Sprint on Tuesday.

● Cycling ● The UCI BMX World Cup kicked off with two races for men and women at Rotorua (NZL), with the first race for men mirroring the 2023 final World Cup standings.

Then, France’s Romain Mahieu won over countryman Joris Daudet and that’s how they finished on Saturday, with Swiss Simon Marquardt third (37.431). On Sunday, Daudet – two-time World Champion from 2011 and 2016 – won at 36.564 over Cedric Butti (SUI: 37.003) and Tokyo 2020 Olympic champ Niek Kimman (NED: 37.335).

Australia’s two-time Worlds runner-up Saya Sakakibara won the first women’s race in 36.758, beating Dutch 2018 World Champion Laura Smulders to the line (36.822) and Tokyo Olympic champ Bethany Shriever (GBR: 37.224). American Alise Willoughby, the Rio 2016 Olympic silver winner, was fourth (37.552).

Sakakibara completed the sweep on Sunday, winning at 36.339 over Shriever (36.367), Manon Veenstra (NED: 37.019) and Willoughby (37.716).

● Fencing ● Olympic champion and top-ranked Lee Kiefer of the U.S. scored another victory at the FIE Foil Grand Prix in Turin (ITA), defeating third-ranked Martina Favaretto of Italy by 15-11 in the final. Now 29, Kiefer won her fifth Grand Prix gold and has 33 career medals in Grand Prix and World Cup competitions. Two-time World Champion Arianna Errigo (ITA) and Anne Sauer (GER) won the bronzes.

Hong Kong’s Tokyo Olympic champ Ka Long Cheung scored a 15-11 win over Czech Alexander Choupenitch in the final for his first career Grand Prix gold. For Choupenitch, it’s his fourth Grand Prix medal. American Nick Itkin lost a 15-14 thriller to Cheung in the semis and shared the bronze medal with Enzo Lefort (FRA).

Hungary’s three-time Olympic gold medalist Aron Szilagyi won his 10th career FIE World Cup gold with a 15-7 win over Ali Pakdaman (IRI) in the men’s Sabre event in Tbilisi (GEO). Szilagyi now has 42 career medals in World Cups and Grand Prix. Pakdaman, 33, won his second career World Cup medal and first silver.

Top-ranked Mai Wan Vivian Kong (HKG) won a tight, 12-11 final against Korean Sera Song to win the FIE World Cup women’s Epee in Barcelona (ESP). It’s her second win in 12 days, after taking the Doha Grand Prix on 29 January. Song, ranked sixth worldwide, won her first medal of the season.

Ukraine’s four-time World Champion Olha Kharlan won the FIE World Cup women’s Sabre in Lima (PER), defeating Sugar Katinka Battai (HUN) in the final by 15-6. It’s her 14th career World Cup win, but her first since 2019; remember that she has a guaranteed entry into the Paris Games even if she does not qualify due to the controversial ending of her World Championships bout with Russian Anna Smirnova last year. The U.S.’s Elizabeth Tartakovsky lost to Kharlan in the semis and shared the bronze medal with Zaynab Dayibekova (UZB).

● Football ● For the fourth straight time, the U.S. and Mexico met in the final of the CONCACAF women’s U-17 championship, this time in Toluca (MEX).

The U.S. won all three of the prior finals, in 2016, 2018 and 2022, all by one goal. The Mexicans moved through Group A with a 3-0 record and an 8-0 goals-against total. The U.S. won its three games in Group B, outscoring its foes by 21-1. In the semis, Mexico edged Canada, 2-1, in extra time and the U.S. pounded Haiti, 7-1.

The American attack hardly stopped in the final, as Mya Townes scored in the 11th minute, Kimmi Ascanio got a goal in the 23rd and then Mexican midfielder Adrianna Gonzalez scored an own goal for a 3-0 U.S. lead by the 28th minute.

Alexandra Pfeiffer scored the final goal for the U.S. in the 62nd for the 4-0 final. This was the fourth straight win in this tournament for the U.S., and their sixth all-time, the most ever. In the third-place game, Canada stopped Haiti, 4-1.

● Freestyle Skiing ● The seventh of 11 stops on the FIS Ski Cross World Cup tour was in Bakuriani (GEO), with Sweden’s David Mobaerg winning the first men’s race, ahead of Worlds runner-up Florian Wilmsmann (GER) and seasonal leader Alex Fiva (SUI).

World Champion Simone Deromedis (ITA) took the second race, for his second win of the season, with Mobaerg getting his fourth medal of the season in second and Swiss Tobias Baur third.

The women’s racing was all about Canada’s Marielle Thompson, the 2014 Olympic gold medalist and Beijing 2022 runner-up. She had won two of the three races coming into Bakuriani, then swept both races on Saturday and Sunday. Thompson led a Canadian 1-2 with Brittany Phelan and then France’s Marielle Berger Sabbatel got her seventh medal of her breakout season.

Thompson beat Berger Sabbatel in the second race, with Swiss Talina Gantanbein third. Thompson now has the seasonal lead, 812-730, over Berger Sabbatel.

The third of four stages in the FIS World Cup for Aerials was Lac-Beauport (CAN), with a sweep for China in the men’s events and a U.S. sweep for the women.

Olympic champ Guangpu Qi won Saturday’s competition, scoring 124.78 to lead a 1-2 with teammate Xindi Wang (119.47) with Canada’s Emile Nadeau third (105.30). On Sunday, it was Yifan Zhang, 20, with his first career World Cup win – and second medal – beating Wang, 119.03 to 108.50. Swiss Noe Roth, the 2023 World Champion, was third (100.00).

American Karenna Elliott, 23, won her first World Cup medal with a victory in the Saturday’s women’s event; she’s never finished higher than ninth! But she scored 89.18 to edge three-time Worlds medalist Danielle Scott (AUS: 84.24) and Marion Thenault (CAN: 83.19).

Fellow American Winter Vinecki won her third event in the five held so far this season on Sunday, at 97.88, with Meiting Chen second (CHN: 88.12) and Scott third (81.42). American Kalia Kuhn was fourth (79.75). Vinecki now has the seasonal lead from Scott, 352-340, with one event left in Almaty (KAZ) in March.

● Ice Hockey ● The 2023-24 Rivalry Series started well for the U.S. against arch-rival Canada, winning the first three matches by 3-1, 5-2, and 3-2 in overtime. The came a loss in December in a shoot-out in Sarnia, Ontario, 3-2.

The series finished with three games over the last week, with the Canadians winning both in Saskatchewan to end the series on Sunday in St. Paul, Minnesota with the series on the line.

In Saskatoon last Wednesday, Gabbie Hughes gave the Americans a 2-1 lead at the end of the second period, but Ashton Bell tied it with 8:31 to play in the third, and then Renata Fast scored with 5:53 to go to take a 3-2 lead and with an empty-netter with 0:54 to play, the final was 4-2.

In Regina on Friday, the U.S. offense never got going in a 3-0 shutout, with all of the goals scored in the third period. A power play in the first minute turned into a Natalie Spooner goal at the 0:58 mark and then Emily Clark scored at 10:52 of the third and Sarah Nurse at 15:35. Emerance Maschmayer turned away 27 U.S. shots.

Sunday’s match in St. Paul was a rout for the Canadians, winning 6-1 with a power-play goal from Spooner in the first period, then another power-play score 57 seconds into the second from Marie-Philip Poulin. Canada went up 3-0 on an Bell goal at 10:41 and while the U.S. got a short-handed score from Grace Zumwinkle at the 17:29 mark, Spooner scored again just 58 seconds later for a 4-1 edge at the end of the second period.

The U.S. replaced Nicole Hensley in goal after the third Canadian goal, but Abbey Levy had no more luck, as Emma Maltais scored a short-handed goal at 4:21 of the third and got a second at 7:58 for Canada’s fourth straight win in the series and the 6-1 final.

● Luge ● The first of weeks of competition in the FIL World Cup in Oberhof (GER), with Latvian star Kristers Aparjods winning his eighth career World Cup gold – and first outside of Latvia since 2022 – with a remarkable comeback.

He was only 17th after the first run, but second-fastest on the second to finish at 1:27.263 and that was good enough, as German Max Langenhan, the 2024 World Champion, was second (1:27.305) and 2018 Olympic winner David Gleirscher (AUT: 1:27.381) third. Tucker West was the top U.S. finisher at 1:27.704.

In the men’s Doubles, Austria’s Worlds runners-up Thomas Steu and Wolfgang Kindl had the fastest times on both runs and won at 1:23.928, ahead of Hannes Orlamuender and Paul Gubitz (GER: 1:24.051), who won their first World Cup medal of the season. Triple Olympic champs Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt won the bronze in 1:24.118. Americans Zachary Di Gregorio and Sean Hollander were ninth in 1:24.555.

A surprise in the women’s Singles, with German Merle Fraebel winning the upset over Worlds bronze medalist Madeleine Egle (AUT), 1:24.956 to 1:25.080, with 2021 World Champion Julia Taubitz (GER: 1:25.108) in third. Emily Sweeney was the top American, in eighth (1:25.445).

Two-time World Champions Jessica Degenhardt and Cheyenne Rosenthal took the women’s Doubles in 1:26.244, beating Sprint World Champions Andrea Voetter and Marion Oberhofer (ITA: 1:26.277) and 2024 World Champs Selina Egle and Lara Kipp (AUT: 1:26.365). The U.S. went 6-7 with Maya Chen and Reannyn Weller and 2022 Worlds bronzers Chevonne Forgan and Sophia Kirkby (1:27.090 and 1:27.210).

In the Team Relay, Germany won a tight race with Latvia, 3:12.942 to 3:13.092, with Austria third (3:13.230). The U.S., with Sweeney, Di Gregorio and Hollander, West and Chen and Weller, was fifth (3:13.996).

● Nordic Combined ● There has been no stopping Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber in the FIS World Cup, and he continued winning in Otepaa (EST). But it was close.

Riiber came in with seven World Cup wins in a row, and off the 97 m hill, he barely won the Mass Start 5 km cross-country race on Friday over Kristjian Ilves of Estonia, 21:28.0 to 21:30.4. But Riiber won the jumping and finished with 134.3 points to 127.0 for Ilves and 125.3 for Austrian star Johannes Lamparter. Eight in a row.

On Saturday, the Gundersen 97 m jumping and 10 km race was even closer, with Ilves first after the jumping, but Riiber coming from behind to win by 0.4, 22:19.9 to 22:20.3! Lamparter was third again, in 22:23.1. Nine in a row.

Sunday’s Gundersen with a 10 km race saw Riiber complete his sweep of the weekend, this time in a runaway, winning in 22:41.0 to 23:20.8 for Stefan Rettenegger (AUT). Riiber has now clinched the seasonal World Cup title with 1,670 points to 1,221 for Rettenegger, with four events left. It’s his fifth career title … at age 26.

In the women’s World Cup, Norway came in with a perfect record: 10 races and 10 wins. Gyda Westvold Hansen got her fourth win of the season in Friday’s 5 km Mass Start and 97 m jumping with 129.0 points to 113.4 for teammate Ida Marie Hagen, with Mari Leinan Lund completing the Norwegian sweep at 110.0. Annika Malacinski was 10th for the U.S. (83.6).

Hagen won the Gundersen 5 km at 13:08.8, followed by Japan’s Haruka Kasai (13:29.7), who won her first medal of the season, with Westvold Hansen third (13:38.6). Malacinski was 11th (15:05.1).

Hagen also won the 5 km Gundersen race on Sunday in 13:41.3, crossing before Leinan Lund (13:42.7), with Westvold Hansen third in 14:23.5. Malacinski was 12th (16:49.2).

● Shooting ● Italy swept the Skeet titles at the ISSF World Cup in Rabat (MAR), with Tammaro Cassandro, the 2019 Worlds runner-up, beating three-time Olympic champ Vincent Hancock of the U.S., 59-57 in the final.

Italy went 1-2 in the women’s Skeet final, with 2013 Worlds silver winner Simona Scocchetti edging Martina Maruzzo by 54-52. American Caitlin Connor made the final but was sixth.

● Short Track ● The fifth of six stages in the 2023-24 ISU World Cup was in Dresden (GER), with Korea winning five events to lead the medal parade.

World men’s 1,000 m champ Ji-won Park won both of the 1,000 m races, first in 1:26.406 over Felix Roussel (CAN: 1:26.482) and then leading a Korean 1-2 over Sung-woo Jang (1:25.317) in the second.

Roussel won the 500 m race in 40.078 in a Canadian 1-2 with Jordan Pierre-Gilles (40.619) following. Fellow Canadian William Dandjinou won the 1,500 m in 2:11.460, with Belgian Worlds runner-up Stijn Desmet second in 2:11.711; American Andrew Heo was fourth in 2:11.839. The Koreans also won the 5,000 m relay.

Breakout Korean women’s star Gil-li Kim won her sixth and seventh races of the World Cup season in the two 1,000 m finals, winning the first in 1:29.246 over Dutch 2023 World 1,000 m champ Xandra Velzeboer (1:29.319) and American Corinne Stoddard (1:29.948), Kim won again on Sunday, defeating two-time Olympic gold medalist Suzanne Schulting (NED), 1:31.480 to 1:31.593, with Stoddard third (1:31.601) and fellow American Kristen Santos-Griswold fourth.

Velzeboer won the 500 m in 42.108 and the Dutch won the women’s 3,000 m relay in 4:05.405, with the U.S. quartet of Eunice Lee, Julie Letai, Santos-Griswold, Stoddard third (4:09.740).

Belgian Olympic 1,000 m bronze winner Hanne Desmet (2:20.346) won the 1,500 m over Santos-Griswold (2:20.397), who won her ninth medal of the season, and Schulting (2:20.694).

The U.S. team of Heo, Marcus Howard, Santos-Griswold and Stoddard won the Mixed 2,000 m relay in 2:36.586, ahead of the Dutch (2:36.684).

The World Cup schedule will finish next week in Gdansk (POL).

● Snowboard ● The FIS World Cup Halfpipe season finished in Calgary (CAN), with Japan sweeping both titles via Ruka Hirano and Mitsuki Ono.

Australia’s Worlds runner-up Valentino Guseli won Saturday’s event, scoring 91.50 on his second run to best Hirano’s first-round 88.50, with Shulchiro Shigeno third at 86.75 in the third round. Hirano was second three times in five events and third once, finishing at 300 points on the season, to 230 for Guseli, with three-time World Champion Scotty James (AUS: 229) in third.

World bronze medalist Ono, 19, won the women’s event at 90.00, ahead of Maddie Mastro of the U.S. (88.25) and Japan’s Sena Tomita (87.00). It’s Ono’s second win in a row and third medal in four events this season; Mastro, a two-time Worlds medal winner, won three bronze medals in the four events. Ono finished with 380 points to 260 for Mastro and 230 for American Bea Kim.

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