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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. U.S.’s Lyles, Richardson, Nuguse take wins at Weltklasse Zurich
2. WADA wins appeal against RUSADA in Valieva-like case
3. UEFA chief cedes to FIFA in Rubiales case; coach may be fired
4. U.S. Soccer star women’s defender Julie Ertz retires
5. World Obstacle shows zero revenue from 2015 to 2020
● The annual Weltklasse Zurich produced more thrilling finishes on Thursday, with nine world champs from Budapest winning again, but also some shockers. One of those was young American Yared Nguse stealing the men’s 1,500 m from champ Josh Kerr of Great Britain. American sprint stars Sha’Carri Richardson and Noah Lyles both won, but Norway’s Karsten Warholm lost to Worlds silver medalist Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands!
● The World Anti-Doping Agency and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency won an interesting case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport that could foreshadow the Kamila Valieva figure-skating case. In this instance, Russian weightlifter Tatyana Kashirina had her doping suspension cut short in 2022 by the Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee (DAC) of RUSADA, the same group that gave Valieva a one-day sanction for her 2021 positive. The Court reversed the DAC holding and upheld an eight-year penalty against Kashirina. The Valieva hearing comes late in September.
● In the continuing turmoil in Spanish football, embattled President Luis Rubiales’ mother ended her hunger strike and went to a hospital, the head of UEFA said FIFA will lead the discipline in the matter and Jorge Vilda, the coach of the winning Women’s World Cup team, may be fired.
● Julie Ertz, a star defender for the U.S. women’s team from 2013-23, announced her immediate retirement as a player, after coming back to the 2023 Women’s World Cup squad a year after maternity. She finishes as one of the top American defenders and defensive midfielders ever.
● The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne, likely the poorest of all the Olympic sports federations, announced a merger with World Obstacle that is supposed to jump-start a rise in popularity. However, where the money to do anything will come from is open to question, as “profit and loss” statements on the World Obstacle Web site show no revenue ($0) from 2015 through 2020, the last year posted. Really?
● World Championships: Shooting (China leads medal table as Worlds conclude) ●
● Panorama: Russia (Russia wins 69.5% of all medals at its International University Sports Fedtival) = Cycling (U.S.’s Kuss wins stage six in crazy day in the Vuelta a Espana) ●
U.S.’s Lyles, Richardson, Nuguse take wins at Weltklasse Zurich
The Diamond League was back in action following the World Championships in Budapest, with two familiar U.S. stars winning their races and an emerging U.S. star getting a stunning win at the line at the famed Weltklasse Zurich meet on Thursday.
The U.S. 200 m World Championships finalists – Noah Lyles (won), Erriyon Knighton (second) and Kenny Bednarek (fifth) – was lined up in lanes 6-7-8, with 100 m bronze winner Zharnel Hughes (GBR) in five. But it was Canada’s Aaron Brown who got the best start. However, Lyles was in charge by 60 m and roared into the straight with a small lead over Knighton and won in 19.80 (wind -0.5 m/s), followed closely by Knighton in 19.87. Bednarek was third for much of the straight, but Hughes came on in the final 60 m to get third in 19.94, to 19.98.
That’s 15 (finals) in a row for Lyles in the 200 m, after his bronze at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
The women’s 100 m had World Champion Sha’Carri Richardson of the U.S., but this time in the middle of the track in lane four, next to Jamaica’s two-time Olympic winner Elaine Thompson-Herah. But it was Jamaican Natasha Morrison who got out well, with Thompson-Herah also in the mix, then Richardson’s patented last rush got her in front by 70 m, and to the finish line in the clear in 10.88 (-0.2), with Morrison out-leaning Thompson-Herah, with both in 11.00. TeeTee Terry of the U.S. got sixth in 11.13 and Tamara Clark was eighth in 11.23.
Those wins were expected. The men’s 1,500 m was not.
The race had new World Champion Josh Kerr (GBR) as the headliner, as well as 5,000 m silver winner Mohamed Katir (ESP), and American 1,500 m finalists Yared Nuguse (fifth) and Cole Hocker (seventh). Once the pacesetters were done, Kerr had the lead over Stewart McSweyn (AUS), Kenya’s Worlds fourth-placer Abel Kipsang and the two Americans with 600 m left, with Nuguse moving up to third at 1000 m.
Following the bell, Kerr opened a lead on the backstraight, with Kipsang and Nuguse chasing, and Britain’s George Mills moving up to third on the final straight. But Nuguse kept coming, passing Mills and Kipsang on the inside and then, finally, catching up to Kerr and won with a lean at the line, 3:30.49 to 3:30.51. Kipsang was third in 3:30.85 and Mills got a lifetime best of 3:30.95 in fourth. Hocker faded and finished ninth in 3:32.00. An important win for Nuguse, and a lot of lessons about winning at the international level.
There were some World Champions who performed brilliantly, and some who did not.
● All eyes in the women’s 200 m were on World Champion Shericka Jackson of Jamaica, and she wasted no time blazing away from the start, winning in 21.82 into a 0.8 m/s headwind. The U.S.’s Terry was an early challenger, but Britain’s Daryll Neita – fifth in Budapest – came on in the straight for second, 22.25 to 22.33 over American Kayla White. Terry was fifth in 22.57, with Jenna Prandini and Clark of the U.S. in seventh and eighth in 22.78 and 22.94.
● The Worlds medalists – Winfred Yavi (BRN) and Kenyans Beatrice Chopkoech and Faith Cherotich were back in the women’s Steeple, with Chepkoech leading the other two through 1,200 m. Cherotich took the lead at 1,600 m, with Ethiopia’s Worlds fourth-placer Zerfe Wondemagegn moving up by 2,000 m. Those fourth were in contention at the bell, then Wondemegegn fell back and the medal winners went at it again. Yavi took control with 200 m to go over Chepkoech, and as in Budapest, won in 9:03.19 to 9:03.70 for Chepkoech. Cherotich was third again (9:07.59), with Albania’s Luiza Gega fourth, with a national record of 9:09.64. Wondemegegn finished sixth in 9:13.73; American Courtney Wayment was 11th in 9:24.77.
● Jamaica’s surprise World Champion Danielle Williams was faced by four Americans in the women’s 100 m hurdles, including Olympic silver winner Keni Harrison and 2019 World Champion Nia Ali. But she showed her Budapest results were no fluke, taking charge early and winning in 12.54 (-0.2) to 12.58 for the late-finishing Alaysha Johnson of the U.S., 12.59 for Harrison, 12.62 for Tia Jones and 12.75 for Ali. This was impressive; Williams had won one of 11 meets coming into the Worlds and now has a second career Worlds gold and a Diamond League win in her last two appearances.
● Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, who won the Worlds gold only on her final jump at 15.08 m (49-5 3/4), was back to old self, dominating with a first jump of 15.00 m (49-2 1/2) and then reaching 15.15 m (49-8 1/2) twice to win easily. Shanieka Ricketts (JAM), fourth at Worlds, was second at 14.78 m (48-6); American Keturah Orji was 10th at 13.55 m (44-5 1/2).
● In the men’s Vault, five were still in through 5.85 m (19-2 1/4), but only Sweden’s superstar Mondo Duplantis and two-time World Champion Sam Kendricks of the U.S. could master 5.95 m (19-6 1/4), with Duplantis over on his first try and Kendricks on his second. At 6.00 m (19-8 1/4), Duplantis cleared on his first try and won as Kendricks missed his attempts. Mondo took the bar to a world record 6.23 m (20-5 1/4), but missed his three tries. KC Lightfoot of the U.S. got third at 5.85 m, with fellow Americans Chris Nilsen sixth and Zach McWhorter ninth, both at 5.75 m (18-10 1/4).
● Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou left it until late at the Worlds, winning the men’s long jump in the sixth round. Same in Zurich, as he trailed 2019 World Champion Tajay Gayle (JAM: 8.07 m/26-5 3/4) in the final round and produced a clutch 8.20 m (26-11) winner. American Jarrion Lawson was third (8.05 m/26-5) and Will Williams was eighth at 7.81 m (25-7 1/2).
In all, there were nine World Champions from Budapest who won in Zurich. Then there was a stunner.
● The men’s 400 m hurdles had superstar Karsten Warholm (NOR) in seven and Worlds runner-up Kyron McMaster (IVB) in six, and McMaster was out like a shot. Warholm normally leads these races from the start, but it was McMaster in front, then Warholm, and C.J. Allen of the U.S. close behind. There wasn’t much daylight between the top two coming into the straight, and McMaster held off a Warholm surge as they steamed to the line together, with McMaster giving Warholm a rare defeat, 47.27 to 47.30. The 2022 World Champion, Brazil’s Alison dos Santos, came on over the ninth hurdle to take third over Allen, 47.62 to 48.28. American Trevor Bassitt was sixth in 49.39.
McMaster ran just 0.01 slower than he did in the Worlds final to get the win. Warholm lost for the first time after seven straight finals wins in this event, going back to 2022.
● Three-time World Champion Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) and 2023 World Champion Gianmarco Tamberi (ITA) back together in the men’s high jump, but this was Barshim’s day. He had only one miss through 2.31 m (7-7) and then cleared 2.33 m (7-7 3/4) on his first try, eliminating everyone except New Zealand’s Hamish Kerr, who also cleared in his first trial and got a national record with the clearance. But Barshim wasn’t done and got over 2.35 m (7-8 1/2) on his first attempt and Kerr could not match. Tamberi settled for fourth (2.28 m/7-5 3/4); Shelby McEwen of the U.S. cleared 2.24 m (7-4 1/4) and finished sixth.
● India’s star javelin champ, Neeraj Chopra, never got untracked, fouling three of his first five throws and finally getting out to 85.71 m (281-2) in the sixth. But that was only good enough for second as Worlds bronze winner Jakub Vadlejch (CZE) took the lead in the fourth round and held it at 85,86 m (281-8) for his fourth Diamond League win of the year.
And the rest of the meet had plenty of drama as well.
A strong field in the men’s 5,000 m included Worlds fifth and eighth-placers Yomif Kejelcha and Selemon Barega of Ethiopia, both decorated stars who were not happy with their Budapest performances. And it showed, as Kejelcha, especially, punished the field, taking charge with eight laps to go, ahead of Steeple world-record holder (and countryman) Lamecha Girma and Barega. By the 3,600 m mark, Kejelcha had moved away and would solo to victory in a speedy 12:46.91, his second-fastest of the season.
Guatemala’s Luis Grijalva, fourth in Budapest, moved into second with 600 m left, and American Grant Fisher – who didn’t make the U.S. team – was also in the mix in fourth as Girma fell back. Kejelcha kept up the pace and in the final lap, Barega regained second and then Fisher passed Grijalva for third coming into the straight and they ran to the line 2-3-4 in 12:54.17, 12:54.49 and 12:55.88. It was a season’s best for Fisher; Girma did not finish.
The women’s 800 m was wide open, with Raevyn Rogers of the U.S. the highest Worlds placer in the race at fourth. But it was the always-impatient Natoya Goule-Toppin who grabbed the lead by 200 m and led through the bell. With 200 m to go, Britain’s 1,500 m star Laura Muir moved up to challenge and had the lead into the final straight, winning easily in 1:57.71. Also coming on in the final straight was Australia’s Catriona Bisset (1:58.77) for second, and Jamaica’s Adelle Tracey (1:59.05) for third. U.S. champ Nia Akins got fourth (1:59.29), Rogers sixth (1:59.35) and Goule-Toppin faded to eighth in 2:00.10. Sage Hurta-Klecker of the U.S. was 10th in 2:00.51.
In the non-Diamond League 110 m hurdles, Swiss Jason Joseph thrilled the home crowd with a national record win in 13.08 (-0.1), moving to no. 9 on the year list. American Eric Edwards was third in 13.45.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH), the 2022 World Champion back from maternity, and who ran 52.65 in her heat in Budapest, won the non-Diamond League women’s 400 m in a season’s best of 51.83.
A whole other set of stars opted for the Diamond League meet in Xiamen (CHN) that will take place on Saturday, followed by the Van Damme Memorial in Brussels on 8 September and the Diamond League Final at the Pre Classic in Eugene on 16-17 September.
WADA wins appeal against RUSADA in Valieva-like case
An interesting outcome of a Russian doping case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with parallels to the Kamila Valieva case coming up later in September.
Tatyana Kashirina, now 32, was the London 2012 Olympic women’s +75 kg silver medalist and won World Championships at +75 kg in 2010-13-14-15, and at +87 kg in 2018, and also a 2019 Worlds silver at +87 kg. In 2020, she was caught for doping and suspended, meaning she was not allowed to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
Her suspension, however, was ended on 10 September 2022 by the Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (DAC), the same unit which gave figure skater Valieva a one-day penalty after she tested positive for a banned substance on 25 December 2021, in advance of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
The World Anti-Doping Agency and RUSADA itself – which is independent from the Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee – appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. According to a RUSADA report to the Russian news agency TASS (translated from the original Russian):
“On August 28, 2023, the appeals of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency were satisfied, the decision of the RUSADA DAC was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The athlete was found to have violated anti-doping rules and disqualified for a period of eight years from the date of the decision with credit for the served period of provisional suspension, namely from November 13, 2020 to June 30, 2022.”
So Kashirina, who had previously served a doping suspension from 2006-08, will now be ineligible through November of 2028; the added penalty beyond the normal four years is due to her prior doping positive.
This is fascinatingly parallel to the Valieva case, in which the RUSADA Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee reversed a positive doping finding – in Kashirina’s case, cutting it short – and had its finding reversed and the original penalty reinstated.
In the Valieva situation, RUSADA was informed of the doping positive and imposed the usual four-year penalty. The Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee, on appeal, shortened the penalty to one day (!), which allowed Valieva to compete at the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, where she participated in the Team Event – won by Russia – and the women’s Singles, where she placed fourth.
Because of the controversy over Valieva’s status, the results of the Team Event have not been finalized., and no medals awarded, more than a year later. And as in the Kashirina case, both the World Anti-Doping Agency and RUSADA – plus the International Skating Union – have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the one-day penalty handed out by the Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee.
The combined Valieva cases will be heard from 26-29 September.
A request by the U.S. skaters to have an observer present during the Valieva hearing was responded to by CAS Director General Matthieu Reeb (SUI) on Tuesday (29th), noting in part:
“As your request is of a procedural nature and since none of the parties requested a public hearing, it has been transmitted to the CAS Panel in charge of this matter to decide whether observers may be authorized to attend the hearing.”
The letter was posted by USA Today’s Christine Brennan on Wednesday (30th).
UEFA chief cedes to FIFA in Rubiales case; coach may be fired
The chaos surrounding Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales continued on Thursday, with no direct action again him, but with continuing developments.
Rubiales’ mother, Angeles Bejar, ended her hunger strike at a church in southern Spain and was taken to a hospital for observation after three days. A church official said, “We have called the son. He’s in touch with her and they have decided that she needed to go to the hospital.”
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin (SLO) was asked by the French all-sports newspaper L’Equipe about what actions it will take, and he explained:
“I am a lawyer and one of the vice-presidents of FIFA. His case is in the hands of the disciplinary body of the international federation. Any comments I might make would feel like pressure.
“I just have to say that I am sad that such an event overshadows the victory of the Spanish national team. We should change things. I had a meeting today with [UEFA Vice President] Laura McAllister [WAL] to find ways to change the way we behave. We must do more.
Of course, what he did was inappropriate. We all know it. I hope he knows that was inappropriate. This is enough for the moment because the disciplinary committee will decide.”
Multiple reports state that Spain’s Women’s World Cup-winning manager, Jorge Vilda, will be dismissed, after he was asked to resign and refused. Vilda and Rubiales are close, and Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory came after 15 players sent a message in September 2022, refusing to play for the national team in view of their “situation,” significantly with Vilda.
Changes were made and some of the players agreed to play for Spain, with three eventually on the winning team.
As for the reports, Rubiales was widely reported as ready to resign and he did not.
U.S. Soccer star women’s defender Julie Ertz retires
Another of the key contributors to the U.S. victories in the FIFA Women’s World Cups in 2015 and 2019, Julie Ertz, announced her immediate retirement on Thursday.
Now 31, Ertz said in a U.S. Soccer statement:
“As an athlete you’re always singularly focused on the next goal, the next tournament and rarely do you get time to reflect on your career.
“However, over the past couple of months my heart has been filled with gratitude as I’ve thought about the amazing experiences soccer has given me. I’ve been blessed to meet and train with some of the best and most inspirational women I’ve ever been around, and I’ve experienced different cultures while traveling the world to compete at the highest level. I gave everything I had to the sport that I love. With that I can walk away with no regrets because while I gave soccer every ounce of myself, soccer gave me even more, and for that I’ll always be thankful.”
She debuted with the national team in 2013 and across 10 seasons, made 122 appearances, including the two Women’s World Cup wins and two Olympic Games, in which the U.S. won bronze in Tokyo. In those 122 matches, the U.S. was 100-5-17 (W-L-T; losses in penalty shoot-outs counted as ties).
Ertz was initially a defender, but moved forward as a defensive midfielder and became a feared scored on set pieces, with 20 career goals.
She was a two-time U.S. Female Player of the Year, in 2017 and 2019, and returned after maternity in 2022 – son Madden was born in August that year – to make the American squad for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Ertz played club football for the Chicago Red Stars from 2014-21, and for Angel City FC in 2023, but has now concluded her career.
World Obstacle shows zero revenue from 2015 to 2020
The recent announcement of a plan to have the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne absorb World Obstacle, shared comments by World Obstacle President Ian Adamson (AUS), including:
“We are bringing our sports together, uniting the Olympic movement with the mass participation, broadcast and viewers – all of that creates a very powerful collaboration.
“The possibilities created by the integration of World Obstacle into World Pentathlon are incredible. We will have a complete tool set of everything you need to make a truly great and dominant sport in the world.”
Except, perhaps, money.
The UIPM receives the least of any of the Olympic-sport International Federations from the International Olympic Committee’s distribution of television rights sales, with $12.98 million from Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021. It spends down that money across four years, until the next payment comes. By the end of 2020, assets were $3.155 million, with reserves of $1.777 million.
World Obstacle is in an entirely different situation.
Although there are no audited financial statements on the World Obstacle site, at the bottom of the page on the Secretariat, there are single-sheet “PL” (profit-and-loss) statements for the years 2015 to 2020:
● 2015: $0 income, $74,255 expenses
● 2016: $0 income, $101,162 expenses
● 2017: $0 income, $113,867 expenses
● 2018: $0 income, $69,922 expenses
● 2019: $0 income, $100,332 expenses
● 2020: $0 income, $25,742 expenses
A note at the bottom of the 2017-18-19-20 statements indicates that Adamson covered the expenses himself ($309,863) for those four years. World Obstacle was founded in 2014.
So, the UIPM is merging with an organization which has shown no revenue for the six years it has posted a spending statement, which is going to energize pentathlon to heights it has never seen before?
World Obstacle lists 14 people on its Secretariat page and at the bottom of the page, shows six “Brand Partners” and five “Development Partners,” but no revenue, no salaries, no event production costs and a majority of the expenses related to travel.
Its October 2022 Congress minutes included:
“Per the 2015 resolution by the Central Board, all monies advanced by the president that accrue since founding will be reimbursed at such time as FISO [World Obstacle] is financially able.”
As the UIPM has been unable to generate any significant revenue outside of a quadrennial Olympic television share, and World Obstacle cannot generate any revenue at all – at least none reported – how will the combined operation grow?
The announcement of the merger did not contain any details.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Shooting ● Final competition at the ISSF World Championships in Baku (AZE), with Swedes Jesper Nyberg and Emil Martinsson going 1-2 in the 50 m Running Target Open. Nyberg finished at 392 points, just one more than Martinsson.
In the overall medal table, with a majority of the events not on the Olympic program, China led with 28 medals (15-7-6), followed by Germany (16: 3-5-8), India (14: 6-0-8), Switzerland (13: 5-4-4) and Ukraine (12: 6-4-2). The U.S. won 10 medals (5-2-3).
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Russia ● The 2023 University International Sports Festival in Russia turned out to be a Russian medal festival in Yekaterinburg as Russian athletes won 481 medals (144-138-199) to 211 medals (51-56-104) for everyone else!
There were 193 events in 14 sports held from 19-31 August; China was second in medals with 24 (10-8-6) and Brazil third (22: 6-7-9). Officials said about 4,000 athletes from 36 countries attended and about 70% of the tickets were sold, with no total attendance figures reported.
● Cycling ● Completely crazy day at the 78th Vuelta a Espana on Thursday, as the difficult final climb up to the Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre in Arcos de las Salines blew up the peloton, with American Sepp Kuss the winner of the sixth stage!
A lead group began the finishing climb about four minutes up on the rest of the riders and they would not be caught. Kuss, 28, who won a Vuelta stage in 2019, raced away with less than 3 km left to win the 183.1 km route in 4:27:29, with France’s Lenny Martinez (+0:26) and Romain Bardet (+0:31) closest.
The race favorites, meanwhile, were having a tough time. Leader Remco Evenepoel (BEL) had a bad day, finishing 3:24 back of the leaders, while two-time winner Primoz Roglic (SLO) and Tour de France champ Jonas Vingegaard (DEN) were both 2:52 behind Kuss, their Jumbo-Visma teammate.
So, Martinez (age 20) is now the overall leader, up eight seconds on Kuss, with Marc Soler (ESP) third at +0:51. Evenepoel dropped to ninth (+2:47), with Vingegaard (+2:52) and Roglic (+2:58) in 11th and 12th. But there are 15 more stages to go.
For our updated, 787-event International Sports Calendar (no. 3) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!