The Sports Examiner

TSX REPORT: Paralympics not combining with Olympics any time soon; Paris 2024 opening down to 400,000? Fraser-Pryce does it again: 10.67!

American 400 m hurdles star Sydney McLaughlin now owns five of the top six times in history after her 51.68 win in Hungary on Monday. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images for World Athletics)

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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡

1. Paralympic inclusion in Commonwealth Games not an Olympic signal
2. Paris 2024 opening ceremony could be downsized … to 400,000?
3. Excellent Commonwealth Games close in Birmingham
4. Fraser-Pryce 10.67, McLaughlin 51.68, Kovacs 75-1 1/4 in Szekesfehervar!
5. Carrington, Harrison, Luzan star at ICF Sprint Worlds

The highly successful 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham came to a close on Monday and with 42 Paralympic events interspersed throughout the program, is a combined Olympic-Paralympic Games coming? No, says the International Paralympic Committee. Concerns over security for the Paris 2024 opening on the River Seine could see the allowed crowd cut from 600,000 to 400,000. Sensational track & field marks at the Gyulai Invitational in Hungary, with Jamaican sprint icon Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce winning in 10.67 again, American star Sydney McLaughlin running 51.68 for the 400 m hurdles and two-time World Champion Joe Kovacs reaching 75-1 1/4 in the men’s shot. New Zealand’s superstar kayaker Lisa Carrington won two events at the ICF World Sprint Champs and American Nevin Harrison, the Olympic champ in the C-1 200 won again as well.

1.
Paralympic inclusion in Commonwealth Games
not an Olympic signal

“Since 1988, we have seen exponential growth in Paralympic sport. We are on a strong ascendancy and growing the Games so combining both events would potentially stunt and jeopardise that growth, and we could potentially go backwards.

“This is a conversation that crops up regularly, but you have to look to see if it makes sense to bring both Games together and at the moment we believe it doesn’t. The current agreement works for us at the moment. It serves us well and we like it and are keen to keep it.”

That’s Craig Spence (GBR), the communications chief for the International Paralympic Committee, speaking to the BBC about the well-received inclusion of 42 Paralympic events into the program of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (ENG).

“Our fear is if you were to bring both events together you would hear much less about Paralympic performances and you would jeopardise the impact of the Games being the most transformational sporting event on earth.

“Our ambition is to continue growing the Paralympics and there is so much more potential there to make the Games even better.”

The sheer size of a combined Games would also be a negative, as the Olympic Games has a quota of 10,500 athletes (and thousands of coaches and staff) and the Tokyo Paralympic Games had 4,403 athletes (plus coaches and staff); a combined program of 868 events (!) might go on for more than a month.

IPC President Andrew Parsons (BRA) told Reuters that the future participation of Russian and Belarusian teams in Paris could be decided in November:

“We will have to wait for extraordinary General Assembly. So we need the General Assembly to make decisions [in November] and give us a clear, clear indication of where the membership wants to go.

“What I can say is that we had a very strong positioning of our own membership during the Beijing [Winter Paralympic Games against Russian and Belarusian participation] and this to me was really impressive and really good to see how the movement will get in that direction. …

“If our movement decided they [Russia and Belarus] will not be at the [Paris] Games, yes, we will miss some athletes but sport will survive.”

2.
Paris 2024 opening ceremony could be downsized … to 400,000?

The new Prefect of the Paris Police, Laurent Nunez, told Agence France Presse and the French all-sports newspaper, L’Equipe, that the plans for the Paris 2024 opening ceremony on the River Seine are progressing.

The ceremony will take place, that’s clear,” he said in an interview, but noted that there are “still discussions on the gauge.” Translation: the projected crowd – paid and free – of 600,000 may be considerably smaller, perhaps 400,000. Still immense, but no doubt easier to secure.

Nunez took over as the head of the Paris police force on 21 July, following the embarrassing security failures at the Stade de France for the 28 May UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said at Nunez’s induction ceremony: “You will be the police chief in charge of the Olympic Games, and the entire police service must be focused on that task.” Nunez said he will personally lead the Olympic planning effort, under the authority of the Interior Ministry. He manages a force of 28,000 officers, plus 16,000 support staff.

3.
Excellent Commonwealth Games close in Birmingham

A musical festival disguised as the Closing Ceremony was held Monday evening at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham (ENG) to conclude a highly successful XXII Commonwealth Games.

Nearly two dozen groups performed in all, including Dexy’s Midnight Runners, UB40 and a finale that united Black Sabbath stars Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Adam Wakeman and drummer Tommy Clufetos.

The Games enjoyed more than 1.5 million ticket sales, with Alexander Stadium filled to its 30,000-seat capacity for all 12 sessions of Athletics. A total of 13,000 volunteers helped to make the Games work and stamped Birmingham as a future host for more events, with the inevitable chatter about a future Olympic bid already started.

The competition was absolutely fierce, with Australia winning the overall medal count by just 178-176 over England. The Aussies had 67 golds, 57 silvers and 54 bronzes to 57-66-53 for England. Canada was a clear third at 92 (26-32-34); a total of 43 countries won medals, equaling the all-time high from 2018.

One of the marks of a successful Games is the adoption of one or more icons, and the giant “Raging Bull” from the Opening Ceremony stood out. A massive adaptation of the local symbol of the historic Bull Ring Market that dates from the 12th Century, the 30-foot tall, 2.5-ton “machine” has been on display in Centenary Square. More than 10,000 petitioners asked to keep it on display beyond the end of the Games and it will remain through the end of the Birmingham 2022 Festival in September.

4.
Fraser-Pryce 10.67, McLaughlin 51.68, Kovacs 75-1 1/4 in Szekesfehervar!

Tremendous performances at the Bregyo Athletic Center in Szekesfehervar (HUN) on Monday at the Istvan Gyulai Memorial, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meet, with Jamaican sprint icon Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Americans Sydney McLaughlin and Joe Kovacs among the brightest stars.

In typical fashion, Fraser-Pryce ran away from field in the women’s 100 m and won in an astounding 10.67 (wind +1.3 m/s), meaning her five finals in 2022 have been 10.67, 10.67, 10.67, 10.66 and 10.67! It’s the equal-13th performance in history and well ahead of runner-up Tamari Davis of the U.S. (10.92); American TeeTee Terry was fourth in 11.02.

McLaughlin, in reportedly her last meet of the year, won the women’s 400 m hurdles by nearly 2 1/2 seconds in 51.68, the no. 6 performance of all-time, with McLaughlin owning five of the six. Jamaica’s Janieve Russell was second, in 54.14

Kovacs, the World Championships silver medalist in Eugene, equaled his Worlds performance of 22.89 m (75-1 1/4) and equaled the no. 2 throw of his career! He was nearly a meter better than New Zealand’s Tom Walsh – the Commonwealth Games winner – at 21.93 m (71-11 1/2).

In the men’s sprints, Worlds silver medalist Marvin Bracy reversed the Diamond League results from Saturday, beating Trayvon Bromell (USA) by 9.97 to 10.01, with Elijah Hall (USA) third, also at 10.01 (+1.3). Teen sensation Erriyon Knighton of the U.S. won the men’s 200 m at 19.88 (+0.8), but Olympic silver winner Kenny Bednarek pulled up mid-race and finished last. Vernon Norwood of the U.S. won the 400 m over World 400 m hurdles winner Alison Dos Santos (BRA) by 44.96-45.11.

Commonwealth Games winner Rasheed Broadbell upset World Champion Grant Holloway of the U.S. in the men’s 110 m hurdles, coming from behind on the final two hurdles to win with both timed in 13.12. American Daniel Roberts was third in 13.13 (+1.0). Olympic champs Gianmarco Tamberi (ITA) and Mondo Duplantis (SWE) won the high jump and pole vault with modest clearances of 2.24 m (7-4 1/4) and 5.80 m (19-0 1/4). World Champion Kristjian Ceh (SLO) won the discus with an impressive 71.23 m (233-8) toss and Poland’s Olympic champ Wojciech Nowicki won the men’s hammer at 79.96 m (262-4).

Jamaica’s World Champion Shericka Jackson was an easy winner in the women’s 200 m (22.02; +0.6) with American Kayla White third in 22.46. Olympic gold medalist Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won the women’s 100 m hurdles in a speedy – but wind-aided 12.27 (+2.4), ahead of five Americans: Keni Harrison (12.49w), Nia Ali (12.60w), Alaysha Johnson (12.62w), Chanel Brissett (12.87w) and Gabbi Cunningham (13.09w).

Just as at the Diamond League meet on Saturday, Americans Brooke Andersen and Janee Kassanavoid were 1-2 in the women’s hammer at 74.84 m (245-6) and 72.58 m (238-1).

A day off and the Diamond League resumes in Monaco on the 10th before it shuts down for another two weeks with the European Championships in Munich starting on the 15th.

5.
Carrington, Harrison, Luzan star at ICF Sprint Worlds

It’s the time for world championships and the International Canoe Federation’s World Sprint champs were held on Lake Banook in Dartmouth, Canada, with the biggest star once again from New Zealand.

Lisa Carrington, the triple-gold-medalist from Tokyo, won her 11th and 12th World Championships golds in the women’s K-1 200 m and K-1 500. It’s her eighth world title at 200 m and third at 500 m, and neither was close. She won the 200 m final by a full second and the 500 m final by 1.28 seconds.

Also impressing was American Nevin Harrison, the Tokyo Olympic champ in the C-1 200 m and the 2019 World Champion in the same event. She won her second Worlds gold with a decisive 49.87-50.54 victory in the final over Maria Corbera of Spain.

Ukraine’s Liudmyla Luzan also won two individual golds, taking the C-1 500 and C-1,000 m titles, as well as a silver in the C-2 500 m with Anastasiia Chetverikova.

Canada’s Katie Vincent won her fourth Worlds gold in the C-1 5,000 m by nearly five seconds, then came back to help with Canadian wins in the women’s C-4 500 m and the Mixed C-2 500 m with Connor Fitzpatrick for three total victories.

In the men’s races, Brazil’s Isaquias Querioz won his fourth world title in the C-1 500 m, with Czech veteran Martin Fuksa third. Fuksa also won the C-1 1,000 m bronze and now has 12 World Championships medals in his career. Teammate Josef Dostal won the K-1 500 m for the third time in his career and now has 11 total Worlds medals. Hungary’s Olympic champ Balint Kopasz won two kayaking golds, in the K-1 1,000 m and with Bence Nadas in the K-2 500 m. Spain’s Carlos Arevalo won the men’s K-1 200 m and with winners of the K-4 500 m.

≡ PANORAMA ≡

● Figure Skating ● The Russian Anti-Doping Agency said that the investigation into the doping violation of Kamila Valieva – which caused so much consternation during the Beijing Winter Games in February – “is in the final stages” and is expected to be completed “in the coming weeks.”

Of special interest are the people surrounding Valieva – she was 15 years old at the time of the Games – and “The case of a protected person … requires a thorough investigation involving Athlete Support Personnel.”

Valieva competed in Beijing in the Team Event, won by Russia; the medal ceremony was never held and the final results have been in limbo pending the inquiry and outcome of the investigation into Valieva’s December doping positive that was overturned by the RUSADA appeals panel.

● Water Polo ● The U.S. women’s dominance in international competitions extends down to the youth level as the American team triumphed over Greece, 10-8, in the final of the FINA Women’s World Youth Championship in Belgrade (SRB).

The teams were limited to players under age 18 and the U.S. and Greece were the class of the tournament from the start. Greece defeated the Americans, 15-14, in group play, the only U.S. loss of the tournament. After that, the U.S. smoked Kazakhstan by 17-3 to reach the quarterfinals, edged Spain by 13-9 and doubled up Italy, 18-9 in the semis.

The U.S. got out to a 5-2 lead after a quarter in the final, but the Greeks came back with a 4-1 second period to even the score at 6-6 at half. But the U.S. outscored Greece by 2-1 in the third and fourth periods to finish with a 10-8 win. Jenna Flynn, the tournament’s leading scorer, got key goals to put the U.S. up 8-7 at the end of the third period and scored the 10th goal for the final margin. She finished with 29 total goals.

The American youth squad won the FINA title for the second time (also in 2014) and joins the National Team as FINA World Champions in 2022.

● Wrestling ● With the conclusion of the United World Wrestling Ranking Series, the potential for high seeds in next month’s World Championships are good for eight American wrestlers ranked no. 1 or no. 2 worldwide in their classes.

The six top-ranked Americans include men’s Freestylers Tom Gilman (57 kg), Kyle Dake (74 kg), Jordan Burroughs (79 kg) and Kyle Snyder (97 kg) and women’s Freestyle stars Sarah Hildebrandt (50 kg) and Helen Maroulis (57 kg).

Olympic champs David Taylor (men/86 kg) and Tamyra Mensah-Stock (women/68 kg) are ranked no. 2.

Such is the depth in the U.S. that two women who will not be wrestling at the Worlds are also highly ranked: Forrest Molinari, no. 1 at 65 kg and six-time World Champion Adeline Gray, no. 2 at 76 kg.

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