TSX REPORT: Russia appeals Valieva case to Swiss court; Coe rips Enhanced Games, promises bans; LJ star Tentoglou hates jump-zone idea

Greece's World Indoor Champion Miltiadis Tentoglou isn't happy with the idea of long jump "take-off zone" (Photo by Dan Vernon for World Athletics)

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1. Russia appeals Valieva decision to Swiss Federal Tribunal
2. Russia continues setting the stage for skipping Paris
3. Coe slams “Enhanced Games,” promises long bans
4. World Indoor champ Tentoglou not interested in jump zone
5. Asuncion and Lima: why they want the 2027 Pan Am Games

● To no one’s surprise, the Russian Olympic Committee appealed the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s holding that Kamila Valieva committed a doping violation to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, adding another delay to the finalization of the Beijing 2022 figure skating Team Event results.

● Russia’s sports minister reiterated that none of its athletes will sign a declaration condemning the invasion of Ukraine; a former Olympic skating champion predicted that if one Russian athlete is allowed to compete in Paris, a huge boycott will follow!

● World Athletics President Sebastian Coe criticized the Enhanced Games concept and promised long bans for anyone who competes in the doping-encouraged event.

● Greek long jump star Miltiadis Tentoglou, winner at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, criticized the staging of his event in the morning, and said he will abandon the long jump if the idea of “take-off zones” is implemented.

● The host of the 2027 Pan American Games will be decided on 12 March, with Asuncion, Paraguay and Lima, Peru in the running. The bid leaders explained why they are making this effort to host the event.

World Championships: Bobsled (Germany wins six of seven golds) = Sailing (Spain takes mixed 470 crown) = Surfing (fourth world title for Fitzgibbons!) ●

Panorama: Alpine Skiing (2: Odermatt wins 12th straight Giant Slalom; Gut-Behrami gold and silver in Kvitfjell) = Athletics (2: Mekonen and Smith win USATF 15 km titles; hot walking in China) = Biathlon (Laegreid wins two for home World Cup fans in Oslo) = Cross Country Skiing (Klaebo wins two in Lahti) = Curling (Hamiltons take national Mixed Doubles title) = Cycling (Pogacar solos, Kopecky wins late at Strade Bianche) = Diving (China sweeps all nine at first World Cup) = Fencing (2: U.S.’s Heathcock stuns with World Cup Sabre win; Balzer leads France to two women’s Sabre wins) = Football (2: U.S. gets 3-0 win over Colombia in CONCACAF W Gold Cup; arrest in Spain as eight-year-old abused for wearing Vinicius jersey) = Judo (Japan wins 11 medals, France gets three golds in Tashkent Grand Slam) = Luge (Latvia wins three in Sigulda in World Cup finale) = Nordic Combined (Lamparter stops Riiber’s win streak) = Rugby Sevens (France wins men’s upset in L.A.) = Sailing (more dissension over leadership at U.S. Sailing) = Skateboarding (Spain sweeps Rome Park qualifier) = Ski Jumping (two wins for Slovenia in Lahti ) = Ski Mountaineering (two wins for Swiss in Schladming World Cup) = Snowboard (Bankes and Moioli star in Sierra Nevada SnowCross) = Weightlifting (Colombia and Venezuela tops at Pan Am Champs) = Wrestling (U.S. scores six Paris quota sports at PanAm qualifier) ●

Athletics: For special coverage of the World Athletics Indoor Championships, see our posts for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 (also including the Tokyo Marathon) ●

Russia appeals Valieva decision to Swiss Federal Tribunal

The never-ending doping case of Russian teen figure skater Kamila Valieva and the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China, took another turn on Thursday, as the Russian Olympic Committee filed an appeal of the Court of Arbitration for Sport finding of a doping positive by Valieva and her disqualification from the event, with the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

This is the only appeal that can be made of a CAS decision and the Swiss court’s jurisdiction is almost completely procedural. The Swiss court told the Russian news agency TASS:

“The appeal against the arbitral award CAS 2023/A/9451; CAS 2023/A/9455; CAS 2023/A/9456 of 29 January 2024 was filed today with the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.”

The Swiss Federal Tribunal would not directly reverse the CAS decision if it disagreed, but would specify the procedural issues and return the case for proper reconsideration by a new Court of Arbitration panel.

The Court of Arbitration is already facing new appeals related to the Valieva matter from the Canadian Olympic Committee and Skate Canada against the International Skating Union, which decided to award the bronze medals in the Beijing Team Event to the Russian squad, despite rules of its own which could have been used to disqualify the Russian team altogether or to change the scoring of all other teams in response to the disqualification of Valieva in the women’s Short Program and women’s Free Skate.

Russian Match TV reported:

“All participants in the Olympic team tournament in Beijing personally signed the document before filing an appeal with CAS against the decision to redistribute medals.”

The International Olympic Committee told TASS:

“The ranking of the team figure skating competition at the Beijing Winter Olympics has been updated, which was established by the ISU following the CAS decision to disqualify the results obtained by Kamila Valieva. The decision is currently being disputed, this once again puts the athletes and the IOC at an impasse.

“We hope that matters will be resolved quickly and the ISU will be able to determine the final ranking. Only after this step will the IOC be able to make a decision on awarding medals.

“We express great sympathy to the athletes who have had to wait two years for the final results of their competitions. We call on all parties involved in the court cases to seek quick decisions in CAS.”

The ultimate impact of all of this is further delay in certifying the final results and could endanger plans to award the medals to at least the U.S. team in a ceremony during the Paris Olympic Games this summer.

Russia continues setting the stage for skipping Paris

“It is unacceptable to follow the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and international federations, when they cross the red line, demanding that Russian and Belarusian athletes condemn the policies of their countries and actions of their presidents. We will never do this and will not let the rights of Russian athletes be trampled on.”

That’s Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin on Friday, repeating that if the International Olympic Committee requires condemnations of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it will not allows its athletes to attend the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

“The Olympic Charter – its articles four and six – stipulate that sports should be free from discrimination and that rights should be equal regardless of religious affiliation, political preferences, beliefs and so on.

“We will keep pressing for this. We are waiting for final decisions by the International Olympic Committee on the admission of our athletes to competitions. We will make decisions together with athletes and with sports federations.”

He added:

“They always say that there is no place for politicization in sports. And we don’t need to politicize the Olympic Games on our part. Yes, this is a major important competition, for some the most important in life. And when deciding to participate in these competitions. I think it is impossible to include political tension in both discussion and decision-making on the part of athletes and coaches.

“The President of Russia instructed the Ministry of Sports, the Russian Olympic Committee to deal with this situation, to formulate a proposal for the participation of our athletes in the Olympic Games.

“I think that in the very near future we will carefully study all the circumstances together with sports federations and athletes , with the coaches, with the Russian Olympic Committee and we will recommend it to the athletes. In any case, they will take part as neutral athletes, but I believe that, no matter what decision they make, we need to take care of this properly – I mean the athletes and coaches – and respect their decisions.”

Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the President of the Russian Olympic Committee, continued his attack that without the Russians, the Paris Games will be devalued:

“I think that the Games and the results will not be considered fair by many countries due to the absence of our strongest athletes. I would like to emphasize that the Olympic movement does not have an equal sign with the IOC.”

State Duma deputy Svetlana Zhurova, the Olympic women’s 500 m speed skating winner in Turin in 2006, told TASS that if Russian athletes are allowed to compete in Paris, a boycott will break out and the Russians will be excluded:

“I’m not sure that [Russian athletes] will get there. I think it’s not that they won’t let them in, it’s just that the next stage, when they announce these few people, all the countries will start boycotting.

“I would say that [French President Emmanuel Macron] will have nowhere to go, that he will say no, [but] for some reason I have this suspicion that he will simply not let them in. Although he will probably try to harass these countries somehow, there will be a confrontation, and it will be informational, it will definitely be on the agenda. I have no doubt about it, you understand how we cause a storm of emotions among people, even if our one athlete goes there.

“You can keep this intrigue until the last, so that they break all these spears there. But I believe, of course, that most likely, if by some point we do not go to peace talks [with Ukraine], it is unlikely that our athletes will be allowed in.”

Coe slams “Enhanced Games,” promises long bans

“Well it’s bollocks, isn’t it?”

That’s World Athletics President Sebastian Coe (GBR), asked about the doping-encouraged Enhanced Games, promised as a 2025 event, at Friday’s news conference ahead of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Bollocks” is British slang to express contempt. And Coe went further:

“I can’t really get excited about it.

“There’s only one message and that is if anybody is moronic enough to feel that they want to take part in that, and they are from the traditional, philosophical end of our sport, they’ll get banned and they’ll get banned for a long time.

“I’m sure there are crazy things happening in other sectors, we occasionally get them. I really don’t get sleepless nights over it. It’s not going to be a page turner, is it?”

In an interview with CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies, Coe said the 2023 World Athletics regulations on transgender athletes, which do not allow males to transition to the female category if they have entered puberty

“It was the right decision then, it’s the right decision now.

“Those regulations are here to stay, and if we have to defend them, we will, and we’ll defend them on the basis that it is absolutely vital that we protect, we defend, we preserve the female category.”

He noted the scientific work that has shown the production of testosterone as a defining factor in differentiating athletic performance between men and women:

“There’s been a lot of work done on that area, and I am, amongst other people who are far more qualified than I am, to make this judgment pretty sure and secure that it does make a difference.”

Coe also pointed to the federation’s continuing review of its rules, via an established working group, “That is important because I’m not a federation, I’m not the computer. It’s important that we are always abreast of any scientific developments.”

World Indoor champ Tentoglou not interested in jump zones

A tight World Athletics Indoor Championships men’s long jump was won on Saturday morning by Olympic and World Champion Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece, jumping 8.22 m (26-11 3/4) and winning on having a better second jump than Italian teen Mattia Furlani, with Jamaican Carey McLeod just one cm behind both.

Although it was a successful defense of his 2022 World Indoor gold, Tentoglou was hardly in a happy mood after his victory:

This result does not mean anything to me. I did not like the competition today, it was really bad for me. I jumped terrible. The morning final is like a ‘dog s—’.

“I do not care much but I was lucky to win. I am just a lucky guy. It was very close. I hope everyone had some fun today. At least, it was exciting at the end. This track is one of my favorites so it was good, similar to Budapest. I did not feel that much excitement about winning this title and I do not think it will help me prepare for the summer. It was just another competition for me.”

The event was held at the opening of the morning program, starting at 10:01 a.m. in Glasgow (GBR) and finishing at 11:49 a.m., with little of the energy that accompanied the evening sessions.

Already sour, he was asked about the World Athletics idea to use lower-level competitions to try out replacing the long jump take-off board with a “take-off zone” and measuring jumps from the actual take-off point rather than from the end of the board, as it done now.

It would be an understatement to say he was not enthusiastic:

“I consider long jump to be one of the hardest events because of the board and the accuracy you need. You need to run like a sprinter, to hit the board perfectly: this is the difficult part of the long jump. The jump itself is easy. The hard part is the run-up.

“So if they want to remove this, the long jump would be the easiest event. If that happens, I will not do long jump anymore. I will be a triple jumper.”

The official results of the event included data on how far behind, or beyond the board each jump was initiated. If the jumps had been measured from the take-off point, Tentoglou would have won, but the silver and bronze medals would have been reversed:

● 1. Tentoglou: 8.30 m (27-2 3/4): 8.22 m + 8.5 cm behind the board
● 2. McLeod: 8.28 m (27-2): 8.21 m + 7.1 cm behind the board
● 3. Furlani: 8.23 m (27-0): 8.22 m + 1 cm behind the board

It would have made a difference. And if the long jump is going to be changed, likely the triple jump will be too!

As for the World Athletics concern that a third of the jumps were fouls, that held true for the men’s long jump final in Glasgow: 12 of 48 jumps in the first three rounds and nine of 24 in the final three rounds were fouls, or 21 of 72 overall (29.2%). The women’s long jump final, however, had 15 fouls in 69 total attempts, or 21.7%.

Asuncion and Lima: why they want the 2027 Pan Am Games

Panam Sports will choose its host for the 2027 Pan American Games on 12 March, between Asuncion (PAR) and Lima (PER). The latter hosted the 2019 Pan Ams quite successfully, while Paraguay has never hosted the event. Panam Sports offered the bid leaders of each a chance to explain their candidacies; some highlights:

Camilo Perez, head of the Paraguay Olympic Committee and a member of the IOC:

● “We decided to apply for the 2027 Pan American Games for three main reasons: No. 1: Continue with the sports development that we started in 2011, which is leading us to the continuous holding of major sporting events. No. 2: The important legacy that the holding of the Pan American Games means in sports, economic and social matters. Third, but as the most important point, we have the firm and committed support of the National Government and President Santiago Peña to carry out this mega-event since sport is one of the main axes of its government policy.”

● “[T]he stability and tranquility offered by the Government of Our President Santiago Peña concluding its mandate in 2028, with one of its state policies being sports, as well as the fact that a large part of the infrastructure is finished and that 80% of the sports are centralized in two main parks, they are a great strength to be more than ready in the short time we have left until 2027. It is an opportunity for a Country and an NOC that has not yet organized these Games to have the possibility to do it. At the same time we trust in our ability and want to be an inspiration for small NOCs like us.”

Renzo Manyari, President of the Peru Olympic Committee:

“[W]e are ready. We have 100% operational Olympic-standard scenarios, a human capital of successfully proven international experience. Likewise, Lima 2019 united my country under the flag of sport. The Peruvian nation saw in sport a mechanism for integration and social change and that allowed us to internalize that sport is hope and peace.”

● “Lima is a reality and represents the safe option since it guarantees extraordinary air connectivity and hotel capacity. The Pan American Village and sports infrastructure are ready. We have all the sports of the Olympic and Pan American Program. It is essential to know that we can hold the Games at any time of the year. Finally, if you thought Lima 2019 was very good, Lima 2027 will be extraordinary. The best is yet to come, I guarantee it. We have everything to guarantee extraordinary Games.”

While Lima hosted the 2019 Pan Ams, Asuncion held the XII South American Games in 2022, with 4,476 athletes from 15 nations, competing in 34 sports. Panam Sports has a technical inspection delegation visiting both sites this week, with the vote coming on 12 March.


● Bobsled ● At the final weekend of the IBSF Worlds in Winterberg (GER), Germany continued its domination, starting with a medals sweep of the Two-Woman races on Friday and Saturday.

First-day leaders Lisa Buckwitz and Vanessa Mark held on and won their first Worlds gold together, with Buckwitz moving up from silver in 2023. They barely edged 2021 bronze medalists Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi, 3:43.99 to 3:44.04: just 5/100ths of a second. Defending champs Kim Kalicki and Leonie Fiebig took the bronze (3:44.27), almost a second ahead of Americans Kaysha Love and Azaria Hill (3:45.23).

Two-time World Champion Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. finished sixth, with Emily Renna (3:45.64), impressive results for Love’s first season as a driver and for Meyers Taylor after a maternity break.

Twice Olympic champ Francesco Friedrich (GER) led after the first day of the Four-Man races, with fellow German drivers Johannes Lochner and Adam Ammour in second and third, and swept on to victory for the sixth straight time, winning all four runs, in a combined 3:34.10.

Thorsten Margis was aboard again for the fifth time with Friedrich and Alexander Schueller won his fourth, with Felix Staub getting his first Four-Man gold with Friedrich. Lochner’s sled was second in 3:34.98 and Ammour came home in 3:35.31. Frank Del Duca had the best American sled in 13th at 3:37.63.

All together, Germany won six of seven races at the 2024 Worlds and collected 15 of the total of 21 medals. That’s domination.

● Sailing ● The mixed-crew 470 World Championships concluded Sunday off Palma de Majorca (ESP), with home favorites Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman taking top honors.

The pair won the mixed-crew 470 silver at the 2023 Worlds and Xammar won the Tokyo Olympic bronze in 2021, plus three Worlds medals in the prior two-man format. But this was the first Worlds gold for both, with two wins and four top-three finishes.

Close for second were Britain’s Vita Heathcote and Chris Gubbe (67 net points), who had one win and two second-place finishes, with Japan’s 2022 World Champions Keiju Okada and Miho Yoshioka third (72). The bronze medal was in doubt to the end, with Simon Desch and Anna Markfort fourth (GER: 75) and Israel’s Nitai Hasson and Noa Lasry (78) fifth.

● Surfing ● The 36th World Surfing Games in Arecibo (PUR) had heavy Olympic qualifying implications, but in the championship finals, Brazil’s Gabriel Medina and Australian star Sally Fitzgibbons walked off the beach with the victories.

Medina won the men’s final by 16.40 to 15.34 over Morocco’s Ramzi Boukhiam, with France’s Kauli Vaast third (14.33) and Joan Duru (FRA: 7.10) fourth. It’s Medina’s second career Worlds individual medal, after a bronze in 2019. Boukhiam and Vaast won their first Worlds medals.

Fitzgibbons scored 13.10 to win the women’s title over defending champion Tatiana Weston Webb (BRA: 12.24), France’s Johanne Defay (12.00) and Nadia Erostarbe (ESP: 9.57). It’s the fourth Worlds title for the 33-year-old Fitzgibbons, after wins in 2008, 2018 and 2021; Defay won bronze for the second straight year.

Brazil was a clear winner in the Team competition, scoring 3,696 to 3,360 for France and 2,895 for Australia.

Olympic qualifying slots were open to five men and seven women, with China’s 14-year-old Siqi Yang making it to Paris on the women’s side with her eventual 14th-place finish. Britain’s Sky Brown, now 14, the Tokyo skateboard bronze medalist, was trying for a skating-surfing double for Paris, but finished 17th overall in the women’s division and did not qualify. She still plans to compete for a skateboarding place.


● Alpine Skiing ● If a Giant Slalom is on the program in the FIS men’s World Cup, just hand the trophy to Swiss star Marco Odermatt. Skiing in Aspen, Colorado, Odermatt – who has already clinched the seasonal men’s overall title for the third straight year – won his eighth and ninth Giant Slalom of the season, without a loss.

In fact, it’s his 12th straight G-S win in a row over two season, first on Friday in 2:07.87, over countryman Loic Meillard (2:08.01) and Atle Lie McGrath (NOR: 2:08.68), with River Radamus the top American in 11th (2:09.68).

On Saturday, he beat Meillard again, 2:03.20 to 2:03.54, with another Norwegian – Timon Haugen (2:03.78) – in third. Tommy Ford was the top American, in 16th (2:05.60).

Sunday saw a Slalom, with Meillard moving up for his third career World Cup win in 1:42.73, with Linus Strasser (GER: 1:43.62) second and Norwegian star Henrik Kristoffersen third (1:43.90).

The women’s tour was in Kvitfjell (NOR), with the Saturday Downhill changed to a Super-G due to heavy weather, but it didn’t both seasonal leader Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI), who cruised to her eighth win of the season.

Gut-Behrami won at 1:33.52, ahead of 2023 Worlds Super-G bronze winner Cornelia Huetter (AUT: 1:33.64) and fellow Austrian Mirjam Puchner (1:33.65). American Lauren Macuga finished seventh in 1:35.53.

Sunday’s Super-G was the fourth World Cup win of the season for Italian star Federica Brignone, who beat Gut-Behrami by 1:37.30 to 1:37.91. Ester Ledecka, the Czech snowboard star who won the 2018 Olympic Super-G, took the bronze in 1:38.09. Machuga moved up to fifth, in 1:38.20.

● Athletics ● Teshome Mekonen didn’t finish at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, but he won the USATF 15 km Championship on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida, beating defending champion Hillary Bor, 42:50 to 42:54. Diego Estrada was third in 43:24.

Mekonen and Bor broke away at the 10 km mark and Mekonen forged a lead over the final 2 km and held on for the win and his first U.S. national title.

Rachel Smith, fifth and fourth at the USATF 1,500 m and 3,000 m indoor championships, moved up and won in 48:26, defeating former American marathon record holder Keira D’Amato (48:30) and Emily Durgin (48:44).

It was D’Amato and Durgin running at the front at 10 km, with Smith third, but with 2 km left, Smith moved past Durgin and finally caught D’Amato in the final 500 m.

Hot finishes at the World Race Walking Tour Gold and China Grand Prix 20 km event in Taicang (CHN), with 2023 Asian Games runner-up Zhenxia Ma and 2017 World Champion Jaiyu Yang taking 1-2 in the same, world-leading women’s time of 1:26:07. Fellow Chinese Hong Liu, the four-time World Champion, was third in 1:26:47.

The top 13 placers all made the top-20 world list for 2024.

The men’s winner was Jun Zhang (CHN) in 1:17:26, a lifetime best, ahead of Italy’s Massimo Stano (1:17:26: national record) and Brazil’s Caio Bonfim (1:17:44: national record), nos. 2-3-5 on the 2024 world list.

● Biathlon ● Norway continued its grip on the men’s IBU World Cup circuit, this time in front of home fans in Oslo (NOR), with two wins by Sturla Holm Laegreid, the World 10 km Sprint World Champion.

Laegreid won the 20 km Individual race on Friday in 49:31.0 (0 penalties), leading a Norwegian sweep with Tarjei Boe (NOR: 49:59.5/1) second and Vetle Christiansen (50:36.6/1). American Campbell Wright scored a 10th-place finish in 51:30.8 (1).

Laegreid won again on Saturday in the 15 km Mass Start, in 37:52.0 (1) over Germany’s retiring star, Benedikt Doll (37:58.4/2) and Jesper Nelin (SWE: 38:01.9/1). Wright was the top American, in 18th (39:22.0/4). That’s seven straight World Cup men’s races won by Norway.

The women’s 15 km Individual race was another Norwegian win, the third of the season for Ingrid Tandrevold, the 10-time Worlds medal winner, in 44:13.1 (1), , almost a half-minute up on Elvira Oeberg (SWE: 44:41.9/2) and 32 seconds ahead of Ida Lien (NOR: 44:45.1/1).

Swiss Lena Haeckl-Gross won her second race of the season, Saturday’s 12.5 km Mass Start in 35:46.3 (2), ahead of French stars Julia Simon (36:03.1/4) and Lou Jeanmonnot (36:08.6/3).

Norway won the Single Mixed Relay with Juni Arnekleiv and Christiansen (the U.S. was seventh) and France won the 4×6 km relay over Sweden and Norway (U.S. in ninth).

● Cross Country Skiing ● The FIS World Cup circuit moved back to Europe for a Nordic festival in in Lahti (FIN), starting with a 20 km Classical Interval Start, won by four-time overall World Cup champ Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, who took his 10th win of the season in 48:00.1 to 48:24.1 for Finland’s Iivo Niskanen, with Martin Nyenget (NOR: 48:53.3) third.

Klaebo finished off a weekend sweep in Sunday’s Sprint, in 2:43.99, ahead of Lucas Chanavat (FRA: 2:44.30) and Valerio Grond (SUI: 2:44.95).

The women’s 20 km Classical was the first win of the season for Finland’s five-time Olympic medal winner Krista Parmakoski, in 52:08.0, ahead of Victoria Carl (GER: 52:09.9) and Finn Kerttu Niskanen (52:17.9). Ninth was American Rosie Brennan (53:42.8), with seasonal leader Jessie Diggins (USA) in 21st (55:15.8).

The Sprint was the third win of the season for Norway’s Kristine Skistad, in 3:00.86, with Coletta Rydzek second (GER: 3:01.62) and Maja Dahlqvist (SWE: 3:01.66) third. With three stops left on the season, Diggins maintains a 2.352 to 2,190 lead on Linn Svahn (SWE) with teammate Frida Karlsson at 1,906.

● Curling ● At the USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship in Traverse City, Michigan, the brother-sister combo of Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton won their third title over the past eight seasons, with a 7-6 finals victory over defending champs Cory Thiesse and Korey Dropkin.

Thiesse and Dropkin went 7-0 in Pool A, while the Hamiltons were 5-2 in Pool B, and navigated their way to the final with one-point wins in their quarterfinal and semifinal matches. In the final, Thiesse and Dropkin moved out to a 5-2 lead after five ends, but the Hamiltons scored three to tie in the sixth. A seventh-end finish saw two points for the Hamiltons and one for Thiesse and Dropkin off a final shot by Becca Hamilton – and a biter-stick measurement – for the 7-6 final.

● Cycling ● Two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pocagar blew up the UCI World Tour’s 18th Strade Bianche race on Saturday, attacking with 81.1 km left of the hilly, 215 km route – including 15 gravel sections – in and around Siena (ITA) and romping to an impressive win.

Pogacar finished a startling 2:44 up on Toms Skijins (LAT) – 5:19:45 to 5:22:29 – with Maxim van Gil (BEL: +2:47) in third. It was Pogacar’s second Strade Bianche title, also in 2022.

Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky continued her torrid early-season riding with a win in the 10th Strade Bianche for women, on a 137 km course, with a final attack about 500 m from the finish in Siena. She won by four second in 3:55:43 over Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA), with Demi Vollering (NED) and Kasia Niewiadoma (POL) both 26 seconds behind.

In her three races so far in 2024, Kopecky won the four-stage UAE Tour, was second at the Omloop Nieuwsblad Elite in Belgium and now her second Strade Bianche win, also on 2022.

● Diving ● The season-opening World Aquatics World Cup was in Montreal (CAN), with China demonstrating again its grip on the sport with wins in all nine events, and 12 medals overall.

The 2024 World men’s 3 m Springboard World Champion, Zongyuan Wang won with 549.50 points to 512.75 for 2024 World 1 m Worlds gold medalist Osmar Olvera (MEX), and 2024 World Champion Hao Yang won the men’s 10 m in a tight battle with Mexico’s Randal Willars, 533.00 to 530.90.

Wang and Daoyi Long repeated their 2024 Worlds men’s 3 m Synchro win at 464.79 points, easily ahead of Jack Laugher and Anthony Harding (GBR: 410.64). In the 10 m Synchro, Yang and Junjie Lian won with 457.23 to 428.97 for Mexico’s Willars and Kevin Berlin.

Yiwen Chen, the 2023 women’s 3 m Springboard World Champion won that event at 395.60, with American Sarah Bacon second (356.40) and 2024 World Champion Yani Chang (CHN: 344.40) third. In the women’s 10 m final, three-time World Champion Yuxi Chen (18) and 2024 World Champion Hongchan Quan (16) went 1-2 at 415.35 and 411.45.

Chen and Chang won the women’s 3 m Synchro with 329.40 points to 213.60 for Americans Kassidy Cook and Bacon., and Chen and Quan took the 10 m Synchro with 368.82 points to 301.14 for Andrea Spendolini Sirieix and Lois Toulson (GBR)

China took the Mixed Team event by 506.35 to 438.05 over Great Britain, with Australia third (405.70) and the U.S. fourth (397.05).

● Fencing ● At the FIE World Cup men’s Sabre in Padua (ITA), 18-year-old American Colin Heathcock got his second win of the season, out-dueling Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Luigi Samele (ITA) in the final by 15-12.

Now ranked fifth worldwide, Heathcock won the Sabre Grand Prix in Tunisia in January, and now a World Cup. Wow!

The U.S. team of Heathcock, Eli Dershwitz, Filip Dolegiewicz and Saron Mitchell won the Team silver, losing to Korea in the final by 45-44.

The women’s World Cup Sabre in Athens (GRE) was a decisive win for France’s Sara Balzer, defeating Lucia Martin-Portugues (ESP) in the final by 15-8. Balzer, now no. 1-ranked, won her fourth career World Cup gold, all within the last 12 months!

France also took the team title over Ukraine, 45-30.

● Football ● At the CONCACAF W Gold Cup quarterfinals in Los Angeles, Canada and Brazil moved to the semis with 1-0 and 5-1 wins at BMO Stadium on Saturday. The Canada-Costa Rica game went into extra time scoreless, but with a 104th-minute goal by Evelyne Viens. Brazil got first-half goals by Vitoria Yaya in the 19th and Yasmin (36th) on the way to a decisive victory over Argentina. Bia Zaneratto got two goals for Brazil, in the 54th and at 90+5.

On Sunday, Mexico used two more goals from Lizbeth Ovalle, in the 31st and 69th, to edge Paraguay, 3-2. Mexico went up 2-0 on a 49th-minute goal from Karen Luna and held on, as Paraguay got two late scores.

The U.S. faced Colombia in its quarterfinal, and after being shut out by Mexico in its last match, struck quickly with a 13th-minute goal off a Lindsey Horan penalty kick following a foul on striker Alex Morgan. Left back Jenna Nighswonger made it 2-0 in the 22nd, rushing in on the left side to finish a re-directed pass by Alex Morgan from the center of the box, blasting the ball past keeper Natalia Giraldo. Colombia found better footing later in the half and U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher had to bat away a powerful blast from forward Linda Caicedo from the left side in the 32nd.

Naeher came up big again in the 38th, saving a left-to-right shot from midfielder Ilana Izquierdo, headed for the far corner of the net. This was a rugged game, with four yellow cards in the first 20 minutes and two delays for injuries. At 45+2, a turnover allowed forward Trinity Rodman to cross the ball toward the middle of the box and forward Jaedyn Shaw beat her defender to the spot and pounded the ball into the net for the 3-0 halftime lead. Horan hit the post with a penalty shot at 45+9; the U.S. ended the half with a 9-6 lead on shots.

The U.S. controlled more of the possession in the second half and the game was less physical, until foul-and-retribution yellow cards in the 68th and 69th minutes, and one more in the 76th. There was no more scoring, and the U.S. ended with a 17-7 shot edge, although with 44% of possession.

In Tuesday’s semifinals, The U.S. will face Canada, and Brazil will face Mexico in the second game. The final is on Saturday.

An arrest was made in Spain last Wednesday of an Athletico Madrid “fan” “for using racist language and death threats to terrorize an eight-year-old girl who was wearing a shirt of Real Madrid player Vinícius Junior.”

The action on 24 September last year was reported as other fans stepped in to break up the attack, and the suspect was identified from video surveillance footage.

● Judo ● Japan won 11 medals, but France had three winners at the IJF World Tour Tashkent Grand Slam in Uzbekistan. The French wins were on the women’s side, with Tokyo 2020 runner-up Amandine Buchard taking the 52 kg gold, Priscilla Gneto winning at 57 kg and six-time World Champion Clarisse Agbegnenou at 63 kg.

Japan won two golds, from Hyoga Ota in the men’s +100 kg class, and Rika Takayama in the women’s 78 kg division. Matthias Casse, Belgium’s 81 kg World Champion from 2021, won his class.

● Luge ● The FIL World Cup season concluded in Sigulda (LAT), with the home team getting three wins!

Latvian Krister Aparjods, the 2024 Worlds bronze winner in men’s Singles, got his first win of the season in 1:35.169, beating Germany’s two-time Olympic champ Felix Loch (1:35.315) and 2024 Worlds silver winner Nico Gleirscher (AUT: 1:35.414). Tucker West was the top American in 10th (1:36.033).

German Max Langenhan won the seasonal title at 970 points to 841 for Aparjods and 765 for Loch.

The men’s Doubles was another win for the home favorites Martins Bots and Roberts Plume, who won their second World Cup in Doubles (they had three others in Sprint) in 1:22.915, over three-time Olympic champs Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt (GER: 1:23.010) and Beijing Olympic bronze medalists Thomas Steu and Wolfgang Kindl (1:23.01).

Dana Kellogg and Frank Ike of the U.S. finished sixth in 1:23.692, and Zachary Di Gregorio and Sean Hollander were ninth (1:23.893).

Steu and Kindl won the overall Doubles seasonal title over Wendl and Arlt, 966-885, and the Doubles title, 741-660.

Latvia’s Elina Ieva Vitola won her fourth medal of the season – and her first gold – in the women’s Singles, at 1:23.176, ahead of 2023 World Champion Anna Berreiter (GER: 1:23.250) and teammate Merle Frabel (1:23.291). American Ashley Farquharson was fourth at 1:23.325 and Emily Sweeney was 10th (1:23.612).

Germany’s Julia Taubitz, the Worlds runner-up and Sprint gold winner, took the seasonal title, 1,034 to 791 over Berreiter.

The women’s Doubles was the sixth win of the season for Jessica Degenhardt and Cheyenne Rosenthal (GER: 1:24.648), beating teammates Dajana Eitberger and Saskia Schirmer (1:24.902) and Austria’s World Champions, Selina Egle and Lara Kipp (1:24.931). Americans Chevonne Forgan and Sophia Kirkby were fifth at 1:25.120.

Italy’s Andrea Voetter and Marion Oberhofer won the seasonal all-Doubles title with 955 points to 895 for Degenhardt and Rosenthal, but the Germans took the Doubles-only class by 780-725 over the Italians.

● Nordic Combined ● The eighth of 10 stops on the men’s FIS World Cup tour was in Lahti (FIN) for competition off the 130 m hill and a 10 km race on Sunday, with last season’s World Cup champ Johannes Lamparter (AUT) ending a streak of 10 straight wins by Norwegian Jarl Magnus Riiber (who did not compete), at 23:04.9. That was just enough to hold off teammate Stefan Rettenegger (23:05.0), with Estonia’s Kristjian Ilves well back in third (23:56.7).

It was Lamparter’s third win of the season.

● Rugby Sevens ● The fifth stop on the HSBC Rugby Sevens tour was in Los Angeles (actually Carson, California), with seventh-ranked France taking its first win of the season in the men’s competition, beating no. 10 Great Britain, 21-0, in the final. Ireland beat Spain, 24-7, for the bronze.

Seasonal leader Argentina, Australia and Fiji (all 3-0) won their pools, then Ireland finally stopped Argentina’s three-tournament win streak in the quarters, 24-14. Great Britain eliminated Australia by 26-19 and Spain downed Fiji, 21-19, then France upset Ireland, 26-24 in its semi and Britain slid by Spain, 10-7 to get to the final.

Argentina still leads the seasonal standings with 90 points, to 70 for Ireland, then 64 for Fiji and 56 for France.

In the fifth of eight legs in the women’s circuit, New Zealand thrashed Australia by 29-14 in the final, after beating Canada by 31-12 in its semifinal. Australia edged the U.S. by 26-19 in its semi, and the U.S. placed third by beating Canada, 21-7. New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. won their pools at 3-0.

Australia, however, maintained its overall lead in the women’s standings, with 90 points to 86 for New Zealand, 74 for France and 64 for the U.S.

● Sailing ● Dissatisfaction within U.S. Sailing continues, with The Associated Press reporting last week on a letter from two-time Olympic medal winner J.J. Fetter calling for the resignations of U.S. Sailing’s CEO, president and any other board member who supports a federal lawsuit against a sailing foundation and three of its principals, including former Olympic team boss Paul Cayard.”

Cayard resigned in 2023 after his role as the head of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team was reduced to fundraising. He and others moved to the America One Foundation, which previously donated to the federation, but now supports sailors directly.

● Skateboarding ● The World Skateboarding Tour’s Paris 2024 Qualifier in Park was in Dubai (UAE) on Sunday, with Danny Leon (ESP) taking the men’s final with his first-round 90.13, followed by 2023 World Champion Gavin Bottger (USA: 89.57) and Viktor Solmunde (DEN: 89.36).

Spain completed a sweep in the women’s Park, with Naia Laso (ESP), scoring 93.46 on her second, beating 2023 Worlds gold medalist Kokona Hiraki (JPN: 91.60) and teammate Mizuho Hasegawa (88.91), both of whom got their best marks in the first round.

● Ski Jumping ● The FIS World Cup resumed off the 130 m hill in Lahti (FIN), with Slovenian Beijing Olympic Team silver winner Lovro Kos taking his second win of the season at 262.5, beating Andreas Wellinger (GER: 257.1) and Ryoyu Kobayashi (JPN: 254.9).

On Sunday, Austria’s Jan Hoerl got his second win of the season, winning both jumps and scoring 266.1 to 264.2 for Peter Prevc (SLO) and 254.2 for Poland’s Alexander Zniszczol. Seasonal leader Stefan Kraft (AUT) was eighth after 24 of 32 events, 1,578 to 1,382 over Kobayashi.

The Friday women’s jumping was the first seasonal gold for Nika Kriznar (SLO), the 2022 Olympic bronze winner, who scored 254.1 to best Austrians Jacqueline Seifriedberger (246.5) and Eva Pinkelnig (239.8).

● Ski Mountaineering ● Swiss stars got two wins at the ISMF World Cup in Schladming (AUT), with reigning World Champion Remi Bonnet (SUI) a runaway winner in the men’s Vertical Race, winning in 18:52.27 to 19:49.38 for France’s Worlds runner-up Thibault Anselmet, with Italy’s Federico Nicolini third (19:54.66).

The 2023 World Champion, Oriol Cardona Coll (ESP: 2:29.31), took the Sprint, with Anselmet getting his second silver in two days (2:31.02) and Worlds silver winner Maximilien Drion du Chapois (BEL: 2:41.98) taking the bronze.

Austria went 1-2 in the women’s Vertical Race with Worlds silver medalist Sarah Dreier (23:23.13) and Johanna Hiemer (23:46.46), ahead of Celia Perillat-Pessy (23:55.70). Sunday’s Sprint belonged to Caroline Ulrich (SUI: 3:02.49) – her second career World Cup win – ahead of Worlds bronzer Emily Harrop (FRA: 3:02.78), with 2023 Worlds runner-up Marianne Fatton (SUI: 3:10.96) third.

● Snowboard ● The first FIS World Cup in SnowCross in a month was in Sierra Nevada (ESP), with a first-time men’s winner in German Leon Ulbricht, 19, who also won his first-ever World Cup medal! He beat Canada’s Beijing 2022 runner-up Eliot Grondin in the final, with American Jake Vedder taking the bronze.

On Sunday, French Olympian Merlin Surget beat Grondin in the men’s final for his second career World Cup win, with Austria’s Jacob Dusek in third.

Britain’s Charlotte Bankes, the 2021 World Champion, won her second World Cup race in a row, this time over 2014 Olympic champ Eva Adamczykova (CZE) and France’s Beijing 2022 silver medalist Chloe Trespeuch (FRA).

Michela Moioli, Italy’s 2018 Olympic gold medalist, won Sunday’s race for her second medal of the season (first win), ahead of 2023 Worlds silver winner Josie Baff (AUS) and Bankes.

● Weightlifting ● Colombia dominated the 2024 Pan American Championships, held in Caracas (VEN), but without the U.S., which competed in the European Championships instead over security concerns.

Seven wins came in the men’s classes, with Hector Viveros taking 61 kg class (264 kg combined total), Luis Cano winning at 67 kg (293 total), Tokyo 2020 67 kg silver medalist Luis Javier Mosquera at 73 kg (337), Edwin Lagarejo at 91 kg (313), Yelson Lopez at 89 kg (382), Yeimar Mendoza at 109 kg (342) and 2022 Worlds bronze winner Rafael Cerro at +109 (393 kg).

Colombia’s two women’s winners were Rosive Salgado at 64 kg (220) and 2023 Worlds silver medalist Hellen Escobar at 76 kg (221).

Venezuela won five classes, with Tokyo 2020 96 kg silver winner Keydomar Vallenilla winning at 382 kg and Jeyson Arias at 102 kg (375), plus three women’s winners: Victoria Tovar at 45 kg (155), Anyelin Venegas at 59 kg (226) and Dayana Chirinos at 87 kg (240).

● Wrestling ● Serious – meaning Olympic – business at the Pan American Qualifier in Acapulco (MEX), with the U.S. picking up six quota spots for Paris … but leaving disappointed.

Three Greco-Roman tickets were punched by Spencer Woods at 87 kg, Alan Vera at 97 kg and Cohlton Schultz at 130 kg, with Chile, Cuba and Venezuela each earning two.

The American women were chasing three Freestyle spots and got them all, from Dom Parrish at 53 kg, Kayla Miracle at 62 kg and two-time World 72 kg champ Amit Elor at 68 kg. The U.S. and Canada both earned three quotas for Paris and Ecuador and Venezuela got two each.

In the men’s Freestyle classes, the U.S. was looking for two spots, but got neither as Zane Richards (57 kg) lost in his semifinal, as did Nick Lee at 65 kg. Cuba and Puerto Rico earned three quota slots each and Canada and Mexico got two each.

The U.S. men will have one more chance to qualify in these classes at the World Olympic Qualifier in Istanbul in May.

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