TSX REPORT: Russia says IOC to require anti-invasion declaration; Brisbane 2032 review says build A$3.4 billion stadium! Diggins wins X-C Ski World Cup!

American Cross Country Skiing star Jessica Diggins: a second FIS World Cup seasonal title!

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1. Pozdnyakov: IOC will require anti-invasion stance for Paris places
2. Baltic states ask no Russians, Belarusian at Paris opening
3. Brisbane report says forget Gabba, built new A$3.4 billion stadium!
4. Malaysia seeks Commonwealth Games decision this week
5. Gaines and 15 others sue NCAA on transgender participation

● The head of the Russian Olympic Committee says that the International Olympic Committee will require Russian athletes who want to participate at the Paris Games to sign a statement condemning the invasion of Ukraine. The IOC has said no such thing thus far; the Executive Board meets this week.

● A joint letter from the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania asks the IOC not to allow Russian or Belarusian athletes competing as “neutrals” to be allowed in the Olympic opening ceremony. The International Paralympic Committee has already banned “neutrals” from both countries for both ceremonies.

● A much-anticipated review report on the renovation of the famed Gabba venue in Brisbane recommends ignoring it and building a new, world-class stadium at an even greater cost, but in a different location. It also endorsed the building of a new arena, but at a different site than currently proposed; both projects are for long-term use, not simply for the 2032 Olympic Games.

● The Malaysian government will carefully consider the overall costs of staging a 2026 Commonwealth Games this week. The Commonwealth Games Federation has offered a £100 million subsidy, but the event will cost considerably more than that. Kuala Lumpur hosted the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

● A class-action suit by 16 plaintiffs in the U.S. Federal District Court in Atlanta asked for injunctive relief and damages against the NCAA and the University of Georgia system over the NCAAs transgender regulations that allowed Lia Thomas of Penn – a former men’s swimmer at the school – to compete in the women’s division in the 2022 NCAA Division I Championships.

World Championships: Short Track (U.S.’s Santos-Griswold wins five medals, China gets four men’s golds) ●

Panorama: Paris 2024 (Macron will ask Russia for Olympic cease-fire) = Paralympics 2024 (Russia says IPC approved its uniform colors) = Alpine Skiing (2: amazing Shiffrin wins Saalbach Slalom as Gut-Behrami wins World Cup seasonal title; Meillard and Haugen win men’s tech races) = Archery (Ellison and Kaufhold win U.S. indoor titles) = Athletics (4: Kejelcha runs 26:37 in Laredo 10 km!; Fisher leads eight under 27:00 in TheTEN; Ngeno and Ndiwa win L.A. Marathon; Schwazer loses doping appeal at Court of Arbitration) = Badminton (Indonesia wins two at All England Open) = Biathlon (2: Boe and Vittozzi take IBU World Cup season titles) = Cross Country Skiing (2: Diggins wins second World Cup seasonal title; Amundsen wins seasonal title despite seven straight Klaebo wins) = Cycling (5: Philipsen’s sprint wins Milan-Sanremo; Balsamo wins Trofeo Alfredo Binda over Kopecky; Finucane and Ota star at Track Nations Cup; Willoughby wins 12th U.S. BMX title; Greek Worlds medal winner Volikakis hit for doping) = Fencing (2: U.S.’s Kiefer and Itkin sweep in D.C. Foil Grand Prix; Balzer wins twice in Sabre World Cup) = Freestyle Skiing (3: U.S.’s Hall takes seasonal Big Air title; Thompson gets fifth Ski Cross win; Kingsbury and Anthony wrap up Dual Moguls titles) = Gymnastics (Biliet and Gomes win in Trampoline World Cup) = Nordic Combined (Lamparter and Hagen win final World Cup races this season) = Shooting (Hancock, Smith, Mein, Phillips win U.S. Shotgun Trials, in line for Paris selection) = Ski Jumping (2: Kraft, Prevc clinch seasonal World Cup) = Snowboard (2: Kimata, Murase lead Japan Slopestyle sweep; Hammerle sweeps two in home SnowCross) ●

Pozdnyakov: IOC will require anti-invasion stance for Paris places

The head of the Russian Olympic Committee, four-time Olympic fencing gold medalist Stanislav Pozdnyakov, wrote on his Telegram page on Friday that the International Olympic Committee will require Russian athletes to condemn their country’s invasion of Ukraine to allow participation at the Paris Olympic Games:

“For anyone who still does not see in the current criteria for the admission of neutralized athletes to the Games in Paris the conditions associated with the condemnation of the [invasion of Ukraine], I recommend that you once again carefully read the decisions of the IOC Executive Board of December 2023.

“‘Athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports who are actively support the war, will not be allowed to compete,’ is written in one of the paragraphs of the decisions. In this regard, two questions can be asked to the IOC.

“What exactly, in the understanding of Lausanne, are indicators of ‘active support’ and whether in this case there is ‘passive support,’ which does not entail a ban from participation?

“Accordingly, are athletes wishing to participate in the Paris Games required to declare, in writing or otherwise, a disapproval of the [invasion of Ukraine] in order to satisfy the criterion of no active support?”

“The answers are obvious, but we will not hear them from the authors of all these invented conditions. And the fact that any neutralized individual athlete will be required to confirm his refusal to support a special military operation is a fact that cannot cause doubt. It is already written in the criteria, which the IOC, according to its own statements, will not change. There are no illusions here.”

The IOC Executive Board will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday and could add details to any participation protocols imposed for Russian and Belarusian athletes, which it said it would review in addition any decisions on eligibility made by International Federations. But it has not published any undertaking that would have to be signed by Russian and Belarusian athletes as a precursor to being allowed to compete in Paris.

Observed: Let’s be clear, Pozdnyakov knows exactly what he is doing here: lowering expectations in case the IOC does decide to impose impossibly difficult (for them) standards for Russian admission. If not as tough, so much the better.

But, this is consistent with Russia’s public stance that its athletes should be allowed to compete no matter what and that everyone is conspiring against them, and forcing Russian athletes to potentially violate a Russian law that prohibits criticism of the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Baltic states ask no Russians, Belarusian at Paris opening

It’s pretty clear now that the International Olympic Committee will allow some Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate as “neutrals” at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

But that does not mean they are welcome, at least not by the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The National Olympic Committees of the three countries sent a joint letter to the IOC on Thursday asking:

“We continue to be dissatisfied with the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board decision to allow Russian and Belarusian passport holders to compete as individual neutral athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

“We firmly stand by the previous positions of the Baltic states’ national Olympic committees and are convinced that Russian and Belarusian athletes should under no circumstances participate in the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

This is a topic for the IOC Executive Board, which will meet by video conference this week on Tuesday and Wednesday, and could be resolved now, or held for later.

The International Paralympic Committee announced on 6 March within its regulations for Russian and Belarusian participation as neutrals in the Paris Paralympic Games:

“As the athletes will participate in an individual and neutral capacity, they will not march in the Opening Ceremony on 28 August or have a flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony on 8 September.”

Brisbane report says forget Gabba, built new A$3.4 billion stadium!

The enormous controversy over the A$2.7 billion projected cost of essentially demolishing the famed Brisbane Cricket Ground – the Gabba – as the centerpiece of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games resulted in new Queensland Premier Steven Miles handing the question over to a review commission headed by former Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk. (A$1 = $0.66 U.S.)

It was widely expected that the review report, released Monday in Brisbane, would recommend abandoning the renovation project and doing something else. It did.

But build an even more expensive, new stadium of A$3.4 billion? From the report (Australian dollars):

“The Gabba rebuild, costed on a comparable basis, is likely to now cost around $3 billion (plus $185-$360 million in displacement costs for AFL and cricket).

“The cost of a stadium in Victoria Park ($3-$3.4 billion) is likely to be marginally more expensive than the full Gabba rebuild (more than $3 billion) with better operational efficiencies and outcomes that would deliver a true international standard venue, enabling Brisbane to compete with other top stadiums in Australia and generate additional premium seating revenue.

“The construction of a stadium on an inner-city greenfield site allows a smooth transition with no displacement for cricket and [Australian Football League] while a new stadium is constructed.”

Multiple other options besides the Gabba rebuild were considered, but a new, 55,000-seat facility was cited as the best concept for future use. Quirk told ABC Brisbane that “the Gabba stadium is in poor condition, is operationally inefficient, inaccessible and offers very poor amenities,” adding:

“If a full Gabba rebuild was to occur, you still don’t end up with a top-level tier one stadium because of the fact that it’s very limited by space, and for that reason, that’s where we landed on Victoria Park.

“This is about building what is needed, and a legacy for the people of Queensland.”

The report recommends that the Gabba be demolished and the area used for other purposes. It also endorsed a new, world-class arena, but suggested the site be moved.

With the report completed, the next step will be for the Queensland government to determine its next step on the stadium question. The current Labor government could be challenged for power in Queensland by the Liberal National Party in the October elections, further clouding what the current government does now.

The A$3.0-3.4 billion cost estimated for the new facility on about 12% of the 158 acres of Victoria Park was immediately criticized by green-space advocates, but the report endorsed the project, noting “Brisbane needs a world-class stadium and arena.”

Quirk added in his interview, “People are saying we’re building these things for the Olympics. That is wrong. Everything that we are recommending is being built with a view for the needs of the city, the state and something that will be having long lasting legacy for our city.”

Malaysia seeks Commonwealth Games decision this week

“We have to look in detail first. Look at it as the whole before making a final decision.

“We cannot postpone the decision.”

That’s from Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, speaking Friday at a news conference in Hamburg (GER) at the end of a diplomatic trip, when asked about whether Malaysia will agree to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

It has been widely reported that the Commonwealth Games Federation has offered a subsidy of £100 million (about $127.3 million U.S.) to Malaysia and perhaps others, from the A$380 million (about $249.4 million U.S.) paid by the Australian state of Victoria when it withdrew from its contract to host the Games in 2023.

Anwar said there were multiple aspects to consider:

“What is the significance, how much spending is required? Although there are hundreds of millions provided by the CGF, if we have to spend up to another billion ringgit (~$212.6 million U.S.), that might limit our ability.

“We will consider all the pros and cons before making a decision.”

And there are collateral costs:

“However, as we also know, athletics cannot be seen from economic and investment interests only. We want to also give space, and encouragement to sportsmen and women to compete.

“For example, if we accept this offer, there will be programmes for the preparation of athletes.”

And he added that the “significance of the Commonwealth Games itself” also had to be explored.

Unlike most potential hosts, Malaysia has fairly recent Commonwealth Games experience, having hosted the event in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

Gaines and 15 others sue NCAA on transgender participation

“Plaintiffs, all current or former, collegiate, female, student-athletes, bring this case to secure for future generations of women the promise of Title IX that is being denied them and other college women by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (the ‘NCAA’ or the ‘Association’) working in concert with its member colleges and universities including those that are part of the University System of Georgia.”

A lawsuit brought last Thursday (14th) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta by 16 plaintiffs asks for a jury trial for damages, but most especially a series of injunctions, including:

“Requiring the NCAA to render ineligible any male who competed in women’s events or on a women’s team pursuant to rules of the Association which the Court finds are unlawful.”

The 156-page complaint specifically aims at the 2022 NCAA Division I swimming championships, in which Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas – who had previously competed on the Penn men’s team as Will Thomas before undergoing transgender therapy – won the 500-yard Freestyle and was a finalist in the 100-yard and 200-yard Freestyles.

While noting the NCAA’s expanding wealth and continuing courtroom losses over athlete-pay issues:

“During the same fifteen-year-period, the NCAA has simultaneously imposed a radical anti-woman agenda on college sports, reinterpreting Title IX to define women as a testosterone level, permitting men to compete on women’s teams, and destroying female safe spaces in women’s locker rooms by authorizing naked men possessing full male genitalia to disrobe in front of non-consenting college women and creating situations in which unwilling female college athletes unwittingly or reluctantly expose their naked or partially clad bodies to males, subjecting women to a loss of their constitutional right to bodily privacy. …

“What is disappointing and unlawful is that the NCAA aggressively applies its radical Transgender Eligibility Policies which diminish women’s opportunities despite the clear Title IX imperative to hold separate competitions and separate championships for women where physiological advantages of men preclude mixed (or open) competitions and despite vast scientific and experiential evidence demonstrating the NCAA’s policies harm women.”

The complaint also points to the NCAA’s regulations for the level of serum testosterone allowed in transgender women at – for swimming and 18 other sports – at 10 nmol/L, “which is five times (5x) greater than the highest level of testosterone any woman produces without doping.”

The complaint asks for class action status against the NCAA and the University of Georgia System, included because the 2022 NCAA Division I swim championships were held at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, as will future events.

Among the 16 athletes are 12 swimmers (including former Kentucky All-American and activist Riley Gaines, who tied for fifth with Thomas in the 200-yard Free), one tennis player, one track & field athlete, one volleyball player and a two-sport athlete in soccer and track & field. Eleven of the athletes have remaining NCAA eligibility and the complaint notes that beyond Thomas, transgenders are or have competed in women’s soccer, tennis and track & field.

Among the requests for relief is for the NCAA to be required to revise results of NCAA competitions in which biological males have competed in the women’s division.


● Short Track ● In a historic turn, American Kristen Santos-Griswold dominated the women’s competition at the ISU World Short Track Championships in Rotterdam (NED), winning the 1,000 m title and taking five total medals.

No American had won a Short Track Worlds individual gold since 2011 (Simon Cho in the men’s 500 m and Katharine Reutter in the women’s 1,500 m), but Santos-Griswold had five wins during the ISU World Cup season and was positioned for a break-out performance.

On Saturday, she led with four laps to go in the women’s 1,500 m, but was fouled by Belgian Hanne Desmet – the 2022 Olympic bronze medalist – on the final lap, with Korea’s 19-year-old sensation, Gil-li Kim, moving past both of them to win in 2:21.192 to 2:21.413 for Santos-Griswold, with Desmet disqualified and Corinne Stoddard of the U.S. getting third in 2:22.244.

The 500 m followed, with Canada’s Kim Boutin getting her 14th World Championships medal and her first gold (!) in 42.626, ahead of two-time World Champion Xandra Velzeboer (NED: 42.833) and Santos-Griswold in third (42.929). Two-time Olympic champ Arianna Fontana (ITA) was disqualified for a foul that impeded Velzeboer and possibly cost her the race,

On Sunday, Santos-Griswold got the victory in the women’s 1000 m – her strongest event – but only after a re-run. Desmet won the original race, with Fontana second, but it was called back after a three-skater crash that involved Kim and Santos-Griswold. On the second try, Santos-Griswold stayed out of trouble and won in 1:42.717, over Kim (1:43.049), with Fontana third (1:43.074). They were the only racers, as Desmet was disqualified again in the first race – a decision she vehemently disagreed with – and two-time Olympic champ Suzanne Schulting (NED) taken to the hospital with a broken ankle.

In the 2,000 m Mixed Relay, the U.S. team of Andrew Heo, Marcus Howard, Santos-Griswold and Stoddard won the bronze (2:39.369) behind China (2:37.697) and Italy (2:37.747). Finally, the U.S. women’s team of Eunice Lee, Julie Letai, Santos-Griswold and Stoddard claimed the 3,000 m relay silver, behind the Dutch, 4:07.788 and 4:08.061.

That’s five medals in all for Santos-Griswold: a gold, two silvers and two bronzes. With Stoddard’s bronze, the American women won six medals in all and topped the total medal standings across the entire championships!

China won three of the four men’s events, with 2018 Olympic 1,500 m winner Xiaojun Lin taking the 500 m in 41.592 over Denis Nikisha (KAZ: 41.676) and Long Sun taking the 1,500 m in 2:23.09 over Jens van’t Wout (NED: 2:23.260). Lin and Sun were joined by Shaoang Liu and Shaolin Sandor Liu for the 5,000 m relay in 7:18.468, just ahead of South Korea (7:18.641).

The favored Koreans in the 1,500 m – Ji-won Park and Daeheon Hwang – ended up crashing, with Hwang disqualified and China’s Sun able to get through for the win.

The men’s 1,000 m was another surprise, with Canada’s William Dandjinou getting the win in 1:25.534 after more crashing between Park and Hwang, with Hwang disqualified again. Italy picked up the silver and bronze with Pietro Sighel (1:25.555) and Luca Spechenhauser (1:26.026).

Lin ended with three golds in the men’s 500 m and the 5,000 m and mixed relays. The U.S. had the most medals (6: 1-2-3), but China had four medals (4-0-0), as did Canada (2-0-2) and Italy (0-2-2).


● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● French President Emmanuel Macron, appearing on a support-Ukraine telethon, was asked if he will request Russia commit to a cease-fire period during the Games.

Yes, we will ask for it,” said Macron.

● Paralympic Games 2024: Paris ● Russian “neutrals” allowed to compete at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris will wear outfits in turquoise and beige, according to Russian Paralympic Committee chief Pavel Rozhkov:

“The International Paralympic Committee has approved the colors for the apparel of the Russian national team’s athletes and accompanying staff. They will wear varying shades of turquoise and beige.

“In line with the requirements on the neutral status participation of athletes, all national colors are prohibited from being displayed on uniforms and, in our case, this means the white, blue and red colors.

“We continue to work actively with designers to prepare samples of athletic apparel.”

● Alpine Skiing ● The amazing Mikaela Shiffrin ended her season with a come-from-behind win in her Slalom specialty at the FIS World Cup Final in Saalbach (AUT) on Saturday.

She ranked second after the first run, down 0.11 to Swede Anna Swenn Larsson, and then had a better second run than Swenn Larsson, even though it was only 13th best in the field. But it was enough for the win, in 1:53.22. Swenn Larsson fell back to third (1:53.85) as Norway’s Mina Holtmann moved up to second with a strong second run (1:53.76 total).

Shiffrin had said that the would only race the Slalom in Saalbach and finished the season with a record-setting 60th career win in World Cup Slaloms and her 97th career World Cup gold, the most of any skier in history. She finishes the season with a career total of 152 World Cup medals, just three short of the all-time record.

On Sunday, Italy’s Beijing 2022 Giant Slalom runner-up Federica Brignone won her sixth race of the season in the final Giant Slalom race, in 2:20.05, ahead of New Zealand’s Alice Robinson (2:21.41) and Thea Stjernesund (2:21.72). American Paula Moltzan was sixth (2:22.44).

Swiss seasonal leader Lara Gut-Behrami finished 10th and clinched the World Cup overall title, the second of her career after 2016. Brignone will be second and Shiffrin third.

Saturday’s men’s race was an upset, as seasonal winner Marco Odermatt (SUI) did not win his 13th straight Giant Slalom! He was leading after the first run, but skied out on the second run and did not finish.

Instead, Swiss teammate Loic Meillard got his second straight win in 2:36.27, well ahead of Joan Verdu (AND: 2:36.98 and Thomas Tumler (SUI: 2:37.06). River Radamus (2:38.55) was the top American, in 17th.

Sunday’s Slalom saw two-time Worlds medal winner Timon Haugan (NOR) triumph in 1:54.00 – his first career World Cup gold – just ahead of seasonal Slalom champ Manuel Feller (AUT: 1:54.40) and Linus Strasser (GER: 1:54.44).

The season finishes with the speed races at Saalbach next weekend.

● Archery ● The U.S.’s biggest stars were on top of the podium at Thursday’s USA Archery National Indoor Finals in Louisville, Kentucky: Brady Ellison and Casey Kaufhold.

The three-time Olympic medalist and 2019 World Champion Ellison defeated fellow Tokyo Olympian Jack Williams in the men’s final (18 m): 7-3, while Alex Gilliam took the bronze, 6-2, over Landon Richardson. The gold-medal match was tighter than the score indicated: Ellison won, but with three tied ends: 30-30, 29-28, 30-30, 30-30, 30-28!

Kaufhold, 20, the 2021 Worlds runner-up, won the women’s title, 6-2, against Alexandria Zuleta-Visser, while Riley Marx took the women’s bronze, 6-2, over Samantha Ensign.

● Athletics ● Ethiopia’s versatile Yomif Kejelcha has won big races from the mile to 10,000 m in his career and showed Saturday that his road-running future is exceptionally bright with a brilliant 26:37 10 km road win in Laredo (ESP).

He set off at world-record pace, moving ahead of 10,000 m track world-record holder Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) by 4 km and running unopposed to the tape. He suffered some hip pain in the last quarter of the race and ended with the no. 3 performance of all time, behind Rhonex Kipruto (KEN: 26:24 in 2020) and Berihu Aregawi (ETH: 26:33 in 2023).

Cheptegei finished second in 26:53 and pacesetter Addisu Yihune (ETH) got a lifetime best in third (27:28). Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen was a runaway winner of the women’s 10 km in 31:07.

At annual early-season running festival The TEN in San Juan Capistrano, a mass finish in the men’s race saw eight runners finish under the men’s Olympic qualifying standard of 27:00.00, led by American record holder Grant Fisher in a world-leading 26:52.04, the no. 4 performance in U.S. history.

Fisher took the lead on the final straight, passing Canadian star Moh Ahmed and winning by daylight, with Northern Arizona’s Nico Young – the NCAA Indoor 3,000 m and 5,000 m champ – setting the collegiate record in second at 26:52.72, crushing the old mark of 27:08.49 by Sam Chelanga (Liberty) in 2010.

Andreas Almgren (SWE) got a national record of 26:52.87 in third and Ahmed was fourth in 26:53.01. American Woody Kincaid was seventh in 26:57.57; Young is now the no. 3 performer in U.S. history and Kincaid is no. 4, with the nos. 5-6 performances.

Four women met the Olympic standard of 30:40, led by Ethiopia’s 2023 World Cross Country runner-up Tsigie Gebreselama in a world-leading 29:48.34, running away from a good field. American Weini Kelati got a lifetime best of 30:33.82 in second, now no. 6 all-time U.S. Lauren Ryan (AUS) got a national record in third (30:35.66) and Megan Keith (GBR: 30:36.84) was fourth.

Other road races of interest included wins at the New York City Half Marathon for Abel Kipchumba (KEN) in 60:25 and Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal (NOR: 69:09), Jemal Yimer (ETH: 2:06:08) and Fikrte Wereta (ETH: 2:21:32) at the Seoul Marathon, and Dominic Ngeno (KEN: 2:10:20) and Stacy Ndiwa (KEN: 2:25:28) at the Los Angeles Marathon.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed the eight-year ban for doping on Italian walker Alex Schwazer, now 39, and the Beijing 2008 Olympic champ in the 50 km walk.

He was banned in 2016 for a doping positive, his second doping offense and was suspended to 7 July 2024. Schwazer appealed, with media reports in Italy claiming his sample had been tampered with. But the Athletics Integrity Unit confirmed the doping ban and Schwazer appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and lost again.

● Badminton ● At the BWF World Tour’s All England Open in Birmingham, Indonesia scored two wins, starting with the all-Indonesian men’s final, where Jonatan Christie managed a 21-15, 21-14 win over Anthony Ginting.

Indonesian men’s Doubles winners Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Ardianto dispatched Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh (MAS), 21-16, 21-16 in their final.

The featured women’s Single final saw Rio 2016 Olympic gold medalist Carolina Marin (ESP) won over Akane Yamaguchi (JPN), 26-24, 11-1 and Yamaguchi withdrew with a hip injury. It was Marin’s second All-England title, but first since 2015.

Ha Na Baek and So Hee Lee (KOR) won the women’s Doubles over Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida (JPN), 21-19, 11-21, 21-17, and top-seeded Si Wei Zheng and Ya Qiong Huang (CHN) won the Mixed Doubles by 21-16, 21-11 against Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino (JPN).

● Biathlon ● At the final IBU World Cup of the season, at Canmore (CAN), Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe closed with a rush and took his fifth World Cup seasonal title.

Boe won Friday’s 10 km Sprint in 23:37.0 (0 penalties), ahead of Tommaso Giacomel (ITA: 24:39.7/1) and older brother Tarjei Boe (24:41.2/1) and then took Saturday’s 12.5 km Pursuit in 34:38.0 (3), beating Sebastian Samuelsson (SWE: 34:49.2/1) and Eric Perrot (FRA: 34:49.6/1).

That wrapped up the seasonal title for J.T. Boe, adding to his wins in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2023. Tarjei Boe also clinched the runner-up spot (he was the winner in 2011). Campbell Wright was the topi American entry, 28th in the Sprint (26:15.2/3) and 19th in the Pursuit (37:20.3/1).

Boe the younger left nothing to chance in Sunday’s 12.5 km Mass Start, winning his fourth straight race by 44.5 seconds in 36:03.4 (1), ahead of teammate Johannes Dale-Skjevdal (36:47.9/2) and France’s Emilien Jacquelin (37:10.6/3).

Boe finished with 1,262 points to 1,080 for brother Tarjei, then 949 for Dale-Skjevdal and 862 for Sturla Holm Laegreid; Norwegians took the top five places and six of the top seven on the season.

The women’s seasonal race came down to the last weekend, with Italy’s three-time Worlds medalist Lisa Vittozzi surging into the lead on Saturday. First she won the 7.5 km Sprint in 19:38.2 (0) over France’s Lou Jeanmonnot (19:43.7/0), then took the 10 km Pursuit in 28:15.9 (1), which gave her the seasonal lead. Jeanmonnot was second again (28:28.1/3) and French teammate Justine Braisaz-Bouchet was third (28:35.3/3).

On Sunday, Jeanmonnot won her fourth race of the season in the 12.5 km Mass Start in 32:55.0 (1), well ahead of Janina Hettich-Walz (GER: 33:06.9/1) and France’s Gilonne Guigonnat (33:10.8/0). Deedra Irwin was the top American, in 27th at 35:55.8 (4).

Vittozzi finished 21st, but won her first seasonal World Cup title with 1,091 points to 1,068 for Jeanmonnot and 1,044 for Norway’s Ingrid Tandrevold.

● Cross Country Skiing ● The final stage of the 2023-24 FIS World Cup was in Falun (SWE), with home favorite Linn Svahn trying to catch American Jessie Diggins for the seasonal women’s title.

On Friday, Norway’s Kristine Skistad continued her hot streak with a third Sprint win in a row, this time in the Classical Sprint in 3:16.11, with Svahn second (3:17.29) and Jonna Sundling third (SWE: 3:17.67). Diggins was eliminated in the quarters and Svahn was within 2,536 to 2,495!

Saturday’s Classical 10 km Interval Start saw Finland go 1-2, with four-time Olympic medalist Kerttu Niskanen winning in 30:01.3 and Johanna Matintalo following in 30:05.5. Sundling was third again (30:11.3), while Diggins was fifth (30:24.4) to Svahn’s 18th, giving the American a 2,616-2,541 edge.

And in Sunday’s 20 km Freestyle Mass Start, Diggins left no doubt, winning her sixth race of the season in 51:53.0, beating Norway’s Heidi Weng at the line (51:53.9) and her teammate, Anne Kalvaa (51:55.2) in third. Fellow Americans Rosie Brennan (52:21.8) and Novie McCabe (52:22.0) finished 10-11.

Diggins won her second seasonal title – also in 2021, the first American woman to win the seasonal trophy – with 2,746 points to 2,571 for Svahn and 2,309 for Karlsson. In the last four seasons, Diggins has finished 1-2-2-1 in the season standings. Brennan finished seventh overall with 2,019 points.

The men’s racing saw Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo continue his amazing late-season surge. Coming in, Norway had won 13 of the prior 14 races on the circuit and Klaebo had won four in a row and six of seven.

He took the Classical Sprint on Friday in 2:56.78 to 2:57.92 for Finn Lauri Vuorinen and 2:58.15 for seasonal leader Harald Amundsen. Then he won the 10 km Classical Interval Start in 26:00.0, beating Finn Iivo Niskanen (26:22.1) and Martin Nyenget (NOR: 26:24.0). That’s six in a row.

The final 20 km Freestyle Mass Start was a seventh straight World Cup win for Klaebo in 47:06.4, barely ahead of teammates Gjoeran Tefre (47:06.8) and Nyenget (47:08.6). Gus Schumacher was the top American, in 12th (47:15.5).

Even winning 10 of the last 12 races of the season wasn’t enough, as Amundsen, 25, won his first seasonal World Cup title with 2,654 points to 2,600 for Klaebo and 2,106 for Erik Valnes (NOR).

● Cycling ● One of the treasured races in cycling, the 115th edition of Milan-Sanremo in Italy, was also one of the longest of the season at 288 km. But even at that length, it came down to a sprint, and a mass sprint at that, of 12 riders!

The final descent of the race, off the Poggio di Sanremo saw six riders come over the crest and then six more join over the 5 km to the finish. Finally, it was Belgian Jasper Philipsen, a nine-time winner in Grand Tour stages, who got his first Monument win over Australian star Michael Matthews.

The top 12 all received the same time of 6:14:44, with two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar (SLO) in third.

Sunday was the 25th Trofeo Alfredo Binda, one of the pioneering races in women’s cycling, finish as usual in Cittiglio after a hilly, 140.5 km ride from Maccagno con Pino e Veddasca (ITA), with a five-lap course to finish the race.

Despite multiple attempts at breakaways, the race came down to a mass charge of about 25 riders, with Italy’s 2022 winner Elisa Balsamo powering ahead to edge Belgium’s 2023 World Road champ Lotte Kopecky at the line, 3:40:09 to 3:40:10 with Puck Pieterse (NED) third and 10 riders given the same time.

At the second Track Nations Cup, in Hong Kong, Great Britain’s 2023 World Sprint champ Emma Finucane dominated the speed racing and took three golds, defeating 2022 World Sprint gold winner Mathilde Gros (FRA) in the Sprint final (2:0), winning the Keirin over Germany’s 2020 World Champion Emma Hinze (+0.128) and teaming with Sophie Capewell and Katy Marchant to take the Team Sprint against Germany, 46.092 to 46.349.

Japan’s Yumi Kajihara won the women’s Elimination Race and the Omnium and was on the bronze-winning Team Pursuit squad for Japan for three medals, and Maho Kakita and Tsuyaka Uchino won the women’s Madison.

Japanese sprint star Kaiya Ota, the 2022 Asian Games Sprint winner, won the men’s Sprint and the Keirin, beating 2022 Commonwealth Games champ Matthew Richardson (AUS) in the Sprint final (2:1) and two-time Commonwealth Games Keirin champ Matthew Glaetzer (AUS: +0.349) in the Keirin.

New Zealand’s Aaron Gate, the 2013 Worlds Omnium winner, took that event and teamed with Campbell Stewart – they were Worlds bronze medalists last year – to win the men’s Madison. Gate took the Omnium by 144-143 over Oscar Nilsson Julien of France, but won the Madison by 10 points over Sebastian Mora and Albert Torres of Spain.

At the USA Cycling BMX National Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina, a very familiar face was again at the top of the women’s podium: Alise Willoughby.

The two-time BMX World Champion won her 12th USA Cycling national title, getting to the line ahead of Carly Kane, Lexis Colby and Rachel Mydock.

Kamren Larsen, the 2023 Pan American Games gold medalist, won the men’s national title, beating Jeremy Smith, Joseph Leto and Drew Polk.

The International Testing Agency announced a doping positive for Greek track cyclist Christos Volikakis from its re-testing of samples from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Now 35, Volikakis was the 2008 World Championships bronze medalist in the Keirin and won European Champs medals from 2011-19 in the Elimination, Keirin, Scratch and Sprint. The ITA found “an Adverse Analytical Finding for SARMS LGD-4033 metabolite, a non-specified prohibited substance.”

Volikakis can ask for a test of the B-sample; the case will then be turned over to the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

● Fencing ● Nothing like home cooking.

Olympic Foil champion Lee Kiefer of the U.S. scored an impressive victory at the FIE Grand Prix in Foil in Washington, D.C., routing two-time World Champion Arriana Errigo of Italy, 15-4.

Errigo won her 23rd career Grand Prix medal with the silver, to 12 now for the top-ranked Kiefer. Fellow American Lauren Scruggs took one bronze, for her first Grand Prix medal, along with Anne Sauer (GER). Kiefer now owns six Grand Prix golds, as well as five World Cup golds in her career.

The U.S. scored another win in the men’s final, with 2023 Worlds silver medalist Nick Itkin taking a 15-12 decision over France’s two-time World Champion Enzo Lefort. Italy’s Filippo Macchi and Japan’s Kyosuke Matsuyama won the bronzes.

It’s Itkin’s first Grand Prix win and his third career medal (1-1-1); Lefort now owns six career Grand Prix medals (0-3-3).

France’s no. 1-ranked Sara Balzer claimed a 15-8 win over two-time World Champion Misaki Emura (JPN) in the final of the Women’s Sabre World Cup in Sint-Niklaas (BEL). Balzer defended her title from this tournament last season and it’s her third win this season!

Balzer got a second gold as France won the team title as well, defeating Italy by 45-32 in the final.

● Freestyle Skiing ● The FIS World Cup season in Big Air concluded in Tignes (FRA) on Friday with Beijing Olympic Slopestyle gold medalist Alex Hall winning at 186.50, out-scoring Leo Landroe (NOR: 185.50) and Swiss 2021 World Slopestyle champ Andri Ragettli (183.00). Hall won the seasonal title with 236 points, over Ragettli (196).

Beijing 2022 Big Air bronze winner Mathilde Gremaud won her third Big Air competition in the four contested, scoring 178.25 to 170.75 for Mengting Liu (CHN) and 170.25 for Italian Flora Tabanelli. Gremaud took the seasonal title with 380 points, well ahead of France’s two-time Big Air world champ, Tess Ledeux (248).

In the men’s Slopestyle, Beijing Olympian Mac Forehand of the U.S. won his second event of the season at 85.21, to Tormod Frostad (NOR: 85.10) and Konnor Ralph (USA: 83.95).

Ledeux, the 2017 Slopestyle World Champion, won the Slopestyle competition at 70.43, ahead of Gremaud (75.56) and Olivia Asselin (CAN: 74.81). Gremaud is leading the seasonal standings, 380-216, over Ledeux with the season finishing up next week.

Canada continued its winning streak in women’s Ski Cross in the penultimate stop on the FIS World Cup, in Veyzonnaz (SUI), with Sochi 2014 Olympic champ Marielle Thompson leading a sweep! She won her fifth race of the season, getting to the line ahead of teammates Brittany Phelan and India Sherrt.

The men’s win went to Swede David Mobaerg, who beat Swiss seasonal leader and 2021 World Champion Alex Fiva and 2023 Worlds runner-up Florian Wilmsmann (GER).

The season concludes at Idre Fjall (SWE) next week.

The Dual Moguls World Cup season finished in Chiesa in Valmalenco (ITA), with stars Mikael Kingsbury and Jakara Anthony winning the seasonal crowns. Canadian Kingsbury, the four-time Dual Moguls World Champion, won another World Cup title, beating Takuya Shimakawa (JPN) in the final. American Nick Page was third. Kingsbury scored 700 points to 372 for Ikuma Horishima (JPN) on the season.

Australia’s Anthony won her seventh straight Dual Moguls World Cup competition (out of eight this season), beating American star Jaelin Kauf in the final for the fifth straight time! Anthony scored 760 points on the season to 564 for Kauf. In the all-American bronze-medal race, Elizabeth Lemley won over Olivia Giaccio.

● Gymnastics ● At the FIG Trampoline World Cup in Alkmaar (NED), Belgium’s Darwin Billiet took the men’s individual title at 57.190, to 57.090 for Mirshokhid Khasanboev, with Miguel Feyh (GER: 56.930).

Alice Gomes (BRA) won the women’s gold, scoring 53.500 to best Darja Ovcaruka (LAT: 51.610), and Maya Moeller (GER: 50.400) in third.

● Nordic Combined ● The FIS World Cup finished, appropriately, in Trondheim (NOR) as home stars Jarl Magnus Riiber and Ida Marie Hagen had already wrapped up the seasonal titles.

The 2023 World Cup champ, Austria’s Johannes Lamparter, won the final men’s competition, with jumping off the 138 m hill and a 10 km race in 22:32.0, ahead of teammate Stefan Rettenegger (22:41.2) and Estonia’s Kristjian Ilves (23:40.0).

Riiber finished with 1,870 points to 1,530 for Rettenegger and 1,456 for Lamparter.

Hagen won her fourth straight race to finish the season, jumping off the 105 m hill with a 7.5 km race, in 20:17.8, ahead of Lisa Hirner (AUT: 20:33.5) and Norway’s Gyda Westvold Hansen (20:46.3) in third. Hagen won with 1,440 points, with Hansen (1,280) and Mari Leinan Lund (NOR: 1,044) as Norway swept the top three seasonal places.

● Shooting ● The second stage of the USA Shooting Shotgun Selection events took place in Tucson, Arizona, with Paris Olympic places at stake. The U.S. earned the maximum number of slots, with two each available for men and women in both Skeet and Trap.

Two-time Olympic champ Vincent Hancock won the men’s Skeet competition with 499 points to 494 for Conner Prince and 489 for Mark Staffen in third. The total Olympic Trials scores showed Hancock with 502 points to lead all shooters, followed by Prince (494) and Staffen (489).

Four-time World Team gold medalist Austin Smith won a tight race with 2017 World Champion Dania Jo Vizzi, 483 to 482, in the women’s Skeet event, with 2022 Worlds bronze medalist Sam Simonton (478) third and Katharina Jacob (474) in fourth. Smith and Vizzi both scored 487 overall Trials points, with Simonton third (482) and Jacob fourth (474).

In Trap, 2022 World Champion Derrick Mein won the Tucson stage at 471 points, decisively ahead of Will Hinton (460) with Derek Haldeman and Seth Inman both at 459. The overall Olympic Trials scoring has Mein at 475, Hinton at 463 and Haldeman at 462.

Ryann Phillips won the women’s Trap at 453, just ahead of 2019 Pan Am Games runner-up Rachel Tozier (452), 2019 World Champion Ashley Carroll (450), with Carey Garrison fourth (446). Tozier led the overall Olympic Trials scoring at 455, with Phillips at 454 and Carroll at 450.

Pending official ratification, the top two in the overall Trials scoring should be on the U.S. team for Paris. USA Shooting is conducting its third stage of Smallbore Rifle and Pistol trials this week in Georgia.

● Ski Jumping ● The seventh Raw Air tournament in Vikersund (NOR) wrapped up for men, with two events on Sunday – both World Cups – jumping off the giant, 240 m ski-flying hill.

Due to weather, two competitions were held on Sunday, with overall leader Stefan Kraft (AUT) winning his 12th event of the season, scoring 256.0 to 248.2 for teammate Daniel Huber and 245.4 for Domen Prevc (SLO).

The second event included three rounds, with Huber winning over Kraft, 689.2 to 671.9, and Timi Zajc (SLO: 633.0) in third. Kraft won the Raw Air tournament at 2,494.7 over Prevc (2,369.1) and Huber (2,326.7).

The fifth Raw Air tourney for women finished on Sunday in Vikersund, with Norway’s Eirin Kvandal winning a close finish with teammate Silje Opseth, 431.2 to 425.2, with Ema Klinec (SLO: 375.9) in third place.

Kvandal won the women’s Raw Air, piling up 1,790.4 points to 1,638.4 for Opseth and 1,634.9 for Austria’s Eva Pinkelnig.

With two scoring events left for the men, Kraft has wrapped up the seasonal title with 2,063 points to 1,633 for Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi. Prevc, the Slovenian teen sensation, has also clinched the women’s seasonal title, now with 1,394 points to 1,205 for Pinkelnig, with one scoring event left next week.

● Snowboard ● Japanese riders swept the FIS World Cup Slopestyle competitions in Tignes (FRA), with Ryoma Kimata finally getting his first World Cup gold after four silvers and a bronze since 2019. He scored 93.75 to win easily over Romain Allemand (FRA: 88.50) and Japanese teammate Taiga Hasegawa (85.00).

Olympic Big Air bronzer Kokomo Murase led a Japan medals sweep in the women’s event, winning at 90,00, with 2015 World Champion Miyabi Onitsuka second (81.75) and Reira Iwabuchi third (76.75).

The season will wrap next week in Silvaplana (SUI).

The penultimate SnowCross competition this season was in Montafon (AUT), with home favorite Alessandro Hammerle getting his second win of the season. The Beijing Olympic winner defeated France’s Leo Le Ble Jaques in the final, with fellow Austrian Julian Luftner taking the bronze.

Hammerle doubled up on Sunday, beating teammate Jacob Dusek in the final, with Merlin Surget (FRA) taking the bronze.

Italy’s 2018 Olympic champ Michela Moioli took her second win and fourth medal of the season over 2021 World Champion Charlotte Bankes (GBR) in the women’s final, and moved into the seasonal lead. Australia’s Josie Baff, the 2023 Worlds runner-up, was third.

Sunday saw Beijing 2022 runner-up Chloe Trespeuch (FRA) win over five-time World Champion Lindsey Jacobellis of the U.S., collecting her first medal of the season after recovering from injuries. Baff won the bronze over Bankes.

The season finishes next week at Mont-Sainte-Anne (CAN).

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