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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. Swedish stone wall dismisses U.S. in Women’s World Cup
2. Spain, Japan, Dutch sweep on to Women’s World Cup quarterfinals
3. Biles still magical in return at CoreHydration Classic
4. New poll says French indifferent about Paris 2024?
5. Cost projection sinks Alberta interest in 2030 Commonwealth Games
The no. 1-ranked U.S. women were eliminated from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup by Sweden by the slimmest of margins: a seventh-round penalty kick that was swatted by American keeper Alyssa Naeher, but landed barely inside the goal line before being cleared. That drama followed a 0-0 tie after 120 minutes, in which the U.S. had just about all the best chances, but could not beat Swedish keeper Zecira Musovic. Sweden will move on to the quarterfinals to play Japan, while the Netherlands will face Spain in the upper half of the bracket. At the CoreHydration Classic outside Chicago, gymnastics icon Simone Biles returned to competition after two years off, looking confident and winning the All-Around against a strong field with 59.100 points, her second-best ever at the event (and her fourth win). Stanford star Asher Hong won the men’s All-Around. Another poll on French attitudes about the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is out, showing 48% are indifferent about it, with worries about security and transporation, hardly new issues of concern. The possible Alberta bid for the 2030 Commonwealth Games is over as the provincial sports ministry estimated the costs of the event at C$2.68 billion, or about $2.003 billion U.S., considered too expensive. The Commonwealth Games Federation is now looking for hosts for both 2026 and 2030.
● World Championships: Archery (Gazoz and Horackova take Recurve titles) = Cycling (2: Van der Poel attacks last and best for men’s road race title; Valente wins Scratch race gold on the track) = Sport Climbing (Garnbret wins again at IFSC Worlds) ●
● Panorama: Athletics (Camacho-Quinn 12.43, Kovacs 71-3 1/4 at Ed Murphey Classic) = Badminton (U.S.’s Zhang posts long-sought win in Australia) = Cycling (Mohoric wins Tour de Pologne by one second!) = Diving (China wins eight of nine events at World Cup Super Final) = Gymnastics (China sweeps individual titles at Trampoline World Cup) = Judo (Japan wins four, Laborde gets first U.S. medal since ‘16 at IJF Masters) = Swimming (open-water test event in Paris postponed) = Triathlon (inquiry started on illness from Sunderland open-water conditions) ●
● Errata: Friday’s post suggested that U.S. star Chloe Dygert’s Worlds win in the Individual Pursuit will make her a favorite in Paris, but as Olympedia co-founder Bill Mallon points out, that event is no longer on the Olympic program. Sorry about that. Dygert and her teammates will once again be threats for another medal in the women’s Team Pursuit, in which she won a silver medal in Rio and bronze in Tokyo. ●
Swedish stone wall dismisses U.S. in Women’s World Cup
In an excruciating defeat that will bring pain for years to come, the no. 1-ranked U.S. Women’s National Team was eliminated from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand by Sweden in Melbourne, 5-4 on penalty kicks after a 0-0 tie.
Despite multiple excellent chances, the Americans could not score against brilliant Swedish keeper Zecira Musovic, who made 11 saves and dashed U.S. hopes again and again (as did the crossbar):
● 18th: Trinity Rodman shot punched away
● 27th: Rodman shot blocked
● 34th: Lindsey Horan header off a corner hits the crossbar
● 54th: Horan shot blocked with the left hand
● 90th: Alex Morgan’s header in the box slapped away
● 96th: Morgan’s liner from the left side pushed away
● 101st: Lynn Williams shot saved, rebound shot by Horan blocked
● 107th: Sophia Smith shot poked away at the near corner of goal
In contrast, Sweden threatened occasionally, but didn’t actually get a shot at U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher until the 85th minute on a drive in the box by substitute midfielder Sofia Jakobsson, which Naeher knocked down and had cleared.
The U.S. had 58% of possession and finished with a 22-9 edge on shots and 11-1 in shots-on-goal. The game got increasingly physical in the later stages as players tired; Sweden had 15 fouls to 11 for the U.S.
Finally, it came down to the penalty shoot-out, with the U.S. going first, and each side made their first two shots – Andi Sullivan and Horan for the U.S. and Fridolina Rolfo and Elin Rubensson for Sweden – and then late sub Kristie Mewis gave the U.S. a 3-2 lead.
But then four misses in a row: Sweden’s Nathalie Bjorn sent her shot over the net, Megan Rapinoe’s shot went high, Rebecka Blomqvist’s try was saved to Naeher’s left and Smith’s try went wide right.
Hanna Benninson, another late sub, stepped up for Sweden’s final try, down 3-2, and scored easily to send the shoot-out to extra frames.
Now it got crazy. Naeher came out for the U.S. try and smashed a liner into the net for a 4-3 lead, but Magdalena Ericsson equalized, to go to a seventh round. Late sub Kelley O’Hara’s shot went off the right post for the U.S. and so sub midfielder Lina Hurtig stepped up and sent her shot to her left.
Naeher guessed correctly, saved the shot with her right hand, but it bounced up and was ruled by video review to have crossed the goal line by perhaps a millimeter or two before Naeher slapped it away again before it hit the ground, but the game was decided, 5-4 on penalties for Sweden.
The U.S. was the better team during the run-of-play, but lost, not an unusual result in this Women’s World Cup. This was a match between no. 1 and Sweden at no. 3 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings and the Swedes have had a long history of hurting the U.S. when it counts.
For the Americans, this was their earliest exit ever in nine editions of the Women’s World Cup; the U.S. had always made at least to the semifinals, and had won a medal (4-1-3) in all eight of the prior tournaments. The two-time defending champions were trying to win a third straight, but like Germany – winners in 2003 and 2007 – it was not to be.
Observed: There will be lots of questions to be answered, but unlike the men’s game, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will provide a quick re-run opportunity.
The U.S. women missed, more than anything else, the ability to finish and score, as opposed to getting chances. No one will ever know if the loss of scoring ace Mallory Swanson to a torn patellar tendon against Ireland in a friendly in April – after scoring seven goals in the team’s first five games of the season – might have been the difference, along with other injuries, but the issues will need to be addressed quickly with 2024 on the horizon. The U.S. is already qualified.
Now, sports business insiders will be focused on what the loss of the U.S. in the tournament will mean to the television audiences in the U.S., already in a terrible time zone for American viewers. And, what will the U.S.’s loss mean for its candidature – with Mexico – for the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup?
Spain, Japan, Dutch sweep on to Women’s World Cup quarterfinals
In Saturday’s opening elimination-round games, favored Spain and Japan made it clear that they are contenders for all the honors, with decisive wins over European opponents Switzerland and Norway:
● Spain 5, Switzerland 1 ● The Spanish were smarting after their 4-0 loss to Japan on 31 July and completely dominated the Swiss in Auckland.
They got started quickly with midfielder Aitana Bonmati finding a loose ball in the box after a shot by forward Alba Redondo was saved, and sent a seeing-eye shot right through five Swiss defenders and keeper Gaelle Thalmann for a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute.
But the Swiss got even without touching the ball in the 11th as defender Laia Codina sent a ball from near midfield back towards keeper Cata Coll with too much on it; Coll was off her line and the ball bounced past her and into the net for an own-goal in the 11th and a 1-1 tie.
But the Spanish were on the attack again quickly and Redondo got the lead back in the 17th on a header inside the box, then Bonmati got possession of a Redondo header that was blocked in the box, turned and fired for a 3-1 lead in the 36th. Even Codina got redemption in the 45th off a corner, which she headed and had blocked, then kicked into the net.
At 4-1, the issue was decided, and midfielder Jennifer Hermoso scored on a left-footed volley from right of the box to the left side of the net in the 70th for the 5-1 final.
Spain was completely in control and ended with 70% of possession and an amazing 26-2 advantage on shots.
● Japan 3, Norway 1 ● Was Japan really as good as its 3-0 record suggested? Yes, after controlling their match against Norway. As if they needed any more help, Japan went up 1-0 in Wellington in the 15th minute as a cross into the box by scoring ace Hinata Miyazawa was tipped by Norwegian midfielder Ingrid Engen on an attempted clearance and deflected into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
Norway got even quickly, however, as midfielder Guro Reiten headed in a long cross from the middle of the box, rising over two defenders in the 20th minute.
The half ended 1-1, but Japan got control of the scoreboard again in the 50th, midfielder Risa Shimizu picked up a loose ball in the box and had her shot – heading for the middle of the goal – defected to the right side and into the net for a 2-1 lead.
The finisher came in the 81st in familiar style, as forward Aoba Fujino rifled a through-ball from 35 yards out past the Swiss defenders and onto the foot of the surging Miyazawa, who finished easily for her fourth goal of the tournament.
Japan controlled play with 60% possession and 16 shots to eight against a quality opponent, but one which has not played well at this World Cup, and is now going home.
● Netherlands 2, South Africa 0 ● The Dutch moved on to face Spain in the quarterfinals with a convincing, but tricky win against South Africa in Sydney. Although the Dutch controlled the ball and the game, with 70% of possession, the South Africans had multiple chances to score, but were continuously thwarted.
The Netherlands got the lead early, as a Sherida Spitse corner was headed on goal by striker Lieke Martens and kicked into the air by defender Lebohang Ramalepe, bouncing in front where midfielder Jill Roord headed it in during the ninth minute for a 1-0 lead.
Playing with the ball only sparingly, South Africa used its speed – especially that of striker Thembi Kgatlana – to overtake the Dutch defense, but keeper Daphne van Domselaar was all over goal and made seven saves in the game.
The half ended 1-0, but the Dutch were on the attack in the second half, with forward Lineth Beerensteyn scoring twice on plays that were called back for offsides. In the 68th, Martens took a page out of the South African playbook and sent a long ball from midfield to Beerensteyn at the left of goal and she eschewed the dribble and sent a hard shot right at goal. South African keeper Kaylin Swart was in position, but the ball went through her hands and into the goal for a 2-0 Dutch lead.
That was enough, and the Dutch ran out the game, although not without some nervous moments. The Netherlands had a 14-13 lead on shots, but van Domselaar was the indispensable element that moved the Orange on to the quarterfinals.
Now, the quarterfinals will see the Netherlands and Spain, and Sweden and Japan.
The Round-of-16 eliminations continued on Monday with the lower half of the bracket, with Australia and Denmark and England and Nigeria.
Biles still magical in return at CoreHydration Classic
She still has it.
After a couple of years away, and getting married, there was Simone Biles, now 26, back on the mats in front of 7,200-plus at the NOW Arena near Chicago, dominating a world-class field of U.S. teammates at the CoreHydration Classic.
Biles won three of four events, posting a very creditable 14.000 – third overall – on her least favorite apparatus, the Uneven Bars, then winning on Beam (14.800), Floor (14.900) and Vault, with a spectacular 15.400.
Her total was 59.100, way ahead of defending champ (and 2021 Worlds All-Around runner-up) Leanne Wong (54.100) and emerging star Joscelyn Roberson (54.050). It’s Biles’ fourth win in this event – the U.S. Classic – with her second-best score:
● 2018: 1st with 58.700
● 2019: 1st with 60.000
● 2021: 1st with 58.400
● 2023: 1st with 59.100
Tokyo Olympic All-Around gold medalist Suni Lee competed only on Vault (13.500) and was second to Biles on Beam at 14.500. Jade Carey, the Tokyo 2020 Floor winner, competed only on Beam and placed ninth (13.000). U.S. Olympic Team silver winner Jordan Chiles tied for fourth in the Uneven Bars (13.900) and was 13th on Beam (12.800).
All of this was in preparation for the U.S. Nationals from 24-27 August in San Jose, California, where Biles will be looking for her eighth All-Around title.
The men were competing in their second U.S. Classic, with defending champ Brody Malone skipping the event this year. So, the 2022 national All-Around bronze medalist, Asher Hong, stepped in to take top honors.
Hong, 19, who won the NCAA Vault title for Stanford this year, scored 85.305 to win over Stanford teammate – and NCAA Vault runner-up – Khoi Young (83.424) and 2022 Michigan’s NCAA All-Around champ Paul Juda (83.354).
Hong won on Rings (14.749) and Vault (15.705) and was second on Floor (14.749). Tokyo Olympian Shane Wiskus won the Horizontal Bar at 14.150 and 2021 World Pommel Horse gold medalist won his speciality at 15.157.
Stanford’s 2022 NCAA Parallel Bars champ Curran Phillips won that event at 15.456 and Illinois’ Connor McCool took the Floor Exercise honors at 14.833.
New poll says French indifferent about Paris 2024?
Another poll on French attitudes towards the 2024 Olympic Games, and another set of findings that do not correlate with others. This time, it was a survey by the French Elabe firm for the Institut Montaigne, a French think tank headquartered in Paris.
Some 1,001 individuals 18 and up were polled from 31 July to 2 August. In terms of overall interest:
● 20% enthusiastic
● 48% indifferent
● 32% skeptical
Asked whether the French authorities and organizing committee will be ready:
● Security: 63% no, 36% yes
● Transport: 58% no, 42% yes
● Tourism: 50% yes, 49% no
● Venues: 64% yes, 36% no
Translation: not too sure about the authorities, but confidence in the organizing committee.
The poll also found that 73% (to 9%) thought the ticket prices were too high and restricted access to the Games; 68% (to 14%) thought the cost of organizing the Games was too high and 48% (to 22%) said the ecological impact of the Games was too high.
Asked what the Games would impact positively, the poll showed 69% on tourism, 68% on sport development, 61% for the economy and 58% for France’s place in the world.
In late July, a Toluna-Harris Interactive poll showed 72% across France were in favor of the Games. A poll by Odoxa showed 59% were in favor of the Games, with worries over cost, the environment, transportation and security.
In the meantime, about seven million tickets have been sold and there were 320,000 applications for 45,000 volunteer positions.
Cost projection sinks Alberta interest
in 2030 Commonwealth Games
“We committed to remain transparent with Albertans about the costs of hosting international sporting events and clearly demonstrating a return on our investment for the people and communities in Alberta. That is why we have made the decision not to continue pursuing the bid for the 2030 Commonwealth Games.
“Based on current bid estimates, hosting the 2030 Commonwealth Games could result in a cost of up to $2.68 billion. The corporate sponsorship model and limited broadcast revenues for the Commonwealth Games would have put 93 per cent of those costs and risks on taxpayers.”
That’s from a Thursday (3rd) statement by Joseph Schow, the Alberta Minister for Tourism and Sport, ending interest in a possible Commonwealth Games bid for multiple cities in the province. The C$2.68 billion projection is about $2.003 billion U.S.
The already-reeling Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) reacted with a shrug:
“The Commonwealth Games Federation is sorry to hear that Alberta is no longer developing its bid proposal for the 2030 Commonwealth Games. We thank all those who worked on Alberta’s inspiring and comprehensive plan and we believe the Province could be a fantastic Host for the Commonwealth Games in the future.
“We had already been reviewing our selection timeline as a result of the recent Victorian Government decision. The dialogue with other potential Hosts is on-going.”
The CGF is still in shock from the withdrawal of contracted host Victoria, Australia to stage the 2026 Commonwealth Games on 18 July, citing new cost projections of A$6 billion or more (~$3.95 billion U.S.). There is chatter from London, host of the 2012 Olympic Games and the 1934 British Empire Games – as the event was known – about hosting, but no commitments as yet.
Canada had been a favorite to host the 2030 Games, as Hamilton, Ontario was the site of the first British Empire Games in 1930. Now, back to the drawing board.
Observed: Any new bid for 2026 or 2030 will be interesting to review in terms of the number of sports proposed. The Commonwealth Games from 1930 to 1994 never had more than 10 sports and only reached 20 at Birmingham (ENG) in 2022. The only required sports are athletics and swimming; the current recommendation from the CGF is for 15 sports, a number which was last seen at the 1998 CWG in Kuala Lumpur (MAS).
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Archery ● A stunning outcome at the World Archery Championships in Berlin (GER), with surprises in both the men’s and women’s Recurve – Olympic – division.
The men’s title had been won by a Korean in 13 of the last 15 Worlds and a Korean had medaled in 14 of those 15. But no Koreans advanced even to the semis, and Olympic champ Mete Gazoz and Canadian upstart Eric Peters made it to the final. Gazoz won his first individual World Championships medal with a 6-4 win (27-28, 30-28, 28-24, 28-30, 29-28), as did Peters. Brazil’s Marcus D’Almeida, the 2021 silver medalist, won the bronze.
Korean women had won 11 of the last 17 individual world titles, but had won a medal in 18 of the last 19 Worlds. They were stopped in Berlin in the quarterfinals, as all three Korean entries lost; instead, U.S. star Casey Kaufhold (still 19), Mexico’s Alejandra Valencia, Czech Marie Horackova and Satsuki Noda (JPN) advanced. Horackova shut out Noda in her semi, 6-0, and Valencia finally overcome Kaufhold, 10-9, in a shoot-out. Horackova won the final, 6-0 (29-28, 28-27, 29-27) for her first Worlds individual medal; it was also the first for Valencia. Noda won the bronze over Kaufhold, 6-2.
In the Recurve team events, the outcome was more in line with tradition. South Korea was the defending champion in all three and triumphed again in the Mixed Team, with Woo-jin Kim and Si-hyeon Lim defeating Germany’s Michelle Kroppen and Florian Unruh, 5-1 (38-36, 38-37, 36-36). Italy edged Chinese Taipei, 5-3, for the bronze.
The U.S. duo of Brady Ellison and Kaufhold were eliminated in the quarterfinals. The Koreans are the only country to win the Mixed Team Worlds gold, now in seven straight Worlds since it debuted in 2011.
The Koreans also repeated in the men’s Team event, winning with a trio of Je-deok Kim, W-j Kim and Woo-seok Lee, dispatching Turkey in the final by 6-2 (56-54, 55-56, 56-55, 57-52). Japan won the bronze over Italy, 6-2. The U.S. was eliminated in the round-of-16.
Korean women had won 12 of the last 17 Worlds Team golds, but were stunned by Indonesia, 5-3, in the round-of-16. Instead, it was Germany’s Katharina Bauer, Kroppen and Charline Schwarz that swept to victory, defeating Spain, 5-1, the U.S., 5-3, and Mexico, 6-0, in the semis. In the final, the Germans edged France, 5-3 (53-53, 55-52, 50-58, 57-56) to win
Mexico rebounded to defeated the Netherlands, 5-3, for the bronze. It was the first German medal in this event since a bronze in 1999!
● Cycling ● Another environmental protest stopped the men’s road race at the World Cycling Championships in Glasgow (SCO), but the blockage was cleared and Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel raced away from the field in rainy conditions for his first Worlds medal.
The 271.1 km course from Edinburgh to Glasgow featured a climb in the first third, but then a fairly flat course with a 10-lap finish in Glasgow on Sunday. A group called This Is Rigged claimed responsibility for the stoppage, which lasted for about 50 minutes before being cleared; five were arrested.
After the re-start, various attacks failed, then Italy’s Alberto Bettiol took off with 55 km left and had a lead of 40 seconds with three laps left (43 km). He is finally caught by four riders with 22 km left, but then van der Poel kept going and no one could stay with him.
He crashed on a wet corner, but got up and continued without further incident with a 30-second lead going into the final lap that he extended to 1:37 at the finish with an end time of 6:07:27. Belgian Wout van Aert was second, followed by two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar (SLO: +1:45) and Danish sprinter Mads Pedersen (+1:45). Neilson Powless was the top American, in 11th (+4:20).
The win is the first Worlds medal for van der Poel and highlights a sensational season in which he has also won the famed Monument races Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix. His best prior finish in a Worlds was eighth in 2021.
At the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the track cycling championships was another showcase for American star Jennifer Valente.
The Tokyo Olympic Omnium champ, 28, won her sixth career World Championships gold with a victory in the women’s Scratch race, holding off Maike van der Duin (NED) at the line, with Michaela Drummond (NZL) third.
Valente had been close to winning this race, after a silver in the 2020 Worlds and a bronze in 2021. She now has a full set of medals; she’s the defending champion in the upcoming Omnium.
And she added a 16th career Worlds medal on Sunday with her third straight bronze in the Elimination Race, won by Belgian road star Lotte Kopecky, who won her second straight Elimination Worlds gold.
Germany’s Emma Hinze won her second gold of 2023, moving from second in 2022 to first in the women’s 500 m Time Trial, timing 32.820 to 32.956 for Kristina Clonan (AUS) and 33.134 for fellow German Lea Friedrich. It’s Hinze’s eighth career Worlds win.
The women’s Keirin was a victory for New Zealand’s Ellesse Andrews, the Tokyo 2022 silver medalist, who beat Colombia’s Martha Bayona to the line. It’s Bayona’s second Worlds medal in this race, but first in six years! Germany’s Friedrich was third, winning her third medal so far.
The men’s Team Sprint went to the Netherlands, led by Tokyo Olympic Sprint winner Harrie Lavreysen, with Roy van den Berg and Jeffrey Hoogland. They barely beat Australia, 41.647 to 41.682 in the final, with France third over Great Britain, 42.583 to 42.946.
For the Dutch trio, it’s their fourth World title together, also in 2019-2020-2021, and second in 2022. For Lavreysen, it’s his fifth Team Sprint gold, also in 2018.
Great Britain (women) and Denmark (men) won the Team Pursuit titles, with the British easily defeating New Zealand in the final, 4:08.771 to 4:13.313. The British won this event for the first time since 2014, with Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Josie Knight and Anna Morris riding, and Archibald and Barker were on that winning 2014 team in Cali (COL)! In fact, the British women have medaled in this event in six straight Worlds and 15 of the 16 times it has been held!
France won the bronze; the U.S. was eliminated by New Zealand and finished sixth.
The Danish men were also decisive winners, beating Italy by 3:45.161 to 3:47.396, with Niklas Larsen, Carl-Fredrik Bevort, Lasse Norman Leth and Rasmus Pedersen aboard. It’s the seventh medal in this event for Leth (2-1-4), the fourth for Pedersen (2-0-2) and fourth for Larsen (1-1-2)! New Zealand overtook Australia to take the bronze.
On Sunday, two-time World Road Time Trial winner Filippo Ganna (ITA) won the men’s Individual Pursuit over Daniel Bigham (GBR), 4:01.796 to 4:02.030, for his sixth Worlds gold in the event (2016-18-19-20-22-23).
Portugal’s Iuri Leitao surprised in the men’s Omnium, winning over two-time World Champion Benjamin Thomas (FRA), 187 to 185, with Japan’s Shunsuke Imamura third (173). Leitao won the Scratch and Tempo races and was second in the Elimination Race.
The Track Worlds continue through Wednesday.
● Sport Climbing ● The IFSC World Championships in Bern (SUI) was another showcase for Slovenian star – and Olympic champ – Janja Garnbret of Slovenia.
She won her third career Worlds gold in women’s Bouldering by being the only one to achieve four tops (4T4Z 4/4), with France’s Oranie Bertone second (3T4Z 7/4) and American Brooke Raboutou third (2T4Z 2/11).
Defending champ Natalia Grossman of the U.S. was fifth (1T1Z 1/9). Said the winner:
“The boulders were tricky, so it was easy to fall, but today I was ‘the right Janja,’ as I like to call it, where I was in my own world and my own bubble. I didn’t hear or see anything because I was just in the present moment and just enjoying myself on the wall, so I didn’t doubt that I would fall once because I was just climbing and enjoying.”
France’s Mickael Mawrem, 33, won the men’s Bouldering title (3T4Z 8/12) – the first from France to do it – leading a 1-2 finish with countryman Mejdi Schalck (2T4Z 5/10). Mawrem had been fourth in Boulder at the 2016 Worlds, but 11th, 23rd and 11th since then.
In the Lead finals, defending champ Jakob Schubert, 32, of Austria won his fourth career Worlds gold at 48+, adding to his wins in 2012-18-21. Japan’s 16-year old rising star Soraku Anraku was a close second at 48, followed by Germany’s 2019 silver winner Alexander Megos (40). American Sean Bailey was seventh (30+).
Japan’s Ai Mori moved from bronze at the 2019 Worlds to gold in 2023 in the women’s final, reaching the top, as did two-time winner Garnbret, but Mori won the title on the basis of a better semi-final performance, 52 holds to 47.
Korea’s Chae-hyun Seo was third (47+) and Raboutou of the U.S. was fifth (39+).
Competition continues through the 12th.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Athletics ● Some strong marks at the Ed Murphey Classic in Memphis, Tennessee on Friday and Saturday, including a 12.43 heat win for Olympic women’s 100 m hurdles champ Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico.
She took her heat in that fast time (wind: +0.8 m/s) over Masai Russell of the U.S. (12.50) and Jamaica’s Danielle Williams (12.54), but skipped the final. American Alaysha Johnson won in 12.49 (+0.2), ahead of Russell (12.52) and Tia Jones (12.59).
The sprints saw 2022 Worlds men’s 100 m silver medalist Marvin Bracy-Williams win his heat in 9.93 (-0.1) and the final in 9.96 (0.0) ahead of Oblique Seville (JAM: 9.98) and Christian Coleman (10.03). Tokyo Olympic 200 m winner Andre De Grasse (CAN) won the 200 m in 20.19 (-0.2).
Jamaica’s Antonio Watson won the men’s 400 m in 44.69, beating 2012 Olympic champ Kirani James (GRN: 44.92) and Justin Robinson of the U.S. (45.09). A fast 1,500 m saw Henry Wynne of the U.S. win in 3:34.67, beating Johnny Gregorek (3:35.04) and Vincent Ciattei (3:35.55).
The famous street pole vault was won by two-time World Champion Sam Kendricks at 5.82 m (19-1) over Chris Nilsen on misses, with American Record holder KC Lightfoot back from injury and third at 5.62 m (18-5 1/4). Two-time World Champion Joe Kovacs won the shot at 21.72 m (71-3 1/4), ahead of a lifetime best from Adrian Piperi of 21.67 m (71-1 1/4).
The top women’s sprint mark was Aleia Hobbs’ win in 11.11 (+0.5), and it was interesting to see sprinter Jenna Prandini winning the Open 400 m in 51.86, a lifetime best. Alexis Holmes of the U.S. won the Pro 400 in 50.32, also a lifetime best, and no. 20 on the 2023 world list.
Emerging U.S. stars Addy Wiley (1:59.00) and Dani Jones (4:02.83) won the women’s 800 and 1,500 m races, and they were 1-2 in Friday’s road mile, with Wiley winning, 4:37.7 to 4:39.8.
U.S. women’s shot champ Maggie Ewen won the shot at 19.17 m (62-10 3/4), over Canada’s Sarah Mitton (19.02 m/62-5). Well down the list, but noteworthy, was a lifetime best from heptathlete Anna Hall at 14.20 m (46-7 1/4).
● Badminton ● A long-awaited win for American Beiwen Zhang at the BWF World Tour Level 500 Australia Open in Sydney!
Zhang, 33, got to her sixth World Tour final – and third this year – facing Korea’s Ga-eun Kim and after four championship match losses in a row, triumphed by 20-22, 21-16, 21-8 and won her second career World Tour gold, and first in five years.
“It means a lot. I feel touched because today is exactly two years since my surgery [after her Achilles rupture in 2021 at the Tokyo Games]. I feel so emotional right now. I didn’t really think about winning, I just kept telling myself one by one. I was tired and my leg didn’t have enough power but I managed to stay patient.”
Zhang remains the only American ever to win a BWF World Tour event, with the circuit now in its sixth season.
China claimed two wins, with Hong Yang Weng taking the men’s Singles title over H.S. Prannoy (IND), 21-9, 21-23, 22-20, and Yan Zhe Feng and Dong Ping Huang winning in Mixed Doubles by 21-14, 16-21, 21-15 against Hiroki Midorikawa and Natsu Saito (JPN).
South Korea won the men’s and women’s Doubles, with Min Hyuk Kang and Seung Jae Seo taking the men’s final by 21-17, 21-17 over Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi (JPN), and So Yeong Kim and Hee Yong Kong sweeping Sheng Shu Liu and Ning Tan (CHN), 21-18, 21-16.
● Cycling ● While the World Cycling Championships in Glasgow has most of the attention of the cycling world, the UCI World Tour was rolling on with the 80th Tour de Pologne, which came down to a final-day showdown.
Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric and Portuguese star Joao Almeida , the 2021 winner and third at the Giro d’Italia this year, were in a duel since Mohoric took the lead with a win in the second stage. His lead over Almeida was never more than 12 seconds – after Stage 5 – but closed up to nothing after the sixth-stage Individual Time Trial. Almeida was second to Mattia Cattaneo (ITA) by 13 seconds, but Mohoric was 11th, 25 seconds back.
So Saturday’s final stage, a fairly flat, 166.6 km course from Zabrze to Krakow, was going to be a mass sprint at the finish, with both Mohoric and Almeida virtually assured of getting the same time. So the real race came down to an intermediate sprint at 139.5 km for a bonus point, won by Mohoric … and that was the difference.
The sprint at the end was won by Belgium’s Tim Merlier – who also won the opening stage – in 3:28:44, ahead of Arvid de Kleijn (NED) and Fernando Gaviria (COL). Mohoric finished 29th and Almeida was 35th.
It’s a big win for Mohoric, 28, who was the 2022 Milan-Sanremo winner and won the BinckBank Tour back in 2018.
● Diving ● China won 12 of 13 events at the recent World Aquatics Championships in Japan, and continued its dominance at the World Cup Super Final in Berlin (GER), winning all eight events it entered.
Zongyuan Wang repeated his World Championships result as the men’s 3m Springboard champ, beating Moritz Wesemann (GER), 540.60 to 464.15, with American Andrew Capobianco third (425.50).
World Champions Wang and Daoyi Long won the men’s 3 m Synchro title easily, scoring 451.44 to best Anthony Harding and Jordan Houlden (GBR: 395.40); Harding was on the British silver medal team in Fukuoka.
China’s Worlds bronze winner in the 10 m Platform, Hao Yang, won in Berlin, scoring 537.24 to rout the field. Ukraine’s Oleksii Sereda was second (480.45) and American Brandon Loschiavo was fifth (458.40); Australia’s Worlds winner, Cassiel Rousseau, finished sixth (457.15).
World Champions Junjie Lian and Yang repeated as the winner of the 10 m Synchro final, 471.00 to 411.84 over Worlds fifth-placers Domonic Bedggood and Rousseau of Australia; the U.S. duo of Zach Cooper and Maxwell Flory finished sixth (368.67).
World Champion Yiwen Chen won a tight battle in the women’s 3 m Springboard against Japan’s Sayaka Mikami (JPN), 344.15 to 342.60, with Worlds runner-up Yani Chang third (318.50). Mikami was only seventh at Worlds, but posted an excellent score, and Chen’s score in the final was down by 15 points from Fukuoka. Americans Sarah Bacon (309.55) and Hailey Hernandez (291.60) finished fifth and sixth.
World Champions Chen and Chang won the women’s 3 m Synchro in a relatively close contest with Mia Vallee and Pamela Ware of Canada, 311.19 to 286.20. The American duo of Bacon and Kassidy Cook finished third at 284.52.
China’s Yuxi Chen repeated her win from Fukuoka in the women’s 10 m Platform, scoring 420.30 to best teammate Hongchan Quan (408.10), with Britain’s Andrea Spendolini Sireix third at 330.90. Nike Agunbiade of the U.S. was 12th (255.20).
World Champions Chen and Quan also repeated as winners of the 10 m Synchro: 362.76 to 288.00 over Caeli McKay and Kate Miller of Canada. Agunbiade and Jessica Parratto of the U.S. finished fourth (275.04).
The Chinese did not contest the Mixed Team competition, won by Canada at 395.50, followed by Australia (390.70) and Great Britain (387.95). The U.S. team of Cooper, Agunbiade, Loschiavo and Hernandez was fourth at 382.65.
● Gymnastics ● China swept the individual titles at the Trampoline World Cup in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The 2022 World Championships bronze medalist Yicheng Hu (CHN) took the men’s Trampoline final at 56.740, ahead of Rio 2016 silver winner Bryony Page (GBR: 55.990) and Tokyo Olympic champ Xueying Zhu (CHN: 55.910)
Emerging star Zisai Wang (CHN), runner-up at the 2022 FIG Age Group Worlds, took the men’s title at 61.000, impressively ahead of reigning World Champion Dylan Schmidt (NZL: 59.710), with Britain’s Zak Perzamanos third at 59.390.
The U.S. duo of Nicole Ahsinger and Sarah Webster won the women’s Synchro at 48.550, beating Brazil’s Camilla and Alice Gomes (48.360). Japan’s Ryosuke Sakai and Hiroto Unno won the men’s Syncho, scoring 52.200.
● Judo ● The important Hungary Masters tournament in Budapest drew 419 judoka from 59 countries, including a powerful delegation from Japan, which dominated with 11 medals and four wins.
Two-time Worlds bronze medalist Ryujo Nagayama won the men’s 60 kg class, 21-year-old Ryoma Tanaka took the 66 kg division, and 2017 World Champion Soichi Hashimoto collected the gold at 73 kg.
The fourth win came in the women’s 48 kg class, with two-time Worlds medalist Wakana Koga winning over American Maria Laborde. That’s an important result for the U.S. and a stunning for Laborde, 33, born in Cuba and the Worlds bronze medalist in this class way back in 2014.
Laborde came to the U.S. soon after and did not compete again until 2022 and now made history as the first to win a Masters medal – this event is second only to the World Championships in importance – since Travis Stevens and Kayla Harrison won Masters titles in 2016. Harrison won the Olympic title in the women’s 78 kg class and Stevens won silver at 81 kg.
In the men’s division, Belgium’s 2021 World Champion Matthias Casse won at 81 kg, Tokyo Olympic champ Lasha Bekauri (GEO) won at 90 kg, 2022 World Champion Muzaffarbek Turoboyev (UZB) took the 100 kg class and Finland’s Martti Puumalainen, 26, scored his major international medal with the gold in the +100 kg final.
France scored two wins in the women’s classes, with Tokyo silver medalist Amandine Buchard winning at 52 kg over Olympic 48 kg champ Distria Krasniqi (KOS), and 2022 World Champion Romane Dicko taking the +78 kg title.
Canada’s 2021 World Champion Jessica Klimkait won at 57 kg, Tokyo Olympic bronze winner Sanne van Dijke (NED) won the 70 kg division and 2023 World Champion Inbar Lanir charged through the 78 kg class for one of three Israeli medals.
● Swimming ● The much-anticipated World Aquatics Open Water World Cup IV in the River Seine in Paris had to be canceled. Per World Aquatics:
“Following recent above-average rainfall in Paris, the water quality in the Seine has remained below acceptable standards for safeguarding swimmers’ health. Consequently, World Aquatics, in consultation with public health authorities and event delivery partners, has cancelled the Open Water Swimming World Cup planned for this weekend.”
World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam (KUW) added:
“World Aquatics understands that further infrastructure projects will be completed to significantly improve water quality in the Seine in the lead-up to next year’s Olympic Games. World Aquatics remains excited at the prospect of city-centre Olympic racing for the world’s best open water swimmers next summer. Based on this weekend, it is clear that further work is needed with Paris 2024 and local authorities to ensure robust contingency plans are in place for next year.”
There was no indication of whether another test event would be scheduled.
● Triathlon ● Reports following the World Triathlon Championship Series event in Sunderland (GBR) on 29-30 July indicate that at least 57 competitors became ill (out of about 2,000) due to contamination in the water for the swim phase.
High E.coli levels were found in the water, and resulted in diarrhea and vomiting, with the UK Health Security Agency opening an inquiry and asking for anyone affected to contact them. British Triathlon released a statement that included:
“We are aware there are concerns around water quality results for a test taken on 26 July by the Environment Agency as part of their regular testing in the local area. These tests were taken outside of the Roker Pier arms and not in the body of water used for the swim …”
However, the federation said that two tests, taken on 20 July and 30 July in the competition area were taken and “passed the required standard to host the event.”
Water quality was an issue for the Tokyo 2020 organizers, and now the River Seine for 2024 was judged unacceptable for last weekend’s open-water swimming test event, due to heavy rains. The cleaning of the river to make it safe for swimming – banned since 1923 due to pollution – has been a headline project for the City of Paris, and now is going to continue to generate more headlines for months to come.
For our updated, 787-event International Sports Calendar (no. 3) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!