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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. Carey, Malone score Worlds Gymnastics golds as U.S. leads medal count
2. Ledecky claims 800 m Free world record in FINA World Cup
3. Kenyan sweep for Chebet and debutante Lokedi at NYC Marathon
4. Griner visited by U.S. Embassy officials in Russia
5. FIFA being pressed on Qatar reforms, as “Fan Leaders” program builds
American gymnasts led the medal table at the FIG World Artistic Championships in Liverpool, earning eight medals (3-4-1), including the women’s team gold, Jade Carey in the women’s Vault and Brody Malone in the men’s Horizontal Bar. U.S. distance superstar Katie Ledecky was pretty much a lock to smash the world 25 m (short-course) record in the final leg of the FINA World Cup in Indianapolis, and she did, slicing 1.92 seconds off of Spain’s Mireia Belmonte’s mark from 2019, in 7:57.42. Ten swimmers completed three-event sweeps of 18 events, earning $10,000 bonuses for each event. At the New York City Marathon, Kenyans Evans Chebet and first-time marathoner Sharon Lokedi won, in 2:08:41 and 2:23:23. Two-time Olympic basketball gold medalist Brittney Griner was visited by the U.S. Embassy in Russia, with the U.S. government continuing to negotiate for her release. FIFA has asked for the federations competing in the World Cup to focus on sport, but continues to be pushed on human rights in Qatar.
Carey, Malone score Worlds Gymnastics golds
as U.S. leads medal count
The United States came away from the FIG World Artistic Championships in Liverpool (GBR) as the top-scoring nation with eight total medals, including a men’s gold for Brody Malone on the Horizontal Bar.
All together, the American teams collected eight medals, with seven from the women (2-4-1) and the one men’s apparatus gold.
Following up on its team win and a second from Shilese Jones in the women’s All-Around, the U.S. women scored six individual apparatus medals. Jade Carey had won Worlds silver on Vault in 2017 and 2019, but got to the top this time, scoring an average of 14.516 on her two attempts, ahead of teammate Jordan Chiles (14.350) and Coline Devillard (FRA: 14.166).
Jones returned on the Uneven Bars and won silver with a 14.766 score, behind China’s defending champion Xiaoyuan Wei (14.966), with two-time champ Nina Derwael (BEL: 14.700) third. On Beam, Japan went 1-3 with little-known Hazuki Watanabe, 18, a surprise winner at 13.600 and Shoko Miyata third (13.533); Canada’s Ellie Black (13.566) won silver. American Skye Blakely was fifth (13.300).
Britain’s Jessica Gadirova was third in the All-Around and superb on Floor, winning at 14.200, ahead of Chiles (13.833) with Tokyo winner Carey and All-Around winner Rebeca Andrade (BRA) tying for third at 13.733.
In the men’s All-Around on Friday, Japan’s 21-year-old Daiki Hashimoto moved up from silver in 2021 to gold in 2022, scoring 87.198 to best defending champ Boheng Zhang (CHN: 86.765) and teammate Wataru Tanigawa (85.231).
Hashimoto led all scorers on the Pommel Horse (14.333) and was second on Floor (14.666), Rings (13.866), Vault (14.900) and Horizontal Bar (14.433). Carlos Yulo (PHI) led on Floor (15.166) and Parallel Bars (15.166); Zhang led on Rings (14.100) and Tanigawa led on Pommel Horse (15.000). It was Japan’s first win in the men’s All-Around since Kohei Uchimura finished his streak of six straight wins in 2015.
Malone of the U.S. led all scorers on the Horizontal Bar (14.500) and finished fourth overall at 84.931. The U.S. last won a medal in the men’s All-Around with Jonathan Horton in 2010; this was the second straight fourth-place finish at the Worlds, with Yul Moldauer fourth in 2021. Asher Hong of the U.S. was sixth (82.365) in his first Worlds.
In the apparatus finals, Giarnni Regini-Moran won on Floor, Great Britain’s first win ever in the event, scoring 14.533 to 14.500 for Hashimoto (14.500). Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan won the country’s second-ever Worlds medal (and first gold) in the Pommel Horse (15.300), ahead of Jordan’s first-ever Worlds medal winner, Ahmad Abu al-Soud (14,866), with defending champ Stephen Nedoroscik of the U.S. fifth (14.400). Turkey’s Adem Asil, seventh in the Tokyo Olympic Games on Rings, won at 14.933, ahead of China’s Jingyuan Zou (14.866); American Donnell Whittenburg was eighth (14.433).
On Sunday, Armenia’s Artur Davtyan won on Vault (15.050) – the country’s first Worlds victory – beating Yulo (14.950) and Ukraine’s Igor Radivilov (14.733). China’s Zou was easily the best on the Parallel Bars (16.166), clear of Lukas Dauser (GER: 15.500) and Yulo (15.366).
Malone, the Horizontal Bar bronze medalist in 2021, won this time, scoring 14.800 to edge Hashimoto (14.700) and Arthur Mariano (BRA: 14.466).
This was an impressive showing for the next generation of American women and a hopeful sign for the men, with Malone and Hong in the top six in the All-Around.
Ukraine’s two-time Rio Olympic medalist Oleg Verniaiev posted a video during the Worlds, asking for a lifetime ban on Russian athletes who support the invasion of Ukraine, in Ukrainian and English, with the English text including:
“I last saw my native Donetsk back in 2012. And soon the war will take away my opportunity to return home for almost 9 years.
“With the onset of a full-scale invasion, training was put on a back burner. From the first days, I started volunteering, as did some of my colleagues, Ukrainian gymnasts. About three thousand athletes and coaches are now defending the Independence of our country. Over a hundred of them will never return home.
“Silence settled in our training halls. But we must not be silent!
“We should not keep silent about Russia’s crimes against Ukraine, as Russian and Belarusian athletes do.
“Their silence is support for the bloody Russian terror. Terrorists have no place in international sports.
“I urge all citizens of the civilized world to support Ukraine on the sports front! Silence kills!”
In the Ukrainian text, he included, “All the Russian and Belarusian athletes who support the full-scale invasion and Kremlin’s rhetoric should be disqualified for life.”
Verniaiev’s hometown of Donetsk is one of the cities in eastern Ukraine that was invaded and then “annexed” by Russia. He is currently serving a four-year ban for the use of meldonium, and has appealed the length of the sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Ledecky claims 800 m Free world record in FINA World Cup
Everyone looking ahead to the final stop of the FINA World Cup in Indianapolis knew that American distance superstar Katie Ledecky was primed to claim the world short-course record in the women’s 800 m Free. And she did.
In her third event of the meet, Ledecky had the lead from the start and pulled away to a nearly 10-second win over Canadian star Summer McIntosh, 7:57.42 to 8:07.12, with American Leah Smith third (8:12.01). Ledecky lowered the nine-year-old mark of Spain’s Mireia Belmonte from 7:59.34 and set both the 800 m and 1,500 m world records in just a week’s time. It’s her second world 25 m record to go along with 14 long-course world marks.
Ledecky also won the women’s 400 m Free in 3:54.04, and was second in the 200 m Free to Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey, 1:51.19-1:52.10, for three medals at the meet, and another $10,000 bonus for a world record.
In the meantime, 11 swimmers had a chance to claim $10,000 for a sweep – the “Triple Crown” – of individual events in all three World Cup meets. In all, 10 swimmers won sweeps in a total of 18 events:
● Dylan Carter (TTO): 50 m Free (20.72), 50 m Back (22.72), 50 m Fly (21.99)
● Shaine Casas (USA): 100 m Back (49.40), 200 m Back (1:48.40)
● Kyle Chalmers (AUS); 100 m Free (45.55)
● Nic Fink (USA): 50 m Breast (25.83), 100 m Breast (56.15), 200 m Breast (2:02.70)
● Chad le Clos (RSA): 100 m Fly (48.85)
● Matt Sates (RSA): 400 m Medley (4:04.12); failed in the 400 m Free
● Siobhan Haughey (HKG): 100 m Free (51.00), 200 m Free (1:51.19)
● Ruta Meilutyte (LTU): 50 m Breast (28.70), 100 m Breast (1:02.77)
● Beata Nelson (USA): 200 m Back (2:00.43), 200 m Medley (2:04.92)
● Kasia Wasick (POL): 50 m Free (23.10)
The three misses included Sates missing out on a sweep in the men’s 400 m Free; France’s Beryl Gastaldello in the women’s 100 m Medley and Beata Nelson of the U.S. losing in the 100 m Back.
In the other men’s events, American Kieran Smith won the men’s 200 m (1:41.78) and 400 m Free (3:35.99), plus the 200 m Medley (1:52.98); Olympic champ Bobby Finke of the U.S. won the 1,500 m Free (14:45.77). Le Clos also won the 200 m Fly (1:49.89) and Casas won a third event in the 100 m Medley (51.04). Sates won the 400 m Medley (4:04.12).
In the women’s shorter Backstroke events, Canada’s Kylie Masse won the 50 m in 25.96 and 17-year-old Bella Sims of the U.S. won the 100 m 55.75, setting a World Junior Record, her second in 12 minutes after a 1:52.59 swim for fourth in the 200 m Free behind Haughey. World Champion Lilly King won the 200 m Breast for the second week in a row (2:17.56) and Swede Louise Hansson won the women’s 50-100 m Fly events (25.16 and 55.45), with McIntosh winning the 200 m Fly (2:03.40). Canadian Sydney Pickrem won the 400 m Medley (4:26.66) over American Katie Grimes.
In the races for the top overall performer at the three World Cups, Carter barely edged Fink for the men’s title, 172.6 to 172.3, with le Clos third (166.3). Nelson won the women’s title, scoring 173.7 to 165.9 for Haughey. The winners received $100,000, with $70,000 for second and money for places down to eighth.
Kenyan sweep for Chebet and debutante Lokedi at NYC Marathon
A lot of attention was paid to first-time marathoners at Sunday’s New York City Marathon, but more on two-time World 5,000 m Champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya than of countrywoman Sharon Lokedi.
The NCAA women’s 10,000 m champ for Kansas in 2018, Lokedi, 27, had been steadily moving towards road racing, competing in her first half-marathon in 2021 and finishing fourth in the NYC Half in March. But she found herself running right with 2022 World Champion Gotytom Gebreslase (ETH) and bronze medalist Lonah Salpeter (ISR), Obiri and others through the halfway mark and then among six in contact at 20 miles. The field narrows to four by 22 miles and then Obiri dropped back, leaving Lokedi, Salpeter and Gebreslase for the medals.
Gebreslase was the first to let go, at about 25 miles and then Lokedi increased the pressure on Salpeter, separating for good in Central Park and cruising home in 2:23:23, an impressive time considering the 73 F temperatures and 69% humidity when she crossed the line. It’s the no. 13 performance in NYC Marathon history.
Salpeter was second in 2:23:30, followed by Gebreslase (2:23:39) and then two-time World Champion, now-42-year-old Edna Kiplagat (KEN: 2:24:16). Obiri was sixth in 2:25:49, followed by the top Americans, Aliphine Tuliamuk (2:26:18) and Emma Bates (2:26:53).
The men’s race was shaken up immediately by Brazil’s Daniel Do Nascimento, the Worlds seventh-placer earlier this year, who took off from the start and had a lead of more than two minutes past the halfway mark. He continued leading, but began to falter, stopped a couple of times and then collapsed after 20 miles, lying on the pavement and receiving immediate medical attention.
That left 2022 Boston Marathon winner Evans Chebet (KEN) in the lead. Running the New York Marathon for the first time, he calmly strode through the final quarter of the race with a solid lead over Shura Kitata (ETH) and won in 2:08:41, no. 24 on the all-time race performance list, but especially good given the tough weather. Chebet has won five of last his seven marathon and is reportedly the sixth man to complete the Boston-New York double in the same year, last done in 2011 by Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai.
Kitata, the 2020 London Marathon winner, was second in 2:08:54, followed by Abdi Nageeye (NED: 2:10:31). Scott Fauble finished as the top American in ninth (2:13:35), while Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Galen Rupp dropped out around the 17 mile mark.
This was the third straight Kenyan sweep of the men’s and women’s titles in New York; with the women winning eight of the last nine and the men winning eight of the last 10.
Griner visited by U.S. Embassy officials in Russia
U.S. Embassy officials in Russia visited jailed two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner last Thursday, with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre telling reporters “We are told she is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.”
Griner is still in jail after her appeal of a nine-year sentence for “drug smuggling” was rejected by a Moscow court last week. U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted:
“.@USEmbRU officials visited Brittney Griner today. They saw firsthand her tenacity and perseverance despite her present circumstances. We continue to press for the immediate release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan and fair treatment for every detained American.”
Jean-Pierre added that “despite a lack of good faith negotiation by the Russians, the U.S. government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with Russia through all available channels. This continues to be a top priority.”
Griner was initially detained on 17 February and the WNBA Players Association has stated, “She is very clearly a hostage.”
FIFA being pressed on Qatar reforms,
as “Fan Leaders” program builds
The build-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar continues, with SkySports reporting that FIFA President Gianni Infantino (SUI) and Secretary General Fatima Samoura (SEN) sent a letter to the 32 participating federations that included:
“We know football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world. But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.
“At FIFA, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs, without handing out moral lessons to the rest of the world. “One of the great strengths of the world is indeed its very diversity, and if inclusion means anything, it means having respect for that diversity. No one people or culture or nation is ‘better’ than any other. This principle is the very foundation stone of mutual respect and non-discrimination. And this is also one of the core values of football. So, please let’s all remember that and let football take centre stage.”
A statement from the UEFA Working Group on Human and Labor Rights on Sunday included:
“We will continue to support the momentum for positive, progressive change and continue to advocate for a conclusive outcome and update on the two key outstanding issues we have been discussing with FIFA for a long time.
“FIFA has repeatedly committed to deliver concrete answers on these issues – the compensation fund for migrant workers, and the concept of a migrant workers centre to be created in Doha – and we will continue to press for these to be delivered.”
The Qatar “Fan Leader” influencer program, in which a small number of fans from multiple countries are having their travel and accommodations to Qatar paid in exchange for supportive social-media messages about the World Cup, is reported to include 40 English and 40 Welsh fans.
The Guardian reported that British police will be sending “supporter engagement officers” to Qatar to act as an intermediary between fans of England and Wales at the tournament and the security forces, which will include Qatar and Turkish police. Said Chief Constable Mark Roberts:
“They will be engaging with supporters if we think there’s a risk that they may be overstepping a mark as viewed by the locals.
“Our first port of call will be for our officers to go over to them try to explain and try to deconflict. Equally if we think there’s going to be an intervention by law enforcement, [supporter engagement officers] will be seeking to engage with that law enforcement, just calm it down and move people on, try to inject a sense of balance.”
Both England and Wales are in Group B with the U.S. and Iran.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Athletics ● Weini Kelati defended her title as USATF 5 km champion on Saturday in New York, pushing the pace from the start and winning comfortably in 15:16, ahead of Erika Kemp and Emily Infeld (both 15:30).
Adbi Nur, third at the U.S. Nationals in the 5,000 m on the track, won the men’s 5,000 m title in 13:24 for his first U.S. championship. He took over from American Steeple star Hillary Bor with 800 m to go and won by five seconds, with Kirubel Erassa third in 13:37.
Nur would have won by more, but followed the pace car as it exited the course about 15 m from the finish line, but was re-directed in time and won with a smile.
● Basketball ● The U.S. men and the Canadian women took the titles at the FIBA 3×3 Americup held in Miami (USA).
The top-seeded (and defending champion) American men’s team of 6-5 Canyon Barry, 6-2 Jimmer Fredette, 6-8 Kareem Maddox and 6-3 Dylan Thomas won its two group games by 22-6 and 19-15, then squeezed past Mexico, 21-19 in the quarterfinals and 21-15 over Trinidad & Tobago in the semis.
In the final, the U.S. faced second-seed Puerto Rico and won by 21-18, with nine points from Maddox on 6-7 from the floor, plus five each from Fredette and Barry; Travis added two. Guillermo Diaz led Puerto Rico with six point.
The U.S. women were also top-seed and Veronica Burton (5-9), Lexie Hull (6-1), Nalyssa Smith (6-3) and Camille Zimmerman (6-1) cruised through the group matches by 12-6 and 21-2, then stomped Chile by 18-11 in the quarterfinals.
But second-seed Canada surprised the Americans in the semis, 17-15, shooting 46% from the field to just 40% for the U.S. The Canadians went on to the final against Brazil, winning by 15-11 as 6-2 Michelle Plouffe had nine points to lead all scorers. The U.S. did rebound to win the bronze-medal game by 17-13 over Colombia.
Barry was named the men’s Most Valuable Player, with Plouffe winning the women’s MVP for Canada.
● Beach Volleyball ● The Olympic and World Champions from Norway continued their winning ways at the Volleyball World Pro Beach Tour Elite 16 tournament in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday.
Anders Mol and Christian Sorum showed once again they are the top team in the world, with their third Elite 16 win this season, taking out David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig (SWE) by 21-19, 21-19. Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan won the bronze over Robin Seidel and Philip Waller (AUT), 22-20, 21-14.
The women’s gold-medal match was a 22-20, 21-16 win for Brazil’s Talita Antunes and Thamela Galil over Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil (USA), who won their second Beach Pro Tour medal of the season. Brazilian star Duda Lisboa and Ana Patricia Ramos won the bronze – their fifth medal of the season – over Lezana Placette and Alexia Richard (FRA), 21-15, 21-15.
● Bobsled ● Canadian Christine de Bruin, 33, the Beijing 2022 women’s Monobob bronze medalist, was suspended for three years for doping by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.
De Bruin was tested in August and turned up positive for Ligandrol, a muscle-building and recovery drug. She admitted the violation, receiving a three-year penalty instead of four, and told CBC Sports:
“I appreciate and respect the need to have tough rules to keep the playing field clean, however, I signed the Early Admission and Acceptance Agreement … because I simply do not have the financial means to fight it.”
● Curling ● Canada’s 2006 Olympic champ Brad Gushue led his squad to the men’s title in the first WCF Pan Continental Championships, held in Calgary (CAN).
Gushue’s rink, the U.S. team led by Korey Dropkin and South Korea’s squad, skipped by Beyong-jin Jeong all finished 6-1 in round-robin play, with Gushue eliminating Japan in the semis and Jeong helping beat the U.S., 9-6. In the final, it was Canada with a 7-1 lead after four ends on the way to a 11-3 win and the gold medal. Dropkin’s U.S. squad defeated Japan, 8-7, for the bronze medal.
In the women’s division, Tabitha Peterson of the U.S. and Kerri Einarson of Canada led their squads to 7-1 records in the round-robin, but both were upset in the semis, with Seung-yun Ha (KOR) and Satsuki Fujisawa (JPN) leading their teams to the final.
The gold-medal match was a see-saw, with Japan up 3-1, but then tied, then up 6-3, but tied again in the 9th and 10th ends. But Fujisawa, who led Japan to a Beijing Olympic silver, got two points in the 11th for an 8-6 win and the gold medal. Canada won the bronze as Einarson’s team defeated Peterson’s rink by 7-5.
● Figure Skating ● The ISU Grand Prix moved to Europe for the Grand Prix de France in Angers, with the hosts celebrating the first Grand Prix win by a French man since 2009 as Adam Siao Him Fa came from third during the Free Skate to take his first Grand Prix medal.
Siao Him Fa won the Free Skate, scoring 180.98 points and totaled 268.98 to overtake Short Program leader Sota Yamamoto (JPN: 257.90). Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx, the 2022 Worlds silver medalist, won the women’s gold on her 23rd birthday on Saturday, winning both the Short Program and Free Skate with a total of 216.34 and her first Grand Prix victory. Korea’s Yelim Kim was a distant second at 194.76; American Audrey Shin was fifth (183.93).
Canada’s Deanna Stellato gave up the sport from 2000-16 due to injury, then came back as a Pairs skater, got married and as Stellato-Dudek teamed with Maxime Deschamps to claim their first Grand Prix win, taking the Short Program and Free Skate and scoring 185.84. France’s married team of Camille Kovalev and Pavel Kovalev finished second (179.85), with American siblings Maria Mokhova and Ivan Mokhov sixth (162.16).
Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri won the Ice Dance, including both the Rhythm Dance and the Free Dance, at 207.95. Canadians Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen were second (201.93), with Americans Eva Pate and Logan Bye fifth (174.03) and Katarina Wolfkostin and Jeffrey Chen eighth (164.89).
The ISU Grand Prix heads to Sheffield (GBR) next week for the John Wilson Trophy.
● Judo ● Host Azerbaijan won four weight classes to head the standings at the IJF World Tour Baku Grand Slam. Balabay Aghayev won the men’s 60 kg division; European Champion Hidayet Heydarov took the 73 kg title; Saeid Mollaei – the former Iranian World Champion – won at 81 kg, and Zelym Kotsoiev won the 100 kg clas.
In the women’s classes, 2019 World Champion Christa Duguchi (CAN) was victorious at 57 kg, and Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Sanne van Dijke (NED) won at 70 kg.
● Rugby ● At the “2021″ Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the hosts made it to next Saturday’s final with a tight, 25-24 win over France, while England defeated Canada by 26-19.
France led for much of its semi with the Black Ferns and had a 17-10 lead. But New Zealand stormed into the lead in the 57th minute and got up 25-17 before a late French try closed to 25-24. The French missed a penalty kick in the 69th minute that would have won the match.
New Zealand has won five of the last six World Cups and has a 4-0 mark vs. England in championship finals, in 2002-06-10-17. The final comes next Saturday (12th).
● Rugby Sevens ● In the opening tournament of the 2022-23 men’s Rugby Sevens season in Hong Kong, Australia overcame an early loss to Samoa in pool play and rolled through the playoffs, with a final, 20-17 win over Fiji.
After a 2-1 record in Pool A, the Aussies defeated Ireland, 26-19, then France by 10-7 in the semis before winning in the gold-medal match. France beat Samoa in the third-place game, 19-17, while the U.S. men finished sixth.
● Short Track ● They say the fastest ice in the world is at the Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, site of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games competitions. It was further proved with two world records at the ISU World Cup meet there, with Dutch stars Xandra Velzeboer and Suzanne Schulting setting the new standards.
In the first women’s 500 m race, Velzeboer was disqualified in the semifinals, opening the door for Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Kim Boutin to win the final in 43.095, ahead of Poland’s Natalia Maliszewska (43.145) and Kristen Santos-Griswold of the U.S. (43.170). Velzeboer came back in the second race and scored a world record of 41.416 in the heats, then went on to win the final in 41.602! Korea’s Min-jeong Choi, the two-time Olympic 1,500 m champ, was second in 42.384.
Schulting, the Beijing 2022 Olympic champ at 1,000 m, grabbed the 1,000 m world record at 1:25.958 in the heats and went on to win the final in 1:28.241. Canada’s Courtney Sarault was second (1:28.291) and Santos-Griswold was third (1:32.965). Korea’s Gilli Kim won the 1,500 m in 2:26.530 over Anna Seidel (GER: 2:26.743) and Korea’s Choi (2:26.899).
The men’s 500 m saw Canada’s Maxime Laoun, whose career appeared over after a bad leg injury in 2019, win his first career World Cup race, the 500 m, in 40.946. Jens van’t Wout (NED) won his second gold of the meet in the second 500 m, in 40.505.
Korea’s Ji-won Park won the 1,000 m in 1:25.202, ahead of teammate Kyung Hwan Hong (1:25.263). In the 1,500 m final, it was van’t Wout with his first World Cup medal – a gold – in 2:11.909 to beat Korea’s Park (2:12.204).
Korea swept the men’s 5,000 m and women’s 3,000 m relays, but China won the 2,000 m Mixed Relay, with Korea second and the U.S. team of Andrew Heo, Brandon Kim, Santos-Griswold and Corinne Stoddard third.
● Ski Jumping ● The FIS World Cup season opened in Wisla (POL: 134 m hill) with a happy result for the home team, as Dawid Kubacki (POL), the 2019 Normal Hill World Champion, won twice.
Kubacki defeated Halvor Egner Granerud (NOR), 272.2-266.6 on Saturday, with Austria’s three-time World Champion Stefan Kraft third (258.80). He then repeated with another win on Sunday, scoring 287.0 to best Anze Lanisek (SLO: 278.7) and Marius Lindvik (NOR: 277.0).
Norway’s Silje Opseth won the women’s season opener – her second career World Cup title – scoring 251.5 over teammate (and World Cup champ) Marita Kramer (AUT: 244.2) and Austria’s Eva Pinkelnig (243.1). Pinkelnig got the gold on Sunday, however, at 262.3, over Katharina Althaus (GER: 251.4) and Frida Westman (SWE: 248.7). It’s Pinkelnig’s fourth career World Cup triumph.
● Triathlon ● Olympic champion Flora Duffy won the World Triathlon Series race in front of her home fans in Hamilton (BER) on Sunday, moving her into second place in the series rankings with a chance to win a fourth world title in the season finale in Abu Dhabi in late November.
Duffy was able to pull away from the field on the 10 km run, first taking the lead from Maya Kingma (NED) and then holding off American Taylor Knibb on the rainy course, for a 2:01:26 to 2:03:04 victory, with Britain’s Beth Potter third (2:03:17). Taylor Spivey of the U.S. was fifth (2:04:05) and Kingma faded to sixth (2:04:26). With one race to go, Britain’s Tokyo silver winner Georgia Taylor-Brown is the series leader with 3,925 points to 3,856 for Duffy and 3,369 for Potter.
France’s two-time World Champion, Vincent Luis, showed his comeback from injury was complete by holding on for a 1:49:37-1:49:45-1:49:54 win over Spain’s Antonio Serrat and Roberto Sanchez, who won their first World Triathlon Series medals.
With one race left, New Zealand’s Tokyo bronze medalist, Hayden Wilde, leads the men’s standings with 3,850 points, ahead of Olympic silver medalist Alex Yee (GBR) and Leo Bergere (FRA).
● Water Polo ● At the FINA Women’s Nations League Super Final in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (ESP), host Spain won a penalty shoot-out to win the tournament over Hungary, 19-18, while the U.S. took the bronze medal on penalties over the Netherlands, 16-15.
The U.S., the Tokyo Olympic winners and World Champions for 2022, was looking for an eighth-straight title in the Nations League, but fell to Hungary in the semifinals, 10-9. The American women have now won a medal in 17 of the 18 editions of the Nations League and 16 in a row.
● Wrestling ● Iran won its sixth UWW Greco-Roman World Cup with a victory on criteria after a 5-5 final score over host Azerbaijan in Baku on Sunday. The Iranians had 21 classification points to 19 for the Azerbaijanis, who were runners-up for the second straight time.
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