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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. U.S.’s Kuss positioned to win Vuelta a Espana!
2. Ingebrigtsen shatters 2,000 m WR in Brussels
3. Germany wins first FIBA World Cup, as U.S. fourth
4. IOC adding human rights provisions to Olympic Charter
5. Rubiales resigns as head of Royal Spanish Football Federation
● Only one American has ever won cycling’s Vuelta a Espana – the Tour of Spain – one of the three Grand Tours, but Sepp Kuss is getting close. After 15 of the 21 stages, he leads the field by 1:37 and has survived two brutal climbing stages in the Pyrenees on Friday and Saturday. He has two more difficult stages to go, on Wednesday and Thursday.
● At the Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meet in Brussels, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen incinerated another record, this time a very good 2,000 m mark from 1999, winning in 4:43.13. Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson won the women’s 200 m in 21.48, just 0.14 off the world record, and American Kenny Bednarek won the men’s 200 m in 19.79.
● At the 19th FIBA World Cup, Germany won its first title at 8-0, out-lasting the U.S. in its semifinal, 113-111, and beating Serbia in the final, 83-77. Raptors guard Dennis Schroder led the Germans with 28 in the final. Canada got 39 points from Rockets guard Dillon Brooks and won the bronze medal over the U.S., 127-118 in overtime after a miracle three-pointer from Nets forward Mikal Bridges forced overtime for the Americans.
● The International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board proposed new provisions for the Olympic Charter concerning human rights requirements as part of the Olympic Movement, continuing a concerted move by President Thomas Bach to focus on “values.” The Executive Board also nominated eight new members for approval by the IOC Session in October, including Malaysian actress and Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh.
● Luis Rubiales, the elected head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, resigned on Sunday in a statement posted on Twitter. He continues to face possible civil and criminal penalties for his post-match behavior at the end of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
● World Championships: Rowing (Netherlands and British combine for eight wins in Belgrade) = Swimming (Williamson ends with seven medals at World Juniors) = Weightlifting (China wins fourth class in Riyadh) ●
● Panorama: Commonwealth Games (head of Commonwealth Games Australia says other countries expect a new Australian host for 2026) = Archery (D’Almeida and Kang take World Cup Final wins) = Athletics (4: Chepkoech gets 2,000 m Steeple world best in Zagreb; Reekie and Kerr win Fifth Avenue Miles; Ngetich gets 5 km/10 km women’s-only road records; sad passing of stat great Peter Matthews) = Badminton (Axelsen, An win China Open titles) = Cycling (3: De Lie and Adam Yates win sprint finishes in Quebec City and Montreal; Kopecky wins Simac Ladies Tour; France’s Koretzky sweeps both men’s Mountain Bike XC races in Lets Gets) = Football (new Berhalter era begins with 3-0 win over Uzbekistan) = Gymnastics (Hungary and Ukraine win three each at Artistic Challenge Cup) = Sport Climbing (Garnbret wins again in Lead World Cup) = Triathlon (Sereno scores gold at Americas sprint champs) = Volleyball ( (U.S. sweeps Canada for men’s NORCECA title in Charleston) ●
U.S.’s Kuss positioned to win Vuelta a Espana!
It was hardly thought likely going in, but American Sepp Kuss, 28, now only leads the 78th Vuelta a Espana, but is in an excellent position to win it next Sunday after surviving two brutal climbing stages on Saturday and Sunday.
He came into Friday’s triple-climb test that finished in France at the 2,115 m Col de Tourmalet with a 26-second lead over Spain’s Marc Soler and 1:09 over defending champ Remco Evenepoel (BEL).
While Evenepoel flounders, Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard accelerated away from the other five in the lead group – including Kuss – and rode away to win the 134.7 km stage in 3:51:10, but Kuss was second (+0:30) and two-time winner Primoz Roglic (SLO: +0:33) was third. Evenepoel fell back to 60th (+27:05) and fell out of contention. Kuss suddenly had a 1:37 lead on Roglic and 1:44 on Vingegaard – his Jumbo-Visma teammates!
Saturday’s test was a 156.2 km bruiser with three more difficult climbs, including a misery-inducing uphill finish to the Larra-Belagua skiing resort in the Pyrenees, near the French border. A group of five, including Evenepoel, attack after 30 km, and Evenepoel simply rides away from everyone else and was alone for the last four km on the way to a 4:13:38 win. France’s Romain Bardet was second (+1:12), with the overall leaders finishing way back, with Kuss in eighth (+8:22). But all that did was cut Evenepoel’s deficit from +27:50 to +19:12.
On Sunday, the 158.3 km ride was hilly, but well short of punishing, with Rui Costa (POR) and Santiago Buitrago (COL) breaking away from a lead group of 15 on the descent into Lekunberri, only to be caught by Germany’s Lennard Kamna, the stage 9 winner. But Kamna crashed, got up, but saw Costa go by for the win in 3:30:56, with Kamna and Buitrago given the same time. Evenepoel was only two seconds back, with Kuss in 19th (+2:52).
Going into Monday’s rest day, Kuss maintains a lead of 1:37 over his Jumbo-Visma teammates Roglic and 1:44 over Vingegaard, and 2:37 against Juan Ayuso (ESP). Evenepoel is now +16:22.
The Tuesday and Wednesday stages are hilly, with uphill finishes, especially Wednesday’s final climb to the Altu l’Agliru at 1,555 m. But Thursday’s 178.9 km ride has four major climbs, including an uphill finish to La Cruz de Linares, and will be the final major test for Kuss and opportunity for his chasers to make an impact.
The only U.S. winner of the Vuelta a Espana was Chris Horner in 2013. No American has ever won the Giro d’Italia and only Greg LeMond has won the Tour de France (1986-89-90) after Lance Armstrong’s seven wins were wiped out for doping. So Kuss is looking at history, and has the unusual situation of having two teammates chasing him – and helping him at the same time.
Ingebrigtsen shatters 2,000 m WR in Brussels
A world-record attempt stuck gold at the Diamond League Memorial Van Damme in Brussels (BEL), as Norwegian star Jakob Ingebrigtsen smashed the 24-year old mark in the 2,000 m, and Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson just missed the women’s 200 m mark. Two world leads from the meet:
● Men/2,000 m: 4:43.13, Jakob Ingebrgtsen (NOR) ~ World Record
● Women/Javelin: 67.38 m (221-1), Haruka Kitaguchi (JPN)
The rarely-seen men’s 2,000 was aimed at Moroccan Hicham El Guerroj’s 4:44.79 mark from 1999, with Ingebrigtsen staying close behind the pacesetters in the early going, crossing 1,000 m in 2:22.28 and then moving into the lead. He was trailed by Kenyans Abel Kipsang and Reynold Cheruiyot, but Ingebrigtsen was mostly on his own.
At the bell, the record was clearly within reach and the Norwegian was by himself. Australia’s Stewart McSweyn moved up to second with 200 m to go, then was passed by Cheruiyot in the final straight.
All alone, Ingebrigtsen sprinted to the finish – completing a 55.00 last lap – and crushed the world mark at 4:43.13, with a slew of national-record finishes behind him for Cheruiyot (4:48.14, fifth performance all-time), McSweyn (4:48.77, ninth performance all-time), Dutch teen Niels Laros (4:49.68, ninth performer all-time) and Spain’s Mario Garcia (4:49.85, 10th performer ever).
Ingebrigtsen now has the 2023 world leads at 1,500 m, 2,000 m, 3,000 m and two miles, to go along with his Worlds win in the 5,000 m and silver at 1,500 m, and now all-time bests at 2,000 m and two miles (7:54.10).
World Champion Kitaguchi took the lead in the women’s jav in the second round at 65.20 m (213-11) and no one really came close. But with her usual flair for the dramatic, she scored a world lead on her sixth-round throw at 67.38 m (221-1), a lifetime best and now no. 21 all-time. Austria’s Victoria Hudson was second with her third-round toss of 64.65 m (212-1).
It took until 5.92 m (19-5) to sort out the medal winners in the men’s vault: Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis, two-time World Champion Sam Kendricks of the U.S. and Worlds runner-up Ernest John Obiena (PHI). The bar went to 6.02 m (19-9) and Duplantis sailed over immediately, but Kendricks and Obiena all missed three times. Duplantis cleared 6.10 m (20-0) without incident to break his own meet record, and immediately raised the bar to a world-record 6.23 m (20-5 1/4), having missed this height 12 times previously … and now 15 times.
Three Americans finished 4-5-6 at 5.82 m (19-1): Chris Nilsen, KC Lightfoot and Zach McWhorter.
The women’s 200 m was also set up for Jamaica’s Jackson, who ran 21.41 to win in Budapest, to try for Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 21.34 world mark from 1988. Jackson, running out of lane six, had Britain’s Worlds fifth-placer Daryll Neita in front of her and took over right away, steaming into the straight and winning unchallenged in 21.48 (wind: +0.2 m/s), the no. 4 performance in history … of which she owns three (21.41, 21.45 and 21.48).
Anthonique Strachan (BAH) was second in 22.31, followed by Jenna Prandini of the U.S. (22.47) and Neita (22.59). Jackson said she will take another shot at Flojo’s mark at the Diamond League Final in Eugene next week.
The men’s 200 m was a sweet redemption for American Kenny Bednarek, the Tokyo and 2022 Worlds runner-up, who was fifth in Budapest. This time, he got out well and was quickly in a two-man race against Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, the Worlds 100 m bronzer and fourth in the 200 m. But Bednarek kept cool and pushed to the line in a season’s best 19.79 to 19.82 for Hughes (-0.1). Canada’s Tokyo winner, Andre De Grasse, was third in a season’s best 19.89; American Kyree King was seventh (20.52).
Jamaica’s Rusheen McDonald came on over the final 100 m to win the men’s 400 m in 44.84, trailed by Dominican Alexander Ogando in a seasonal best of 44.93.
Algeria’s Djamel Sedjati suffered a disqualification for a lane violation at the Worlds, but made amends, with a dash from fourth to first around the final turn to win the men’s 800 m in 1:43.60. France’s Yanis Meziane, the leader with 200 m to go, held on for second (1:43.94 lifetime best) and Botswana’s Tshepiso Masalela also got a personal best in third (1:44.03). American Bryce Hoppel was sixth in 1:44.37.
The rarely-run men’s 10,000 m was a runaway for Kenya Daniel Ebenyo, the Budapest silver winner, taking over by the 6,000 m mark and winning by more than 27 seconds in 26:57.80, moving him to nol. 3 on the 2023 year list. France’s Jimmy Gressier was second with a seasonal best of 27:25.48, followed by Stanley Mburu (KEN: 27:30.36). Ebenyo finished with a 62.90 last lap.
The women’s 100 m featured Jamaica’s Rio-Tokyo Olympic champ Elaine Thompson-Herah and 2019 World 200 m winner Dina Asher-Smith (GBR), and Asher-Smith got the best start. But the Jamaican had the lead by midway and won by daylight in a season’s best 10.84 (0.0). Asher-Smith was passed in the final 10 m by Jamaica’s Natasha Morrison, who got a seasonal best of 10.95 in second, with Asher-Smith third in 10.97.
The women’s 400 m looked like a battle between Dutch star Lieke Klaver, sixth in Budapest and Worlds 400 m hurdles runner-up Shamier Little of the U.S. and it certainly started that way. The two exchanged the lead through 300 m, but on the straight, the home crowd roared for Belgium’s Cynthia Bolingo, who came on to win in 50.09, ahead of Klaver (50.16) and Little (50.58).
A great field in the women’s 1,500 m had Tokyo runner-up Laura Muir (GBR) battling the 4-5 finishers from Budapest, Ireland’s Ciara Mageean and Kenyan Nelly Chepchirchir. Muir, Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshasha and Chepchirchir took over after the pacemakers were done, but then Mageean came up to challenge Muir at the bell.
Muir charged ahead on the back straight, but Mageean caught her off the turn, and on the home straight, Muir had enough left to win in a season’s best of 3:55.34, with Mageean getting a national record of 3:55.87 in second. Chepchirchir was third in 3:56.93, with Americans Addy Wiley and Sinclaire Johnson in 8-9, with very creditable times of 3:59.17 (lifetime best) for Wiley and 3:59.19 for Johnson. Cory McGee of the U.S. was 12th in 4:02.32. Wiley is now the 15th American woman to break 4:00.
At 5,000 m, Ethiopia’s Worlds sixth-placer Medina Eisa was leading the front pack at 8:43.25, with Kenyan Lilian Rengeruk in close attendance. Those two broke contact and dueled to the finish, with Rengeruk taking over into the final turn and winning in 14:26.46, with Eisa second (14:28.94) and Japan’s Nozomi Tanaka moving into third in the final lap to get a national record of 14:29.18. American Elise Cranny finished 11th in 14:57.52.
What would Femke Bol do? The Dutch World Champion in the 400 m hurdles was staring at her world-leading time of 51.45, but it was Jamaican Andrenette Knight and Anna Cockrell of the U.S. with the lead down the backstraight. Bol came on around the turn and had the lead by the eighth hurdle and extended to the line in 52.11, the no. 3 time of the year, and the no. 11 performance in history (of which she has four). Jamaica’s Knight fell back and teammates Janieve Russell and Rushell Clayton came on to finish 2-3 in 53.80 and 54.10, with Cockrell fourth in 54.29. Knight was sixth in 54.75.
Ukraine’s World Champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh had the women’s high jump with her first-try clearance at 2.00 m (6-6 3/4), but had bigger ideas, but missed at a world-leading 2.04 m (6-8 1/4). Serbia’s Angelina Topic was second at 1.97 m (6-5 1/2), equaling her lifetime best.
The non-Diamond League women’s long jump was a showcase for Worlds winner Ivana Vuleta (SRB), who reached 6.74 m (22-1 1/2) in the first round, but was matched by Fleur Jong (NED) in the third. But Vuleta won on her second-best effort, another 6.74 m in the fifth.
Two-time Worlds silver medalist Shanieka Ricketts (JAM) came out on top in the triple jump, with a lifetime best of 15.01 m (49-3) in the third round, now no. 2 on the 2023 world list, and the 27th woman ever to reach 15 m. That was good enough to beat Worlds runner-up Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk (UKR), who reached 14.57 m (47-9 3/4).
The Diamond League concludes next week at the Pre Classic in Eugene, on Saturday and Sunday.
Germany wins first FIBA World Cup, as U.S. fourth
The 2023 FIBA World Cup was unusual from the start, being held in three countries – Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines – and ended with a first-time finalist and first-time winner in Germany, which took down Serbia in the final by 83-77 at the Mall of Asia in Pasay (PHI), in the Manila metro area, before 12,022.
The game was 47-47 at half, but the third quarter was decisive, with the Germans running off a 22-10 edge for a 69-57 advantage that the Serbs could not make up. A 10-2 in the fourth got the game to 73-69, but the Germans scored five straight for a 78-69. But another Serbian push got to within 79-77 with 39 seconds left. But a layin and two free throws from Raptors guard Dennis Schroder were the final points of the game.
The Germans shot 49.1% for the game and held Serbia to 41.9%, with Schroder pouring in 28 to lead all scorers, helped by Magic forward Franz Wagner (19) and center Johannes Voightmann with 12. Guard Aleksa Avramovic led Serbia with 21 and Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic had 17.
It’s only the second-ever medal for Germany in the World Cup, after a bronze in 2002. The Serbs lost in the final for the second time in the last three finals, previously to the U.S. in 2014.
In the bronze-medal game, Canada had a 34-25 edge at the end of the first quarter that the U.S. closed down to 58-56 at half. Canada sprinted out to a 91-82 edge at the end of three, but a furious American rally and a miraculous finish got the U.S. even at 111 to force overtime.
With four seconds to go and the U.S. down 111-107, Nets forward Mikal Bridges made a free throw, then missed the second on purpose, chasing it down in the right corner. He spun, shot and somehow made a three-pointer to tie the score with 0.6 seconds to play.
But the Canadians were better in the overtime, running off five quick points to gain control and finishing with a 16-7 edge for the 127-118 final and the bronze medal. Even without forwards Brandon Ingram, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Paolo Banchero due to illness, the U.S. shot 51.9% and out-rebounded Canada 43-40. But the Canadians show 51.2% and were 17-37 from the three-point line, led by Rockets guard Dillon Brooks with 39 points (equaling the tournament high) and Grizzlies guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31). Knicks forward R.J. Barrett had 23.
Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards again led the U.S. with 24, and Lakers guard Austin Reaves had 23 – his high game of the tournament – and Bridges had 19. With only nine players available, Bucks forward Bobby Portis Jr. added 14, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson scored 13 and Knicks teammate Josh Hart had 10.
U.S. coach Steve Kerr reflected, “What it comes down to for us in this tournament, we put ourselves in a great position. We got to the semifinals, we’re right there, we couldn’t get enough stops. We just didn’t defend well enough against Germany or against Canada and that’s the bottom line. Every year when you try to build a team, we try to build the best two-way team you can to be able to get stops and score.”
In their Friday semifinal, the U.S. lost to Germany for the first time ever in international play, 113-111, mostly due to a 35-24 third quarter for the Germans.
The game was tight, with the U.S. holding a 60-59 lead at half, but the Germans built a 94-84 lead by the end of the third, including 10 points from guard Andreas Obst. The lead was still 10 with 4:42 to go, when Reaves made a three-pointer for the U.S., Edwards scored five straight, then Reaves scored four more to close to 108-107 with 1:35 to play. Obst made a clutch three-pointer with 1:14 left and Schroder made a step-back jumper for a 113-107 lead with 40 seconds to play. Reaves got a dunk and a tipin, but it was not enough.
Obst had 24 to lead the winners, Orlando Magic brothers Franz and Mo Wagner had 22 and 10 points, Schroder had 17 and Pacers forward Daniel Theis had 21. The Germans shot 57.7% from the floor and out-rebounded the U.S., 30-28. Edwards had 23, Reaves 21, Bridges scored 17 and Brunson had 15. The U.S. shot 58.5%, made 23-24 foul shots, had only nine turnovers, and lost.
In the other semi, Serbia took an early lead on Canada, by 23-15 at the quarter and 52-39 at half and held on for a 95-86 win in the first semi. Bogdanovic led Serbia with 23 on 8-12 shooting, assisted by guard Ognjen Dobric and center Nikola Milutinov, both with 16. Canada won the second half, 47-43, but never got closer than seven points in the second half. Serbia shot 61.2% from the field and held the Canadians to 48.2%.
The U.S. improved in 2023, with a much better roster and rose from seventh in China in 2019 to fourth this time, but did not have enough defensive intensity in the games that were lost: 110-104 to Lithuania, 113-111 to the Germans and 127-118 in overtime to Canada. It’s the first time since 1967-1970 that the U.S. failed to win a medal in two straight World Cups.
IOC adding human rights provisions to Olympic Charter
In a move to cement the legacy of International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach of Germany, the IOC Executive Board – led by Bach – submitted changes to the Olympic Charter to incorporate human rights requirements.
Bach has been an unabashed supporter of the United Nations during his term and has unfailingly championed the IOC’s “values” as the foundation of its positions on multiple issues, including the current furor over Russian and Belarusian inclusion in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Three insertions were approved by the Executive Board for approval by the IOC Session in Mumbai (IND) in October (additions in bold):
● In Fundamental Principle of Olympism 1, “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for internationally recognised human rights and universal fundamental ethical principles within the remit of the Olympic Movement.”
● In Fundamental Principle of Olympism 4, “Every individual must have access to the practice of sport, without discrimination of any kind in respect of internationally recognised human rights within the remit of the Olympic Movement.”
● Added to Rule 40: “All competitors, team officials or other team personnel in the Olympic Games shall enjoy freedom of expression in keeping with the Olympic values and the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, and in accordance with the Guidelines determined by the IOC Executive Board.”
These amendments are very carefully constructed, for example with the limitation in the first item, reading “within the remit of the Olympic Movement,” keeping the IOC’s responsibilities within Olympic sport and not within the wider frame of international politics. .
Also, the addition to Rule 40 concerning “free expression” was not accompanied by any change to the widely-discussed Rule 50.2, which reads “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”
The Executive Board also nominated eight new members for the IOC, five of whom are individual members:
● Yael Arad (ISR; President of the Israeli NOC and won Israel’s first Olympic medal, a judo silver at 61 kg).
● Balazs Furjes (HUN; lawyer and State Secretary for the development of Budapest, deeply involved in Hungary’s hosting of world championships in swimming and athletics).
● Cecilia Tait (PER; elected to Congress from 200-06 and 2011-16, a former three-time Olympian in volleyball in 1980-84-88, winning a silver medal in Seoul).
● Michelle Yeoh (MAS; an actress who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the 2022 American film, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”).
● Michael Mronz (GER, a well-known event organizer from the 2006 World Equestrian Games, 2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin and major events in beach volleyball, tennis and other sports).
Yeoh and Mronz were directly selected by the IOC and not suggested by their National Olympic Committees under a recent provision allowing the it to recruit up to seven members.
Two nominations are tied to positions as heads of International Federations:
● Petra Sorling, President of the International Table Tennis Federation (SWE);
● Jae Youl Kim, President of the International Skating Union (KOR).
One nomination was for a National Olympic Committee President:
● Mehrez Boussayene, President of the Comite National Olympique Tunisien.
All eight are expected to be approved by the IOC Session in October.
Rubiales resigns as head of Royal Spanish Football Federation
“After the quick suspension carried out by Fifa, plus the rest of open proceedings against me, it is evident that I will not be able to return to my position.
“Insisting on waiting and holding on is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish football.”
“The Royal Spanish Football Federation confirms that Luis M. Rubiales Béjar has presented his resignation tonight. This has been made known to the federative entity through a letter to Pedro Rocha Junco. In addition, he also resigns from his position as vice president of UEFA.”
The furor over Rubiales’ conduct following Spain’s victory at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia last month reached a new high this past week with the filing of charges by midfielder Jenni Hermoso, infamously kissed by Rubiales during the medal presentations. He was already suspended by FIFA, had the regional president of his own federation asking him to resign and a Spanish sports court investigating his conduct.
He is now facing Hermoso’s charge, filed by the state prosecutor on Friday, of sexual assault, which could lead to a fine or up to four years imprisonment. An additional count of coercion was added by the prosecutors, based on Hermoso’s details of the incident.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Rowing ● The Netherlands and Great Britain had a lot to celebrate at the World Rowing Championships in Belgrade (SRB), winning five and four races in the Olympic classes.
The Dutch got a impressive win from Karolien Florijn, who won her second straight women’s Single Sculls title, beating Olympic champ Emma Twigg (NZL), 7:14.35 to 7:19.43, with Tara Rigney (AUS: 7:21.07) and American Kara Kohler (7:23.98) fourth. It’s Twigg’s third consecutive silver in the event.
Ymkje Clevering and Veronique Meester, who were part of the Dutch Fours silver winners in Tokyo, took their first Pairs title in 7:20.52, over Australia’s Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre (7:22.90), who had been part of the Olympic Fours winner. Romania was third and the U.S. entry of Alison Rusher and Meghan Musnicki was sixth (7:34.43). The Dutch also won the women’s Fours with a new squad, over Romania and Great Britain, 6:41.82-6:43.29-6:44.31, with the U.S. fourth in 6:47.39.
Romania won its second straight women’s Eights title, beating the U.S., 6:01.28 to 6:03.73, with Australia third in 6:04.17. And Romania got a second gold in the women’s Double Sculls, from Olympic and defending World Champions Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis, winning in 6:46.94 over Lithuania (Donata Karaliene and Dovile Rimlute: 6:50.34) and Americans Kristina Wagner and Sophia Vitas (6:50.45 for bronze).
Britain won the Fours over the Dutch, 6:29.70 to 6:30.37, and took the women’s Lightweight Double Sculls, the only Lightweight class for Paris, with defending champs Emily Craig and Imogen Grant (7:19.23) beating the U.S. for the second straight year, this time with Michelle Sechser and Mary Jones (7:22.89).
The Dutch won two men’s events, with Melvin Twellaar and Sref Broenink winning the Double Sculls in 6:09.19 over Rio 2016 Olympic champs Martin and Valent Sinkovic (CRO: 6:12.44), and the Quadruple Sculls in 5:52.33 vs. Italy (5:54.58). Britain scored a second straight win in the Fours, over the U.S., 6:04.35 to 6:06.37, and took the Eights for the second straight Worlds, beating the Dutch by 5:24.20 to 5:25.23, with the U.S. sixth in 5:29.18.
Switzerland won the Pairs, with Roman Roosli and Andrin Gulich in 6:51.09, against Oliver Wynne-Griffith and Tom George (GBR: 6:53.46). Americans William Bender and Evan Olson were fifth in 7:02.98. Germany’s Oliver Zeidler won his third straight Worlds gold in the men’s Single Sculls in 6:38.08, with Simon van Dorp (NED: 6:39.26) a close second.
Olympic champs Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan won the Lightweight Double Sculls in 6:32.09 over Switzerland, for their third straight Worlds gold in the event.
In the Olympic classes, the Dutch scored seven medals (4-3-0) while Britain had six (4-1-1), Romania five (2-1-2), the U.S. had four (0-3-1) and Australia had four (0-1-3).
● Swimming ● Maximus Williamson of the U.S. concluded the World Aquatics Junior Championships in Netanya (ISR) as the biggest winner, taking seven medals in all: six golds and a silver.
Going into the final days of the meet, Williamson had already won the men’s 200 m Medley in 1:57.29, and added the 100 m Free in 48.45. He also finished with five relay golds in the men’s 4×100 m Freestyle (47.78), 4×200 m Freestyle (1:47.11 lead-off), 4×100 m Medley (47.57), plus the Mixed 4×100 m Medley (47.74), and a silver in the Mixed 4×100 m Free (48.38 lead-off).
He was one of two to win seven medals, along with Canada’s Julie Brousseau (0-2-5)
Australia’s Olivia Wunsch won six medals (5-0-1), with individual wins in the 50-100 m Frees and a bronze in the 50 m Fly.
Leah Hayes of the U.S. won the women’s 200 m and 400 m Medleys, got a win in the 4×200 m Free, plus a bronze in the 200 m Free and a silver on the 4×100 m Free.
The U.S. topped the medal table at 33 (15-11-7), followed by Australia (24: 9-7-8) and Canada (13: 2-3-8).
● Weightlifting ● China continued its winning ways at the 2023 World Weightlifting Championships in Riyadh (KSA), with a modest upset in the women’s 59 kg class, as 2022 Worlds 64 kg winner Xinyi Pei – still just 18 – ended up third, with teammate Shifang Luo – fourth last year – winning her first career Worlds medal.
Luo made all six of her lifts, winning the Snatch at 107 kg, the Clean & Jerk at 136 kg and the combined total at 243 kg. That was more than enough to win over Ukraine’s European Champion Kamila Konotop, who took silver-bronze-silver at 106-130-236 for the overall silver. Pei was third at 232 kg; American Taylor Wilkins was 10th (220 kg) and Danielle Guinn was 14th (216 kg).
At 64 kg, Colombia’s Nathalie Llamosa moved up from bronze in 2022 to gold in 2023, winning the Snatch (101 kg) and third in Clean & Jerk (122 kg) to win the class at 223 kg. Nigeria’s Ruth Ayodele won her first Worlds medal in second place (222 kg) and 2021 bronzer Min-kyung Park (KOR) got a second career bronze with a 220 kg total, but also winning the Clean & Jerk segment (123 kg).
Thailand scored its second gold of the tournament in the men’s 73 kg class, with Weeraphon Wichuma – lifting in the C group – won at 154 (2)-195 (1) and 349 kg, reportedly the first to ever win a world title from the third tier. China’s Yinting Wei made two of six lifts and finished second at 337 kg and Muhammad Ozbek (TUR: 334 kg) was third. Of the 11 starters in group A, five could not complete both lifts; only three of eight completed both in group B.
American Ryan Grimsland was 10th (from group B) at 326 kg, and Caden Cahoy (group C) was 19th at 310 kg.
Competition continues through the 17th.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Commonwealth Games ● Speaking to an Australian Senate hearing in Canberra, the head of Commonwealth Games Australia, Craig Phillips, said that the rest of the Commonwealth expects the 2026 – or 2027 – Games to be held there.
“We talked to our colleagues in the Pacific, we talked to our colleagues in the UK, and they will tell us the same thing: ‘Good luck finding a host because we want to come to Australia, we want you to find a host.’
“It’s clear that our colleagues from around the Commonwealth expect an Australian solution.”
In the aftermath of Victoria’s stunning withdrawal in July from a contract to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, citing cost estimates that had risen from A$2.6 billion to A$7 billion or more ($1.66 to $4.47 billion U.S.), Phillips said he is talking with other Australian cities and regions:
“It may be a scaled back version of the games, given the time we have, but if you look around the capital cities around Australia … all have the capability of hosting games,”
“Even some of the smaller cities around the country have that capability of certainly contributing to a game. We have to look at all possible models – a single-city games, a shared hosting arrangement.
“Governments are going to want to know what it’s going to mean for a city, what it’s going to cost, what their obligations are. We’re developing the model to actually be able to have those sensible discussions with state governments and councils.”
● Archery ● A dream scenario almost came true at the World Cup Final in Hermosillo (MEX), with home favorite Alejandra Valencia – the 2023 Worlds runner-up – winning a shoot-off to get into the final against 2019 Worlds runner-up Chae-young Kang (KOR).
But the story did not have a happy ending for the home team, as Kang won, 6-2, for her second World Cup Final title, also in 2019. Korea also scored the bronze medal as Si-hyeon Lim shut out Casey Kaufhold of the U.S., 6-0.
The men’s final was a showdown between 2018 World Cup Final winner Woo-seok Lee (KOR) and two-time Worlds medalist Marcus D’Almeida (BRA), with D’Almeida winning the first two ends, then Lee roaring back to tie at 4-4 and D’Almeida winning the final end, 29-28, for a 6-4 victory.
Tokyo Olympic silver winner Mauro Nespoli (ITA) won the bronze, 5-3, over 2017 Asian Championships runner-up Dhiraj Bommadevara (IND).
● Athletics ● The European season continued with the annual Hanzekovic Memorial in Zagreb (CRO), a Continental Tour Gold meet, with some interesting performances, including a world best!
In the rarely-run women’s 2,000 m Steeple, 2019 World Champion and 2023 runner-up Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya won in 5:47.42, the best on record, ahead of the 5:52.80 by Gesa Krause (GER) from 2019. Chepkoech was an easy winner ahead of countrywoman Winnie Jemutai (5:52.92). That gives Chepkoech the world best at 2,000 m and she already owns the world record for the 3,000 m Steeple.
Ferdinand Omanyala (KEN), the 2022 Commonwealth Games champ, won the men’s 100 m in 9.94 (-0.9) from Jamaica’s Oblique Seville (10.07), Italy’s Tokyo Olympic champ Lamont Marcell Jacobs (10.08) and American Brandon Carnes (10.27). Kyree King was sixth in 10.31.
King and Carnes came back to go 1-2 in the 200 m, in 20.10 and 20.19 (+0.6), with Josephus Lyles fourth in a season’s best of 20.44.
Britain’s Daniel Rowden won the men’s 800 m in 1:44.96, with American Hobbs Kessler, still just 20, winning the second race in 1:46.09, his second-best time ever.
Jamaica’s Olympic champ Hansle Parchment won the men’s 110 m hurdles over Daniel Roberts of the U.S., 13.13 to 13.15 (0.0), with Michael Dickson of the U.S. in sixth (13.70).
A battle of past world champs in the men’s shot saw New Zealand’s Tom Walsh get the early lead and hold it to win over Joe Kovacs of the U.S., 22.46 m (73-8 1/4) to 21.72 (71-3 1/4), with Americans Roger Steen fifth (21.40 m/70-2 1/2) and Payton Otterdahl seventh (21.21 m/69-7).
Slovenia’s 2022 Worlds winner Kristjian Ceh won the men’s discus at 68.48 m (224-8).
Puerto Rico’s Olympic champ Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won the men’s 100 m hurdles in 12.47 (-0.7), with Nadine Visser (NED) well behind at 12.64. Twice Olympic champ and home favorite Sandra Perkovic (CRO) won the women’s disc with her second throw of 67.71 m (222-1).
American Maggie Malone won the women’s javelin with her 63.71 m (209-0) throw in the third round; she has caught fire in the late season, getting a season’s best of 64.04 m (210-1) last Wednesday in Poland and moving to no. 7 on the year list.
Rain and possible lightning strikes interfered with the annual Fifth Avenue Mile in New York, but the races were held, with 2021 winner Jemma Reekie (GBR) taking charge after halfway, running away from fellow Brit Melissa Courtney-Bryant and American Nikki Hiltz to win in 4:20. Ireland’s Sarah Healy came on in the final 100 m to get second, also in 4:20, with Courtney-Bryant at and Hiltz at 4:21.
The men’s race focused in World 1,500 m gold medalist Josh Kerr (GBR) and for good reason. He was at or near the front the entire race and pulled away in the final 200 m to win decisively in 3:48. Fellow Brit George Mills and New Zealand’s Geordie Beamish went 2-3, both in 3:50 and American Vincent Ciattei got fourth in 3:51.
Kenya’s Agnes Ngetich set a world record for the women’s-only 10 km with a 29:24 win at the Trunsylvania 10 km race as part of the Brasov Running Festival in Romania. She finished way ahead of fellow Kenyan Catherine Reline (30:14)
Ngetich, sixth at the Worlds 10,000 m in Budapest last month, ran the third-fastest women’s road 10 km ever, behind 29:14 and 29:19 performances by Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yahualaw in mixed races in 2022 and 2023.
She also ran through the 5 km mark in 14:25, also a world record for a women’s only race, and both marks will apparently be submitted for ratification.
Deeply saddened to report of the passing of British announcer, writer and above all, master statistician Peter Matthews, 78, who died in his sleep on Sunday morning.
Matthews, widely respected for not only his brilliance as a statistician, but as a gentle, kind and fun person about track & field – and other subjects – had suffered from heart issues for the last several years.
He was a public address announcer and a long-time commentator for BBC Radio, ITV, Channel 4, SkySports and on the English-language world feed for the IAAF. He was the editor, from 1985, of the International Athletics Annual, editing to his high standards the signature statistical yearbook of worldwide track and field.
In 1993, he and fellow British writer and statistician Mel Watman created the Athletics International newsletter of results, lists, previews and notes, sent initially as a printed pamphlet, but now as a PDF, with the last issue sent last Monday (4th).
Watman passed away in 2021 and now Matthews, a devastating loss for the sport and especially for the worldwide Association of Track & Field Statisticians, for whom he worked so devotedly for nearly 40 years.
● Badminton ● At the China Open in Changzhou (CHN), three of the top seeds got all the way to the final and won! That includes both of the Singles divisions, with no. 1 Viktor Axelsen (DEN) defeating Guang Zu Lu (CHN), 21-16, 21-19, and Se Young An (KOR) sweeping aside Akane Yamaguchi (JPN), 21-10, 21-19.
In the women’s Doubles, top-seed Qing Chen Chen and Yi Fan Jia (CHN) also managed a sweep over Ha Na Baek and So Hee Lee (KOR), 21-11, 21-17.
China got a second win with Wei Keng Liang and Chang Wang in the men’s Doubles, taking care of Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh (MAS), 21-12, 21-14. Korea’s fifth-seeded Seung Jae Seo and Yu Jung Chae won the Mixed Doubles against Thom Gicqhel and Delphine Delrue (FRA), 21-19, 21-12.
● Cycling ● The UCI World Tour was also in Canada, for the annual Grand Prix de Quebec took place on Friday, with Arnaud de Lie (BEL) winning the hilly, 201.6 km, 16-lap in-city course, coming from behind in the final meters to take the mass sprint, over Corbin Strong (NZL) and Michael Matthews (AUS), all in 4:47:36. It’s the first World Tour win for 21-year-old de Lie.
On Sunday in Montreal, Britain’s Adam Yates triumphed over the 221.4 km route in 5:54:02, winning a final sprint on the in-city course against Pavel Sivakov (FRA) by three seconds, with Spain’s Alex Aranburu third (+0:12). American Brandon McNulty was 13th (+0:55).
Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky won a three-way sprint at the end of Saturday’s 131.6 km Stage 4 of the Simac Ladies Tour in Valkenburg (NED), to maintain her lead going into Sunday’s finale.
Dutch rider Charlotte Kool won the mass sprint in Friday’s 148.9 km third stage – her second win of the event – beating defending champ Lorena Wiebes (NED) and Elisa Balsamo (ITA), all in 3:38:02. Kopecky was maintaining just an 11-second lead on Wiebes on Saturday and got to the line first in 3:24:17, with Wiebes and Kasia Niewiadoma (POL) just behind.
Wiebes had to win on Sunday, and she did, but failed to gain any time on Kopecky, as the hilly, 150.3 km route in Arnhem ended with a sprint of nine riders, including both of the contenders. Wiebes won in 3:44:53. With Balsamo second and Kopecky third (same time) to win the overall title.
Kopecky finished at 14:27:50 overall, with Wiebes just five seconds back after the time bonus for winning, and Anna Henderson (GBR: +0:41) third.
The sixth of eight UCI Mountain Bike World Cups was in Les Gets (FRA) with a sweep for home favorite Victor Koretzky, who took both the Short Track and Cross Country Olympic titles.
In Saturday’s Short Track races, France scored a 1-2 from Worlds silver winner Koretzy and Jordan Sarrou in the men’s race, with both timed in 20:33, and Luca Schwarzbauer (GER) third in 20:35. Chris Blevins of the U.S. was eighth (20:44).
Then Koretzky, who had previously won two XCO World Cups in 2021, earned his third gold with a dominant 1:26:45 win, well ahead of 10-time World Champion Nino Schurter (SUI: 1:27:02) and Vlad Dascalu (ROU: 1:27:06).
Austria’s Mona Mitterwallner was equally brilliant in the women’s XCO final, winning by 38 seconds in 1:14:51 for his second straight World Cup triumph and third medal of the season. Puck Pieterse, the 21-year-old Dutch European champ, was second in 1:15:29 and France’s four-time World Champion, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, was third (1:16:05). Americans Haley Batten and Sevilla Blunk went 4-5 in 1:16:25 and 1:17:19.
Pieterse, the 2023 Worlds runner-up, won the Short Track race at 20:28, just a second up on 2023 bronzer Evie Richards (GBR: 20:29) and Alessandra Keller (SUI: 20:31). Batten of the U.S. was fourth (20:42) and Gwen Gibson was eighth (20:48).
France swept the non-Olympic Downhill races, with Worlds 2021 runner-up Benoit Coulanges coming from behind to take the men’s race in 3:19.573, from Worlds silver medalist Andreas Kolb (AUT: 3:19.733) and France’s Loris Vergier (3:19.936). Worlds bronze medalist Marine Cabriou (FRA) was a wire-to-wire winner in the women race in 3:47.390, ahead of Monika Hrastnik (SLO: 3:51.807).
● Football ● The second stint for re-hired U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter could not have started better on Saturday in St. Louis as Tim Weah scored in the fourth minute against Uzbekistan, on the way to a 3-0 win.
The American men got going quickly, with Weah sending a shot over goal in the third minute, then midfielder Weston McKennie somehow got control of a Christian Pulisic pass to the corner of the box in the Uzbek zone, dropped it off for Weah to his right and he rocketed a shot into the net for a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
In the 16th, McKennie almost did it again, taking a header at the left side of the Uzbek goal, and heading it to striker Folarin Balogun, whose follow-on header hit the right post. Uzbekistan did best on counterattacks, with midfielder Khojiakbar Alidzhanov hitting the crossbar at the left end of the goal on a diagonal blast from the right side in the 22nd.
Uzbek striker Eldor Shomurodov got a great chance off a steal at 45+1, steaming toward the U.S. goal against defender Tim Ream, but got a clear shot at U.S. keeper Matt Turner from the right side. But Turner cut down the angle and saved the try to maintain the lead. The U.S. had 66% of possession in the half, but only six shot attempts, where Uzbekistan managed seven, but only two on target.
The U.S. maintained most of the possession to start the second half, but Uzbekistan again got chances, but its shots were wide of the U.S. goal. The game remained at 1-0 as the American offense could not get clean shots at the Uzbek net, and constant counterattacks keeping the U.S. defenders busy. Defender Sergino Dest danced through most of the Uzbek defense in the 73rd, but his shot in front goal was blocked. Pulisic’s weak header in the 75th was saved.
The U.S. finally sealed the win at 90+1, as Dest found substitute forward Brenden Aaronson in the box, with Aaronsen sending a lateral pass back toward the middle that was blasted toward the net by sub striker Ricardo Pepi, and off the hand of Uzbek keeper Utkir Yusupov, for a 2-0 edge.
At 90+5, substitute midfielder Malik Tillman was driving in the box and was tripped by defender Umar Eshmuradov for a penalty. Pulisic took the penalty and sent a powerful, right-footed shot into the left side of the goal, overcoming a right-handed tip from Yusupov, for the 3-0 final.
The U.S. ended with 65% of possession and 13 shots to 15 for the visitors. The U.S. men will play Oman on Tuesday in St. Paul, Minnesota.
● Gymnastics ● The penultimate FIG Artistic World Challenge Cup was in Szombathely (HUN), with the home team getting three wins on Saturday.
Sixteen-year-old Greta Mayer won the women’s Vault at 13.149, over Czech Alice Vlkova (12.199), and Zoja Szekely (20), the 2020 European Bars silver medalist, won that event at 14.133, over Ukraine’s 19-year-old Yelyzaveta Hubareva (13.000).
On Sunday, Ukraine went 1-2 on Beam, with Anna Laschevska winning (13.000) and Hubareva second (12.733) and Vlkova third (12.466). Czech Sona Artamonova took the honors on Floor (12.966), with Hungary’s Bettina Lili Czifra second (12.900) and Vlkova third (12.800).
On the men’s side, Krisztofer Meszaros won on Floor (14.666), his second World Challenge Cup win, over ex-American Eddie Penev (BUL: 14.400). Albania’s Matvei Petrov won on Pommel Horse (14.733), over Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev (14.633), and Vinzenz Hock (AUT: 14.300), the 2020 European runner-up took the Rings.
Ukraine dominated the men’s second day, with emerging star Nazar Chepurnyi, 21, taking the Vault at 14.666 and Verniaiev – a four-time Worlds medalist – winning on Parallel Bars (14.966), with Meszaros second (14.866) and Chepurnyi third (14.800). And Meszaros won a bronze on the Horizontal Bar (14.266), behind the brothers Ilias (14.433) and Marios Georgiu (14.300) from Cyprus.
The World Challenge Cup series ends next week in Paris.
● Sport Climbing ● The next-to-last IFSC World Cup in Lead was in Koper (SLO), with Slovenian star Janja Garnbret underlining her status as the best women’s climber in the world with her 26th career World Cup win.
She led the qualifying, semifinal and reached the top in the final, trailed by Japan’s 2023 Lead World Champion Ai Mori (44+ holds) and Vita Lukan (SLO: 40+), who won her second medal of the year.
Japan’s 16-year-old Sorato Anraku won his fifth World Cup medal of the season with a win in Lead, getting to the top in the final, with only American Jesse Grupper close at 42+, for his fifth career World Cup medal.
The final World Cup comes in Wujiang (CHN) from 22-24 September, in Lead and Speed.
● Triathlon ● At the Americas Sprint Championships in Santa Maria (COL), American Gina Sereno won the women’s title after scoring a silver in the American Olympic-distance Championships the week before. Sereno was sixth out of the water in the 750 m swim, and stayed in contention on the 20 km bike phase, but ran away from the field in the 5 km run, clocking 17:55, fastest in the field, to win in 1:01:44. Canada’s Emy Legault was second in 1:02.:02 and Argentine Romina Biagioli was third in 1:02:13.
Matthew Wright (BAR), fourth at the Americas Olympic-distance Championships, used a strong bike phase to take the lead in the men’s race, , and then out-distanced American Chase McQueen on the run, 14:46 to 14:57 to win in 53:46 to 53:54. Mexico’s David Nunez was a distant third in 54:10. Carter Stuhlmacher of the U.S. was eighth (54:43) and Luke Anthony was 11th (54:59).
● Volleyball ● The U.S. hosted the NORCECA men’s championship in Charleston, West Virginia and won the title, sweeping Canada in the final, 25-20, 25-14 and 25-22. It’s the U.S.’s 10th title all-time (second to Cuba’s 16) and first since 2014.
Cuba won the bronze medal with a 25-15, 25-14, 25-16 sweep of the Dominican Republic.
For our updated, 787-event International Sports Calendar (no. 3) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!