Tom Sermanni named U.S. Women’s soccer coach

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After three straight gold medals and a couple World Cup titles we’re almost certain the U.S. Women’s team could operate independent of any oversight so long as Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan are around, but just to be safe Tom Sermanni was brought in as the new head coach of the team on Tuesday, effective January 1, 2013.

“[Sermanni] has the knowledge, experience and vision to take on the challenge of keeping our team at the top of the world,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a release. “He has a tremendous passion for the game, knows the American players, understands our system and knows the process of preparing a team for a World Cup tournament.”

Sermanni comes to the U.S. after two stints with Australia totaling eleven years, and enters as the seventh head coach of the team since 1985. He takes over for Pia Sundhage, who is returning to her native Sweden after four successful years with Team USA. Jill Ellis has been coaching in the interim since the Olympics.

A native of Scotland, Sermanni played more than 300 professional matches before landing coaching gigs in Canberra, San Jose, and New York. He led the Matildas to the 1995 World Cup and a top-10 FIFA ranking during his tenure. After finishing out his obligations down under Sermanni will observe the team’s last three U.S. games of 2012 (yet to be announced), and then take over when the new year rolls around.

Jessica-Ennis Hill gives birth to second child

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Great Britain’s two-time Olympic medalist, heptathlete Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, announced the birth of her second child on Instagram inviting her family, friends and fans to welcome Olivia Ennis-Hill to the world.

In her Instagram post, Olivia is holding Ennis-Hill’s three year old son Reggie’s finger as the two siblings meet for the first time.

Reggie meeting his beautiful baby sister 😊 Olivia Ennis-Hill, she was born Saturday night. We are all so in love with her 💕

A post shared by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill (@jessicaennishill) on

After winning heptathlon gold at the 2012 London Olympics and a silver in the same event in Rio in 2016, Ennis-Hill announced her retirement from competition in October of last year.

About that title of Dame, in April at a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace, the Duke of Cambridge (aka Prince William) bestowed damehood upon Ennis-Hill.

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The Ennis-Hill family are darlings of the English press, so expect to see more photos in the future of the now two-time Olympic mom.

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Slovakia’s Sagan first to win three-straight road race world titles

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In a dramatic photo finish, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan became the first man ever to win three consecutive men’s world championship road race titles when he crossed the finish line in Bergen, Norway.

Norway’s Alexander Kristoff rounded the final turn toward home with a slight lead, churning for the finish, but Sagan sprinted up his right side to edge the Norwegian on the final extension at the finish.

An estimated 100,000 spectators watched the riders repeatedly try to establish a lead pack throughout the race which ended with 12 loops through the streets of Bergen, but no one could find a way to make a clean break. Sagan would bide his time in the peloton for much of the race.

Adding even more drama to an already thrilling road race, with 3km left France’s Julian Alaphilippe began pulling away from a bunched peloton, which kicked off the final lap en masse. With Alaphilippe appearing in control, the cameras shooting from the lead pack motorcycle lost power.

Television commentators and everyone watching on TV or online were left in the dark, waiting to catch a glimpse of the lead riders. Tension mounted while viewers were stuck looking at a road void of cyclists near one of the final turns toward the finish.

“Where are the riders at the front of this race!” lamented NBC’s Paul Sherwen.

When the riders finally came into view, Alaphilippe was no longer in the lead, and 25-30 riders were jockeying for position as they rushed to the finish, but it was Sagan who would cross first in the end.

“For the last five kilometers, I said to myself, it’s already done. But it’s unbelievable. This is something special. You saw in the climb, we were in pieces. And at the finish, it all happened in seconds,” Sagan said after the race according to The Guardian.

“I want to dedicate this win to Michele Scarponi, it would have been his birthday tomorrow. And I want to dedicate this victory to my wife. We are expecting a baby.”

Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi was killed after being hit by a van while training near his home in Filottrano back in April. The loss was one that was felt across the entirety of the cycling world.

Michael Matthews of Australia finished the race in third.

Full results can be found here.

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