Dana Vollmer

Meilutyte breaks world record; Franklin, Lochte advance to finals at swim worlds as U.S. wins two more medals

Leave a comment

The second night of the world swimming championships provided a few surprises, but Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin didn’t disappoint, advancing to their first individual finals in Barcelona.

Lochte is the second qualifier into the 200-meter freestyle final Tuesday night. Franklin overcame a slip at the start to gain the top seed into the 100 backstroke final, also Tuesday. Lochte, already with a 4×100 free relay silver, is on the second of a planned seven events this week. Franklin, a gold medalist in the 4×100 free relay, is on No. 2 of eight.

The big international news came in the semifinals of the 100 breaststroke, where Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte broke the world record.

Two Americans medaled among the four finals Monday. Olympic champion Dana Vollmer took bronze in the 100 butterfly, overcoming illness. Eugene Godsoe was a surprise silver medalist in the 50 butterfly, an event that’s not on the Olympic program.

The other finals saw Hungarian Katinka Hosszu win the 200 individual medley (Olympic champion Ye Shiwen was fourth), and Australian favorite Christian Sprenger take the 100 breaststroke.

Scroll down for event-by-event results, video and analysis.

NBC, Universal Sports broadcast schedule | Live results | Swimming on newspaper front pages

Men’s 100 Breaststroke Final

Results
Gold: Christian Sprenger (AUS) 58.79
Silver: Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 58.97
Bronze: Felipe Lima (BRA) 59.65
4. Damir Dugonjic (SLO) 59.68
5. Fabio Scozzoli (ITA) 59.70
6. Kosuke Kitajima (JPN) 59.90
7. Kevin Cordes (USA) 1:00.02
8. Nic Fink (USA) 1:00.10

Summary
The Olympic champion van der Burgh blazed out, making the turn two tenths under world-record pace. He couldn’t sustain it and got ran down by the favored Aussie, who came into the final with the three fastest times in the world this year. Sprenger had finished second to van der Burgh in London. Both Americans are collegians and will only get better.

Women’s 100 Butterfly Final

Results
Gold: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 56.53
Silver: Alicia Coutts (AUS) 56.97
Bronze: Dana Vollmer (USA) 57.24
4. Jeannette Ottesen Gray (DEN) 57.27
5. Katerine Savard (CAN) 57.97
6. Ilaria Bianchi (ITA) 58.11
7. Noemie Ip-Ting Thomas (CAN) 58.13
8. Claire Donahue (USA) 58.30

Summary
Sjostrom took the world title back from Vollmer, who was the reigning Olympic champion and world-record holder. Vollmer had said Sunday she was feeling ill and still has the 50 fly and medley relay left. Sjostrom won the world title as a 15-year-old in 2009 and was the fastest qualifier into the final. Coutts picked up her second silver after bursting into tears following losing the lead on anchor of the 4×100 free relay Sunday.

“I just kept telling myself that it was less than a minute and that my body can pull it together,” Vollmer said on Universal Sports. “Last night I felt horrible.”

Men’s 100 Backstroke Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Matt Grevers (USA) 52.97
2. David Plummer (USA) 53.10
3. Jeremy Stravius (FRA) 53.23
4. Ryosuke Irie (JPN) 53.41
5. Camille Lacourt (FRA) 53.42
6. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 53.68
7. Ashley Delaney (AUS) 53.74
8. Gareth Kean (NZL) 53.81

Summary
The five fastest men in the world this year were among the top six qualifiers into Tuesday’s final. Grevers, the reigning Olympic champion, posted the fastest time in the world this year to win his semifinal. Plummer, who beat Grevers at nationals, is in great shape to medal as well. Stravius, who anchored France to 4×100 free relay gold Sunday, had the world’s fastest time before Grevers took it. Stravius and Lacourt shared the world title in 2011. Both Japanese men could also factor into the medals. It’s a stacked final.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 1:04.45 WR
2. Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 1:05.29
3. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN) 1:05.99
4. Jessica Hardy (USA) 1:06.10
5. Breeja Larson (USA) 1:06.61
6. Viktoria Solnceva (UKR) 1:06.67
7. Jennie Johansson (SWE) 1:06.96
8. Marina Garcia (ESP) 1:07.12

Summary
Meilutyte broke the world record by one tenth, the first world record set this year. Meilutyte, who stunned Rebecca Soni to win Olympic gold at age 15, was .07 off the world record in the prelims. Hardy was the previous world-record holder and looks likely to fight for a bronze. Meilutyte is a huge gold-medal favorite, and Efimova is a clear pick for silver going into Tuesday’s final.

Men’s 50 Butterfly Final

Results
Gold: Cesar Cielo (BRA) 23.01
Silver: Eugene Godsoe (USA) 23.05
Bronze: Frederick Bousquet (FRA) 23.11
4. Nicholas Santos (BRA) 23.21
5. Andriy Hovorov (UKR) 23.22
6. Yauhen Tsurkin (BLR) 23.28
6. Steffen Diebler (GER) 23.28
8. Florent Manaudou (FRA) 23.35

Summary
The 50 fly is not an event contested at the Olympics. Cielo, the world-record holder in the 50 free and 100 free, defended his world title, as expected. But the surprise story was Godsoe, 25, who won silver in his first major international meet after being the last man to qualify into the final.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” Godsoe told Universal Sports. “I knew for the 50 fly, if you have a lane, you have a shot.”

Women’s 100 Backstroke Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Missy Franklin (USA) 59.31
2. Emily Seebohm (AUS) 59.38
3. Elizabeth Pelton (USA) 59.44
4. Aya Terakawa (JPN) 59.80
5. Fu Yuanhui (CHN) 59.82
6. Daryna Zevina (UKR) 59.90
7. Simona Baumrtova (CZE) 59.99
8. Belinda Hocking (AUS) 1:00.24

Summary
Franklin, swimming the second of a potential eight events, slipped off the start but came back to become the top qualifier into Tuesday’s final. Franklin didn’t contest this event at 2011 worlds but won it at the 2012 Olympics. She’s a big favorite for gold after the second fastest in the morning prelims, Katinka Hosszu, scratched the event to focus on the 200 individual medley. Seebohm and Terakawa, the Olympic silver and bronze medalists, will fight for the same medals in the final. As will Pelton, who just missed making the Olympic team by finishing third in two events at trials.

“I totally slipped,” Franklin told Universal Sports. “Definitely not what we want, but that’s good that it happened now and not tomorrow. … Even though it happens, you just have to continue on like you’re swimming a normal race. We’ve kind of prepared for something like that to happen.”

Men’s 200 Freestyle Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Danila Izotov (RUS) 1:45.84
2. Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:46.06
3. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:46.87
4. Robbie Renwick (GBR) 1:46.95
5. Yannick Agnel (FRA) 1:47.01
6. Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:47.05
7. Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS) 1:47.21
8. Cameron McEvoy (CHN) 1:47.31

Summary
Lochte, the defending world champion, is easily into the final of his first individual event at worlds — and second event of a planned seven. The slight edge as favorite may have to go to Izotov, who also owns the world’s fastest time of 2013 (1:44.87). Hagino qualified for two finals Monday and already has a silver from the 400 free. Agnel, the champion in London, has yet to show his Olympic form in Barcelona, having swum a poor leadoff leg in Sunday’s 4×100 free relay.

“It felt kind of smooth,” Lochte told Universal Sports. “I know there’s a lot left. I kind of didn’t push myself until the last 75 (meters).”

Women’s 200 Individual Medley Final

Results
Gold: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2:07.92
Silver: Alicia Coutts (AUS) 2:09.39
Bronze: Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) 2:09.45
4. Ye Shiwen (CHN) 2:10.48
5. Caitlin Leverenz (USA) 2:10.73
6. Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) 2:10.95
7. Sophie Allen (GBR) 2:11.32
8. Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (GBR) 2:12.03

Summary
The Olympic gold medalist and defending world champion Ye was lucky to get fourth. She was eighth after 150 meters. Remember, Ye came under scrutiny at the 2012 Olympics for swimming a faster final 50 meters in her 400 IM victory than Lochte did in his. Hosszu opted out of a potential medal in the 100 back to focus on this event. It paid off big time. Coutts won her second silver of the night.

Video: Michael Phelps answers questions on comeback speculation

World champion wrestler from Russia cedes Olympic spot after brawl

Viktor Lebedev
Getty Images
Leave a comment

MOSCOW (AP) — A two-time wrestling World champion said Tuesday he is giving up his place at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after a brawl marred a Russian qualifying tournament.

Viktor Lebedev was competing against Ismail Musukayev in a semifinal bout at the Russian nationals on Friday when Musukayev was angered by refereeing calls against him and shoved Lebedev.

Musukayev’s supporters and coaches charged into the ring, prompting a scuffle that was broken up by riot police (video here). Wrestlers from Musukayev’s home region of Dagestan then boycotted the tournament in protest at the standard of refereeing, causing a nationwide scandal.

Lebedev told local news outlet News.Ykt on Tuesday that he is withdrawing from the Olympic team as “a matter of honor” because he feels officials gave him favorable calls in front of his home crowd in the Siberian city of Yakutsk.

“Let’s say I win Olympic gold. I don’t doubt that I could win it,” he said. “Even if I were to climb onto that podium with the gold, I wouldn’t have those emotions. I wouldn’t be especially happy that my dream had come true.”

Lebedev said Musukayev had been wronged but insisted his opponent had been wrong to start the brawl. “You can’t behave that way regardless of how the judging goes for you,” he said.

Lebedev can be replaced on the team by another Russian in the 57kg class, though he was the favorite to go to the Rio Olympics after winning World Championships bronze and European Games gold last year.

Wrestling is traditionally a source of great pride for many of Russia’s ethnic minority groups, including in Lebedev’s Arctic home region of Yakutia and in Dagestan, a province in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus otherwise known for its Islamist insurgency.

Competition for a place on the Russian national team, one of the world’s best, is fierce and in recent years various domestic competitions have been marred by brawls between fans from different regions and ethnic groups.

Earlier this month, a wrestler from Chechnya hit his opponent after the end of the bout and some of his team, including a man with a pistol, rushed into the ring in support.

MORE: Eight Russians positive in 2012 Olympic retests

Zika, Rio’s readiness, new sports on IOC’s meeting agenda

Olympic flag
Getty Images
Leave a comment

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — With the Opening Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro just over two months away, Olympic leaders have plenty of troubling issues to deal with this week.

The Zika virus, unfinished venues and political chaos in Brazil. A flood of positive drug tests from the past two Summer Games. Fresh accusations of state-sponsored doping in Russia. Vote-buying allegations involving Tokyo’s winning 2020 bid.

All these challenges and more will be on the table when the International Olympic Committee executive board holds a three-day meeting starting Wednesday in Lausanne. It’s the last meeting before the IOC gathers in Rio on the eve of South America’s first Olympics.

The policy-making board will also name the team of Olympic refugee athletes for Rio, consider the proposed five additional sports for the Tokyo Games, review the bidding for the 2024 Olympics and nominate several new IOC members.

“I can’t recall an executive board meeting with so many issues on the agenda,” IOC vice president Craig Reedie told The Associated Press. “There is a whole range of difficult issues facing the Olympic movement, led by Rio.”

A look at what’s keeping the IOC busy:

RIO: READY OR NOT?

Rio organizing committee president Carlos Nuzman will give his latest update Thursday on preparations for the Games, which open Aug. 5. The buildup has been dogged by political, economic and public health crises.

Last week, a group of 150 scientists suggested the Olympics should be postponed or moved because of the outbreak of Zika, which has been linked to severe birth defects. But the World Health Organization said there was “no public health justification” for scrapping the Games, and Olympic officials have repeatedly said they will go ahead.

Some leading athletes have expressed concerns about going to Rio. Spanish NBA star Pau Gasol said Monday he may skip the Games because of the Zika threat and that other Spanish athletes were also considering staying away.

Meanwhile, Dilma Rousseff has been suspended as Brazil’s president pending a Senate impeachment trial, with Michel Temer taking over as acting president. A final vote on removing Rousseff could come on Aug. 2 — three days before the opening of the Games.

Brazil is dealing with its worst economic recession since the 1930s, leading to the slashing of Olympic budgets.

Some sports venues are behind schedule. UCI President Brian Cookson said he remains “very, very concerned” about delays to the velodrome, and the city said Monday it is changing contractors to take over the construction. ITF President David Haggerty said “an awful lot of work” is needed to get the tennis venue ready for the Games.

Water pollution remains a concern for Olympic sailing, rowing and open-water swimming events. Crime is a worry: Three Spanish sailors were recently robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight while training in Rio.

DOPING, DOPING, DOPING

Reedie, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, will deliver a report that will include an update on the agency’s independent probe into allegations by Moscow’s former drug-testing lab director, Grigory Rodchenkov, that he operated a state-backed doping scheme for Russian athletes that involved switching tainted urine samples for clean ones during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Russia’s track and field athletes remain suspended from global competition, with the IAAF to decide on June 17 whether to keep or lift the ban for the Rio Games.

The IOC has recorded 55 positive results in retests of Olympic doping samples — 32 from the 2008 Beijing Games and 23 from the 2012 London Games. The tests were designed to catch cheats who might compete in Rio. More positives are expected.

The Russian Olympic Committee said 14 of its athletes from Beijing and eight from London tested positive. The IOC is retesting the “B” samples before announcing sanctions and medal reallocations.

NEW SPORTS

The IOC board will examine the proposed addition of baseball-softball, surfing, skateboarding, karate and sports climbing for the Tokyo Games. The sports, which would add 18 events and 474 athletes, were recommended for inclusion last year by Tokyo organizers.

While some officials have expressed concern over whether skateboarding has a unified governing body, the board is likely to recommend the five sports for inclusion as a package, which will go to a vote of the full IOC at its session in Rio before the Games.

TROUBLE IN TOKYO

After controversies over the main stadium, venue changes and the Olympic emblem, Japanese organizers are now embroiled in a corruption probe.

Leaders of the Tokyo bid acknowledged making payments, before and after the 2013 vote, totaling about $2 million to a Singapore company linked to Papa Massata Diack, son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack. The younger Diack is the subject of an Interpol wanted notice. Lamine Diack, a former IOC member, has been accused by French prosecutors of taking more than $1 million in bribes to cover up Russian doping cases.

Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda, who headed Tokyo’s bid, said the payments were for legitimate consultancy work. The committee has opened an investigation; the IOC says it remains a civil party to the French probe.

REFUGEE TEAM

On Friday, Bach will announce some feel-good news — the names of the refugee athletes who will compete as a team under the Olympic flag in Rio. A total of 43 refugees were originally considered for the team, including a teenage female swimmer from Syria, long-distance runners from central and western Africa, and judo and taekwondo competitors from Congo, Iran and Iraq.

While Bach initially said he expected the final list to comprise between five and 10 athletes, officials say the number could reach 12 to 15.

MORE: Gary Bettman not bullish on NHL participation in 2018 Olympics