Missy Franklin

Franklin wins gold, Ledecky smashes world record, Lochte misses podium at world swimming championships

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The U.S. swim team collected six medals at the world championships Tuesday, including titles from Missy FranklinKatie Ledecky in world-record time and Matt Grevers, but Ryan Lochte was not part of the haul.

Franklin, the four-time 2012 Olympic champion, looked smooth handling two swims in Barcelona. She won the 100-meter backstroke, as expected, for her second gold in her second event at worlds. She’s expected to swim eight total, including the 200 freestyle, where she placed second in the semifinals to qualify easily for Wednesday’s final.

Ledecky, 16, won her second gold as well en route to what could be a four-gold week in Barcelona. She erased the oldest swimming world record, Kate Ziegler‘s 1,500-meter mark from 2007, by six seconds in one of the most impressive swims in world championships history. She adds the 1,500 title to a 400 title from Sunday. The 800, where she won the Olympic title, and the 4×200 free relay are still to come.

Grevers and David Plummer gave the U.S. a gold-silver finish in the 100 backstroke. Grevers had won the Olympic title in the event in London, while Plummer didn’t even make the Olympic team in 2012.

All of those medals came after Lochte finished fourth in the 200 freestyle to start the night. Lochte, the 2011 world champion in the event, was pushed off the podium by U.S. teammate Conor Dwyer, who came back from fifth in the final 50 to nab silver behind Olympic champion Yannick Agnel. Lochte, who won silver as part of the 4×100 free relay Sunday, has a planned five more events to go.

Jessica Hardy won the final U.S. medal of the night, bronze in the 100 breaststroke. That event was won by super favorite and Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania, who broke Hardy’s world record in Monday’s semifinals.

Scroll down for full results, analysis and videos of Tuesday’s events.

NBC, Universal Sports broadcast schedule | Live results
Photos: Swimming on world newspaper front pages Tuesday

Men’s 200 Freestyle Final

Results
Gold: Yannick Agnel (FRA) 1:44.20

Silver: Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:45.32
Bronze: Danila Izotov (RUS) 1:45.59
4. Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:45.64
5. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:45.94
6. Robbie Renwick (GBR) 1:46.52
7. Cameron McEvoy (AUS) 1:46.63
8. Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS) 1:47.11

Summary
Agnel, the Olympic champion, led at 50.64 after 100 with Lochte in third. Agnel was up by nearly 1.5 seconds at 150 with Izotov and Lochte in line for second and third. But Dwyer came from behind to surprisingly keep Lochte, the defending world champ, from medaling. Agnel is coached by Michael Phelps‘ former coach, Bob Bowman. Dwyer, 24, wins the first individual major international medal of his career. Lochte, who wore lime green sneakers in his walk out to the deck, is scheduled for five more events in Barcelona. He swims in the 200 individual medley prelims Wednesday morning and semifinals Wednesday evening.

“I just tried to hit my last turn,” Dwyer told Universal Sports. “Michael (Phelps?) was texting me yesterday, ‘Stop taking it out like a little girl.”

Women’s 100 Backstroke Final

Results
Gold: Missy Franklin (USA) 58.42

Silver: Emily Seebohm (AUS) 59.06
Bronze: Aya Terakawa (JPN) 59.23
4. Elizabeth Pelton (USA) 59.45
5. Fu Yuanhui (CHN) 59.61
6. Simona Baumrtova (CZE) 59.84
7. Daryna Zevina (UKR) 1:00.16
8. Belinda Hocking (AUS) 1:00.29

Summary
Franklin,  missed the world record by three tenths of a second with the fastest time in the world this year. There was little doubt she would win this event coming in. She’s now two for two in golds with the 200 freestyle semifinals coming in an hour. She has a Phelps-like eight events planned at this meet. The silver and bronze medalists were the same as in London.

Men’s 50 Breaststroke Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 26.81
2. Damir Dugonjic (SLO) 26.83
3. Joao Gomes (BRA) 27.05
4. Christian Sprenger (AUS) 27.10
5. Johannes Skagius (SWE) 27.16
6. Glenn Snyders (NZL) 27.22
7. Mattia Pesce (ITA) 27.42
8. Giulio Zorzi (RSA) 27.44

Summary
Van der Burgh came close to his world record set during the suit era of 26.67. He’s the Olympic champion in the 100 breast, silver medalist in the 100 breast Monday and the 2011 world bronze medalist in the 50. Consider him the favorite for gold Wednesday. Dugonjic won the first semi after qualifying 11th out of prelims. Sprenger, the 100 breast world champion, is also a medal contender. The 100 breast bronze medalist and second qualifier out of prelims, Felipe Lima of Brazil, failed to make the final.

Women’s 1,500 Freestyle Final

Results
Gold: Katie Ledecky (USA) 15:36.53 WR
Silver: Lotte Friis (DEN) 15:38.88
Bronze: Lauren Boyle (NZL)
15:44.71
4. Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) 15:58.83
5. Xu Danlu (CHN) 16:00.44
6. Kristel Kobrich Schimpl (CHI) 16:01.94
7. Boglarka Kapas (HUN) 16:06.89
8. Chloe Sutton (USA) 16:09.65

Summary
Ledecky, 16, takes the oldest world record (Kate Ziegler, 2007) off the books by more than six seconds after a memorable duel with Friis, the 2011 world champion. Ledecky is now two for two in golds with a great chance of going four for four in golds with the 800 free and 4×200 free relay left, assuming she’s part of that relay.

Men’s 100 Backstroke Final

Results
Gold: Matt Grevers (USA) 52.93
Silver: David Plummer (USA) 53.12
Bronze: Jeremy Stravius (FRA) 53.21
4. Ryosuke Irie (JPN) 53.29
5. Camille Lacourt (FRA) 53.51
6. Ashley Delaney (AUS) 53.55
7. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 53.93
8. Gareth Kean (NZL) 54.25

Summary
Stravius had a .03 lead on the Olympic champion Grevers at the 100-meter turn. Plummer, third at the Olympic trials and the 2013 U.S. champion, came back from outside the top three at the turn for silver. Grevers joins Jeff RouseLenny Krayzelburg and Aaron Peirsol as American men to win Olympic and world titles in the 100 back. Stravius and Lacourt were the co-2011 world champions.

Women’s 200 Freestyle Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Federica Pellegrini (ITA) 1:55.78
2. Missy Franklin (USA) 1:56.05
3. Melanie Costa (ESP) 1:56.19
4. Camille Muffatt (FRA) 1:56.28
5. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 1:56.38
6. Kylie Palmer (AUS) 1:56.53
7. Charlotte Bonnet (FRA) 1:56.63
8. Shannon Vreeland (USA) 1:56.76

Summary
Great swim by Franklin a little over an hour after 100 backstroke final to easily qualify into a deep 200 free final. Pellegrini is the two-time defending world champion and world-record holder. Franklin should be considered the favorite Wednesday, even though Muffat, the Olympic silver medalist, still owns the fastest time of 2013. Vreeland swam a personal best by a second to knock Katinka Hosszu, the 200 individual medley champion, out of the final.

“There’s still so much room for improvement,” Franklin said of her freestyle stroke to Universal Sports.

Men’s 200 Butterfly Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Chad le Clos (RSA) 1:55.33
2. Wu Peng (CHN) 1:55.42
3. Pawel Korzeniowski (POL) 1:55.67
4. Tyler Clary (USA) 1:55.97
4. Chen Yin (CHN) 1:55.97
6. Nikolay Skvortsov (RUS) 1:56.02
7. Leonardo De Deus (BRA) 1:56.06
8. Tom Luchsinger (USA) 1:56.10

Summary
The retired Michael Phelps won every world title in this event since 2005 (when he didn’t swim it at worlds). The new era was ushered in at the Olympics with le Clos winning gold, and he goes into the final as the favorite even though Korzeniowski still owns the fastest time in the world this year. Korzeniowski was the 2005 world champion. Clary owns four overall Olympic and world medals, but none in the butterfly. The final could be unpredictable given the entire field is within eight tenths of a second of each other.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke Final

Results
Gold: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 1:04.42

Silver: Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 1:05.02
Bronze: Jessica Hardy (USA) 1:05.52
4. Rikke Pedersen (DEN) 1:05.93
5. Breeja Larson (USA) 1:06.74
6. Viktoriya Solntseva (UKR) 1:06.81
7. Marina Garcia (ESP) 1:07.08
8. Jennie Johansson (SWE) 1:07.41

Summary
No world record this time for the Lithuanian 16-year-old, who broke Hardy’s world mark in the semifinals Tuesday. She adds the world title to her Olympic gold in 2012. Efimova, fourth at 2011 worlds, was expected to win silver and followed through. Hardy wins her first individual medal in this event since a 2005 silver.

Photos: Swimmers make global newspaper front pages Tuesday

Tony Azevedo retires after 5 Olympics in water polo

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14:  Tony Azevedo of the USA in action during the USA vs Italy Waterpolo group match at Julio de Lamare Aquatics Centre on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
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Tony Azevedo is ending one of the greatest water polo careers in U.S. history, retiring after a record five Olympics at age 35.

Azevedo, the first American to play in five Olympic water polo tournaments, said it was a tough decision but a necessary one to spend time with his family — wife Sara and two kids, according to the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram.

“The traveling and everything for them would be too much,” said Azevedo, who has a 3-year-old boy and a girl born after the Rio Olympics. “It’s time.”

Azevedo was a teenage prodigy dubbed the “Kobe Bryant of water polo.” A ball boy at the 1996 Olympics, Azevedo made a list of about 13 goals as a “slow, fat, chubby kid” who wanted to start on his high school team.

He reached all of those goals except for one — a gold medal. Azevedo made his Olympic debut out of high school in 2000 and then helped lead the U.S. to silver at Beijing 2008, his lone Olympic or world championships medal in 13 combined appearances. He led the U.S. in goals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

“If anyone asks, am I going to miss the swimming? No. Am I going to miss the games? No. Are you going to miss the Olympics? No,” Azevedo said. “I’m going to miss those days of grinding with your teammates.”

Azevedo was one of the top U.S. stories of the Rio Olympics, since he was born in the Brazilian city and lived there for 23 days before moving to Southern California. Azevedo, whose father was a Brazilian national team member, played for a Sao Paulo club team for much of the past Olympic cycle.

The U.S. went 2-3 in Rio, failing to advance out of group play.

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MORE: PyeongChang 2018 daily schedule highlights

Five takeaways from World Alpine Skiing Championships

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Five thoughts after an unpredictable world alpine skiing championships, looking ahead to the Olympics … 

1. Expect Mikaela Shiffrin to be busier in PyeongChang

Shiffrin chose not to enter the super-G or super combined in the first week at worlds, in order to maximize her medal potential in the giant slalom and slalom in the final weekend. It paid off with silver and gold medals.

It seems unlikely that Shiffrin adopts the same, two-race slate in PyeongChang. The 2018 Olympic schedule has the giant slalom and slalom in the first week, followed by the speed events of super-G, downhill and super combined.

Consider also Shiffrin’s mindset going into St. Moritz.

“Right now, I’m going with [only giant slalom and slalom] because I just don’t think that I have quite enough experience in speed [events] to be able to count on winning a medal in those events yet,” she said. “But by the time we go to South Korea next year, maybe I could. I might be in a position where I can at least be in contention for medals in giant slalom, slalom, combined, super-G and maybe even downhill, only because nobody’s ever skied on that track before.”

The women get their first look at the 2018 Olympic venue with World Cup races in two weeks, a downhill and super-G. Shiffrin said before worlds that she planned to travel to South Korea for training but to leave before the races start. She wanted to prioritize the following week’s World Cup giant slalom and slalom in Squaw Valley, Calif.

What’s for sure is we can learn plenty about Shiffrin’s Olympic potential in speed events this weekend. She’s set to race at the World Cup stop in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, which is made up of two combineds and a super-G.

If Shiffrin enters all three events, it will bring her career World Cup start total in downhill, super-G and combined up to 10 races. Her best finish in her first seven starts was fourth in a super-G last month.

“I have a lot of goals there,” Shiffrin said of speed events after bagging her third straight slalom world title Saturday. “Hopefully, some day, I’d like to win in super-G and downhill, but I think it’ll take some time before I can do that consistently. It’s definitely a long road from here. I still feel like I just started.”

2. Lindsey Vonn must heal

Vonn made it clear at worlds that she wasn’t 100 percent recovered from breaking her right upper arm in a Nov. 10 training crash. Her right hand movement was so limited that she couldn’t put her hair in a ponytail, let alone comfortably grip a ski pole at 75 miles per hour.

After skiing out of the opening super-G, troubled by that hand, she duct-taped her glove to her ski pole, placed fifth in the super combined and third in the downhill. She said the bronze medal felt like gold given her latest injury comeback.

Vonn became the oldest woman to earn a world championships medal. In PyeongChang, she can become the oldest woman to earn an Olympic Alpine medal.

Vonn’s biggest hurdle is her own health. A smooth finish to the season, regardless of wins, and a normal offseason is key.

“I want to be in a position at the Olympics where I’m at my top form not just struggling to kind of make it back into the mix,” Vonn said, according to The Associated Press. “It’s a different ballgame when I’m prepared.”

3. U.S. lacks young stars

Worlds went about to form for the entire U.S. team. Shiffrin and Vonn were the only medalists. No man placed in the top 10 for the first time since 1997.

Injuries and, especially, aging are the concerns.

Four-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso, out since November 2015 hip surgery, was on the team but didn’t enter any events. The top U.S. men on the World Cup in recent seasons, Ted Ligety and Steven Nyman, went out with season-ending injuries in January. Bode Miller, who has trained but not raced this season, was in the NBC Sports commentary booth.

All of them are 32 years and older. Maybe some summon one last Olympic medal surge next year, but what about after that?

Shiffrin is the only American younger than age 28 who owns a World Cup victory. U.S. men earned Youth Olympic and junior worlds gold medals last year, but they look destined for 2022.

4. Marcel Hirscher approaches Austrian legends

Hirscher was the best skier in St. Moritz, despite reportedly spending days in bed before his first race. He earned two golds and missed a third by .01 in the super combined.

Only Tony Sailer owns more individual world titles among Austrian men. Hirscher is en route to his sixth straight World Cup overall title this season, which no man from any country has accomplished.

He’s at 43 World Cup wins, 11 shy of the Austrian men’s mark held by Hermann Maier. At 27 years old, Hirscher ought to eclipse it.

But Hirscher’s résumé has a gaping hole — no Olympic gold medal. He was upset in the Sochi Olympic slalom by countryman Mario Matt. And there’s no certainty Hirscher will be a favorite in PyeongChang.

For years, he was the world’s second-best giant slalom skier behind the now-injured Ligety, who could reclaim the throne next season, though that is a tall order.

In slalom, young Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen has been neck and neck with Hirscher but had a poor worlds.

The super combined is the most unpredictable event, but even there Frenchman Alexis Pinturault has won six of the 11 World Cup races since 2013.

5. Surprises in St. Moritz

Most races provided surprise medalists.

In all five men’s events, either the gold or silver medalist had not won a World Cup race in at least two years (or, in three cases, never made a World Cup podium). Women’s medalists in downhill, super-G, giant slalom and the super combined had never won a World Cup race.

New names were going to emerge regardless, considering the list of recent stars not racing (retired Tina Maze, Ligety, Miller, Aksel Lund Svindal) and those who did compete but were slowed or forced out by injury (Vonn, Anna Veith, Gut).

More surprises could be in store in PyeongChang given, as Shiffrin said, it’s a new track for everybody.

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