Missy Franklin

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

2 Comments

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

Simone Biles among Time Person of the Year finalists

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 07: Simone Biles of the United States competes on the uneven bars during Women's qualification for Artistic Gymnastics on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Simone Biles is one of 11 finalists for Time‘s Person of the Year.

Time‘s Person of the Year, named annually since 1927, has never been an individual athlete or team. Tennis player Billie Jean King was part of the “American Women” group named in 1975.

In 2015, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion Caitlyn Jenner was one of eight finalists.

The Person of the Year “is the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year.”

Biles, 19, is the only teenager finalist and is six years younger than the youngest-ever solo Person of the Year, Charles Lindbergh in 1927. Biles won four gold medals and one bronze in Rio, the largest collection for a female gymnast at one Olympics since 1988.

The Person of the Year will be announced on Wednesday morning on “Today.”

Here are the finalists, in alphabetical order:

Simone Biles
Hillary Clinton
CRISPR Scientists
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Nigel Farage
The Flint Whistleblowers
Beyoncé Knowles
Narendra Modi
Vladimir Putin
Donald Trump
Mark Zuckerberg

VIDEO: Biles shows Stephen Colbert how to stick the landing

Tonga flag bearer Pita Taufatofua eyes 2018 Winter Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08:  (BROADCAST - OUT) Pita Taufatofua of Tonga poses for a photo on the NBC Today show set at Copacabana Beach on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tonga’s famous flag bearer, Pita Taufatofua, said he wants to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics as a cross-country skier.

“I’m going to be taking my Olympic dream one step further,” Taufatofua said in an Olympic Channel video published Monday. “My goal is to let people see, if I can do it, they can do it. The goal is to hunt down that Olympic medal at the 2018 Olympics.”

Sure enough, Taufatofua already has an International Ski Federation bio page. The federation lists one other Tongan cross-country skier with a bio, Makeleta Stephan, who was last of 93 finishers in a 2015 World Championships event.

In 2014, Bruno Banani became the first Tongan to compete at a Winter Olympics, placing 32nd in men’s luge. He was later the subject of a documentary. Banani gained fame starting in early 2012, when the story of his name was widely publicized. Banani’s real name is Fuahea Semi, but he changed it to the name of his German clothing sponsor as a marketing ploy.

Taufatofua lost his opening Olympic taekwondo match by mercy rule in Rio, two weeks after his his shirtless, oiled-up appearance in the Opening Ceremony.

Judging by the Olympic Channel video, Taufatofua’s chances of qualifying for the Olympics look better for Tokyo 2020 than Pyeongchang 2018.

PHOTOS: Tongan flag bearer steals show at Opening Ceremony