Missy Franklin

Missy Franklin wins 200 freestyle world title; swimming worlds Wednesday recap

Leave a comment

Missy Franklin remained golden at the world swimming championships by winning the 200-meter freestyle Wednesday.

The four-time Olympic champion is now three for three in golds in Barcelona with four events to go (cutting the 50 backstroke, which she scratched out of). No woman has won seven medals — let alone seven golds — at one worlds, and Franklin, 18, is in great shape to pull it off.

Franklin held off world-record holder Federica Pellegrini to win the 200 free in 1 minute, 54.81 seconds, an event in which she missed bronze by .01 at the London Olympics. She’s slated for the 100 freestyle prelims and semifinals and the 4×200 free relay finals Thursday.

The other several-event star of USA Swimming, Ryan Lochte, returned to form Wednesday. Lochte qualified first into Thursday’s final of the 200 individual medley, an event he’s won at the last two world championships.

Lochte said he felt like “a new man” in his third of a potential seven events at the meet. He swam an average leg on the U.S.’ silver medal-winning 4×100 free relay team Sunday and took fourth in the 200 free Tuesday.

In Wednesday’s other finals, China’s Sun Yang asserted his distance dominance by winning the 800 freestyle, but American Michael McBroom surprised with the best swim of his life for silver. South African Olympic champions swept the 200 butterfly (Chad le Clos) and the 50 breaststroke (Cameron van der Burgh).

Americans Nathan Adrian and Jimmy Feigen led the qualifiers into Thursday’s 100 freestyle final, where they’ll have a showdown with Australian James Magnussen.

Scroll down for full results, analysis and video of Wednesday’s events.

NBC, Universal Sports broadcast schedule | Live results 

Men’s 100 Freestyle Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Nathan Adrian (USA) 47.95
2. Jimmy Feigen (USA) 48.07
3. Marcelo Chierighini (BRA) 48.11
4. Vladimir Morozov (RUS) 48.20
4. James Magnussen (AUS) 48.20
6. Fabien Gilot (FRA) 48.21
7. Cameron McEvoy (AUS) 48.43
8. Luca Dotto (ITA) 48.46

Summary
The Olympic champion Adrian leads the qualifiers into Thursday’s final, followed, surprisingly, by his teammate Feigen. Feigen swam anchor for the U.S. in the 4×100 free relay Sunday and lost the lead to France. Magnussen, the defending world champion, is still the fastest man in the world this year, four tenths faster than Adrian, actually. Morozov is the second fastest this year. Gilot was by far the fastest relay split in the 4×100, so watch out for him, too.

“James and I are friends,” Adrian told Universal Sports. “I think it’s a very friendly rivalry, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to win.”

Women’s 50 Backstroke Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Fu Yuanhui (CHN) 27.40
2. Aya Terakawa (JPN) 27.70
3. Mercedes Peris Minguet (ESP) 27.71
4. Zhao Jing (CHN) 27.87
5. Etiene Medeiros (BRA) 27.89
6. Rachel Bootsma (USA) 27.93
7. Lauren Quigley (GBR) 28.02
8. Georgia Davies (GBR) 28.05

Summary
This event is not on the Olympic program. Franklin scratched this event after qualifying 13th into the semifinals Wednesday morning to concentrate on the 200 free final. Franklin was the 2011 world bronze medalist. Fu, the youngest semifinalist at age 17, is about as big of a favorite for gold as you can have in a 50-meter race with three of the four fastest times in the world this year. Terakawa is the only woman who has been within three tenths of Fu in 2013. Peris Minguet set a new national record in winning the first semifinal. Bootsma, in her only event at these worlds, has a shot at a medal.

Men’s 200 Butterfly Final

Results
Gold: Chad le Clos (RSA) 1:54.32

Silver: Pawel Korzeniowski (POL) 1:55.01
Bronze: Wu Peng (CHN) 1:55.09
4. Chen Yin (CHN) 1:55.47
5. Tom Luchsinger (USA) 1:55.70
6. Nikolay Skvortsov (RUS) 1:56.02
7. Tyler Clary (USA) 1:56.34
8. Leonardo De Deus (BRA) 1:56.44

Summary
Le Clos, 21, follows his Olympic title with a world championship, forcefully splashing the water after touching first. He was one tenth behind Korzeniowski after 150 meters. Korzeniowski earned his third career world medal in the 200 fly. Wu won his fourth world medal in the event. The retired Michael Phelps had won the previous three world titles in this, his signature race.

“I was very nervous coming into his race because I was the favorite of course,” le Clos told Universal Sports. “Having Michael there (when Phelps was competing) almost lifts you, to be honest. … I’m in awe of him, every time I see him. … Knowing that he was watching in the stands means a lot to me.”

Women’s 200 Freestyle Final

Results
Gold: Missy Franklin (USA) 1:54.81

Silver: Federica Pellegrini (ITA) 1:55.14
Bronze: Camille Muffat (FRA) 1:55.72
4. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 1:56.63
5. Melanie Costa Schmid (ESP) 1:57.04
6. Kylie Palmer (AUS) 1:57.14
7. Shannon Vreeland (USA) 1:57.41
8. Charlotte Bonnet (FRA) 1:57.56

Summary
Franklin is now three for three in golds at the world championships with four events to go. No woman has won seven medals at a single worlds. She took the lead between 50 and 100 meters, was under world-record pace at 100 and held on amid a strong late charge by Pellegrini, who was bidding to become the first woman to win three straight world titles in the same event. It’s the biggest freestyle win of Franklin’s career. She placed fourth in the 200 free at the Olympics, missing bronze by .01.

“This feels absolutely incredible,” Franklin said. “I knew Federica was definitely going to come back strong. … I was just trying to push myself as hard as I could to try to stay out front.”

Men’s 50 Breaststroke Final

Results
Gold: Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 26.77

Silver: Christian Sprenger (AUS) 26.78
Bronze: Giulio Zorzi (RSA) 27.04
4. Damir Dugonjic (SLO) 27.05
5. Joao Gomes (BRA) 27.20
6. Glenn Snyders (NZL) 27.21
7. Johannes Skagius (SWE) 27.84
8. Mattia Pesce (ITA) 27.53

Summary
This event is not contested at the Olympics, and it was the first final this week without an American in the field. Van der Burgh, the Olympic champ in the 100, was one tenth of a second off his world record. He won by the smallest margin possible, .01, for his second world title in the 50 breast (2009). Sprenger adds silver to his gold in the 100 earlier this week. South Africa has now won three medals Wednesday.

Women’s 200 Butterfly Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) 2:06.53
2. Camille Adams (USA) 2:06.75
3. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2:06.85
4. Natsumi Hoshi (JPN) 2:07.18
4. Liu Zige (CHN) 2:07.18
6. Zszuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) 2:07.31
7. Jiao Liuyang (CHN) 2:07.70
8. Judit Ignacio Sorribes (ESP) 2:07.87

Summary
Belmonte Garcia, the London silver medalist, could win the first world or Olympic gold by a Spaniard born in Spain. American-born and Russian-born Spaniards previously took titles. Adams, fifth at the 2012 Olympics, won the first semifinal in a time two tenths off her personal best. Her chances of a medal took a big jump with that clocking. Hosszu, the 200 IM champion two days ago, is also a medal threat. As are Liu and Jiao, the last two Olympic champions.

Men’s 200 Individual Medley Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:57.07
2. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:57.38
3. Laszlo Cseh (HUN) 1:57.41
2. Thiago Pereira (BRA) 1:57.52
5. Wang Shun (CHN) 1:57.80
3. Daiya Seto (JPN) 1:58.03
4. Daniel Tranter (AUS) 1:58.10
5. Simon Sjodin (SWE) 1:58.17

Summary
Lochte looked very impressive, shutting it down in the final few meters and still easily qualifying first. If he keeps that form Thursday, there’s no doubt he’ll win his first gold of these world championships. Lochte, the two-time defending world champ in this event, already has a silver from the 4×100 free relay and took fourth in the 200 free. His U.S. teammate, Conor Dwyer, failed to make the final after getting silver in that 200 free. Hagino, Cseh and Pereira are in the mix for silver and bronze.

“The first two days of competition, I was too worried about winning and too worried about the time I was gonna go, and that’s not me,” Lochte said. “I woke up this morning, felt like a new man. I was having fun, wasn’t caring about the time I went.”

Men’s 800 Freestyle Final

Results
Gold: Sun Yang (CHN) 7:41.36
Silver: Michael McBroom (USA) 7:43.60
Bronze: Ryan Cochrane (CAN) 7:43.70
4. Connor Jaeger (USA) 7:44.26
5. Jordan Harrison (AUS) 7:47.38
6. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) 7:50.29
7. Pal Joensen (FAR) 7:52.57
8. Ous Mellouli (TUN) 7:52.79

Summary
The super favorite Sun defended his world title, letting out a nice yell, pumping his arms and beating his chest, and is now two for two in golds in Barcelona. He has the 1,500 freestyle left, where he holds the world record. McBroom and Jaeger both broke the American record. McBroom won his first major international medal by setting a personal record by four seconds.

Usain Bolt learns Russian (video)

Pressure on Ashley Wagner at world championships

Getty Images
1 Comment

Ashley Wagner‘s four-year plan has her peaking in 2018, not at the 2017 World Championships, but many call Wagner to carry the U.S. women at worlds in Helsinki next week.

“Next year is the year that I am, like, in it to kill,” she said. “This year is maintaining. This year is my chance to work out all of the kinks, figure out where I want to be mentally going into next year.”

Wagner, the 2016 World silver medalist, is the only skater of three American women on this year’s worlds team with prior worlds experience. She is the only one ranked higher than 20th in the world this season.

Normally, figure skating is an individual sport. But next week, the top two U.S. women’s results must add up to no greater than 13 (Wagner places third, and either U.S. champion Karen Chen or U.S. bronze medalist Mariah Bell places 10th or better, for example).

If not, the U.S. will have two rather than the maximum three women’s entries at the PyeongChang Olympics. The U.S. had three spots at four of the last five Olympics.

Anything less than three in 2018 would mean the U.S. is not keeping up with world power Russia and maybe even Canada and Japan. And it becomes that much harder for Wagner and everyone else to make the Olympic team.

“I know that I have a huge role in these three spots at these world championships,” Wagner said. “I need to set this team up as good as I possibly can, so that way the pressure’s off the other girls.”

The others are the 17-year-old Chen, the surprise winner at the U.S. Championships in January, who then placed 12th at February’s Four Continents Championships, an event that doesn’t include Europeans. Chen said she suffered from nerves, a flu and foot pain caused by broken boots at Four Continents.

And Bell, who took silver at October’s Skate America behind training partner Wagner. Bell, 20, finished sixth at Four Continents at the 2018 Olympic venue in South Korea, where she competed with an amount of pressure she had never before felt.

Of skaters entered at worlds, Bell has the 10th-best total score this season. The skater with the 12th-best total in the worlds field is more than nine points shy of Bell. Chen comes in seeded 16th.

“The tough thing about this worlds is that we have two rookies going into a very stressful event,” Wagner said. “So these two girls are in a really tough position, and I really feel for them. It’s kind of like you have to buckle up and deal with this, and that’s like your only option.”

There is reason for optimism, should Wagner put up something close to the performance of her life from last year’s worlds, where she became the first U.S. women’s medalist in a decade.

“Success in Finland is getting onto that podium,” Wagner said.

But Wagner is nearing the end of her (so far) least impressive season in probably six years. She is seeded eighth at worlds by this season’s top international scores.

She failed to qualify for December’s Grand Prix Final for the first time since 2011. She was beaten at nationals despite longtime rival Gracie Gold underperforming.

However, Wagner’s goal at nationals wasn’t to win, but to finish in the top three to make the worlds team. She called the runner-up result “perfect.” She focused the last two months on firming up the areas where she lost points.

“Even though to some on the outside looking in, it wouldn’t look like it was the most successful season for me,” Wagner said. “I think at the end of the day this season has been exactly what I needed it to be.”

The favorite in Helsinki is clearly Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva, who hasn’t lost since November 2015 and can become the first repeat world champion since Michelle Kwan in 2001.

Wagner said she hasn’t watched any of Medvedeva’s programs this season.

“The only thing that I know about is her long program music is not my favorite piece of music,” Wagner said, alluding to Medvedeva’s choice of sound from “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” a 2011 film relating to the 9/11 attacks. The music includes, at one point, the voice of George W. Bush declaring that two airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center.

But Wagner was effusive of Medvedeva, the latest in a string of Russian Olympic and world champions dating to the Sochi Olympics.

“She is a set bar that everybody is chasing after, and I think in years past that bar was always changing,” Wagner said. “Now it’s one set thing I know exactly the quality of skating I have to reach, I know exactly the technical program that I have to be able to accomplish.”

Wagner, a seasoned 25 years old, noted a key point this week. She is the only active women’s skater in her class, with her length of experience, who hasn’t taken a break.

Italian Carolina Kostner is 30, but she’s competing at worlds for the first time since 2014, following two seasons off. Japan’s three-time world champion Mao Asada is 26, but she took a season off after Sochi and this year failed to make the worlds team.

Wagner reflected on her world silver medal and her three national championships. She knows they mean nothing next week.

“I have to prove myself all over again,” she said.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Meryl Davis, Charlie White on why they’re not defending Olympic title

NBC Sports researcher Sarah Hughes contributed to this report.

More Russians retroactively disqualified from 2012 Olympics

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MOSCOW (AP) — Three Russian athletes have been disqualified from the 2012 Olympics after failing doping retests, the country’s track and field federation said.

Hammer throwers Maria Bespalova and Gulfiya Khanafeeva and triple jumper Viktoria Valyukevich were all disqualified. None were medalists.

The disqualifications of Bespalova and Khanafeeva mean all three Russian women who competed in the hammer throw in 2012 have tested positive for doping. Tatyana Lysenko was the original winner, but was stripped of her gold medal in October.

Valyukevich, a former European indoor champion, was eighth in the triple jump at the 2012 Olympics and finished two places ahead of Russian teammate Tatyana Lebedeva, who has been stripped of two medals from the 2008 Beijing Games for doping.

In Tuesday’s statement, Russian officials didn’t say which substances were involved. The International Olympic Committee had no immediate comment.

It is the third time Khanafeeva, who won European championship silver in 2005, has been found guilty of a doping offense. She previously served bans in 2002 for a positive test and in 2008 for providing someone else’s urine in a drug test sample.

Bespalova is currently serving a four-year ban after testing positive for a banned steroid in 2015.

Since the IOC started retesting samples from the 2008 and 2012 Games last year, more than 30 Russians in various sports have tested positive. That makes them the largest group out of more than 100 positive tests. Seven more Russians have been disqualified for other doping offenses.

Russia has lost 26 Olympic medals as a result, most of them in track and field. Many of the cases involve turinabol, a substance which former Moscow anti-doping laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov has admitted supplying to athletes in a steroid cocktail.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Russians face exclusion for not returning Olympic medals