Missy Franklin

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

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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.

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Ghana, Nigeria skeleton racers set for Olympic berths

Akwasi Frimpong, Simdele Adeagbo
Cocoa/Candice Ward photography
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New Olympic bobsled and skeleton criteria that helped Nigeria qualify female bobsledders for Pyeongchang should also get skeleton racers from Ghana and Nigeria into the Winter Games, experts believe.

Ghana’s Akwasi Frimpong is ranked 104th in the world men’s skeleton rankings. The Olympic skeleton field will be 30 men.

But Frimpong is all but assured an Olympic berth when the field is announced in mid-January because he is the only ranked slider from Africa, bobsled and skeleton officials said.

Same for Nigerian Simidele Adeagbo, who triple jumped at the 2004 and 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, in the women’s skeleton field.

Provided Adeagbo completes one more qualifying race, which she is expected to do January in Lake Placid. She is ranked 81st in the world.

Olympic bobsled and skeleton qualifying now grants the top athlete per continent a near-guaranteed Olympic place per event. So long as they complete five races on three different tracks in the last two seasons (and three races on two tracks this season).

Under previous rules, Frimpong and Adeagbo needed to be ranked in the top 60 and top 45 in the world, respectively, to make the Olympics. Not anymore.

They could become the second and third Africans to compete in Olympic skeleton (Tyler Botha, South Africa, 2006).

Frimpong, 31, finished 44th out of 44 sliders at last season’s world championship in Koenigssee, Germany, more than four seconds behind the top men on each of his three runs.

He has raced on the lower-level North American Cup this season, finishing at or near the bottom in Park City, Calgary and Whistler.

Frimpong rejects “Cool Runnings” comparisons to the Jamaican bobsled team.

“I’m not out there to make a Disney movie,” he said. “I’m not there to be mediocre. I’m there to compete, but I also know my boundaries and limits. My wife told me when you go to the Games, you’re going to be the least experienced athlete. You have to accept that part. My plan has always been 2022 to win a medal for Africa.”

Frimpong moved from Ghana to the Netherlands at age 8 and became a junior champion sprinter. He flew to the U.S. for college, sprinting for Utah Valley University in 2010 and 2011.

“Holy cow, 99 percent white people,” Frimpong said of moving to Utah, according to the Deseret News. “And of course I was invited right away to come to church. I went, because you know what, they had food.”

Then he got injured and switched to bobsled, joining the Dutch national team as a push athlete after missing the London Olympics on the track. Frimpong raced in one World Cup but did not make the 2014 Winter Olympic team.

Frimpong said he then became the top salesman in the U.S. for Kirby Vacuum Company.

“I sold 32 Kirbys in 28 days,” he said.

Frimpong took one more foray into sports in 2015, becoming a skeleton racer and this time competing for his native Ghana. He confirmed this story from the Herald in Scotland:

He was born in Ghana and was raised in his formative years by his grandma, Minka. She brought up 10 children, including Frimpong, in a room measuring only four metres squared. They were so poor that they only had a full egg or entire bottle of Coca Cola on Christmas day.

Frimpong can become the second Winter Olympian from Ghana, joining Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong (aka the “Snow Leopard”), who was 47th out of 48 finishers in the 2010 Olympic men’s slalom.

Adeagbo, 36, can join the bobsledders as Nigeria’s first Winter Olympians.

She was born in Toronto to Nigerian parents. Adeagbo said she moved back to Nigeria when she was 2 months old — her dad needed to go back for requirements to become a university professor — and lived there until she was 6.

Then they moved to Memphis. Then Newfoundland. Finally, to Kentucky — high school near Louisville and college at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where she triple jumped.

Adeagbo graduated in 2003 and has worked for Nike ever since.

Including while triple jumping in 2008, when she set a personal best by a foot in the U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying round and ranked third in the nation for the year. But she was eight inches shy of the Olympic qualifying standard. She retired.

Adeagbo continued with Nike in Oregon — once performing as a Serena Williams body double for a press kit — until taking a new job with the company in 2013 in South Africa. She has been a marketing manager for Nike’s Africa division for the last four years.

About this time last year, Adeagbo learned of the Nigerian bobsled team seeking to become the first Olympians from Africa in the sport. All three women on the team are former NCAA track and field athletes like Adeagbo.

“I was immediately intrigued,” she said. “I had heard about track and field athletes making the move to bobsled [Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams in Sochi, most recently] and I thought, hmm, that would be interesting.”

Adeagbo was told the bobsled team was pretty set and an immediate opportunity to make it for the Olympics in a year would be difficult. She let it simmer for a few months. In July, she flew from Johannesburg to an open combine tryout for the team in Houston.

The Nigerian federation called her back for her first on-ice sliding camp in Canada in September. She tried both bobsled and skeleton.

“By the end of the week I started to kind of see the opportunity was really in skeleton,” she said. “In terms of bobsled, the timing wasn’t quite right to integrate into the team.”

Adeagbo raced for the first time on Nov. 12 — three months before she may slide in Pyeongchang. She called her introduction to zooming over 50 miles per hour head-first down an icy chute “violent and turbulent.”

In four North American Cup races this fall, Adeagbo finished in last place every time, an average of about six seconds per run behind the winner.

“My goal [at first] was to just not scream bloody murder as I’m going down,” she said. “Within a few runs, your brain somehow catches up with the speed at which you’re going, and it starts slowing down.

“It’s been a lot of learning in a short amount of time with a very lofty goal.”

Adeagbo said that from the beginning she was told it takes eight years to develop into a world-class skeleton athlete, if it happens at all. She was also told that the Pyeongchang Olympics were a possibility for her given the continental representation spot.

“I think the sport should be as global and universal as possible,” Adeagbo said. “That’s what sport is about.”

She said the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation has not communicated to her whether she is safely in the Olympic field. Quota spots will be announced in mid-January for all countries.

“Based on different conversations and just kind of what I’ve observed in the sport and looking at the [ranking] list, it’s highly probable that if I do what I need to do, which is get that minimum requirement [of one more race], that I should be in for sure,” Adeagbo said.

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MORE: 100 Olympic storylines 100 days out from Pyeongchang

Akwasi Frimpong can be followed on Twitter — @FrimpongAkwasi. Simidele Adeagbo can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @SimiSleighs.

U.S. Olympic short track trials preview, broadcast schedule

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Olympic medalists J.R. Celski and Katharine Reutter-Adamek headline the U.S. Olympic short track speed skating trials, live on NBC, NBCSN and streaming on NBCOlympics.com from Friday through Sunday.

The top five men and three women from trials in Kearns, Utah, will make up the U.S. Olympic team for Pyeongchang.

The best Olympic medal prospects lie with the men, four of whom teamed up in November to break the 5000m relay world record. The only U.S. speed skating medal in Sochi — a silver — came in that relay.

Celski anchored that relay, earning his third Olympic medal. Celski debuted at the Winter Games in 2010, earning bronzes in the 1500m and the relay five months after needing 60 stitches to sew a left-leg gash caused by his own skate blade in a fall.

He’s also the only U.S. skater to earn an individual World Cup medal in the last 13 months, a pair of bronzes.

Each day at trials, the men and women will twice skate rounds of one of three individual Olympic distances (1500m on Friday, 500m on Saturday and 1000m on Sunday).

For the men, the top two skaters each day are in line to make the Olympic team, unless that results in six different men.

In that case, the runner-up skater with the lowest standing combining all six races will not make the Olympic team. Basically, if and when a skater gets top two in two distances, everyone in the top two for all distances is safe.

If taking the top two each day results in fewer than five different men, then the Olympic team will be rounded out by the next highest-ranked skaters in overall standings combining all six races.

For the women, the winner of each distance will make the Olympic team. If a woman wins multiple distances, then second-ranked skaters in each distance come into play, with priority given to the runner-up with the highest ranking combining all six races.

If the same two women finish first and second in every distance, then the final Olympic spot will go to the third-ranked woman in the 1500m, the only event where the U.S. earned the maximum three Olympic spots.

The U.S. women earned three Olympic spots rather than the maximum five because they failed to qualify a relay for the Olympics for the second straight time.

If Celski is the men’s favorite, then John-Henry Krueger is right behind.

Krueger was the No. 2 U.S. man behind Celski in the fall World Cup season and is the only U.S. skater other than Celski to earn an individual World Cup medal in this Olympic cycle.

The 22-year-old based in the Netherlands was favored to make the 2014 Olympic team but contracted swine flu the week of trials and withdrew during the event.

Celski is the only man with Olympic experience competing this week.

The U.S. women are in the midst of a 5 1/2-year World Cup medal drought, but they have experience and a bright young talent.

Reutter-Adamek was the world’s No. 2 skater in 2011 but retired in 2013 due to back and hip injuries. She came out of retirement in 2016 and broke her American record in the 1000m at her second World Cup.

She missed this fall’s first two World Cups due to a January concussion but was the top American at the most recent World Cup in the 1000m and 1500m.

Jessica Kooreman won the 2014 Olympic Trials — and was fourth in the 1000m in Sochi — and looks primed to make her second Olympic team at age 34. She ranks first or second among Americans this season in all three Olympic distances.

Then there’s Maame Biney, a 17-year-old who moved to the D.C. area from Ghana with her father at age 5.

Biney is the top U.S. woman internationally in the 500m after breaking out in August by winning the overall standings in the U.S.’ World Cup qualifier. She also placed seventh overall at last season’s junior worlds, including a bronze in the 500m.

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U.S. Olympic Short Track Trials

Day Time (ET) Events Network
Friday 6:45-8 p.m. 1500m rounds STREAM LINK
8:30-10 p.m. 1500m finals NBCSN | STREAM LINK
Saturday 12-1:45 p.m. 500m rounds STREAM LINK
2:30-4 p.m. 500m finals NBC | STREAM LINK
Sunday 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. 1000m rounds STREAM LINK
1-3 p.m. 1000m finals NBC | STREAM LINK