Kerri Walsh

Kerri Walsh Jennings wins record beach volleyball title

Leave a comment

Three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings won her record 47th career FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament title Sunday, capturing the season opener in Fuzhou, China, with partner April Ross.

Walsh Jennings, 35, and the Olympic silver medalist Ross swept Brazilians Juliana and Maria 21-11, 21-18 in 33 minutes in the Fuzhou Open final. Walsh Jennings, who won three Olympic golds with the now retired Misty May-Treanor, broke a tie with Brazilian Larissa for the most career titles.

Two men have more titles than Walsh Jennings — Brazilians Emanuel (76) and Ricardo (55).

Walsh Jennings and Ross were foes in the London Olympic final, but both of their 2012 partners have since retired. They teamed up last summer, after the World Championships.

“April and I are a new team,” Walsh Jennings said. “We have to improve a lot. We are excited to improve. This tour is going to make us so strong because everyone is great. We’re looking forward to the challenge and we want to win gold in Rio.”

The FIVB World Tour continues with a Grand Slam event in Shanghai this week.

Two runners, one baton in Penn Relays mishap

Usain Bolt coaches boy sprinter in new commercial (video)

Leave a comment

Usain Bolt has not expressed much of a desire to go into coaching in retirement, but he plays the role in a commercial published Tuesday.

The six-time Olympic champion sprinter acted in a one-minute spot for the South African telecommunications company Telkom.

At one point in the commercial, Bolt wears headphones with the number “9.58” on one side, referencing his 100m world record.

It’s unknown when Bolt will compete for the first time in 2016, but when healthy he usually does smaller races in Jamaica in the late winter before ramping up in the spring and summer outdoor season.

VIDEO: Bolt beaten in race by boy YouTube sensation

U.S. table tennis players, 13 and 14 years old, have shot at Rio Olympics

Crystal Wang
JOOLA USA
Leave a comment

Every U.S. Olympian since 1996 has been age 15 or older. That may change this year.

Crystal Wang, a 13-year-old table tennis player, will be one of four U.S. women seeking one possible Olympic berth in a North American Olympic qualifier in Markham, Ontario, from April 8-10.

Wang, who was born Feb. 23, 2002, was the fourth and final U.S. woman to advance to the North American qualifier at the Olympic table tennis trials last week.

She joins 2015 U.S. champion Jiaqi Zheng and fellow Olympic trials winners Chen Wang (a 42-year-old 2008 Olympic quarterfinalist) and Lily Zhang (2012 Olympian) on the North American qualifier team.

A nation may qualify no more than two individual table tennis players per gender for an Olympics. Jennifer Wu took one of those U.S. spots by winning the 2015 Pan American Games.

If Wang is the top U.S. finisher in Markham in April (and first or second overall), she will become the youngest U.S. Olympian since 1976, according to sports-reference.com.

It will be challenging for Wang to beat her countrywomen, let alone the host Canadians, the only other nation competing.

Wang lost in the quarterfinals on the first two days of the U.S. Olympic trials last week before prevailing on the last day against a field that didn’t include any of the other three women who had already clinched spots in the North American qualifier.

The other three Americans are ranked between Nos. 89 and 146 by the International Table Tennis Federation. Wang is ranked No. 189. Canada has a player ranked No. 113.

If Wang doesn’t make it, then Sharon Alguetti, who turns 15 on May 14, could become the youngest U.S. Olympian since Michael Phelps in 2000.

He will be one of four U.S. men seeking a possible two individual Olympic berths in the North American Olympic qualifier from April 8-10.

Alguetti’s Olympic chances may be greater than Wang’s since there is one more men’s berth at stake (the 2015 Pan Am Games champion was a Brazilian), and he was the third of four U.S. men to qualify for the North American event.

Alguetti joins 2015 U.S. champion Yijun Feng and Olympic trials winners Timothy Wang (2012 Olympian) and Kanak Jha.

Alguetti lost to Wang at the Olympic trials before beating Jha.

No American men are ranked in the world top 300. Jha is No. 302. Alguetti is No. 549. Canada’s best player is ranked No. 63.

The U.S. Olympic table tennis team will increase in size in May if it is the top-ranked North American team in men’s or women’s International Table Tennis Federation rankings. If so, it will send three players to Rio in the respective gender(s), adding its top finishers from the April tournament.

MORE: U.S.’ greatest Olympic table tennis player unretires