Youth Olympics

Youth Olympics begin with festive Opening Ceremony in Nanjing (photos)

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The second Youth Olympics are officially under way, following a brisk Opening Ceremony in Nanjing, China, on Saturday night.

“Dear youth athletes, these are your Games,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said inside Sports Centre Stadium. “This is your moment.”

Bach then called for an unprecedented action at an Opening Ceremony, asking the young athletes in attendance (more than 3,000 will take part overall) to take out their cell phones and “set a record for selfies.”

Four-time Olympic champion diver Chen Ruolin capped the night by lighting the Youth Olympic cauldron.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday from 6-8 p.m. ET. (full NBC Olympics, Universal Sports coverage of the Youth Olympics here)

The ceremony included much of the standards from Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The Parade of Nations, which can take up to two hours at an Olympics, was a Parade of Flagbearers in Nanjing, taking 35 minutes.

Chinese Olympic legends, including diver Wu Minxia and hurdler Liu Xiang, brought out the Olympic Flag to be raised.

The artistic portion of the evening was a little reminiscent of the unforgettable and unparalleled Beijing 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony. Of course, it involved far fewer participants and was on a smaller scale, but the performers, fireworks and installations (including a large telescope) were top quality.

The Youth Olympics will include 222 events across 32 sports through Aug. 28. Nanjing is the second summer edition of the Youth Olympics, following the Singapore debut in 2014. Youth Olympic athletes range in age from 14 to 18.

The U.S. athlete delegation of 92 includes Opening Ceremony flag bearer Kendall Yount, a taekwondo athlete.

U.S. roster for Youth Olympics includes London Olympian

Katie Ledecky easily wins 400m free to open swimming worlds

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Katie Ledecky took her first step toward a possible record-tying six gold medals at one world championships, easily winning the 400m freestyle in Budapest on Sunday.

Ledecky clocked 3:58.34, the second-fastest time ever, to win by 3.2 seconds over countrywoman Leah Smith. China’s Li Bingjie earned the bronze. Ledecky holds the nine fastest times ever.

Ledecky, the quadruple Rio Olympic champion, won her third straight world title in the 400m free and 10th world title overall. She later swims the 4x100m free relay on Sunday, then four more events later this week.

Missy Franklin holds the female record of six golds from one worlds in 2013. Michael Phelps won seven golds at the 2007 Worlds.

In other races Sunday, China’s Sun Yang won his third straight world 400m freestyle title, whooping Australian rival and Rio gold medalist Mack Horton by 2.47 seconds.

Sun, 25, bagged his eighth individual world title, trailing only Ryan Lochte (10) and Michael Phelps (15) on the all-time list.

In semifinals, Olympic champion and world-record holder Sarah Sjostrom was the top qualifier into Monday’s 100m butterfly final. While Sjostrom is the heavy favorite, U.S. Olympian Kelsi Worrell qualified third into the final as she seeks a first individual major international meet medal.

Caeleb Dressel broke the American record in the 50m butterfly semifinals, a non-Olympic event. Dressel took .15 off the old record by clocking 22.76 as the fastest qualifier into Monday’s final.

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Sun Yang wins third straight world 400m freestyle title

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Sun Yang cruised to win his third straight 400m freestyle world title in Budapest, clocking 3:41.38, pumping his fist and splashing water in his typical fashion.

The Chinese Sun, 25, beat Rio gold medalist Mack Horton by a whopping 2.47 seconds with the fastest time in the world since 2012.

Horton, who edged Sun by .13 at the Olympics, had choice words for Sun both last year and last week, having called the Chinese superstar a “drug cheat” for serving a three-month doping ban in 2014.

Italian Gabriele Detti took bronze, just as he did in Rio. The top American was Zane Grothe in seventh, the lowest result by the top American in this event since 1998.

Sun earned his eighth overall individual world title, moving ahead of Grant Hackett and Aaron Peirsol as solo third all time among men behind Michael Phelps (15) and Ryan Lochte (10).

Sun can build on that total in the 200m, 800m and 1500m frees later in the meet. He has won all of those events at past Olympics or worlds.

Men’s 400m Freestyle Results
Gold: Sun Yang (CHN) — 3:41.38
Silver: Mack Horton (AUS) — 3:43.85
Bronze: Gabriele Detti (ITA) — 3:43.93
4. Park Tae-Hwan (KOR) — 3:44.38
5. Felix Auboeck (AUT) — 3:45.21
6. James Guy (GBR) — 3:45.58
7. Zane Grothe (USA) — 3:45.86
8. David McKeon (AUS) — 3:46.27

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