Getty Images

Michael Phelps, Katinka Hosszu win Swimmer of the Year; Katie Ledecky also honored

Leave a comment

As Katie Ledecky‘s dominance has grown the last three years, the same woman has earned FINA’s Female Swimmer of the Year three straight times.

That would be Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu.

Michael Phelps and Hosszu were named this year’s Swimmer of the Year honorees on Sunday, the awards based largely on Rio Olympic performances (with a set points-based criteria).

Phelps earned five golds and one silver in Rio. He was the most decorated athlete of the Games across all sports for a fourth straight time and was the only male swimmer in Rio to earn three individual medals.

Phelps also received a special “Aquatic Legend, the Greatest of All Time,” award from FINA after retiring with a record 28 Olympic medals, including 23 golds. This came four years after FINA handed Phelps a trophy at the London Olympics declaring him “The Greatest Olympic Athlete of All Time” upon his first retirement.

Hosszu was the only swimmer to bag four individual medals in Rio, and three of them were gold. She is unquestionably the world’s best all-around female swimmer, sweeping the 200m and 400m individual medleys at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships and the Rio Games.

Ledecky’s mastery comes in a different form. She won the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles in Rio, smashing her world records in the latter two. She also earned two relay medals, including anchoring the U.S. 4x100m freestyle relay with the sixth-fastest split of the field.

FINA’s criteria states that only individual events are taken into account for Swimmer of the Year purposes.

Outside of the Olympics, Hosszu holds an edge over Ledecky in World Swimmer of the Year consideration because the Hungarian cleans up at international World Cup stops, often swimming several races per day. Ledecky does not swim World Cups.

Ledecky did win Swimmer of the Year in 2013 (over Missy Franklin, after Franklin won six golds at the 2013 Worlds) and earned the female Performance of the Year for 2015 and 2016.

Other 2016 award winners included Great Britain’s Adam Peaty for male Performance of the Year, after he broke his 100m breaststroke world record twice in Rio.

Divers of the Year were Chinese gold medalists Chen Aisen and Shi Tingmao.

MORE: Ledecky’s big change as Stanford freshman

Gymnastics doctor’s lawyers want trial moved, cite media coverage

AP
Leave a comment

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Attorneys for a former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor accused of molesting dozens of athletes are pushing to have his trial moved out of the Lansing area.

The Lansing State Journal reports that attorneys representing Larry Nassar filed a change-of-venue request because of what they called “inflammatory and sustained media coverage” that they say has made it difficult for Nassar to get a fair trial in the area.

The media attention grew more intense this week when 21-year-old 2012 Olympic gold medal gymnast McKayla Maroney wrote on Twitter that Nassar started assaulting her when she was 13.

Nassar has pleaded not guilty to nearly two dozen charges in Michigan. He has pleaded guilty to three child pornography charges in an unrelated case but has not been sentenced.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Aly Raisman speaks out about USA Gymnastics scndal

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

AP
Leave a comment

U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar.

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva easily won the women’s title despite a rare fall in her free skate. Medvedeva is undefeated since 2015 Rostelecom Cup.

Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

“I got a little tired halfway through the program and started faltering a little bit on the second quad toe – that was a big mistake,” Chen said, according to the International Skating Union .”I can’t let things like that happen in the future. But this is my first Grand Prix win, and I’m very happy with that.”

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February. Hanyu got the better of Chen at the most important event — winning the world championships, where the American was sixth.

Also Saturday, two-time world medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani won the ice dance with 189.24 points, sweeping both the short and free programs.

The siblings and U.S. champions have now won four straight Grand Prix titles (not counting the Grand Prix Final).

They won by 4.5 points over Russians Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviyev.

The world’s top two couples were not in the field — Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

Russia swept the pairs podium, led by world bronze medalists Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

The top pairs teams from the rest of the world — including world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong — were not in the field.

The Rostelecom Cup women’s free skate is later Saturday.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

Rostelecom Cup
Men
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 293.79
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 290.77
3. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) — 271.06
11. Grant Hochstein (USA) — 206.09

Women
1. Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — 231.21
2. Carolina Kostner (ITA) — 215.98
3. Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) — 207.17
6. Mariah Bell (USA) — 188.56
9. Mirai Nagasu (USA) — 178.25

Ice Dance
1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 189.24
2. Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 184.74
3. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) — 179.35
7. Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) — 148.75

Pairs
1. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 224.25
2. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 204.43
3. Kristina Astakhova/Aleksey Rogonov (RUS) — 199.11
7. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran (USA) — 170.53