Chad le Clos wants Michael Phelps’ world records

Chad le Clos, Michael Phelps
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South African swimmer Chad le Clos wasn’t fully satisfied in beating Michael Phelps at the 2012 Olympics. His eyes are now fixed on Phelps’ world records.

“My next goal is to break one of Michael Phelps’ long-course records, eventually, maybe next year at the Commonwealth Games, or in 2015 at the World Championships in (Kazan) Russia,” Le Clos told Agence France-Presse at a Singapore meet. “It’s just about getting faster each year and the most important thing is to make sure that I keep dominating the events that I am dominating, and extending on other events like the freestyles and the individual medley races.”

Le Clos, who out-touched Phelps for Olympic 200m butterfly gold in London, made the comments fresh off breaking the short course world record in the 200m butterfly Tuesday. Le Clos previously broke the mark — not held by Phelps — in August.

Short course races are in 25-meter pools, while long courses are 50 meters, such as the Olympics and World Championships.

Le Clos won both the 100m and 200m butterfly at this summer’s long course World Championships in Barcelona.

His best times are 51.06 and 1:52.96, each more than a second off Phelps’ world records from the fast-suit-buoyed 2009 World Championships — 49.82, 1:51.51.

“Those records are really hard, 49 and 1:51 long course is very difficult,” Le Clos, 21, told AFP. “But if you look at my times over the years, I keep improving. If I don’t ever break them, I will definitely go down trying.”

Phelps, despite going 1-1 against le Clos in London, became friendly with his rival at the Olympics. They said they would go cage diving with sharks in South Africa this past summer.

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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