Joey Mantia

Joey Mantia wins Berlin 1500m; Shani Davis 8th

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A single U.S. speed skater won an event on the first day of the Berlin World Cup, but not the one many would have thought.

Not two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis. Not world sprint champion Heather Richardson. Not world-record holder Brittany Bowe.

Rather, it was Joey Mantia who won the 1500m in 1 minute, 45.80 seconds, .03 better than Poland’s Zbigniew Brodka. Davis, who won Olympic silver medals in the event in 2006 and 2010, was eighth.

Mantia, 27, had never finished better than 11th in a World Cup event after switching from inline skating in 2011.

This is the final World Cup stop before the Olympics. The number of skaters each nation will have in every Olympic event will be determined after this weekend’s results.

Czech Olympic champion Martina Sablikova won the 3000m in 4:02.25, edging German veteran Claudia Pechstein, 41, by .71. That was the final 3000m before the Olympics.

The U.S. should get two women in the Olympic 3000m, its fewest ever, as well as one in the 5000m, based on World Cup points and times. Which women will be determined at the U.S. Olympic Trials in three weeks.

Also Friday, the Netherlands’ Michel Mulder won the first of two men’s 500m races in 34.80, which was .09 ahead of South Korean Olympic champion Mo Tae-Bum. That moved Mo into first place in the season standings, followed by Mulder and then Mulder’s twin brother, Ronald.

South Korean Lee Sang-Hwa won her eighth straight World Cup 500m, beating Russian Olga Fatkulina by .35 in 37.36. Lee is the Olympic champion and world record holder. German Jenny Wolf, who was second in the World Cup standings, crashed on the final turn.

Davis still leads the men’s 1500m World Cup standings, ahead of his Dutch friend Koen Verweij. Mantia is eighth.

The Berlin World Cup continues Saturday.

Berlin World Cup — Day 1

Men’s 500m — Race 1
1. Michel Mulder (NED) 34.80
2. Mo Tae-Bum (KOR) 34.89
3. Keiichiro Nagashima (JPN) 35.01
8. Tucker Fredricks (USA) 35.17
12. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 35.36

Women’s 500m — Race 1
1. Lee Sang-Hwa (KOR) 37.36
2. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) 37.71
3. Wang Beixing (CHN) 37.79
4. Heather Richardson (USA) 37.80
7. Brittany Bowe (USA) 38.26
13. Lauren Cholewinski (USA) 38.67
19. Elli Ochowicz (USA) 38.90

Women’s 3000m
1. Martina Sablikova (CZE) 4:02.25
2. Claudia Pechstein (GER) 4:02.96
3. Ireen Wuest (NED) 4:03.50
11. Jilleanne Rookard (USA) 4:09.12

Men’s 1500m
1. Joey Mantia (USA) 1:45.80
2. Zbigniew Brodka (POL) 1:45.83
3. Denis Yuskov (RUS) 1;46.14
8. Shani Davis (USA) 1:46.74
11. Trevor Marsicano (USA) 1:47.28
19. Jonathan Kuck (USA) 1:48.55

Speed skating season storylines

Breanna Stewart to miss entire WNBA season with Achilles injury

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Breanna Stewart, the world’s top female basketball player and one of the most dominant athletes of 2018, is expected to miss the entire upcoming WNBA season after rupturing an Achilles playing in Europe on Sunday, according to the Seattle Storm.

“The situation is still a shock to me,” was posted on Stewart’s social media. “I’m feeling every emotion possible at this point but just know that the bounce back will be real and I’ll be back better than ever.”

Stewart, 24, skyrocketed in this Olympic cycle.

The Storm’s franchise player went from playing the second-fewest minutes on the 2016 Olympic team as its youngest player to leading the U.S. per game in points (16.3) and minutes (27) at the 2018 World Championship tournament.

Stewart earned MVP honors at worlds, matching her WNBA season and Finals honors. She became the first player to earn all three MVPs in one year.

Stewart is still expected to be in play for the 2020 Olympic team, given the Storm expect her to make a full recovery by the start of the following WNBA season next spring.

Tamika Catchings made the 2008 Olympic team after tearing her right Achilles in September 2007.

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Caster Semenya leads Olympians in Time 100; streak hits 16 years

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An Olympian has made the Time 100 Most Influential list every year since its annual inception in 2004. South African runner Caster Semenya, soccer players Alex Morgan and Mo Salah and LeBron James kept the streak going in 2019.

It’s the fourth appearance for James (2005, 2013, 2017), extending his record for an athlete, and the first for Semenya, Morgan and Salah. Semenya made it in the “icons” category, while the other three are “titans.”

Two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Edwin Moses penned an essay about the two-time Olympic 800m champion Semenya, who is fighting a legal battle with the IAAF over a potential rule change limiting women’s testosterone levels in her events. If the rule goes into effect, Semenya’s dominance (three years undefeated at 800m) is expected to vanish.

“Caster Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to “male” and “female” classifications,” Moses wrote. “Ultimately, this incredibly difficult issue is a political one for sport to resolve. But however it is addressed, Semenya will have already made a singular historical contribution to our understanding of biological sex.”

Here are Olympians and Paralympians on past Time 100 lists, counting only athletes who competed in the Games before being listed:

2018 — Kevin Durant, Roger Federer, Chloe Kim, Adam Rippon
2017 — Simone Biles, LeBron James, Neymar
2016 — Usain BoltCaitlyn JennerKatie LedeckySania MirzaRonda Rousey
2015 — Abby Wambach
2014 — Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams
2013 — LeBron James, Li Na, Lindsey Vonn
2012 — Novak DjokovicLionel MessiOscar Pistorius
2011 — Lionel Messi
2010 — Yuna KimSerena Williams
2009 — Rafael Nadal
2008 — Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius
2007 — Roger FedererChien Ming-Wang
2006 — Joey CheekSteve Nash
2005 — LeBron James
2004 — Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe, Yao Ming
2000 (20th Century) — Muhammad Ali

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