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

Hayato Sakamoto, Japanese baseball MVP, tests positive for coronavirus

Hayato Sakamoto
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Hayato Sakamoto, an MVP of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, is one of two players from the Yomiuri Giants to test positive for the coronavirus, according to several Japanese media reports.

Sakamoto, a 31-year-old shortstop, and catcher Takumi Oshiro tested positive ahead of the NPB’s planned June 19 start to the season that had been delayed to the coronavirus.

The tests showed traces of the coronavirus, according to Kyodo News.

The Giants canceled Wednesday’s practice game with the Seibu Lions to limit the spread of the virus.

Sakamoto is the reigning Central League MVP. He has been called the Derek Jeter of Japan for playing the same position as the Yankee great and being the veteran captain of Japan’s equivalent club, the Giants, which own a record 22 Japan Series titles.

Sakamoto, who played in the last two World Baseball Classics, has been considered a lock for Japan’s baseball team at the Tokyo Games in 2021 as the most well known active player who hasn’t left for Major League Baseball. MLB is not expected to allow its top players to participate in the Olympics, which would keep the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Masahiro Tanaka off the Olympic roster.

The sport returns to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008, though it is not on the 2024 Olympic program nor guaranteed a place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Japan reached the semifinals of all five Olympic baseball tournaments when the sport was previously on the medal program but never took gold.

In a 2018 survey, Sakamoto was ranked as Japan’s eighth-most popular athlete across all sports, foreign or domestic, active or retired.

Sky Brown, 11-year-old Olympic skateboard hopeful, suffers serious injuries in fall

Sky Brown Skateboard Fall
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Sky Brown, an 11-year-old British Olympic skateboarding hopeful, recently suffered her worst fall, requiring surgery, she said in a video posted from a hospital bed.

Brown suffered skull fractures and broke her left wrist and hand and was at first unresponsive upon arrival to a hospital, according to the BBC, which quoted her father.

Video of the fall from a skateboarding ramp was posted on her social media. She appeared to be wearing a helmet in the video.

“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them because I want people to see the fun in what I do,” Brown said. “But this was my worst fall, and I just want everyone to know that, it’s OK, don’t worry. I’m OK. It’s OK to fall sometimes. I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. I want everyone to know that whatever we do, we’ve just go to do it with love and happiness.”

Brown is the 2019 World bronze medalist in the new Olympic sport’s park discipline.

Later Tuesday, Brown reposted an Instagram post from what appeared to be her father’s account. The caption of that post said Brown fell 15 feet to flat concrete.

“I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital,” the caption read. “We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive.

“4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks.”

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Last week the worst thing I could ever ever imagined happened to @skybrown . She fell about 15ft off the side of a vert ramp to flat concrete. I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital. We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive. We prayed and begged God to give Sky another chance. Word came back while she was still unconscious, multiple fractures to her skull, a broken left arm, which she broke into pieces because she used it to break her fall, broken right fingers and lacerations to her heart and lungs. 4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks. More importantly her Doctors and the trauma team say it’s a miracle how well she is dealing with the pain and recovering incredibly fast. They said it’s shocking and believe it’s because of her grit, positivity and attitude. Skys brother @oceanbrown has been so brave. He saw his sister fall to the ground lying in a pool of blood and was screaming in tears that night outside of the hospital. He has still not allowed into the hospital to see her. They miss each-other dearly, but no siblings are allowed to enter the hospital because of coronavirus. They’ve been spending hours a day on FaceTime with each other making funny faces to one another in fits of giggles and laughter. Sky promises Ocean daily that she will make a fast recovery so they can be together again. Sky is constantly joking and smiling and it’s hurts my heart to even imagine for a second a world without Sky; extremely thankful that I don’t have to. Thank you to the heroes that are the doctors, nurses and hospital staff that have tirelessly worked on her and helped her get to this point.

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