Simone Biles dominates in World Gymnastics Championships qualifying

Simone Biles
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World Gymnastics Championships qualifying wrapped up Monday. When every routine finished and all scores were given, the standard of excellence on the women’s side was clear.

American Simone Biles was the world’s best gymnast (in qualifying, mind you) on three of four apparatuses.

She had the highest scores out of 209 gymnasts on floor exercise, 216 gymnasts on balance beam and 28 on vault (that number is tiny because that event requires two separate vaults to qualify for the event final this weekend).

Biles, 17, erred on her weak event, uneven bars (video here), yet still had a higher, four-event, all-around qualifying total than anybody else by more than seven tenths of a point.

Biles finished fourth on uneven bars at the 2013 World Championships, the only event in which she did not win a medal, in her Worlds debut. It was arguably the greatest single-meet performance by a U.S. gymnast ever — men and Olympics included.

Japan’s Kohei Uchimura receives plenty of praise for being a level above every other men’s gymnast in the world. Deservedly so, but Biles is arguably more dominant.

Uchimura was not No. 1 on any of the six men’s apparatuses in qualifying last week. He was second on high bar, fifth on floor exercise, didn’t perform two vaults and was outside the top 10 on the rest. Uchimura can win a maximum of three medals this week.

Biles, with two fewer apparatuses than the men, can win five medals this week. If all of the qualifying scores repeat in finals, she will win five gold medals, which has never been done by a woman at a single World Championships. One man has done so, the Soviet Union’s Boris Shakhlin in 1958, according to International Gymnast.

With five medals this week, Biles would move one behind Alicia Sacarmone for the most career World Championships medals in U.S. history. Sacramone earned 10 medals over five World Championships. These are Biles’ second World Championships.

Much has been made of the turnover in U.S. women’s gymnastics. No woman has made back-to-back U.S. Olympic teams since 1996 and 2000. Of the seven members of the 2010 U.S. World Championships team, only Aly Raisman hung on to make the 2012 Olympics.

For Biles to earn another great title, Olympian, she still has plenty of work ahead.

World Gymnastics Championships broadcast schedule

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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