U.S. women’s volleyball wins breakthrough World Championship (video)

U.S. women's volleyball

The U.S. women’s volleyball team captured the biggest title in program history Sunday, beating China 27-25, 25-20, 16-25, 26-24 in the World Championship gold-medal game in Milan.

The Americans won their first major international championship after three previous Olympic silver medals (1984, 2008, 2012), two World Championship silver medals (1967, 2002) and one World Cup silver medal (2011). They’ve gone 50 years with zero Olympic golds and broke a 62-year World Championship drought.

They are coached by Karch Kiraly, a two-time Olympic indoor volleyball champion and 1996 Olympic beach volleyball champion.

“We came here to make history,” an emotional Kiraly said on court on Universal Sports. “The USA was due. I kept saying it. I know we’re going to win one of these. I don’t know if it’s 100 years from now or today. I told the team there’s just been this obstacle, this wall, but I could feel it cracking between us and that goal, and that gold, that color. I could feel it like the Berlin Wall. It was cracking and fracturing. We just had to keep hurling ourselves, as a team, at that wall, until we burst it down.”

Kiraly compared this title with the Olympic gold medals he won as a player.

“I don’t feel much different, actually, to be a part of an effort like this,” he said.

Kim Hill was named tournament MVP and best spiker. Alisha Glass was named best setter.

Captain Christa Dietzen celebrated not only the team gold but also her 28th birthday Sunday.

“I constantly think about how this is bigger than us,” said Dietzen, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist who underwent knee surgery in December. “I think it represents the past players of USA Volleyball and everybody that has built this program from the bottom up. And it represents the present players, and not just the 14 of us who are here, but all 25 to 40 of us who have come through the gym this summer and made each other better.”

The U.S., ranked No. 2 in the world, shocked top-ranked Brazil in a semifinal sweep Saturday to set the final with China, ranked fifth. Brazil, which beat the U.S. in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic finals, downed Italy for bronze earlier Sunday.

Olympic qualification tournaments start in 2015 for nations to join host Brazil at Rio 2016.

Rio Olympic indoor volleyball final tickets are tied for the priciest of any sport. The World Championship is held once every four years, meaning the U.S. kept Brazil from claiming the biggest global title before its home Olympics.

“I think it’s just set the tone [going toward the Olympics], and I think it’s built our confidence,” Dietzen said. “But we still have a lot of business and a lot of work to do. But I think it’s made us hungrier.”

Poland did the same in the men’s World Championship that it hosted three weeks ago. The U.S. men, who have won three Olympic titles, were seventh there.

The U.S. lost its final match to Brazil at the last four Olympics.

“We know, two years from now, the headwinds will be great in Rio,” Kiraly said on Universal Sports. “Brazil will have the home-court advantage. We love headwinds. Bring ’em on.”

NBC Olympics researcher Amanda Doyle contributed reporting from Milan.

Canada wins men’s hockey world title; Latvia wins first medal

IIHF Hockey World Championship

TAMPERE, Finland — Samuel Blais scored two goals to rally Canada to a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the world men’s hockey championship on Sunday.

It’s a record 28th world title for Canada, and its second in three years. Russia has 27 while Germany has never won the trophy.

Blais netted with a backhand 4:51 into the final period for a 3-2 lead for Canada, which was playing in its fourth straight final.

“It feels really good,” Blais said. “We’ve been in Europe for a month and we’ve all waited for that moment to play for the gold medal game. And we’re lucky enough to have won it.”

Lawson Crouse, Tyler Toffoli and Scott Laughton also scored for Canada, Peyton Krebs had two assists and goaltender Samuel Montembeault stopped 21 shots.

Toffoli stretched the lead to 4-2 from the left circle with 8:09 remaining and Laughton made it 5-2 with an empty net goal.

Adam Fantilli became only the second Canadian player after Jonathan Toews to win gold at the world juniors and world championship the same year.

Canada had to come back twice in the final.

John Peterka wristed a shot past Montembeault from the left circle 7:44 into the game. It was the sixth goal for the Buffalo Sabres forward at the tournament.

Blais was fed by Krebs to beat goaltender Mathias Niederberger and tie it 1-1 at 10:47.

Daniel Fischbuch put the Germans ahead again with a one-timer with 6:13 to go in the middle period.

Crouse equalized on a power play with 2:32 remaining in the frame.

It was the first medal for Germany since 1953 when it was second behind Sweden.

The two previously met just once in the final with Canada winning 6-1 in 1930.


Defenseman Kristian Rubins scored his second goal 1:22 into overtime to lead Latvia to a 4-3 victory over the United States and earn a bronze medal earlier Sunday.

It’s the first top-three finish for Latvia at the tournament. Its previous best was a seventh place it managed three times.

The U.S. lost in the bronze medal game for the second straight year. The U.S. team was cruising through the tournament with eight straight wins until it was defeated by Germany in the semifinal 4-3 in overtime.

Rubins rallied Latvia with his first with 5:39 to go in the final period to tie the game at 3 to force overtime.

Roberts Bukarts and Janis Jaks also scored for Latvia.

Rocco Grimaldi scored twice for the U.S. in the opening period to negate Latvia’s 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Matt Coronato had put the U.S. 3-2 ahead 6:19 into the final period.

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Turning 22 during the tournament, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw