Katie Ledecky beats Missy Franklin in World Championships 200m freestyle

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Katie Ledecky won her third gold medal of the World Championships, taking the 200m freestyle over a field that included defending World champion Missy Franklin in Kazan, Russia, on Wednesday.

Ledecky clocked 1:55:16. Italian world-record holder Federica Pellegrini earned silver at 1:55.32, followed by Franklin for bronze in 1:55.49.

“It was a star-studded field, just glad that it all went well,” Ledecky told Michele Tafoya on Universal Sports. “I just felt a lot more recovered than yesterday [when Ledecky swam the 200m freestyle semifinals after winning the 1500m free final in world-record time 30 minutes earlier]. I was able to go out with the field.”

Ledecky, 18, has entered seven career Worlds events and won gold in all of them. If she wins the 800m freestyle on Saturday, Ledecky will become the third swimmer to win four individual titles at a single World Championships. The others were Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

“This one was the least expected,” Ledecky said of the 200m free on Eurosport, with her coach, Bruce Gemmell, adding that he was surprised that she won. “I knew this would be the toughest race.”

Ledecky did not swim the 200m free at Worlds in 2013, when Franklin won in 1:54:81.

“Katie’s just an inspiration to everyone,” Franklin, who has fifth- and third-place finishes this week in two individual events that she won two years ago, told Tafoya on Universal Sports. “What she does is incredible, and it’s never been done before.”

Ledecky’s rise to become the world’s best 200m freestyle swimmer the last two years makes one wonder if she will dip down further to the 100m freestyle for 2016.

In January, Ledecky chopped .41 off her 100m freestyle personal best at a meet in Austin, Texas, two months after her coach, Bruce Gemmell, did not rule out adding the 100m free in interviews.

Ledecky’s personal best in the 100m free (54.55) ranks her 42nd in the world this year and ninth among Americans. It’s likely the top six at the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials will make the Olympic team for the 4x100m free relay. The Rio Olympic 4x100m relay is on the first day of competition at the Olympics, a day where Ledecky has no other events.

In 1972, Australian Shane Gould won medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles at the Munich Olympics.

Worlds broadcast schedule | Wednesday results

The U.S. has won eight medals in four days in Kazan with four days left. Its lowest medal total at an Olympics or Worlds in the last 50 years was 21 at the 1994 World Championships.

In other events Wednesday, China’s Sun Yang won his third straight 800m freestyle World title, his second gold medal in Kazan and his third medal overall. Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri was second, .85 behind, followed by Mack Horton of Australia getting the bronze. American Connor Jaeger was fourth.

Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh won his second World Championship, 10 years after his first. Cseh, for so long chasing Phelps in various events, clocked 1:53.48 in the 200m butterfly to beat reigning Olympic and World champion Chad le Clos of South Africa by .20. Poland’s Jan Switkowski earned bronze.

Le Clos had been the 200m fly king starting with his Olympic upset of Phelps in London. Phelps said earlier this year that he’s open to competing seriously in the 200m fly again, after swearing it off last year, citing slow times worldwide in the event.

“I wish that he was here,” Le Clos said of Phelps, according to The Associated Press. “He’s been talking a lot of smack in the media about how slow the butterfly is, so I just can’t wait until I race him again. I’m going to really go for his world record next year.”

Great Britain’s Adam Peaty followed his 100m breaststroke title with a 50m breast gold medal in 26.51, which was .15 ahead of South African Cameron van der Burgh. Van der Burgh also took silver in the 100m breast. American Kevin Cordes took bronze in the 50m breast by .01. The 50m breast is not contested at the Olympics.

In semifinals, Lochte was the top qualifier into Thursday’s 200m individual medley final. Lochte finished fourth in the 200m freestyle Tuesday in his only other individual event in Kazan. He’s the three-time defending World champion in the 200m IM.

Olympic champion Nathan Adrian qualified fifth into Thursday’s 100m free final. That final will not include two-time reigning World champion James Magnussen of Australia (injured) or Russian world leader Vladimir Morozov (false start in the semifinals).

Americans Katie McLaughlin and Cammile Adams qualified fifth and sixth into Thursday’s 200m butterfly final.

Three-time reigning champion pulls out of Worlds

Morgan Hurd left off U.S. gymnastics team for world championships

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Simone Biles is joined on the U.S. team for the world gymnastics championships by five women bidding to make their first Olympic team next year.

Sunisa LeeKara EakerJade Carey, Grace McCallum and MyKayla Skinner were named to the team at the conclusion of selection camp competition Monday in Sarasota, Fla. Biles locked up the first spot by winning an all-around competition on Sunday.

A notable omission was Morgan Hurd, the 2017 World all-around champion in Biles’ absence who was fourth in the all-around at the U.S. Championships in August and ninth at the selection camp on Sunday. Hurd, who came back from December elbow surgery, was named a non-traveling alternate along with Leanne Wong.

Had Hurd made the team, she could have bid to join Biles as the only women to earn all-around medals at three straight world championships. Instead, her absence is a testament to the U.S. women’s depth.

The Americans won every Olympic or world team title dating to 2011, the longest reign of dominance since Soviet teams of the 1970s. Last year, their margin of victory — 8.766 points — was the largest in history at an Olympics or worlds.

A look at the six women on this year’s team, one of which will be designated an on-site alternate at worlds in Stuttgart, Germany:

Simone Biles
Undefeated in all-around competitions for six years, Biles will break more records in Stuttgart. The biggest one is career world championships medals. Biles is at 20, tied with Svetlana Khorkina for the female record. The overall record is 23, held by retired Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo. Last year, Biles became the first gymnast to earn medals in every event at worlds in 31 years and won the all-around by a record margin despite two falls and a kidney stone.

Sunisa Lee
The revelation of this summer. Lee went from third in the junior division at last year’s nationals to second to Biles both at nationals in August and in Sunday’s selection competition. At the latter, Lee was only .35 of a point behind Biles, closer than any of Biles’ last five margins of victory at nationals. She is the national champion on uneven bars and the youngest woman on the team at 16.

Kara Eaker
Eaker solidified her spot by placing third at the selection camp with a score that would have been runner-up to Biles on either day at nationals. Eaker was 10th at nationals with scores more than two points lower than what she did on Sunday. She is a medal contender on balance beam. Eaker had the second-highest beam score in qualifying at worlds last year but fell off the apparatus in the final, placing sixth.

Jade Carey
The 2017 World silver medalist on floor and vault. Carey decided last year to try to make the Olympic team on her own individually — a new wrinkle in Olympic qualifying this cycle — which precluded her from competing at the 2018 Worlds. She’s well on her way to clinching an Olympic spot before June’s trials, but first she will be an asset to this team as its second-ranked floor and vault gymnast behind Biles.

MyKayla Skinner
The 2016 Olympic alternate pulled off the rare feat of making a world team while being an NCAA gymnast (at Utah). Skinner returned to elite gymnastics this season for the first time since Rio and impressed Sunday, placing fourth in the all-around. Like Carey, she specializes on floor and vault.

Grace McCallum
McCallum was third in the all-around at nationals and sixth at the selection camp. The 2018 World team member is best known for her floor, too. She was seventh in qualifying at 2018 Worlds on the event but missed the final due to the two-per-country rule.

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Tommie Smith, John Carlos part of U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame class

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Tommie Smith and John Carlos are part of the 2019 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame class that will be inducted later this year.

The sprinters were sent home from the 1968 Mexico City Games after staging a protest by raising their gloved fists on the medals stand. They were long left on the sidelines at the USOPC, but the federation has worked to bring them back inside the family in recent years.

“It sends the message that maybe we had to go back in time and make some conscious decisions about whether we were right or wrong,” Carlos said, according to USA Today. “They’ve come to the conclusion that, ‘Hey man, we were wrong. We were off-base in terms of humanity relative to the human rights era.'”

The class will be inducted at a ceremony in Colorado Springs on Nov. 1. It will be the first class inducted since 2012.

The rest of the class: Candace Cable, Erin Popovich, Chris Waddell (Paralympics), Lisa Leslie (basketball), Nastia Liukin (gymnastics), Misty May-Treanor (beach volleyball), Apolo Anton Ohno (short track speedskating), Dara Torres (swimming), the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team), Ron O’Brien (diving coach) and Tim Nugent (special contributor).

After the Hall of Fame essentially stalled out, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland pushed to revive it as part of a federation effort to focus more on athletes.

“We thank them for their impact on sport and society, and for continuing to inspire the next generation of athletes and fans,” Hirshland said.

The induction of Smith and Carlos is long overdue. After being kicked out of the 1968 Olympics for their iconic raised-fist protest on the medals stand, the sprinters were left on the sideline of the official U.S. Olympic movement. Their 2016 visit to the White House, along with USOPC leaders, marked the first official event they’d been part of since their ouster in 1968.

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