Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky close Mesa meet with wins

1 Comment

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Katie Ledecky won the 800m freestyle by nearly 15 seconds at the Arena Pro Swim meet Saturday night, her third victory in three days just over two months before the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

Ledecky swam well ahead of the rest of the field and touched in 8 minutes, 13.20 seconds on the last night of the meet at Skyline Aquatic Center. Conditions were much calmer than Friday when wind gusts up to 30 mph kicked up the water and gave swimmers an extra element to fight against.

Ledecky finished 14.65 seconds ahead of Lotte Friis of Denmark, who touched in 8:27.85. Cierra Runge finished third in 8:32.21.

Ledecky added the 800m free to her earlier victories in the 200m and 400m freestyles. She later finished sixth in the 100 free; her specialty is the longer distances.

Michael Phelps led all the way in the 200m individual medley, touching in 1:57.90 – third-fastest in the world this year. He led a 1-2-3 sweep by North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmers. Chase Kalisz was second in 1:59.05 and David Nolan third.

”The freestyle wasn’t that great,” Phelps said. ”I’m never really too satisfied. I always like to have something to work on. I have the speed and that’s something I was lacking. The rest will come.”

Phelps won the 200 butterfly on Friday as he trains with an eye on swimming in his fifth Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro. Next up is six weeks of high-altitude training in Colorado while he awaits the birth of his first child in May.

”I’ve got so much in my head right now,” Phelps said. ”I had 15 different thoughts in my head last night, like where do I even go from here?”

Ryan Lochte scratched the 200m IM final to focus on a double of the 200m backstroke and 100m free. He won the backstroke in 2:01.04 and was last in the 100m free.

”It was rough,” he said. ”Feeling that pain like I did this morning (when he swam three races), I hadn’t done that in so long it was new to me. It tells me I’m physically tired. I’ve been training really hard.”

Nathan Adrian won the 100m free to go with his earlier title in the 50m free. His time of 48 seconds was fourth-fastest in the world this year.

The women’s 100m free went to Simone Manuel in 53.80.

Maya DiRado won the women’s 200m IM in 2:11.09, with world record holder Katinka Hosszu of Hungary finishing fifth.

DiRado returned about 15 minutes later to win the 200m back, again beating Hosszu, who was fifth. DiRado won in 2:08.61. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, aiming for another Olympics at age 32, finished second in 2:10.04. World record holder Missy Franklin scratched the final, tweeting that she wasn’t feeling well and was resting on her coach’s orders.

Jordan Wilimovsky, already on the Olympic team in open-water swimming, won the 1500m free.

MORE: Katie Ledecky ‘breaks’ Olympic male gold medalist in practice

Elena Fanchini, medal-winning Alpine skier, dies at 37

Elena Fanchini
Getty
0 Comments

Elena Fanchini, an Italian Alpine skier whose career was cut short by a tumor, has died. She was 37.

Fanchini, the 2005 World downhill silver medalist at age 19, passed away Wednesday at her home in Solato, near Brescia, the Italian Winter Sports Federation announced.

Fanchini died on the same day that fellow Italian Marta Bassino won the super-G at the world championships in Meribel, France; and two days after Federica Brignone — another former teammate — claimed gold in the combined.

Sofia Goggia, who is the favorite for Saturday’s downhill, dedicated her World Cup win in Cortina d’Ampezzo last month to Fanchini.

Fanchini last raced in December 2017. She was cleared to return to train nearly a year later but never made it fully back, and her condition grew worse in recent months.

Fanchini won her world downhill silver medal in Italy in 2005, exactly one month after her World Cup debut, an astonishing breakout.

Ten months later, she won a World Cup downhill in Canada with “Ciao Mamma” scribbled on face tape to guard against 1-degree temperatures. She was 20. Nobody younger than 21 has won a World Cup downhill since. Her second and final World Cup win, also a downhill, came more than nine years later.

In between her two World Cup wins, Fanchini raced at three Olympics with a best finish of 12th in the downhill in 2014. She missed the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics because of her condition.

Fanchini’s younger sisters Nadia and Sabrina were also World Cup racers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

USA Boxing to skip world championships

USA Boxing
Getty
0 Comments

USA Boxing will not send boxers to this year’s men’s and women’s world championships, citing “the ongoing failures” of the IBA, the sport’s international governing body, that put boxing’s place on the Olympic program at risk.

The Washington Post first reported the decision.

In a letter to its members, USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee listed many factors that led to the decision, including IBA governance issues, financial irregularities and transparency and that Russian and Belarusian boxers are allowed to compete with their flags.

IBA lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers in October and said it would allow their flags and anthems to return, too.

The IOC has not shifted from its recommendation to international sports federations last February that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred, though the IOC and Olympic sports officials have been exploring whether those athletes could return without national symbols.

USA Boxing said that Russian boxers have competed at an IBA event in Morocco this month with their flags and are expected to compete at this year’s world championships under their flags.

“While sport is intended to be politically neutral, many boxers, coaches and other representatives of the Ukrainian boxing community were killed as a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, including coach Mykhaylo Korenovsky who was killed when a Russian missile hit an apartment block in January 2023,” according to the USA Boxing letter. “Ukraine’s sports infrastructure, including numerous boxing gyms, has been devastated by Russian aggression.”

McAtee added later that USA Boxing would still not send athletes to worlds even if Russians and Belarusians were competing as neutrals and without their flags.

“USA Boxing’s decision is based on the ‘totality of all of the factors,'” he said in an emailed response. “Third party oversite and fairness in the field of play is the most important factor.”

A message has been sent to the IBA seeking comment on USA Boxing’s decision.

The women’s world championships are in March in India. The men’s world championships are in May in Uzbekistan. They do not count toward 2024 Olympic qualifying.

In December, the IOC said recent IBA decisions could lead to “the cancellation of boxing” for the 2024 Paris Games.

Some of the already reported governance issues led to the IOC stripping IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition in 2019. AIBA had suspended all 36 referees and judges used at the 2016 Rio Olympics pending an investigation into a possible judging scandal, one that found that some medal bouts were fixed by “complicit and compliant” referees and judges.

The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

Boxing was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games announced in December 2021, though it could still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” IOC President Thomas Bach said then.

This past June, the IOC said IBA would not run qualifying competitions for the 2024 Paris Games.

In September, the IOC said it was “extremely concerned” about the Olympic future of boxing after an IBA extraordinary congress overwhelmingly backed Russian Umar Kremlev to remain as its president rather than hold an election.

Kremlev was re-elected in May after an opponent, Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands, was barred from running against him. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in June that van der Vorst should have been eligible to run against Kremlev, but the IBA group still decided not to hold a new election.

Last May, Rashida Ellis became the first U.S. woman to win a world boxing title at an Olympic weight since Claressa Shields in 2016, taking the 60kg lightweight crown in Istanbul. In Tokyo, Ellis lost 3-0 in her opening bout in her Olympic debut.

At the last men’s worlds in 2021, Robby Gonzales and Jahmal Harvey became the first U.S. men to win an Olympic or world title since 2007, ending the longest American men’s drought since World War II.

The Associated Press and NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!