After dropping their first two matches in Rio, the U.S. men’s volleyball team has bounced back with two consecutive wins.
Saturday night John Speraw’s team defeated France in four sets, 25-22, 25-22, 14-25, 25-22, to move to 2-2 in group play. And with their final match being against a team that has yet to earn a point in Mexico, the Americans have hope when it comes to getting out of the group. The U.S. began the day in fifth place on three points (Canada also had three points but holds the tiebreaker), and with Canada playing Mexico Saturday this was a match they had to have.
Aaron Russell was responsible for 15 kills and Matthew Anderson 14 for the Americans, with Taylor Sander adding 11 kills in the win. Anderson was especially key during the first set, scoring eight points to help spark the rally.
Trailing 17-9 in the first set, the U.S. scored 13 of the next 15 points to take a 22-19 lead. The second set was tighter, with the Americans turning a 19-19 tie into a 23-19 lead to grab control of that set. France struck back in a big way in the third set, scoring the first four and seven of the first eight points of the set. They wouldn’t look back at that point, but the U.S. did a good job of not allowing the third set to have an impact on the fourth.
The U.S. scored six of the first seven points of the fourth set, with France coming back to pull even at 10-all on a Nicolas Le Goff kill. But after taking a 13-12 lead the French would not lead again in the match, with the Americans leading by as many as three point before putting the match away on an Antonin Rouzier error.
The Americans are now even on points with France and Brazil (which has a match in hand) going into Monday’s group finale against Mexico.
Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.
Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.
Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.
It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.
Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.
China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.
“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”
Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.
Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).
Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.
The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.
The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.
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