Emily Seebohm keeps Australia from winless swim worlds (video)

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Australia is on the board at the swimming world championships.

Emily Seebohm won the Aussies’ first gold medal on the seventh day of the eight-day meet, ensuring the formerly dominant swim nation doesn’t go winless at an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 1986.

Seebohm, who swept the backstrokes at the 2015 Worlds, won in a national record 2:05.68 in Budapest on Saturday. She edged Hungarian Katinka Hosszu by .17, with American Kathleen Baker taking bronze.

Baker also took silver in the 100m back at the Olympics and earlier this week.

Seebohm bounced back from a poor Rio Games, where she was seventh in the 100m back and 12th in the 200m back. She was diagnosed with endometriosis later in 2016 and underwent surgery in December. She also had wisdom teeth removed in January.

Given that, her tears on the pool deck after Saturday’s victory were understandable.

“I guess for me it was really hard after Rio, I knew there was a lot going on in my body, and I really pushed through in Rio,” Seebohm said, according to Swimming Australia. “I had to rush back into the water and train really hard for this and I’m just amazed at what I have achieved tonight.”

The Aussies won seven combined silver and bronze medals this week before Seebohm’s breakthrough. Still, they could finish behind China for second place in the medal standings.

Australia has fought with China and Japan as the world’s second-best swim nation for the last several years. This comes after an era where the Aussies challenged the U.S. for pool supremacy in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Women’s 200m Backstroke Results
Gold: Emily Seebohm (AUS) — 2:05.68
Silver: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) — 2:05.85
Bronze: Kathleen Baker (USA) — 2:06.48
4. Kaylee McKeown (AUS) — 2:06.76
5. Kylie Masse (CAN) — 2:07.04
6. Hilary Caldwell (CAN) — 2:07.15
7. Daria Ustinova (RUS) — 2:07.35
8. Regan Smith (USA) — 2:07.42

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Geraint Thomas attacks, takes Tour de France lead ahead of Chris Froome

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British Olympic track cycling champion Geraint Thomas grabbed the Tour de France lead, attacking with three and a half miles to win a summit finish on Stage 11 on Wednesday.

Thomas now leads a Team Sky one-two in the overall standings, 85 seconds ahead of four-time Tour winner Chris Froome, as the three-week Grand Tour passed the halfway mark.

“Froome is the [Team Sky] leader here, so there’s no pressure on me,” Thomas said Tuesday, according to Cyclingnews.com. “It’s a bonus for me to be up there, and hopefully I can be there for as long as possible.”

The Tour continues Thursday with stage 12 to Alpe d’Huez, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold (full broadcast schedule here).

The 109-mile stage features three beyond-category climbs — Col de la Madeleine, Croix-de-Fer and the iconic Alpe d’Huez finish after 21 switchbacks to close out the Tour’s three days in the Alps. The overall standings are sure to change.

Greg Van Avermaet, the Rio Olympic road race champion, went into stage 11 with a 2:22 lead, which he had tripled on the first mountain day Tuesday.

But Van Avermaet, who predicted he would lose the yellow jersey before stages Tuesday and Wednesday, cracked on the second of three major climbs Wednesday. He finished in a group 22 minutes after Thomas.

Van Avermaet is a super one-day racer but not a strong climber.

Thomas showed his climbing prowess, finishing 20 seconds ahead of 2017 Giro d’Italia champion Tom Dumoulin and Froome.

Thomas dons the yellow jersey for a second straight Tour. The 2008 and 2012 Olympic track cycling gold medalist won the opening stage in 2017 and wore the maillot jaune four days before Froome took over en route to his fourth title in Paris.

There was talk before and during this year’s Tour that Thomas could challenge Froome as Sky’s team leader, even though Froome has won the last three Grand Tours and is going for record-tying fifth Tour de France crown.

But Thomas and Sky have played that down.

Dumoulin moved into third overall, 1:44 behind Thomas and 19 seconds back of Froome.

The other top contenders — 2014 Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Romain Bardet — finished 59 seconds behind Thomas on Wednesday.

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U.S. Olympic, USA Gymnastics leaders set for another Senate hearing

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Recently replaced U.S. Olympic Committee acting CEO Susanne Lyons, USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry and Michigan State interim president John Engler are scheduled witnesses for a Senate subcommittee hearing next Tuesday on reforms following the Larry Nassar sexual-abuse crimes.

The hearing is titled, “Strengthening and Empowering U.S. Amateur Athletes: Moving Forward with Solutions” and will stream live at https://www.commerce.senate.gov/ on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

“The hearing will focus on changes made by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics (USAG), and Michigan State University (MSU) to protect Olympic and amateur athletes from abuse,” according to the subcommittee’s website. “It will examine recent reforms to provide safe environments for athletes and how these reforms are being implemented.”

The subcommittee held hearings April 18 and June 5 with testimonies from gymnasts and other athletes who were abused, former Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and former senior vice president of USA Gymnastics Rhonda Faehn. Former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny also attended the June 5 hearing but refused to answer questions.

Lyons and Perry were questioned at a House subcommittee hearing May 23.

The USOC last Thursday named Sarah Hirshland its new CEO, replacing Lyons, who had been in the role on an interim basis since Scott Blackmun resigned in February. Blackmun, who had been CEO since January 2010, left citing prostate cancer and the USOC’s need to immediately address the USA Gymnastics sexual-abuse scandal.

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