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U.S. sweeps world titles in BMX

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A pair of Americans, Corben Sharrah and Alise Post, captured gold medals Saturday night at the UCI BMX World Championships, ending a world title drought for both the U.S. men and women.

Sharrah, who entered the day ranked No. 1 in the men’s division, won all of his qualifying motos and all of his elimination heat races en route to the final. The field in the final also included 2016 Olympic champion Connor Fields, but it was France’s Sylvain Andre who ended up giving Sharrah the biggest challenge. Sharrah crossed the line about four-hundredths of a second ahead of Andre to claim his first world title.

Post’s final race was even closer. Like Sharrah, she had won all of her qualifying motos and elimination heats leading up to the final. But in the final, she had to work hard to fend off Australia’s Caroline Buchanan. It was close enough to force a photo finish, with Post officially edging out Buchanan by just eight-thousands of a second. Post has now won four world championship medals, but this was her first gold medal.

Sharrah’s world title is the first for an American man since 2009. Post’s victory ended an even longer drought on the women’s side, one dating back 20 years.

Adding to the moment was the fact that the victories came on home soil for the Americans. This year’s world championships were contested in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

2017 BMX Championships: Men’s Elite
Gold: Corben Sharrah (USA) — 32.913
Silver: Sylvain Andre (FRA) — 32.951
Bronze Joris Daudet (FRA) — 33.891

7. Connor Fields (USA) — 36.528

2017 BMX Championships: Women’s Elite
Gold: Alise Post (USA) — 33.235
Silver: Caroline Buchanan (AUS) — 33.243
Bronze: Mariana Pajon (COL)  — 33.989

 

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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