U.S. women into gold-medal match at beach volleyball worlds

Lauren Fendrick
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April Ross, a two-time Olympic medalist, and Lauren Fendrick will play for gold at the world beach volleyball championships, less than three months into their new partnership.

The Americans rallied past Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 19-21, 21-16, 15-11 in Friday’s semifinals in Vienna.

Ross and Fendrick, who paired after Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings split three months ago, will play Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany in Saturday’s final.

The last U.S. women’s pair to earn a world medal was Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor, who took silver in 2011. Walsh Jennings, 38, is missing worlds after dislocating her five-times surgically repaired right shoulder in a match with new partner Nicole Branagh two weeks ago.

Ross won the 2009 World title and 2012 Olympic silver with former partner Jennifer Kessy and 2016 Olympic bronze with Walsh Jennings.

Beijing Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena lead the men’s teams in Saturday’s quarterfinals. In fact, they are the only team from the Rio Olympic quarterfinals still alive.

Dalhausser and former partner Todd Rogers were the last U.S. men to earn world medals — bronze in 2009 and gold in 2007.

Reigning Olympic and world champions Alison and Bruno were upset by Canadians Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk in the round of 16. That matched the Brazilians’ worst finish since June 2015.

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MORE: World beach volleyball championships broadcast schedule

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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