Katie Zaferes
ITU Media

Katie Zaferes leads U.S. sweep of World Triathlon Series podium

Leave a comment

U.S. women’s triathlon is back to the same position as four years ago — dominating.

Rio Olympian Katie Zaferes led a podium sweep at a World Triathlon Series event in Yokohama, Japan, on Saturday. She was followed by two would-be first-time Olympians, Summer Rappaport and Taylor Spivey. Full results are here.

It’s the fourth U.S. women’s sweep in WTS history and the first since 2016. Zaferes was part of the U.S.’ rise to the top in the last Games cycle, when Gwen Jorgensen became the first American triathlete to win the Olympics and was twice joined on 2015 WTS podiums by Zaferes and Sarah True.

Jorgensen has converted to the marathon. True is now an Ironman-distance triathlete.

Zaferes kept steadily improving, moving from fifth to fourth to third to second in the WTS rankings the last four seasons. The 18th-place finisher in Rio has won all three events this season, pulling away from Rappaport in the last kilometer of Saturday’s 10km run to prevail by 21 seconds.

Rappaport (née Cook) led the last U.S. sweep two weeks after the Rio Games. Yokohama marked her return to the podium. Spivey reached her second podium in three 2019 races.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympic triathlon to start early to beat the heat

Heimana Reynolds wins skateboard world title, nears an Olympic goal from age 10

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In February 2009, a 10-year-old Heimana Reynolds was profiled by his local NBC TV station on Oahu.

“My goal is to become a professional skateboarder and compete in the X Games and the Olympics,” he said, according to the report.

Skateboarding would not be added to the Olympics for another seven years. But here Reynolds is, age 21, having just won the world title in park, one of two skateboarding events that debut at the Games in Tokyo.

Reynolds, who wasn’t named to the four-man U.S. national team in March, consolidated his lead in the Olympic qualification rankings by prevailing over a pair of Brazilians in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A shirtless Reynolds scored 88 points in the final, beating Luis Francisco (85.50) and Pedro Quintas (85).

No more than three Americans can make the Olympic team in the event, which will make it difficult if three-time Olympic halfpipe snowboarding champion Shaun White decides to continue his skateboarding pursuit. White was the sixth-best American, bowing out in the semifinals in 13th place on Saturday in just his second contest since returning to competitive skating last year.

Back to Reynolds. He grew up on the North Shore and attended the Punahou School, where Barack Obama is the most famous alum. His first name is Tahitian, reportedly referring to the power of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Reynolds, the son of a surfer, proved a natural on land. After pre-teen media profiles, he blossomed into a world silver medalist last year. He won an Olympic qualifier in China in July to take the top spot in the Olympic rankings despite a best career X Games finish of sixth.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Chloe Kim details tough Princeton transition

Primoz Roglic, ex-ski jumper, wins Vuelta a Espana

AP
Leave a comment

In a year of new talent in cycling, a former world junior champion ski jumper won the last Grand Tour.

Primoz Roglic, a 2007 World junior team ski jumping champion, won the Vuelta a Espana, becoming the first Slovenian to capture a Grand Tour. He prevailed by 2 minutes, 16 seconds over Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde after Sunday’s final stage, a largely ceremonial ride into Madrid.

“Not much words to say about it,” Roglic said in a speech atop the podium. “See you next races.”

Roglic, 29, became the fifth straight first-time Grand Tour champion dating to Geraint Thomas‘ 2018 Tour de France title.

Roglic benefited from Thomas and other stars like Chris Froome skipping the Vuelta, but he also had the credentials, having finished fourth in the 2018 Tour and third in this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Valverde deserves acclaim, too, having, at age 39, made his ninth Grand Tour podium and seventh at the Vuelta. Valverde, the reigning world road race champion, has gone 16 years between his first and most recent Vuelta podium. He also had a record-breaking 19th Grand Tour top 10, according to Gracenote.

Then there’s third-place finisher Tadej Pogacar, a 20-year-old Slovenian who became the youngest Grand Tour podium finisher since 1974.

Roglic, who suffered this scary crash before leaving ski jumping, joined Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz and Colombian Egan Bernal as this year’s Grand Tour winners. All ride for different teams.

Roglic is with Jumbo-Visma, which also includes this year’s Tour de France third-place finisher Steven Kruijswijk and will include, starting in 2020, 2018 Tour de France runner-up Tom Dumoulin.

Kruijswijk abandoned the Vuelta with a knee injury in the fourth stage. Dumoulin did not start the Vuelta.

The road cycling season continues with the world championships in Yorkshire, Great Britain, later this month.

MORE: Chris Froome: Pre-Tour de France crash like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ scene

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!