Kerri Walsh Jennings, Brooke Sweat
FIVB World Tour

Kerri Walsh Jennings, Brooke Sweat author biggest blowout in world champs history

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Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat broke the record for largest margin of victory at a beach volleyball world championships, drubbing a pair from Mauritius 21-2, 21-2 in pool play on Sunday in Hamburg, Germany.

Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who lost Friday’s opener to a Dutch duo, took out the second-lowest-ranked pair in the 48-team field in 21 minutes.

“It’s an honor for us – not to lose 21-2, 21-2 – but to play Kerri, Brooke, [and Australians Mariafe] Artacho and [Taliqua] Clancy and the world-class, big professionals of the sport,” Mauritius’ Maita Cousin said, according to event organizers. “I am an admin manager and work in an office all day and go to training for two hours after. It’s a hobby for me, and I’m excited to be here at this big event and share the experience.”

Routs aren’t that unusual at the world championships because the field is twice the size of the Olympics, which brings more universality.

Walsh Jennings had never won a match by such a margin in nearly two decades and 250 pro tournaments, though she has played one 20-minute match, according to BVBInfo.com.

“They showed up and made us work,” Walsh Jennings, who is a mom like Cousin, said, according to the FIVB. “We had to scramble a few times but I love mothers – or anyone – who is chasing a dream. They showed courage.

“I don’t think they will look at the scoreline, but they should be proud.”

Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who paired last fall and are in the mix halfway through Olympic qualifying, play their last pool match Monday against the Aussies.

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Salwa Eid Naser, world 400m champion, provisionally banned

Salwa Eid Naser
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Salwa Eid Naser, the world 400m champion of Bahrain, was provisionally suspended for missing three drug tests in a 12-month span.

“I’ve never been a cheat. I will never be,” Naser, 22, said in an Instagram live video. “I only missed three drug tests, which is normal. It happens. It can happen to anybody. I don’t want people to get confused in all this because I would never cheat.”

Naser said “the missed tests” came before last autumn’s world championships, where she ran the third-fastest time in history (48.14 seconds) and the fastest in 34 years.

“This year I have not been drug tested,” she said. “We are still talking about the ones of last season before the world championships.”

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles doping cases for track and field, did not announce whether Naser’s gold medal could be stripped.

“Hopefully, it’ll get resolved because I don’t really like the image, but it has happened,” she said. “It’s going to be fine. It’s very hard to have this little stain on my name.”

Naser, the 2017 World silver medalist, upset Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas for the world title in Doha on Oct. 3.

The only women who have run faster than Naser, who was born Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu in Nigeria to a Nigerian mother who sprinted and a Bahraini father, were dubious — East German Marita Koch (47.60) and Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvilova (47.99).

“I would never take performance-enhancing drugs,” Naser said. “I believe in talent, and I know I have the talent.”

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When Laurie Hernandez winked at the Olympics

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Blink, and you may have missed one of the social-media-sensation moments of the Rio Olympics.

Laurie Hernandez, then 16, was the youngest woman on the U.S. Olympic team across all sports. She was about to start arguably the most important floor exercise routine of her life.

So, she winked.

“The amazing thing about the Olympics is that you feel so many different emotions in the span of a few days, and they are all intense,” she wrote in her 2017 book, “I Got This,” a nod to what she told herself before her balance beam routine earlier that night. “So it was nice to have at least one totally playful moment.”

The U.S., on its fourth and final rotation, already had the team gold all but locked up. Knowing she was nervous, Hernandez’s teammates confirmed to her that they were a few points ahead.

Then Hernandez heard the beep, and it was time to go. She was in the view of an out-of-bounds judge at the Rio Olympic Arena.

“Well, I looked straight at her and suddenly felt this surge of confidence to wink,” she wrote. “Later, a woman came up to me while I was watching Simone [Biles] and Aly [Raisman] compete in their all-around finals and she said, ‘Wow, I just want you to know that when you winked at the judge, it really worked.’ I didn’t know how to respond, so I just said, ‘Thank you. That’s very nice of you to say.’ That’s when she told me she was the out-of-bounds judge! All I could say was ‘Oh my goodness.'”

Hernandez, a New Jersey native, finished the Olympics with a team gold and balance beam silver.

She took more than two years off before making a comeback in earnest last year, announcing she planned to return to competition this spring under new coaches in California. Now that’s on hold given the coronavirus pandemic, which pushed the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.

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