Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky notch wins in San Antonio swim meet

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Training partners Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky earned victories in their first full meet in one year, a Pro Series stop in San Antonio on Thursday.

Manuel won the 100m freestyle in 54.62 seconds, edging Rio Olympic teammate Abbey Weitzeil by .06. Ledecky was third in 54.74 in an event that’s not expected to be on her program this summer.

About an hour later, Ledecky won the 400m free in 4:05.00, distancing Olympic bronze medalist Leah Smith by 2.41 seconds.

Both Manuel and Ledecky last raced in a full meet last March, before the coronavirus pandemic halted sports and postponed the Olympics by one year.

“Different type of atmosphere. Different type of jitters,” Manuel said. “Whether I win or lose, I’m pretty critical of my swims. I would have liked to see something a little bit better than that [time].”

Manuel and Ledecky spent three months last spring swimming in a backyard pool and, more recently, passed on traveling for meets in favor of training with Stanford’s facilities reopened.

“I’ve been doing a lot of racing in practice,” Ledecky, who won the 1500m free on Wednesday by 21 seconds, said on Olympic Channel. “I don’t feel like I’m behind.”

ON HER TURF: Simone Manuel reflects on how her own story is told

Swimmers are preparing for the Olympic Trials in June in Omaha.

The San Antonio meet continues Friday. A full TV and live stream schedule is here. Full results are here.

In other events Thursday, Blake Pieroni won the men’s 100m free in 49.19 seconds. Caeleb Dressel, the world champion and second-fastest man in history, swam 49.75 in the B final, a time that would have placed seventh in the A final.

Through 10 events, the winning time has been at least a half-second slower in every A final than it was in the March 2020 Pro Series meet in Des Moines. It’s more than a second slower in eight of the 10 events.

“I don’t think this is the fastest pool in the world,” Pieroni said of San Antonio.

Nathan Adrian, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist coming back from testicular cancer, won the B final in 49.53. Adrian ranks eighth among Americans since the start of 2019 and will likely need to be top six at trials to make a fourth Olympic team in the relay.

Molly Hannis edged Annie Lazor by .21, clocking 1:07.10 in a battle between the U.S.’ second- and third-ranked women in the 100m breaststroker. Olympic and world champion and world-record holder Lilly King did not enter San Antonio, but is more than a second faster than any other American since the start of 2019.

Michael Andrew, who turned professional eight years ago at age 14, took the men’s 100m breast in 1:00.10. Andrew, bidding for his first Olympic team, is ranked second in the U.S. since the start of 2019. He trails Andrew Wilson, who was disqualified from the preliminary heats for flinching at the start.

The U.S.’ top three female 200m butterfliers faced off, with world silver medalist Hali Flickinger taking the win in 2:07.55. Regan Smith, the world-record holder in both backstrokes, was with Flickinger through 150 meters and finished 1.3 seconds back. She remains second-fastest among Americans behind Flickinger since the start of 2019.

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USA Boxing to skip world championships

USA Boxing
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USA Boxing will not send boxers to this year’s men’s and women’s world championships, citing “the ongoing failures” of the IBA, the sport’s international governing body, that put boxing’s place on the Olympic program at risk.

The Washington Post first reported the decision.

In a letter to its members, USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee listed many factors that led to the decision, including IBA governance issues, financial irregularities and transparency and that Russian and Belarusian boxers are allowed to compete with their flags.

IBA lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers in October and said it would allow their flags and anthems to return, too.

The IOC has not shifted from its recommendation to international sports federations last February that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred, though the IOC and Olympic sports officials have been exploring whether those athletes could return without national symbols.

USA Boxing said that Russian boxers have competed at an IBA event in Morocco this month with their flags and are expected to compete at this year’s world championships under their flags.

“While sport is intended to be politically neutral, many boxers, coaches and other representatives of the Ukrainian boxing community were killed as a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, including coach Mykhaylo Korenovsky who was killed when a Russian missile hit an apartment block in January 2023,” according to the USA Boxing letter. “Ukraine’s sports infrastructure, including numerous boxing gyms, has been devastated by Russian aggression.”

A message has been sent to the IBA seeking comment on USA Boxing’s decision.

The women’s world championships are in March in India. The men’s world championships are in May in Uzbekistan. They do not count toward 2024 Olympic qualifying.

In December, the IOC said recent IBA decisions could lead to “the cancellation of boxing” for the 2024 Paris Games.

Some of the already reported governance issues led to the IOC stripping IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition in 2019. AIBA had suspended all 36 referees and judges used at the 2016 Rio Olympics pending an investigation into a possible judging scandal, one that found that some medal bouts were fixed by “complicit and compliant” referees and judges.

The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

Boxing was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games announced in December 2021, though it could still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” IOC President Thomas Bach said then.

This past June, the IOC said IBA would not run qualifying competitions for the 2024 Paris Games.

In September, the IOC said it was “extremely concerned” about the Olympic future of boxing after an IBA extraordinary congress overwhelmingly backed Russian Umar Kremlev to remain as its president rather than hold an election.

Kremlev was re-elected in May after an opponent, Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands, was barred from running against him. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in June that van der Vorst should have been eligible to run against Kremlev, but the IBA group still decided not to hold a new election.

Last May, Rashida Ellis became the first U.S. woman to win a world boxing title at an Olympic weight since Claressa Shields in 2016, taking the 60kg lightweight crown in Istanbul. In Tokyo, Ellis lost 3-0 in her opening bout in her Olympic debut.

At the last men’s worlds in 2021, Robby Gonzales and Jahmal Harvey became the first U.S. men to win an Olympic or world title since 2007, ending the longest American men’s drought since World War II.

The Associated Press and NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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Mikaela Shiffrin ties world Alpine skiing championships medals record

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Mikaela Shiffrin took silver behind Italian Marta Bassino in the super-G for her 12th world Alpine skiing championships medal, tying the modern individual record.

Bassino edged Shiffrin by 11 hundredths of a second in Meribel, France, for her second world title after sharing parallel gold in 2021.

“That was the best run I can do on this track,” Shiffrin told Austrian broadcaster ORF. “I had one turn … coming off the [final] pitch where I almost lost it all.

“I’m so happy with my run.”

Austrian Cornelia Huetter and Norwegian Kajsa Vickhoff Lie tied for bronze, 33 hundredths back in a discipline where five different women won this season’s five World Cup races.

Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami, the reigning Olympic and world champ, led at the last intermediate split but lost 44 hundredths to Bassino in the final 18 seconds of the course and ended up sixth.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

With her 12th world medal, the 27-year-old Shiffrin tied Kjetil Andre Aamodt, a Norwegian star of the 1990s and 2000s, for the most in individual events since World War II. Aamodt earned his 12th and final medal in his 27th world championships race. Shiffrin matched him in her 15th worlds start.

Swede Anja Pärson holds the overall record of 13 modern medals. She won two in the team event.

Shiffrin has six gold medals, one shy of that modern record.

Shiffrin, the greatest slalom skier in history, is selective when it comes to the speed events of downhill and super-G. She has never raced the downhill at worlds and will not enter Saturday’s race.

In the super-G, she now has a world championships medal of every color and is one of two skiers in history to make the super-G podium at three consecutive worlds. The other is Austrian legend Hermann Maier.

“I’m emotional because I don’t really feel like I should be winning a medal in super-G right now,” said Shiffrin, who had a win and a seventh place in two World Cup super-G starts this season and was sixth in the super-G run of Monday’s combined. “There are so many women who are strong and fast.”

Shiffrin rebounded from Monday’s first race of worlds, where she was in line for combined gold before losing her balance with five gates left and straddling the third-to-last gate in her slalom run. That snapped her streak of a medal in 10 consecutive world championships races dating to 2015.

After Wednesday’s race, Shiffrin called the past 48 hours “stressful.” She shed tears in the live ORF interview soon after her run, then later clarified that she misunderstood what the interviewer said in German.

“The last two or four weeks, well, really the last year, but especially in the last few weeks, I must have answered 100 questions about this world championships and basically if I’m worried that it’s going to be the same as what the Olympics was last year, if I’m worried about the disappointment, if I’m afraid of it,” Shiffrin, whose best individual Olympic finish last year was ninth, with three DNFs, said in a later press conference when asked about the ORF interview. “I was like, ‘I survived the Olympics, so I’m not afraid that it’s going to kill me if I don’t win a medal this world championships.’ That’s what I’ve been saying, but for sure, you get asked the same thing again and again. It’s so hard to keep the balance in your mind to answer this question and still be positive and still think I can do this. I can ski my best. I can make it to the finish. And then after the combined, I was like, you have got to be kidding me. My DNF rate now in my entire career, over 50 percent of it is at Olympics or world championships. Like, c’mon. It’s almost funny. And it’s only funny because I was able to win a medal today. The pressure’s not off, but there’s for sure a little bit of relief.”

Worlds continue with the men’s super-G on Thursday. Shiffrin’s next race is expected to be the giant slalom on Feb. 16.

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