Star disqualification, broken ski pole mar cross-country worlds 50km finish


Norwegian Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo appeared to make history in the national sport of cross-country skiing. Minutes later, he walked off without a medal from the capstone event of the world championships.

Klaebo, the 24-year-old phenom, crossed the finish line first in the 50km classic finale of worlds in Oberstdorf, Germany, holding off countryman Emil Iversen and Russian Aleksander Bolshunov in a sprint after 2 hours, 10 minutes on course.

He would have become the second man to win both the sprint and the marathon at the same worlds, joining retired countryman Petter Northug, according to Gracenote.

But Klaebo was disqualified minutes later for obstruction.

Klaebo made an illegal move impeding Bolshunov while passing the Russian near the start of the final straight. Their contact caused Bolshunov, who was leading at the time, to break a ski pole. Iversen then passed Bolshunov for the silver medal.

Iversen was upgraded to gold, and Bolshunov got the silver. Bolshunov likely would have finished ahead of Iversen if not for one of his poles breaking.

“I’m very sorry on Johannes’ behalf, and I do not support the jury’s decision,” Iversen said, according to German press agency DPA. “He is the moral winner.”

The situation was reminiscent of a World Cup race in January, when Bolshunov made contact while trying to pass a Finn. He whipped his opponent with a ski pole and tackled him in the finish area and was disqualified. Video of that is here.

Klaebo was bidding for a fourth gold medal in Oberstdorf after winning the individual and team sprints and being part of Norway’s winning relay. Klaebo also won all three of those events at the PyeongChang Olympics and the 2019 World Championships.

Klaebo was making his global championship 50km debut.

Iversen, 29, earned his first individual medal at an Olympics or worlds.

Bolshunov, the 24-year-old World Cup overall standings leader, matched his 50km silver medals from the 2018 Olympics and 2019 Worlds.

The U.S. had its best result in an Olympic or world 50km since 2003, with Scott Patterson placing 10th.

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell

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 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

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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