Canada sweeps snowboard big air titles to close world championships

Mark McMorris
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Mark McMorris is a seven-time X Games Aspen snowboard champion with a record 20 Winter X Games medals overall, but he won his first world championship on Tuesday.

McMorris was part of a Canadian sweep of the men’s and women’s big air titles on the final day of the world freestyle skiing and snowboarding championships in Aspen, Colorado. Laurie Blouin took the women’s gold.

In big air, an athlete’s top two scores, throwing different tricks, among three runs are added together for a final score.

McMorris, the two-time Olympic slopestyle bronze medalist, landed two different 1620s for 92.75 and 86.50 points, respectively. His outscored countryman Max Parrot, who came back from a cancer diagnosis to win the 2020 X Games big air, by one point. Norwegian Marcus Kleveland took bronze, four days after winning the world title in slopestyle.

Judd Henkes, the lone American in the final, took seventh.

Canadian Sebastien Toutant, who won big air’s Olympic debut in 2018, failed to qualify for the final

Last year, McMorris broke Shaun White’s record for most Winter X Games medals across all sites, including Europe. This past January, he missed X Games Aspen for the first time since his debut in 2011 at age 17, forced out due to a positive coronavirus test.

He returned to Aspen for the world championships, failing to make the slopestyle final but sticking around to compete in big air at worlds for the first time since 2013.

Blouin, the 2018 Olympic slopestyle silver medalist, landed two different double cork 1080s for 88 and 89.75 points, respectively. She edged slopestyle world champion Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand by one point.

Japanese Miyabi Onitsuka took bronze. Missing the podium: Austrian Olympic champion Anna Gasser (fourth) and American Jamie Anderson, who owns both Olympic slopestyle titles and finished seventh on Tuesday.

Big air marked the last day of world championships in skiing and snowboarding events across all disciplines. The remaining winter sports world championships are in figure skating (next week), curling (April and May) and ice hockey (May and June).

Top U.S. snowboarders and freeskiers will stay in Aspen for the U.S. Grand Prix, the first 2022 Olympic qualifying event, later this week. A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

Earlier, ski big air produced two unheralded world champions.

Oliwer Magnusson became the first Swede to win a world freeskiing title, landing two different double cork 1800s for 94.25 and 91 points, respectively.

He edged 18-year-old Canadian Edouard Therriault by .25 of a point. Swiss Kim Gubser took bronze, .75 of a point ahead of American Mac Forehand. None of the men’s medalists made the podium at any previous X Games or world championships.

Swiss Andri Ragettli, the social media video sensation who won the X Games big air in January and slopestyle world title on Saturday, placed sixth.

Anastasia Tatalina and Lana Pruskova gave Russia a historic one-two in the women’s event. A Russian never before placed in the top five of a world championships freeski final. But Tatalina, 20, landed two different double cork 1260s for 93 and 91.5 points, respectively, to distance her countrywoman by 19 points.

Chinese Eileen Gu, who swept the halfpipe and slopestyle titles last week and at January’s X Games, took bronze, just as she did at X Games. No Americans made the final.

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They meet in Friday’s semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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IOC board recommends withdrawing International Boxing Association’s recognition

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The IOC finally ran out of patience with the International Boxing Federation on Wednesday and set a date to terminate its Olympic status this month.

While boxing will still be on the program at the 2024 Paris Games, the International Olympic Committee said its executive board has asked the full membership to withdraw its recognition of the IBA at a special meeting on June 22.

IOC members rarely vote against recommendations from their 15-member board and the IBA’s ouster is likely a formality.

The IOC had already suspended the IBA’s recognition in 2019 over long-standing financial, sports integrity and governance issues. The Olympic body oversaw the boxing competitions itself at the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021 and will do so again for Paris.

An IOC statement said the boxing body “has failed to fulfil the conditions set by the IOC … for lifting the suspension of the IBA’s recognition.”

The IBA criticized what it called a “truly abhorrent and purely political” decision by the IOC and warned of “retaliatory measures.”

“Now, we are left with no chance but to demand a fair assessment from a competent court,” the boxing body’s Russian president Umar Kremlev said in a statement.

The IOC-IBA standoff has also put boxing’s place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games at risk, though that should now be resolved.

The IOC previously stressed it has no problem with the sport or its athletes — just the IBA and its current president Kremlev, plus financial dependence on Russian state energy firm Gazprom.

In a 24-page report on IBA issues published Wednesday, the IOC concluded “the accumulation of all of these points, and the constant lack of drastic evolution throughout the many years, creates a situation of no-return.”

Olympic boxing’s reputation has been in question for decades. Tensions heightened after boxing officials worldwide ousted long-time IOC member C.K. Wu as their president in 2017 when the organization was known by its French acronym AIBA.

“From a disreputable organization named AIBA governed by someone from the IOC’s upper echelon, we committed to and executed a change in the toxic and corrupt culture that was allowed to fester under the IOC for far too long,” Kremlev said Wednesday in a statement.

National federations then defied IOC warnings in 2018 by electing as their president Gafur Rakhimov, a businessman from Uzbekistan with alleged ties to organized crime and heroin trafficking.

Kremlev’s election to replace Rakhimov in 2020 followed another round of IOC warnings that went unheeded.

Amid the IBA turmoil, a rival organization called World Boxing has attracted initial support from officials in the United States, Switzerland and Britain.

The IBA can still continue to organize its own events and held the men’s world championships last month in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

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