Sinitsina/Katsalapov win first world title as Russians take three golds at skating worlds

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Russian figure skaters earned their third gold medal – out of four up for grabs – of the 2021 ISU World Figure Skating Championships when Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov won the ice dance competition Saturday night.

The Russians, who were technically representing the Russian Skating Federation as the nation’s flag and anthem are barred from major international sporting events this season due to doping issues, claimed six of 12 total medals awarded in Stockholm.

Anna Shcherbakova won the women’s competition in a Russian sweep, while Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov topped pairs at their first worlds. American Nathan Chen won the men’s event for his third consecutive world title.

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | TV, Stream Schedule

Sinitsina and Katsalapov took their first world title in the only event that did not have a past world champion entered. They won both programs and ended with a total score of 221.17 points.

“This medal has a huge significance for us and is very dear to us,” Sinitsina said, after improving upon their silver medal at the last world championships in 2019. “We’ve been through a lot of difficulties.”

Both Sinitsina and Katsalapov contracted COVID-19 in December, withdrawing from competitions. Katsalapov revealed at the time that his was mild and Sinitsina’s worse, including “partial lung damage.”

“It’s true, it was a very difficult time, but it’s behind us now,” Sinitsina said. “I am feeling great, we are feeling great, and we worked a lot. I really missed the training and working on the ice, so every day I went to practice on the ice and I looked into the eyes of Nikita. I trust him and I trust the coaches, and I am just very happy to be here at this competition.”

The U.S. team of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue performed their “Hallelujah” program and finished with silver, maintaining their ranking from Friday’s rhythm dance, with 214.71 points. They expressed disappointment and frustration for not reaching their goal of gold, but remained proud of their third consecutive world medal, after silver in 2018 and bronze in 2019.

“We know that takes a lot of work and so we’re proud of ourselves for being consistently at the peak of our performance,” Hubbell said.

With the second-best free dance performance, Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier surpassed Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who were third Friday, claiming bronze with 214.35 points.

“This is our first time on the world podium, so a very exciting milestone in our career,” Poirier said. “I think we’ve been open and unapologetic about wanting to be on the Olympic podium next year, so I think being on the world podium this year is very encouraging to the two of us.”

Chock and Bates finished fourth after a few minor errors from Bates in their popular “The Snake and the Snake Charmer” dance, missing out on what looked to be their first world medal in five years, with a 212.69.

“Madi was so excited when she finished, then she looked at me and I said, ‘Uh, I didn’t skate as well as you did, babe,’” Bates shared. “There were certainly a few seconds in the program where I made some technical errors that were obviously costly, and honestly I’m quite disappointed about it.

“That’s kind of what we love about the sport is that if it was a guaranteed thing every time and we could just show up and win the gold medal, then that’d be just very easy and fun, but the real pleasure comes from working really hard, getting knocked down and coming back stronger. We’ve been through a lot of those moments, and I think this is one moment in particular that is quite disappointing for us, but we’re still going to come back next season stronger and still with the same goals in mind.”

The combined placements of Hubbell/Donohue and Chock/Bates guaranteed the U.S. will send three ice dance teams to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics for the fifth Games in a row.

The third U.S. team, Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, improved from 11th in the rhythm dance to ninth overall (188.51), tying their best worlds placement.

“We finished program feeling very happy with the end result,” Hawayek said. “There wasn’t a moment where we felt like we held back, and we felt like we performed from the beginning to end. We were certainly disappointed with the scores that we received and we didn’t necessarily think they reflected the skate that we put out, but in terms of what we could control, which is the skate, we performed very well.”

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago.

The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet in Kenya’s Rift Valley, often hauling by bike several gallons of the family’s milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a nursery school teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.

At 18, he upset legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 World 5000m title on the track. He won Olympic 5000m medals (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then moved to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final