Americans Ryan Crouser, Maggie Ewen crowned Diamond League champions

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Seven champions were determined Wednesday on the first of a two-day Diamond League final in Zurich, Switzerland.

The shot put events kicked off the meet and were won by Americans Ryan Crouser and Maggie Ewen.

With a season’s best throw of 19.41 meters, Ewen earned not only her first season-ending Diamond League trophy but also the first Diamond League meet victory of her career. Portugal’s Auriol Dongmo was second at 18.86 meters and Sweden’s Fanny Roos third with a throw of 18.75.

The 26-year-old was fourth at the 2019 World Championships but just missed this year’s Olympic team, placing fourth at U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials by 0.03 meters.

Crouser, meanwhile, scored his ninth Diamond League victory since 2017 but first season title. He won all three meets he entered this year, setting meet records each time.

He set the world record of 23.37 meters when he won the Olympic Trials in June en route to his second consecutive Olympic gold.

Joe Kovacs, the 2019 World champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist, was second with a best of 22.29 meters. Serbian Armin Sinancevic, seventh in Tokyo, was third at 21.86, while New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh, who was on the past two Olympic and world championship podiums, finished a surprising fourth (21.61m) after winning three Diamond League season trophies.

Burundi long distance runner Francine Niyonsaba won her third 5000m Diamond League race in a row, running 14:28.98, ahead of Kenyan Hellen Obiri (14:29.68) — the two-time Olympic silver medalist at this distance — and Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye (14:30.30).

Niyonsaba is the 2016 Olympic and 2017 World silver medalist at 800 meters, but moved up to the 5000m this year after World Athletics ruled her testosterone levels are too high to run distances between 400 meters and the mile.

She qualified for Tokyo in the 5000 and 10,000, but was disqualified in the 5000m heats for a lane infringement. She finished fifth in the 10,000m final.

Three-time women’s high jump world champion, and recent Olympic gold medalist, Mariya Lasitskene of Russia won her event with a world-leading jump of 2.05 meters. Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh tied her season’s best height of 2.03 meters, while Australian Nicola McDermott was third, switching orders on the podium with Mahuchikh from Tokyo, at 2.01 meters.

Sweden’s Thobias Montler jumped 8.17 meters for the second Diamond League long jump win of his career, followed by American Steffin McCarter (8.14) and South African Ruswahl Samaai (7.99). None of the Tokyo Olympic medalists were competing.

With no Olympic medalists entered in women’s long jump either, Serbian Ivana Spanovic won her fourth Diamond League meet of the season, jumping 6.96 meters. Swede Khaddi Sagnia was second with 6.83, followed by Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk at 6.75.

Ethiopian Berihu Aregawi won the men’s 5000m title after just missing out on the Olympic 10,000m podium this summer. He ran 12:58.65, ahead of Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew (13:01.27) and Kenyan Jacob Krop (13:01.81).

Twenty five Diamond League titles will be determined on Thursday.

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Svetlana Romashina, seven-time Olympic champion artistic swimmer, retires

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Russian Svetlana Romashina, the most decorated artistic swimmer in Olympic history with seven gold medals, announced her retirement at age 33.

Romashina entered seven Olympic artistic swimming events and won all of them, starting in 2008. She won four Olympic titles in the team event and three in the duet (two with Nataliya Ishchenko and one with Svetlana Kolesnichenko).

The Tokyo Games marked her last major competition.

Romashina is the only woman to go undefeated in her Olympic career while entering seven or more events. The only man to do so was American track and field athlete Ray Ewry, who won all eight of his Olympic starts from 1900-08, according to Olympedia.org.

Romashina also won 21 world championships medals — all gold, second in aquatics history behind Michael Phelps‘ 26.

She took nearly two years off after giving birth to daughter Alexandra in November 2017, then came back to win three golds at her last world championships in 2019 and two golds at her last Olympics in 2021.

Romashina is now an artistic swimming coach, according to Russian media.

Russian swimmers swept the Olympic duet and team titles at each of the last six Olympics.

Russians have been banned from international competition since March due to the war in Ukraine.

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Mikaela Shiffrin, three gates from gold, skis out of world championships combined

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Mikaela Shiffrin was three gates from a record-tying seventh world championships gold medal when she lost her balance and straddled a gate, skiing out of the first race of worlds on Monday.

Italian Federica Brignone won the women’s combined instead, prevailing by 1.62 seconds over Swiss Wendy Holdener, the largest Olympic or world championships men’s or women’s margin of victory in the event since it switched from three runs to two in 2007.

Austrian Ricarda Haaser took bronze in an event that is one run of super-G followed by one run of slalom.

At 32, Brignone, the 2020 World Cup overall champion, won her first global title and became the oldest female world champion in any event.

“What was missing in my career was a gold medal,” she said. “So I’m old. No, I’m just kidding.”

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Shiffrin was sixth fastest in the opening super-G run, 96 hundredths behind Brignone. She skied aggressively in the slalom in a bid to beat Brignone. Shiffrin cut the gap to eight hundredths by the last intermediate split with about 10 seconds left on the course in Meribel, France.

Shiffrin looked set to overtake Brignone until tripping up slightly with five gates left. It compounded, and Shiffrin couldn’t save the run, losing control, straddling the third-to-last gate and skiing out. The timing system still registered her finish — 34 hundredths faster than Brignone — but it was quickly corrected to the obvious disqualification.

Asked on French TV if she lost focus, Shiffrin said, “People are going to say that no matter what.”

“The surface changed a little bit on these last gates, so [on pre-race] inspection I saw it’s a bit more unstable on the snow,” she added. “I tried to be aware of that, but I knew that if I had a chance to make up nine tenths on Federica, or more than that, like one second, I had to push like crazy. So I did, and I had a very good run. I’m really happy with my skiing.”

It marked Shiffrin’s first time skiing out since she did so in three races at last February’s Olympics, where her best individual finish was ninth in five races. At the Olympics, she skied out within the first 13 seconds in each instance. On Monday, she was more than 40 seconds into her run.

“I was thinking, now I’m going to go through the mixed zone. and everyone’s going to ask, ‘Oh, is this Beijing again?'” Shiffrin said. “I didn’t really think about that for myself, but more for the people asking. But I also said before, coming into this world champs multiple times, I’m not afraid if it happens again. What if I don’t finish every run? What happened last year, and I survived. And then I’ve had some pretty amazing races this season. So I would take the season that I’ve had with no medals at the world championships. If it’s either/or, then I would take that. I’m happy with it. But I’m going to be pushing for medals, because that’s what you do at world champs. You wear your heart on your sleeve, and you go for it. I’m not afraid of the consequences, as long as I have that mentality, which I had today.”

NBC Sports analyst Steve Porino said what happened Monday was “completely different” from the Olympics, calling it “an error of aggression.”

“It certainly wasn’t nerves that sent her out,” Porino said on the Peacock broadcast. “This was Shiffrin knowing that she had to have a huge run to get the gold medal.

“The way she went out this time, I think she can brush that one off.”

Shiffrin was bidding to tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12). Coming into Monday, she earned a medal in her last 10 world championships races dating to 2015.

Her next chance to match those records comes in Wednesday’s super-G, where she is a medal contender. Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel is the world’s top-ranked super-G skier through five races on the World Cup this season, though she was 71 hundredths behind Brignone in Monday’s super-G run.

Shiffrin has raced two super-Gs this season with a win and a seventh place.

She is expected to race three more times over the two-week worlds, which is separate from the World Cup circuit that she has torn up this season.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup wins in 23 starts across all disciplines since November, moving her one shy of the career victories record of 86 accumulated by Swede Ingemar Stenmark in the 1970s and ’80s. Again, world championships races do not count toward the World Cup, which picks back up after worlds end in late February.

Worlds continue Tuesday with the men’s combined.

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