Kristian Blummenfelt wins Ironman title after Olympic gold; Daniela Ryf’s 5th world title


Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt became the first triathlete to earn an Olympic gold medal and an Ironman world championship in the same year span, rallying to win the latter in St. George, Utah, on Saturday.

The 28-year-old covered a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run in an unofficial 7 hours, 49 minutes, 16 seconds. He is the first man to win an Ironman world title in his world championships debut since Belgian Luc Van Lierde in 1996.

“That was a tough day, brutal course,” Blummenfelt said in a finish-line interview.

Blummenfelt, eighth after the bike leg, easily made up a 4-minute, 23-second deficit on the closing marathon run to win the most prestigious distance triathlon in its first edition outside of Hawaii. Canadian Lionel Sanders was second, 4:46 behind, followed by New Zealand’s Braden Currie.


Blummenfelt took the lead around the 18th mile of the marathon with temperatures in the mid-80s. He ran the marathon in 2:38:01.

In Tokyo, Blummenfelt was in fifth place going into the closing 10km run, making up a 15-second deficit to win the 32-mile race. Four months later, he debuted at the Ironman distance by clocking the fastest time ever for 140.6 miles — 7:21:12 — boosted from a significant swim current in Cozumel, Mexico.

German Jan Frodeno is the only other triathlete to win the Olympics and the Ironman world championships. His Ironman crown came seven years after his Olympic gold medal.

Frodeno, a three-time Ironman world champion, missed St. George due to an Achilles injury. The field lacked other stars: two-time world champion Patrick Lange of Germany (shoulder), Norwegian Gustav Iden, the half Ironman world champion (illness), and Brit Alistair Brownlee, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist (illness).

In the women’s race Saturday, Daniela Ryf earned her fifth world title, prevailing by 8:50 over Brit Kat Matthews in 8:34:59.

“I guess I’m still good,” she said.

Ryf, 34, moves into third place on the women’s career victories list, trailing Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser (eight) and fellow Swiss Natascha Badmann (six). Before moving up to Ironman, Ryf placed seventh and 40th in the 32-mile Olympic triathlons in 2008 and 2012.

At her last victory on Hawaii’s Big Island in 2018, she broke the course record by 20 minutes despite getting stung by a jellyfish in both armpits on the opening 2.4-mile swim.

The Ironman World Championships were held outside of Hawaii for the first time since their 1978 inception. The coronavirus pandemic forced the event to be postponed in 2020 and 2021, the latter rescheduled from October and moved to St. George, which held the half Ironman world championships last year.

The world championships return to Kailua-Kona for a new, two-day race format — Oct. 6 for the women and Oct. 8 for the men.

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Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz exit French Open, leaving no U.S. men

Frances Tiafoe French Open

Frances Tiafoe kept coming oh so close to extending his French Open match against Alexander Zverev: 12 times Saturday night, the American was two points from forcing things to a fifth set.

Yet the 12th-seeded Tiafoe never got closer than that.

Instead, the 22nd-seeded Zverev finished out his 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory after more than 3 1/2 hours in Court Philippe Chatrier to reach the fourth round. With Tiafoe’s exit, none of the 16 men from the United States who were in the bracket at the start of the tournament are still in the field.

“I mean, for the majority of the match, I felt like I was in control,” said Tiafoe, a 25-year-old from Maryland who fell to 1-7 against Zverev.

“It’s just tough,” he said about a half-hour after his loss ended, rubbing his face with his hand. “I should be playing the fifth right now.”

Two other American men lost earlier Saturday: No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz and unseeded Marcos Giron.

No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina beat Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, and Nicolas Jarry of Chile eliminated Giron 6-2, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3.

There are three U.S women remaining: No. 6 Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens and Bernarda Pera.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

It is the second year in a row that zero men from the United States will participate in the fourth round at Roland Garros. If nothing else, it stands as a symbolic step back for the group after what seemed to be a couple of breakthrough showings at the past two majors.

For Tiafoe, getting to the fourth round is never the goal.

“I want to win the trophy,” he said.

Remember: No American man has won any Grand Slam title since Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open. The French Open has been the least successful major in that stretch with no U.S. men reaching the quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003.

But Tiafoe beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the U.S. Open along the way to getting to the semifinals there last September, the first time in 16 years the host nation had a representative in the men’s final four at Flushing Meadows.

Then, at the Australian Open this January, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton became the first trio of Americans in the men’s quarterfinals in Melbourne since 2000. Paul made it a step beyond that, to the semifinals.

After that came this benchmark: 10 Americans were ranked in the ATP’s Top 50, something that last happened in June 1995.

On Saturday, after putting aside a whiffed over-the-shoulder volley — he leaned atop the net for a moment in disbelief — Tiafoe served for the fourth set at 5-3, but couldn’t seal the deal.

In that game, and the next, and later on, too, including at 5-all in the tiebreaker, he would come within two points of owning that set.

Each time, Zverev claimed the very next point. When Tiafoe sent a forehand wide to end it, Zverev let out two big yells. Then the two, who have been pals for about 15 years, met for a warm embrace at the net, and Zverev placed his hand atop Tiafoe’s head.

“He’s one of my best friends on tour,” said Zverev, a German who twice has reached the semifinals on the red clay of Paris, “but on the court, I’m trying to win.”

At the 2022 French Open, Zverev tore ligaments in his right ankle while playing Nadal in the semifinals and had to stop.

“It’s been definitely the hardest year of my life, that’s for sure,” Zverev said. “I love tennis more than anything in the world.”

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

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

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is her top remaining challenger in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round. No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who has three wins over Swiatek this year, withdrew before her third-round match due to illness.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw