Kyle Snyder wins wrestling worlds in rival’s absence; U.S. wins most medals for first time

Kyle Snyder
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Kyle Snyder won his first global title in five years — in the absence of his Russian rival — and the U.S. finished the world wrestling championships with the most medals outright for the first time in history.

Snyder, a 2016 Olympic champion, grabbed his third world championships gold — and first since 2017 — by topping Russian-turned Slovak Batyrbek Tsakulov 6-0 in Sunday’s 97kg final in Belgrade.

Also Sunday, American Yianni Diakomihalis took 65kg silver, falling to Iranian Rahman Amouzad 13-8 in the final. Seth Gross lost his bronze-medal match at 61kg.

The U.S. finished the weeklong championships with a program record-tying 15 medals — two more than second-place Japan — and a program record seven gold medals — matching Japan’s total. The U.S. finished past worlds tied for the most medals, but never in first place alone until now.

The medal standings were impacted by the absence of Russia and Belarus, whose wrestlers are banned from international competition due to the war in Ukraine. Russian wrestlers won the most medals at the 2021 World Championships (18) and were second to the Americans with eight medals at the Tokyo Games.

Snyder’s primary rival is Russian Abdulrashid Sadulayev. They met in four of the previous five global championship finals, with Sadulayev, nicknamed the Russian Tank, winning the last three meetings.

Snyder spent a week with Sadulayev in his native Dagestan last year, after the Russian beat him in the Olympic and world championships finals. In June, Snyder called Sadulayev’s absence “a bummer.”

“World championships, I’m thinking Russia, USA versus Russia, that’s what it is in my mind,” he said. “So to not have him there really stinks.”

Sadulaev posted on Instagram after Snyder’s title Sunday.

“You know who was absent there,” he wrote. “My friend, I’m ready to give you another chance to become a real king in the 97 kg weight class. Our viewers deserve the continuance of story.”

Before that, Snyder’s next major challenge may be domestic.

J’den Cox, a two-time world champ in the non-Olympic 92kg class, said he plans to move up to 97kg for next year. Cox also moved up to 97kg last year, but a potential showdown with Snyder at Olympic Trials was nixed when Cox missed the weigh-in deadline to start the event.

Snyder then swept Cox in two 97kg matches on March 16 in a special event in Detroit.

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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

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Boxing
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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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