‘Not the way you want to win’: Ryan Murphy takes swimming gold after race is re-run


Ryan Murphy swam two 50m backstroke finals at the world short course championships on Friday. He won the one that counted.

Murphy, who swept the backstrokes at the 2016 Olympics, won the 50m back at short course worlds in Melbourne after it was re-run nearly an hour after the original race was thrown out due to a technical error. Murphy was second in the original race to Australian Isaac Cooper.

“That’s definitely not the way you want to win,” Murphy said. “It worked out in my favor, but I feel for Isaac Cooper. He’s 18 years old, and winning a world title certainly means a lot. I am going to talk to him in the warm-down pool and give him my congratulations.”

The first race (timestamped in the video above this post) was marred after three extra sets of beeps went off immediately after the start, signaling something went wrong.

Five of the eight swimmers still swam the whole race: two lengths of the 25-meter pool. Short course worlds are held in 25-meter pools, while most other major international meets, including the Olympics, are in 50-meter pools.

Cooper touched the wall first in 22.49 seconds, according to commentators, a time that would have won the re-swim an hour later. It appeared swimmers were notified while still in the pool that the race wouldn’t count.

“On the first start, we all heard the double beep, and you know you just have to go if you are swimming in a world championship final,” Murphy said. “You just have to finish that race. But after the turn, I hit the wall and I felt that the [starting] wedge was still in. I thought, ‘Oh damn. We have to do that one again.'”

World Aquatics later attributed it to “a technical error by an official.”

“After speaking with all the competing athletes and team officials from the competing countries, it was unanimously agreed that the competition would be re-swum,” according to World Aquatics.

Cooper later took silver behind Murphy in the re-race for his first individual global medal. This past summer, he was removed from Australia’s team for the Commonwealth Games after what Swimming Australia called “wellbeing challenges” that included the use of medication.

“The end of the day, life just keeps on throwing s— at me, and I’m just gonna keep on pushing through,” Cooper said Friday, according to World Aquatics.

Also Friday, Kate Douglass won her second individual title of the meet, taking the 200m breaststroke in a U.S. one-two with Lilly King.


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Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James

Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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