Javier Gomez (ESP) won the overall World Triathlon title this year today, after finishing third in the final race in Edmonton, securing enough points for the overall season win. He's the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, and was originally born in Switzerland. This is his 4th overall title, and 8th time on the overall podium.
Lasse Viren (FIN) won the 1972 Olympic 10,000 meters in a world record time of 27:38.35, despite falling down onto the track in the 12th lap after a collision. He later won the 5,000 meters, and again won both 4 years later in Montreal. Viren was one of the last 'Flying Finns', who defined long-distance running for decades since Paavo Nurmi. Post-racing, he served in Finland's parliament for 9 years.
Great Britain came out on top of the medal table at the Rowing Worlds ending today, and capped it off with a last-race victory in the men's eights, which was a successful defense of their championship last year. GBR finished 10 total medals, 4 gold - just ahead of NZL with 9 overall, and AUS and GER both with 8. A remarkable even practically even spread at the top, which closely resembled the table last year where four countries finished atop with 8. GBR continues a strong tradition in the sport - they led the table at 2012, too, but it is nice to see some continued diversity in the sport, with countries including Turkey, Greece, South Africa, and Israel all won at least one place on the podiums across the 27 events contested. With the back-to-back wins in the finale, the GBR men's eights certainly set themselves up as the Olympic favorites for '16, and probably carries some confidence for them after failing to win on home turf in '12. It will be interesting to see how teams deal with GBR in next year's final major tune-up before the Games.
Today, in Rome at the World Championships in Athletics, Stefka Kostadinova (BUL) set a new standard in the women's high jump, with a world record of 2.09 meters. Amazingly, the record stands today (it's the 2nd oldest field world record in the books still, after Natalia Lisovskaya's shot put mark). She retired in 1999, after 2 Olympic medals, 2 World Championships, and 5 Indoor World Championships (in which she also once had the world record). She eventually served as president of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee.
On this date in 1904, the St. Louis Summer Olympics officially started. Unthinkable in today's context, the Games were actually a sideshow to the World's Fair, which had started in July. And, they weren't a bastion of diversity, as only 125 of the 651 athletes were not from the USA. They actually did not resemble the bureaucracy, process and popularity of hosting a Games at all, and might have spelt a decline for the movement had it not been for the Intercalated Games of 1906, which introduced a system and organization for hosting and registering that London for 1908 then emulated.
On this date in 2009, Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS) set her final and 17th world record in the pole vault, at 5.06 meters while competing in Zurich at the IAAF Golden League's Weltklasse Zurich meet. By that time, she had already established herself as a legend and probably the greatest female pole-vaulter. In addition to the outdoor records, she also set the indoor mark 13 times and currently still has 8 various meet records, including the Olympic and World Championship marks. Her unfortunate, to put it charitably, remarks on gay discrimination during the run-up to the Sochi Games, where she would be an official ambassador, overshadowed her career - but her athletic success and power can't be denied.
Today at the 1960 Rome Olympics, Anita Lonsbrough set a world record in the 200 meter breaststroke at 2:49.50. She was the last British woman to win an Olympic swimming gold until 2012. She was honored with carrying the British flag 4 years later in Tokyo, and eventually was honored as well with an MBE. Today, she's a sports commentator.
According to Vogue, all eyes are on Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) at the US Open. Well, at least mine are. Luckily, the 23-year old won his 1st match, so he's still around to play. And, considering he made the semi's at Wimbledon, he could be playing well into next week here, too. He's now ranked in the top ten.
Majlinda Kelmendi retained her 52kg world title at the World Judo Championships yesterday, representing Kosovo. Due to political recognition complications, though, she sometimes represents Albania. Either way, she is looking like the favorite for an Olympic medal in this weight class in 2016 so far - in which case, either Kosovo or Albania would get its 1st medal in any Games. I'm rooting for you, Majlinda.
Longtime captain of USA men's football, Landon Donovan will make his final appearance for Team USA on October 10, in a friendly against Ecuador in Hartford. Your departure from the international scene wasn't smooth as you probably would have liked, Landon, but after setting USA records for goals and assists and after numerous memorable moments, you deserve a salute. Plus, you look like someone I know...
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Occassional thoughts, notes, looks back, spotlights, personal musings and two-cents on news and results from the world of Olympic sport events during the year.