The 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto closed, after 20 days of successful competition. (The ParaPan Games start on August 7th.) Generally well-received, the Games proved a boon for hosts Canada, who compiled their best-ever showing after sending their "A" team across many events, ending with 217 medals overall (78 gold) for second-place on the table behind the U.S.' 265. Particular highlights for the hosts in the final week came from athletics, where they secured 11 golds, including Andre de Grasse's double sprint gold and Shawnacy Barber's win in the pole vault. Glad to see the success of the Games, and now onto Lima for 2019!
Now That That's Over...
And buoyed by the success of the Pan Ams, Toronto now looks to bid for the 2024 Olympics. This would be the city's sixth attempt, most recently for 2008. 2024 would be a tough competition, with Boston, Hamburg, Rome, Budapest already in - and the usual public concerns creeping up in Toronto. But the city can throw a large multi-sport...
Chris Froome Wins the Tour de France
First taking the leader's yellow jersey on the third stage of 21, Chris Froome of Great Britain won his second Tour with a 72 second lead over rising star Colombian Nairo Quintana, who won the Young Riders Classification white jersey as consolation. Meanwhile, Froome's win made him the first Briton to win the race twice. (Granted, he is only the second Briton ever to win it anyway). And, he won the Mountains Classification polka dot jersey as well.
Team USA Wins FIBA Women's U-19 Worlds
The U.S. completed a 7-0 run at the Under-19 World Championships for women in Chekhov, defeating the hosts Russians in the title game. Despite a close fight for the gold in the 78-70 final, the U.S. won their sixth straight title. With the bronze medal, Australia completed a familiar podium in women's basketball, cementing their usual stay at the top of the rankings for the next few years.
And Also the Volleyball Grand Prix
Team USA also picked up the championship in the 2015 FIVB Grand Prix for women's volleyball, going 5-0 in the Group 1 finals in Omaha. Russia and Brazil, the 2014 champion, rounded out the top three. Japan, the second-place finishers last year, finished last and sixth this time, after China and Italy in the fourth and fifth positions.
Mexico Reclaims the Gold Cup Title
After a contentious semifinal round that saw them advance controversially against Panama, Mexico then beat surprising Jamaica 3-1 to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time since 2011. Defending champions United States fell spectacularly against the Jamaicans in the semifinals and then to Panama in the third place match. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann will need to regroup quick, and in time for a deciding match on October 9th versus Mexico now to decide the region's representative to the Confederations Cup in 2017.
The World Aquatics Championships opened in Kazan this weekend, and the annual competition started rather uneventfully with Chinese wins in diving and Russian wins in syncro over the first three days. But one definite highlight was USA's Bill May winning a gold medal in the first-ever world championship for mixed-duets in synchronized swimming. He had been the standard-bearer for male inclusion in the sport since the 1990's, and, partnering with Christina Jones, won the inaugural mixed event over the home favorite Russian pair. Although initial discomfort was voiced at the mixed inclusion, and only six teams entered, it's a good first step in balancing the sport and offering additional opportunity. Congrats, Bill!
New Tokyo 2020 Logo
Tokyo 2020 unveiled their official logo, marking the five-year countdown to the Games. With the iconic Japanese red circle included to "represent the power of every beating heart", the logo also features upended quotations to represent equality. (Say again??) Well, it looks sophisticated and classy, but I don't get it...
BMX Worlds End
The BMX Worlds ended in Zolder, Belgium this weekend, with two new world champions crowned in the elite divisions. First, Venezuela's Stefany Hernandez won the women's elite over Australian Caroline Buchanan and Dane Simone Christensen, to continue a South American strength in the sport after Mariana Pajon's Olympic victory for Colombia. Then, the Netherlands' Niek Kimmann won gold in the men's competition, leading a Dutch 1-2, with Jelle van Gorkom taking second. Swiss David Graf finished third. Kimmann is certainly a star on the rise - he was the 2014 World Junior Champion, and now Senior Champion in his first attempt.
Special Olympics Open
The Special Olympics World Games opened in Los Angeles this weekend, featuring over 6,500 athletes from 165 countries in 25 different sports. Those numbers make these Games the largest sports event in 2015 - and better yet, all the events are free for the public.