The European Fencing Championships ended on Thursday, with Italy on top of the medal table with 10 total. Russia followed with nine, then France with six. Individual highlights included three double gold medalists, representing those top three and all disciplines: Gauthier Grumier (FRA) in epee, Sofiya Velikaya (RUS) in sabre, and Elisa di Francisca (ITA) in foil.
And the African Fencing Championships Start
The 2015 Championships began this week in Cairo, with competition through the 16th. Through the first three days of competition, Egypt and Tunisia lead the medal table with 10 and 9 medals each across the individual events; Tunisia sweeping the women's titles
Women's World Cup Continues
FIFA's WWC completed it's first full week of matches, with the second round of group stage matches now complete. Co-favorites (right?) USA and Germany both had moments of question, with the defending Germans drawing with Norway and the U.S. tying with Sweden. On the other end of the spectrum, Ecuador suffered losses of 6-0 and 10-1 within six days. Buck up, Ecuador...you have to start somewhere, and the only way is up!
New Events Confirmed for the Winter Games
As expected, some new sport events are now officially added to the schedule for the Winter Games for 2018. To be competed in Pyeongchang will be curling mixed doubles (Go Hungary!), team skiing (sure, I guess), mass start speed skating (which I'm very curious about), and big air in snowboarding (which I'm not sure how different is from halfpipe or aerials, but I'll find out...). To make room within snowboarding, the sports is dropping the parallel slalom event. Vic Wild (RUS) and Julia Dujmovits (AUT) won that event in men's and women's competitions in Sochi, and will not be able to defend their titles. Assumedly the parallel giant slalom event will still be contested. To be fair, the (non-giant) event was only held once, in 2014, so not much legacy will be lost.
And, More Summer Sports?
Continuing the Bach era's reform and change, Tokyo 2020 is getting ready to exercise their right to add more sports to the Games. The catch - added sports should appeal to youth and represent some level of globalism. This week, final applications were due and 26 (!) sports submitted bids to become one of the one or two to be added. The favorite seems to be baseball / softball, in a revised joint bid as one sport that offers significant Japanese appeal. A long shot? Well...tug of war. I'm rooting for you still, squash!
2013 champions Spain started their defense of their European title in women's basketball with the start of the 2015 EuroBasket, co-hosted by Hungary and Romania. Through almost the completion of the first round, Spain, Belarus, Montenegro and Serbia all are 3-0. In a good run for competitiveness, the only rout in the 20-team event so far has been a 71-40 defeat of Great Britain by Russia. The overall winner will book a place in the 2016 Olympic tournament.
Team USA Wins Rugby Qualification
At the conclusion of the NACRA Rugby Sevens Championships in Cary, North Carolina this weekend, the United States won qualification for the region to the Olympic tournament next year, in both men's and women's events. On the men's side, Canada and Mexico earned trips to the official Olympic Qualification tournament (date TBD) for another try at the Games. For the women, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago finished 2nd and 3rd to earn their Qualification Tournament spots.
Hosts Continue to Dominate the Southeast Asian Games
The 2015 SEA Games continued with an impressive showing by host Singapore and a 253 medal total to top the table so far with two more days left in competition, ahead of traditional power Thailand (235).
Copa America Begins
The most important South American football tournament started this week, with the 2015 Copa America in Chile. Defending champion Uruguay opened its campaign with a win against invitee Jamaica, with Argentina and Brazil also notching their game 1 wins.
USA Defends in Women's Water Polo
The FINA Women's Water Polo World League Super Final (um, a mouthful there) was held in Shanghai this week, and the USA successfully defended its title with an 8-7 win over Australia in the final match. The Netherlands defeated China 10-5 for third place.
New European Power - Azerbaijan?
With the new European Games starting this week in Baku, Azerbaijan have an opportunity to showcase sport and hosting in their country in the new multi-sport event. And, they're doing that, for sure, taking early lead of the medal table with 13 medals ahead of Turkey's 12 and Russia's 7 through the first four days. No, ahem, offense meant to the hosts, but a scoreline like that kinda sounds like a lot of Europe's top athletes aren't in the mix yet in the Games. I understand that, historically, World Championships and Olympic tended to be 'European Games' with regards to where success came from, and that with the increased globalization and parity around the world across many sports, that Europe may be looking for a bit of self-promotion, but it will probably take continued effort to coordinate a crowded sports calendar to emphasize the relevance of these Games. In the meantime, I'm all for more sports getting more attention, and more athletes getting a spotlight and experience they might not receive in larger Worlds or Olympics. Carry on!
And in Ridiculousness
So...you thought Sepp Blatter would go quietly?? The circus is still open for business.