At the conclusion of the first week of the European Gymnastics Championships, team Russia looked strong with six overall medals from the men's competition. That included the title in team event, as well as golds in the floor and parallel bars events. David Belyavskiy was the top overall individual, with a gold (the parallel bars), silver (pommel horse), and bronze (high bar), in addition to that team win. Both Great Britain and Armenia (!) finished with three medals, while host Switzerland picked up the bronze in the team and pommel horse. Ukrainian star Olge Verniaiev picked up one gold (vault) and one silver (parallel) for the lone bright spot for the team.
And Russia Leads World Modern Pentathlon Champs
Despite both finishing with four medals each, Russia nipped France on the medal table by virtue of a stringer silver-medal finish (3 to 1 against France) at the World Modern Pentathlon Championships in Moscow this week. Russia's efforts were led by Aleksander Lesun, with his silver in the men's individual and team and a gold with Donata Rimsaite in the mixed relay. France, meanwhile, was led by Valentin Belaud's win in the men's inidvidual and Elodie Clouvel's second-place in the women's. Hungary was the only double-gold medalist with Sarolta Kovacs' victory in the women's individual and in women's team.
At the European Triathlon Championships, Spain's Javier Gomez easily won his fourth European Championship title and sent a strong message for his Rio hopes of upgrading London silver to Rio gold. Finishing in second was Russia's Dmitri Polyanskiy, and Switzerland's Andrea Savlisburg third, with key competitors Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee of Great Britain sitting this event out. Britain did win a gold in the women's event, with India Lee claiming that title over Yulia Yelistratova of Ukraine and Zsofia Kovas of Hungary.
Changing of the Guard in Women's Boxing
At the Women's World Boxing Championships in Astana this week, some familiar faces suffered defeats in a crucial qualification event for Rio. Both of India's superstars Mary Kom and Savita Devi lost in the preliminaries, while defending champion Katie Taylor of Ireland lost in the semis of the lightweight division. Taylor still qualified for Rio by finishing in the top four. London gold-medalist Clarissa Shields of the U.S. in middleweight, and Nicola Adams of Great Britain in flyweight - who was the first-ever gold medalist in women's Olympic boxing - were two stars who did live up to reputation by winning their worlds. All four medalists in flyweight, lightweight, and middleweight are qualified for the Olympics to round-out the qualification.
At the conclusion of the European Archery Championships in Nottingham this week, two new champions were crowned and the continental qualification spots were awarded for the Olympics. Jean Charles Valladont of France secured his first world championship after having finished third in 2013. Finishing second was surprise 16 year-old Mete Gazoz of Turkey, with Patrick Huston of Great Britain taking bronze after securing an individual Rio spot for the team. On the women's side, Veronika Marchenko of Ukraine won the title, over Tuiana Dashidorzhieva of Russia and Lisa Unruh of Germany. Turkey, Slovakia, and Azerbaijan were the women's individual qualifiers for the Olympics. Teams that did not qualify here nor through last year's worlds - including France - can still earn a Rio ticket through the final World Cup event in Turkey later this spring.
Defending men's elite champion Niek Kimman of the Netherlands finished with a gold again at the World BMX Championships this week, except in time trial and not the elite division, where he finished second to new champion Joris Daudet of France. Daudet's gold was the fourth medal for the French, tying Australia for second-place on the overall medal stand behind the Dutch's six. In the women's elite, Colombian star and 2012 Olympic gold-medalist and two-time elite world titleist Mariana Pajon won gold ahead of Caroline Buchanan of Australia and Alise Post of the U.S.