Sepp Blatter is re-elected as president of FIFA. Enough said. Except I covered my thoughts in the blog column.
Back to Regularly Scheduled FIFA Programming...
The men's U-20 World Cup started this weekend in New Zealand, with the hosts drawing with Ukraine. With 24 teams participating, it should be a fun tournament to follow, with some smaller nations such as Fiji and Myanmar (which only lost 1-2 to the U.S.) alongside powers like Brazil and Germany. With a strong start of 8-1 over those Fijians..maybe another title is in the works for the young mannschaft.
French Squash Dominance
At the European Individual Squash Championships, France continued its dominance behind both Gregory Gaultier's ninth overall and third consecutive win in the men's race and Camille Serme's fourth consecutive win in the women's. It certainly is a sport for longevity and consistency - Gaultier's opponent in the final was Spain's Borja Golan, who finished second twice before, and Serme's opponent was Denmark's Line Hansen, in a rematch of last year's.
Speaking of the French...
The French Open continued, completing its first week. With the usual handful of exciting moments, including up-and-coming Americans - and one-time couple Jack Sock and Sloane Stephens each making the fourth round, French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completing a stirring comeback, and Kei Nishikori becoming the first Japanese player into the men's quarterfinals in 80 years - perhaps the most exciting moment came in Serena Williams' tense win over Victoria Azarenka. While a Williams' victory in par-for-the-course in this matchup, also par-for-the-course is the whisp of possibility for Azarenka, which must be especially frustrating for the former number 1. One day, she might get Williams. That'll be a good match.
European Canoe Slalom Champs End
Traditional powers came out on top at the European Canoe Slalom Championships over the weekend, with hometown Germany winning 2 golds medals and 6 overall to Slovakia's 3 gold medals and 5 overall. Five athletes won 2 medals each: Britain's Kimberly Woods and Mallory Franklin and Spain's Vilarrubla in women's canoe, Germany's Alexander Grimm in men's kayak, and Slovakia's Matej Benus in men's canoe.
More European Water Competition
The European Rowing Championships also were held this week in Poland, with Great Britain the overall winner with 10 medals, 6 of them gold. Last year, they finished second to Germany but were able to turn the tables in 2015 with strong performances across both men's and women's events. The Germans finished in second with 6 medals total, tied with France.
And in Some IOC News
In a nod toward taking their sport responsibilities seriously in national government, Japan has created a new minister-level post to be in charge of government coordination of Tokyo 2020 preparations. Let's hope that position has some pull and respect for the legacy and power of the Games.
The annual Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis, Austria is always viewed as one of the most important stops for the multi-event specialists in track and field, but this year is particularly keen for athletes as they test themselves and prepare for the World Championships later this summer, and start their road to Rio. Germany's Kai Kazmirek won the decathlon this year, after a second place showing last year, and set a world-leading mark of 8462 points in the process. Main competition Adam Eaton from the U.S., the defending Olympic champion, pulled out at the last minute but probably took some solace from his wife winning the heptathlon. Canadian Brianne Thiesen Eaton set a national record of 6808, en route to victory in a field that included Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill, the women's defending Olympic champion and returnee to top-flight competition, finishing in fourth.
And Even More French Success
Star pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie came through strong in the Prefontaine Classic this week, winning the vent with a vault of 6.05 meters, marking a new outdoor high for him, the world's lead this year, and the new second all-time outdoors. Looks like he's on track for another great season ahead of the Worlds. Sante!