Monday Myriad: Waffle Cup … and greetings, Season!

Has soccer made it in America? We debate this topic every four years, and I’m officially declaring the conversation dead.

Why? These two tweets:

(HT: D.C. Sports Bog)

The week in myriad sports includes a reminder that the best U.S. athlete of the year might be a triathlete, along with a reminder to turn off auto-correct when writing beach volleyball stories.

BEST U.S. ATHLETE OF THE YEAR NOMINEE

Gwen Jorgensen is in her fifth year as a triathlete, and she has already won six World Series races, three in a row. If you don’t build up a massive lead after the bike phase, just wave as she goes by.

Meanwhile, Jorgensen’s teammate put a wry smile on less happy news:

NEATEST SHOE TRICK

HOTTEST EVENT

World Cup game? Nope. USA Track and Field Championships in Sacramento.

https://twitter.com/chrisnickinson/status/483342565853261824

BEST BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE

Devon Allen is a promising wide receiver who redshirted his freshman year at Oregon. He’s also the NCAA champion in the 110-meter hurdles. And the U.S. champion.

Jenny Simpson held off Mary Cain to win the women’s 1,500.

The women’s 5,000 had a fun back-and-forth finish between Molly Huddle and Shannon Rowbury.

And yes, it was a near replay of the women’s 10,000, with Kim Conley rallying past Jordan Hasay.

The Monday Morning Run has the rest of the action.

BEST VOLLEYBALL DIG/KILL

BEST BEACH VOLLEYBALL DIG/KILL

Karri Walsh Jennings and April Ross went on to win the FIVB Grand Slam in Stavanger, Norway.

WORST BEACH VOLLEYBALL TYPO

Can U.S. beach volleyball men get some respect? Say, for example, Season Rosenthal?

Yes, that’s actually Sean Rosenthal, but no, the wires didn’t catch the error.

Anyway, Sean and Phil (Pill? Philosopher?) Dalhausser won the men’s bracket in Stavanger.

BEST SONG WITH “BRASILIA” IN THE TITLE

No contest. (Maybe in the literal sense.)

2012 medal projection update: Ball sports

See the original post for projections from 16 months ago; read on for the latest (which may not have changed much):

BASKETBALL

The only major international event played since the last World Championships were the men’s and women’s European tournaments. The top four men: Spain, France, Russia, Macedonia. Women: Russia, Turkey, France, Czech Republic.

FIBA also compiles rankings that reflect all the various zonal tournaments. Top men: USA, Spain, Argentina, Greece, Lithuania, big gap. Top women: USA (by a mile), Australia/Russia (tie), giant gap, Czech Republic, Spain.

Men: The USA and Spain are clearly the front-runners. After that, the picks are more difficult. France has Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and two other NBA-affiliated players, though Joakim Noah is out injured. Great Britain has two players who passed briefly through Duke — Luol Deng and Eric Boateng. But you can’t always judge by the number of NBA or former college players. Lithuania has a lot of Euroleague experience (as well as some players U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski will know from ACC play), and Russia is built around several players from perennial power CSKA Moscow.

France (ranked 12th) may be underrated, especially when you consider that France qualified for the Olympics ahead of fourth-ranked Greece. Then Nigeria knocked out Greece in the last-chance Olympic tournament, qualifying along with Russia and Lithuania.

Brazil (#13) is certainly underrated. They finished second at the Americas qualifying tournament behind host Argentina (the USA did not participate), and they usually give the USA a tough game. Argentina beat Brazil in the neutral setting of the 2010 Worlds. But on paper, Brazil’s roster is stronger, and the history is solid.

So we’re not changing. USA, Spain, Brazil

Women: A U.S. loss would be a shocker. Australia has three straight silver medals, and the Opals return roughly half of their 2008 squad, including world-class star Lauren Jackson, though several WNBA players have moved on.

Russia was far from unbeatable in the European qualifying tournament last year, barely getting past Slovakia in the opener and losing a group-stage game to Lithuania. Belarus beat them in the next round, and Britain got within three points. They woke up and stomped everyone in the knockout stages, and no one else has given any reason to doubt the rankings, the original projection or the 2008 finish. USA, Australia, Russia

Read on …

Continue reading 2012 medal projection update: Ball sports

Beach volleyball circuit goes inland

Beach volleyball has come a long way from California. The North American AVP tour went coast-to-coast with a few stops in between. As with a lot of Olympic sports, Europe has been a gracious host for many events.

But if you check the 2011 FIVB tour, the first since the AVP’s demise (IMG and USA Volleyball will team up for a short domestic series), you’ll find:

– A lot of events in central Europe

– A tour of the beaches of China and Scandinavia

– The lone stop in Brazil, a hotbed of beach sports, held in far-inland Brasilia

– No events on anything the Western world would consider a traditional beach

Just check the map:

[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Mys%C5%82owice,+Silesia,+Poland&msa=0&msid=216226103722865113343.0004987dd06b168fd6659&ll=25.482951,15.46875&spn=129.776613,346.289063&t=h&z=2 width=450 height=350 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=auto]

The battle for beach volleyball’s soul

When we last checked in on the AVP Tour, the rest of the season was in jeopardy. Now it’s gone.

We also noted last time that beach legend Karch Kiraly had some sort of low-key tour going on as well, and he was touting old-school volleyball with larger courts, a different ball, the old 15-point must-serve-to-score scoring, etc.

With the AVP on hiatus, the city of Manhattan Beach (Calif.) scrambled to save its prestigious event. They’ve done so, with one hitch — they’re going old school with the rules.

Count Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh among those who are unhappy and refusing to play. And a few jabs about the international game being here to stay are included in the midst of Hans Stolfus’ emotional, comprehensive blog post about the AVP situation. (HT: Manhattan Beach Confidential)

Take it from a soccer journalist — niche sports divided do not stand.

Beach volleyball hitting another ebb in USA?

Beijing beach volleyball venue
Hey, Beijing! Karch Kiraly cares not for your temporary "beach." (Photo taken at 2008 Games on my "eight venues in a day" tour.)

The AVP Tour never has it easy. Beach volleyball still draws snickers over the revealing attire (as if track and field athletes wear three-piece suits). Alien vs. Predator stole its initials. And it’s a sponsor-driven sport subject to the whims of the economy.

This summer, the AVP is hitting another difficult stretch, just as it did in the late ’90s. Two weeks ago, players were told the rest of the season wasn’t guaranteed. The tour is trying to nail down a deal with new investors, but it hasn’t come through just yet. Next weekend’s scheduled stop in San Francisco has been pushed back to September.

And in a development longtime soccer fans will find all too familiar, the tour has some sort of competition in the Corona Light Wide Open. Be warned if you click that link — you’ll need to go through a clumsy sign-in screen to assert that you’re at least 21.

Beach legend Karch Kiraly is involved with the Corona event, and he doesn’t mince words about what the AVP and the FIVB, which organizes the international tour and Olympic play, are doing wrong. He must not be interested in TV, touting sideout scoring (points awarded only when you’re serving) over rally scoring (every point counts). That’s a sure way to make matches last eons, wrecking any semblance of a schedule and thereby irritating would-be broadcasters. His blog says the action in Chicago will have a women’s final that “should go off about 3 p.m. Sunday, with the men’s final after that.”

He’s also upset that the game is played on a smaller court than it was in his day, and most curiously, he scoffs at the idea of playing away from natural beaches. (Frankly, from my vast experience diving into sand for truly awesome digs in my early 20s, I prefer doing so without scraping the hell out of my arms on seashells, but maybe that’s just me. You have to level the sand and groom it, anyway, so what’s the difference?)

But before dismissing Kiraly as some beefier version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man, it’s worth checking out one point he raises: The AVP is charging admission and trying to be a “major” sport.

Perhaps the AVP is overreaching, but the beach volleyball horse long ago left the old-school California barn. It’s an international sport now.

So perhaps the real question should be how much professional beach volleyball one country can sustain.

Most international sports don’t have a U.S.-based tour featuring top U.S. players. Winter sports have World Cup circuits that may pass through the USA, but any other competition in the country is second-tier. USA Track and Field has a series of meets — some on the Diamond League list, some not. The ATP and WTA tennis tours spend a few weeks in the country.

Given that, it’s a bit of a miracle that the AVP has lasted this long as a full-fledged professional circuit. And still, only a handful of U.S. pros are making decent money. Many of those players are also doing double duty on the FIVB tour.

Coincidentally, U.S. players are having a rough week at the Grand Slam FIVB event this week in Stare Jablonski, Poland. No Americans made the quarterfinals in the women’s competition. Jen Kessy and April Ross didn’t advance from group play. Neither did Olympic champion Misty May-Treanor and Nicole Branagh. Things are a bit better on the men’s side, where top-seeded Phil Dalhausser-Todd Rogers have advanced along with Jake Gibb-Sean Rosenthal.

(Update: Seems a USA Volleyball registration error compounded problems for the U.S. players this week.)

Can four-woman beach volleyball make a comeback if Gabrielle Reece is involved?

Four-on-four beach volleyball is one of those sports from ESPN’s distant past you’d expect to see on ESPN Classic alongside AWA Wrestling and various forms of billiards. And yet it has almost been scrubbed from history. Even though someone has made an effort to document the exploits of Team Paul Mitchell and Team Sony Autosound, it’s not even explicitly mentioned in the Wikipedia narrative taking the game from a couple of informal tournaments to current Olympic status.

Today, it’s all about two-player teams. Even the college “teams” that play in the Alt Games play the demanding two-on-two version. (Those of us who couldn’t hack two-on-two even when we were in decent shape in our 20s can testify.)

But the AVP is bringing back the four-on-four game along with its most famous player, Gabrielle Reece, who was probably the one female beach volleyball player mainstream America could name before the emergence of Misty May (now May-Treanor) and Kerri Walsh in the Olympics.

Reece says she sees it as a transition for college players to get out to the beach. Yet it could be better suited for older athletes who simply can’t cover that much ground any more but still have the skills to play an attractive game. Reece is 40, but she’s surely in better shape than those of us who celebrated that birthday behind a computer keyboard.

Should be an experiment worth watching.

In case you’ve forgotten May and Walsh’s rise to fame, here’s a blast from the not-too-distant past (and a fun interview):

Friday Myriad: USA-England II, Liddell-Franklin I, Track-Field II

No, we’re not going to forget the rest of the sports world during the big month in South Africa. That said, I’m backing off from the chronological viewing program this week and doing a more basic linking spree. Enjoy.

SOCCER TV NEWS

World Cup: DirecTV has everything in HD, some in 3D and a total of seven languages — English, Spanish, Arabic, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese. (press release)

WPS: The league is getting more pickup from Comcast regional networks. Best off checking your local affiliate for delayed broadcasts; the league site’s schedule just has the live ones.

RUGBY: USA-ENGLAND II

Well, sort of. It’s the USA against the England Saxons, essentially England’s B team, Sunday at the Churchill Cup. That’s one day after that other USA-England game in South Africa.

TRACK AND FIELD

Diamond League raced in Rome on Thursday and will resume Saturday in New York, where 5,000-seat Icahn Stadium is sold out. Universal Sports, 8 p.m. ET

The Rome highlights:

  • Men’s 400: Jeremy Wariner barely held off Angelo Taylor in a thriller, winning in a world-leading 44.73. (Universal Sports video)
  • Men’s long jump: Dwight Phillips with a world-leading 8.42 meters.
  • Women’s high jump: Another duel between the USA’s Chaunte Lowe and Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic, another win for Vlasic on fewer misses.
  • Men’s 100: No Bolt or Gay, so Jamaica’s Asafa Powell just shaved a little bit off his world-leading time. Down to 9.84 seconds.
  • Women’s 400 hurdles: Also a routine world-leader for Lashinda Demus (52.82).
  • Men’s 200: Walter Dix’s 19.86 broke Michael Johnson’s 11-year-old meet record.
  • Men’s shot put: Christian Cantwell’s 14-meet win streak went down to the last throw. Nailed it. 21.67 meters.

Expected in New York (entry list PDF):

  • Women’s pole vault: Silver medalist Jenn Suhr, formerly Jenn Stuczynski, is due back in action after an Achilles injury
  • Men’s 1,500: Bernard Lagat and Lopez Lomong
  • Men’s 400 hurdles: Bershawn Jackson and Kerron Clement
  • Men’s pole vault: Aussie favorite Steve Hooker and U.S. veteran Tim Mack
  • Women’s 1,500: Shannon Rowbury, not just mentioned here because she went to Duke. Also Cristin Wurth-Thomas.
  • Women’s 200: Allyson Felix and Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown
  • Women’s 100 hurdles: Lolo Jones and a lot of people with comparable PBs

OLYMPIC SPORTS (all times ET)

Beach volleyball: Men and women both in Moscow for FIVB action that Universal Sports’ blogger says will draw huge crowds. (Russia’s soccer team, coincidentally, isn’t in the World Cup.) Online at UniversalSports.com: women’s medal matches, 10 a.m. Sunday / men’s medal matches, 9:30 a.m. Monday

Wrestling: The U.S. team for this year’s World Championships is being determined tonight and tomorrow. (USOC; video highlights at themat.com)

Volleyball: Like Frank Zappa and the Mothers, the U.S. women are in Montreux. (USOC)

Figure skating: Sorry, ice dancing fans and infatuated guys on the Web — Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto are hanging up the skates.

Triathlon: Hunter Kemper is injured and will miss Hy-Vee Race. (Twitter – @vmichaelis)

TENNIS

Nadal lost, leaving Sam Querrey a nice opportunity to win a title at Queen’s Club. Maria Sharapova is in the women’s semis. Men’s semis and final on Tennis Channel

Former No. 1 Roger Federer is still in at the Gerry Weber Open.

MMA

UFC 115: We have Chuck LiddellRich Franklin, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic-Pat Barry, Martin Kampmann-Paulo Thiago and a host of others heading into a very busy stretch of fights. And yes, I was busy writing all that with Sergio Non this week.

Bellator: Pat Curran is the Season 2 lightweight champion in a decision Sergio didn’t like. On Thursday, it’s the welterweight tournament finale between Dan Hornbuckle and Ben Askren, the 2008 Olympic wrestler who has a very quick turnaround from attempting to make the Olympic wrestling team today (see above). The good news is that Askren was wrestling at 163 pounds and will fight at 170, so he shouldn’t worry about making weight.

WORLD SERIES OF POKER

World Championships: Frank Cassela took the Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better Name This *&*$ing Event So We Don’t Have to Type All That Stuff title on Tuesday, beating notables such as Jennifer Harman (third) and John Juanda (fifth).

The 2-7 Draw Lowball championship is down a final table that includes Juanda, Erik Seidel and Daniel Negreanu. Check the official updates or get Negreanu’s colorful first-hand Tweets about the event and whatever else springs to mind.

The Ladies event is underway, though a few men have elbowed their way to the tables. Shaun Deeb said he was doing it for charity after losing a bet, which we wouldn’t believe except that they are indeed in Vegas. Duke grad Vanessa Rousso is already out, so we’re rooting for chess GM and SportsMyriad interviewee Jennifer Shahade. Shannon Elizabeth has a healthy chip stack at the moment.

Back in the a.m. for World Cup Virtual Viewing.

Monday Myriad: Twenty20 just not cricket; injury-free Giro goal

A little late and short this week due to free-lance deadlines and a nervous trip to the auto dealer’s service department. (It lived.)

Also, these are going to be more Oly/international/MMA and less soccer because I’m already rounding up soccer elsewhere. As are other people.

Starting this week, though, with a complaint about:

CRICKET

Twenty20 cricket already takes a long, complicated game and makes it a short, extremely complicated game. But then when you have a little rain, it’s like racing to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

That’s one way of describing the way West Indies beat England 60-191 in the World Twenty20 tournament. (Cricinfo)

That leaves England needing a win over Ireland, one of the outsiders in a sport that accords “test status” to a small group of countries, to advance to the “Super Eight.”

Afghanistan didn’t pull off some sort of miracle on grass in its opener, but Noor Ali helped the team post a respectable score. (Guardian)

SOCCER

MLS: Full recap coming tomorrow. For now, read DuNord’s recap and be sure to follow the link to the story on RSL’s Andy Williams, whose wife is cancer-free but has been hospitalized a couple of times with infections, nearly causing Williams to miss a game.

WPS: Heard the phrase “league of parity” a few times after Saturday’s Freedom game. Atlanta is falling off the pace at the bottom of the league but has not yet played at home — the Beat will open their soccer-specific stadium (shared with Kennesaw State University) Sunday against Sky Blue. Looks great.

Europe: DuNord’s recap also tracks the title battles (Chelsea, Bayern set to clinch in the finales this weekend). Hannover (Steve Cherundolo) won to climb out of the Bundesliga relegation zone.

Mexico: Pachuca (Jose Francisco Torres) takes a 1-0 lead into the second leg as they try to upset top seed Monterrey in the quarterfinals.

South America: As long as we’re scanning roundups, you can’t beat this Copa Libertadores roundup at BigSoccer.

TV midweek (times ET):

  • Tuesday: Barcelona-Tenerife, 2 p.m., GolTV – Barca lead by one point in Spain with three games to play.
  • Tues/Wed/Thurs: Copa Libertadores round of 16, second legs, Fox Sports Espanol
  • Wednesday: Roma-Inter Milan, 2:45 p.m., GolTV –
  • Wednesday: Tottenham-Manchester City, 3 p.m., ESPN2 – Teams tied for fourth Champions League spot with two to play.
  • Wednesday: D.C. United-Kansas City, 7 p.m., ESPN2 – One of four midweek MLS games.

CYCLING

  • Tour of the Gila: Levi Leipheimer is the winner, with a lot of help from Lance Armstrong. Side note in the results: Floyd Landis finished ahead of Armstrong. (Velo News)
  • Tour de Romandie: Alejandro Valverde made up a one-second gap in the overall standings on the final stage for the victory. (Velo News)
  • Mountain bike World Cup: Willow Koerver finished second over the weekend to move up to first in the season standings.
  • Looking ahead: The Giro d’Italia starts Saturday. U.S. rider Christian Vande Velde is blunt about his goals: “Ideally, not break seven bones in my body.” Gotta dream big. (Velo News)

OLYMPIC/COLLEGE SPORTS

  • Track and field: Chris Solinsky is a pretty good 5,000-meter runner. He decided to dabble in the 10,000, running it for the first time at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford. The result: He’s the first non-African to break 27 minutes. (IAAF)
  • Gymnastics: Dominant run for the U.S. teams at the Pacific Rim Championships in Melbourne, winning men’s and women’s team titles and 27 medals. Rebecca Bross won the women’s all-around.
  • Beach volleyball: No upset on the men’s side at the AVP’s Santa Barbara stop, with Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers winning. The women’s bracket was a little less predictable — Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson-Jordan won for the first time in two years. Their last win was in this event.
  • Wrestling: Tervel Diagnev and Justin Ruiz won golds at the Pan American Championships, where Cuba won six of seven men’s freestyle classes.
  • Judo: 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Ronda Rousey, who may one day make an MMA promoter’s day, returned for her first major competition since Beijing and won her sixth U.S. title.

TENNIS

  • ATP Rome: Rafael Nadal is back in winning form on clay, beating David Ferrer in the final.
  • WTA Stuttgart: All hail Justine Henin, showing good form on clay in her comeback.
  • Roundup: Joe Fleming is back at the helm of USA TODAY’s Weekly Net Post, where you’ll read more about the Bryan brothers‘ 60th career title and yet another Borg-McEnroe epic. When their legs give out, those guys will be playing epic matches in table tennis. Or on a Wii.

ELSEWHERE

  • Boxing: Floyd Mayweather zzzzzzzz battered in second round but zzzzzzzzzz won every other round zzzzzzzzzz to beat Shane Mosley. Talk immediately turned to when he might really fight Manny Pacquiao.
  • Chess: While I was fretting over my car, world chess challenger Veselin Topalov played a really aggressive opening with the black pieces to try to force the action against Vishy Anand. The champion couldn’t come up with a win but held on for a draw to maintain a one-point lead at 4-3 through seven games of the 12-game match. (Susan Polgar blog)

Monday Myriad: Bolt flies while U.S. nets wins in tennis and beach volley

TRACK AND FIELD

  • Penn Relays: Usain Bolt draws record attendance and clinches the 4×100 relay with a blazing final leg. USA fares well in the rest of the relays. (AP)
  • Drake Relays: Christian Cantwell shot putted real far, Damu Cherry upset Lolo Jones and tied the world lead in the 100m hurdles, Wallace Spearman set a world lead in the 200, Boaz Lalang upset training partner Bernard Lagat in the mile, and Chaunte Lowe posted the world lead in the high jump. (IAAF)
  • Dakar Grand Prix: The volcano kept the early-season meet from bringing in top talent. Top U.S. performances were Jillian Camarena-Williams’ shot put win and a 1-2 for Funmi Jimoh and Brianna Glenn in the long jump. (IAAF)
  • London Marathon: Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede (2:05:19) and Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova (2:21:59) were the winners, along with a tethered royal, Natalie Imbruglia and a man dressed as a banana. (BBC)

CHESS

Decisive games already in the World Championship — Game 1 to Vesselin Topalov, Game 2 to Vishy Anand.

MMA

Jose Aldo kicked Urijah Faber for five rounds to retain his WEC featherweight title, Ben Henderson made quick work of Donald Cerrone in a WEC lightweight title rematch and Manny Gamburyan shocked Mike Brown with a one-punch, first-round KO.

SOCCER

MLS is already covered.

England

  • Top: Chelsea kept a one-point lead over Manchester United and padded its goal difference with a 7-0 drubbing of Stoke.
  • 4th Champions spot: Aston Villa won the derby over Birmingham 1-0 to tie Tottenham and move a point ahead of Manchester City, two ahead of Liverpool.
  • Relegation: West Ham (Jonathan Spector) beat Wigan to pull six points clear of Hull (Jozy Altidore). Burnley and Portsmouth are out.
  • Americans abroad: Jozy Altidore apologized by Twitter after a retaliatory head butt drew a red card and ended his season.
  • Injuries: Manchester City have appealed for an emergency goalkeeper after Shay Given’s injury. We’re guessing Villa won’t let them borrow Brad Guzan. (Soccernet)

Germany

  • Top: Borussia Moenchengladbach (Michael Bradley) tied Bayern Munich, opening the door for Schalke to tie for the lead with a win over Hertha Berlin with two weeks left.
  • Americans: Hannover (Steve Cherundolo) lost 0-3 to Bayer Leverkusen but remained just one point behind automatic safety and one behind a playoff spot. Ricardo Clark made his injury-delayed Eintracht Frankfurt debut.

Spain

  • Barcelona and Real Madrid each won, leaving Barca one point ahead. Barca still has Champions League play but need not leave the country any more, with the semifinal’s second leg at home and the final in Madrid.

Italy

  • Shocking loss for Roma at home to Sampdoria. Inter Milan now leads by two. AC Milan lost to Palermo and is out of it.

Scotland

  • Rangers clinched the title with Maurice Edu starting, DaMarcus Beasley on the bench. (Soccer By Ives roundup)_

Cups

  • Aris (Freddy Adu, Eddie Johnson) lost the Cup final 1-0 to Panathinaikos. Adu played the last few minutes.
  • Dutch Cup final: Ajax 2, Feyenoord 0

WPS

  • FC Gold Pride 2, Atlanta 1: Carrie Dew with the 89th-minute winner off Kiki Bosio’s flip throw. Atlanta’s Tobin Heath left on crutches.
  • Philadelphia 3, Washington 1: Both starting keepers were away with the Canadian national team. Former Freedom midfielder Lori Lindsey had two assists.
  • Chicago 0, Sky Blue 1: Pattern — Natasha Kai scores for the Jersey team; defense holds it.
  • St. Louis 1, Boston 1: Puddles on the field made it interesting.

Mexico (regular season over; playoff pairings follow)

  • American Herculez Gomez (Puebla) won a share of the scoring title.
  • #1 Monterrey vs. #8 Pachuca (Jose Francisco Torres)
  • #2 Chivas vs. #7 Morelia
  • #3 Toluca vs. #6 Club America
  • #4 Pumas vs. #5 Santos Laguna

CYCLING

  • Liege-Bastogne-Liege: Alexandre Vinokourov won and then endured grilling over the blood doping offense for which he has served a suspension. He and Alexander Kolobnev pulled away from the field with 15k left for a two-man sprint. Chris Horner was in the second group, 1:07 back, for sixth place. (Reuters)
  • Athens Twilight Criterium: Karl Menzies and Theresa Cliff-Ryan win in the rain. (Velo News)
  • Little 500: Special for Breaking Away fans — The Cutters won their fourth straight. (Velo News)

BOXING

  • Mikkel Kessler took Carl Froch’s WBC super middleweight title with a unanimous decision. Both fighters are 1-1 in the Super Six super middleweight tournament.
  • Tomasz Adamek took a close majority decision over Cristobal Arreola.

OLYMPIC/COLLEGE SPORTS

  • Beach volleyball, FIVB World Tour, Brazil: Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers are the first U.S. team to win an FIVB event in Brazil in 14 years. (USA Volleyball)
  • Wrestling, U.S. Open: Wisconsin sophomore Andrew Howe shines; Olympic medalist/MMA newcomer Sara McMann loses a close one. (USA TODAY; full results at TheMat.com)

TENNIS

  • Fed Cup semifinals: Stunner! Bethanie Mattek-Sands leads the Williams-less USA past Russia. Defending champion Italy awaits in the final. (AP)
  • ATP Rome: All hail 6-9 American John Isner, the pride of Greensboro and the University of Georgia, who won on his 25th birthday. (AP)
  • ATP Barcelona: Fernando Verdasco over Robin Soderling in the final.