I’m back – what’d I miss?

My hand is out of a splint after three weeks, though my typing speed is still diminished by a bit of tape on my two still-aching fingers. I may need to put my goalkeeping career on hold for a while.

I’m also relatively not sick. I have no idea how I’ve had waves of sinus and throat problems through the most mild summer of my lifetime, but a doctor has assured me she’ll figure it out. I got back from vacation to find Northern Virginia had become a sauna to start September, and after leading a couple of youth soccer practices in Venusian conditions last night and walking a couple of miles this morning, I actually feel better. Go figure.

Enough complaining. I’m back, and it’s time to give a quick update on the blog, my writing priorities over the next few months, and what happened in the sports world while I was healing.

The blog: Expect more links and fewer 1,000-word pieces. I want to keep sharing Olympic sports news, but I’m going to do that more efficiently. No more Monday Myriad (in part because my youth soccer practices are on Mondays), so this will be the last “roundup” post for a while. My analysis will more commonly be on …

The podcast: Hoping to do another one this week, depending on my guest’s schedule.

Medal projections: By next year, I hope Olympic sports news will be in the context of my medal projections. I’ll be working on that, along with …

Enduring Spirit epilogue: The tentative plan is to re-release the book (electronically only) with the epilogue added. I’ll also release the epilogue separately at a low, low price, so if you already bought the book, you won’t be shelling out another six bucks. I’m going to do a few postseason interviews, so don’t expect this right away.

Single-Digit Soccer: This project keeps gathering momentum. I’m planning to speak and gather input at the NSCAA convention in January, and I hope to finish it by next summer.

Other than that, I’ll still be writing at OZY, a site you should check out even if you never read anything I write. And you may still see an MMA book I finished a while back.

So what happened while I was out? In no particular order:

Badminton World Championships: South Korea wins men’s doubles, China won three other events, and the women’s singles went to … Spain? First time for everything, and this is a terrific photo:

Judo World Championships: Olympic champion Kayla Harrison was the only U.S. medalist, taking bronze.

Rowing World Championships: Britain won 10 medals, New Zealand won nine, Australia and Germany eight each, and the USA won seven. The World Championships include a lot of non-Olympic events, so don’t use this for medal projections. These championships included some para-rowing events, which accounted for one U.S. medal. The sole U.S. gold went to, as always, the mighty women’s eight.

World Equestrian Games: The sole U.S. medals so far are in the non-Olympic discipline of reining. Britain, Germany and the Netherlands are cleaning up. Olympic quota spots (earned by the country, not the athlete) are available in dressage, eventing and show jumping.

Also, Ollie Williams (the man behind Frontier Sports) looks at the Olympic prospects of horseball. Yes, horseball. They compare it to a mix of rugby and basketball, but I think it’s a mix of polo and quidditch.

Triathlon, World Series grand final: Gwen Jorgensen didn’t need a great finish to clinch the world championship. She did it anyway. Too early to declare her athlete of the year?

Swimming, Pan-Pacific Games: Phelps, Ledecky and company have it easy compared to Haley Anderson, who won open-water gold after a jellyfish sting, a race postponement and a race relocation. 

Track and field, Diamond League finals: Half of the events wrapped for the season at the Weltklasse Zurich over the weekend; the rest finish up Friday in Brussels. Check the Monday Morning Run for a recap that includes fellow Dukie Shannon Rowbury diving along with U.S. teammate Jenny Simpson as the latter took the women’s 1,500 title in style.

Today’s Frontier Sports wrap has a couple of track and field links (along with helpful links on badminton and much more), including “the often-told, never-dull tale of how (Brianne Theisen-Eaton) almost impaled (Ashton Eaton) with a javelin.”

Overall Diamond League winners include Simpson, Michael Tinsley (USA, 400 hurdles), Christian Taylor (USA, triple jump, took title away from teammate Will Claye at final), Lashawn Merritt (USA, 400 meters, Kirani James wasn’t at the final), Reese Hoffa (USA, shot put), Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica, 100), Dawn Harper-Nelson (USA, 100 hurdles — Americans won every Diamond League race), Tiana Bartoletta (USA, long jump) and Valerie Evans (New Zealand, shot put, swept).

Women’s soccer, NWSL final: I got back from vacation to see this, and I’m glad I did. It was a compelling final, and while Seattle would’ve been a worthy champion in every sense, Kansas City deserved it. The Lauren Holiday-to-Amy Rodriguez combo is as potent as anything you’ll see in soccer.

Kansas City now holds the top-division U.S./Canada titles in men’s soccer (Sporting KC, MLS), women’s soccer (FCKC), and men’s indoor soccer (Missouri Comets, coached by FCKC’s Vlatko Andonovski). The latter won the last MISL title before most of that league leapt to the MASL.

The league also announced it would play a full schedule next summer with a break for the World Cup, which means international players will miss a considerable number of games. The big worry: The season will spill into September, bad news for those counting on international loans or fall coaching jobs to supplement the league’s small paychecks. But the league didn’t have a lot of good options, and now they’re poised to ride a World Cup wave if one materializes again.

Basketball World Cup: Senegal over Croatia is the big upset so far, while France, Brazil and Serbia have created a logjam for second behind Spain in Group A. The USA is cruising through an easy group.

Men’s volleyball World Championships: Many people are watching.

The USA won a thrilling five-setter and lost an epic to Iran in early group play.

Modern pentathlon World Championships: Underway with relays.

MMA: The UFC 177 pay-per-view card had already been hit by a rash of injuries. Then one of the UFC’s most heralded recent signings, Olympic wrestling gold medalist Henry Cejudo, had a “medical issue” while trying to make weight. Then former bantamweight champion Renan Barao, set for a rematch against new champ T.J. Dillashaw, also couldn’t make weight. Joe Soto got the Seth Petruzelli-style bump from the undercard to the main event. Unlike Petruzelli against Kimbo Slice, Soto couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

So the most noteworthy things about the card, apart from Cejudo and Barao’s weight-cutting issues, were:

1. Bethe Correia taking out another of Ronda Rousey’s buddies, veteran Shayna Baszler. Now Rousey wants a piece of Correia, who’ll be happy to oblige.

2. Dana White launching an unholy rip of the media. Some days, I miss covering this sport — this would’ve been fun.

Overseas in ONE FC — I’m absolutely biased toward Kamal Shalorus, who works in our wonderful local dojo and is as nice as he could be. Glad to see him get a title shot, but Shinya Aoki was always going to be a tough matchup, and Aoki indeed kept the belt.

Chess: World champ Magnus Carlsen and top U.S. player Hikaru Nakamura are at the Sinquefield Cup, but Italy’s Fabiano Caruana has left them in the dust, beating Carlsen, Nakamura and the other three to go a perfect 5-for-5 halfway through the double round-robin.

And we’re a month away from Millionaire Chess. Ignore the monetary losses and enjoy.

Cycling: Vuelta a Espana in brief — Nairo Quintana fell, Alberto Contador took the lead.

Video games: A terrific glitch in Madden ’15 — a 14-inch-tall linebacker:

Coming up: Bloody Elbow is looking at the upcoming wrestling World Championships.

Glad to be back!

2012 medal projection update: Equestrian

Je pense que les websites d’equestrian sont ecrit par les personnes confuses ou sadique.

(I think that means “I think equestrian websites are written by confused or sadistic people.”)

Here’s what we said last year. Here are the rankings. Here we go …

Individual dressage: The Netherlands have the legendary Anky van Grunsven, top-ranked Adelinde Cornelissen and Edward Gal. The next seven on the list are German or British. American Steffen Peters is 16th and 17th (on two different horses). The rest of the U.S. team: Tina Konyot, Jan Ebeling and Adrienne Lyle. We’ll stick with the original projection: Netherlands, Germany, Netherlands

Team dressage: No reason to change here, either: Netherlands, Germany, Britain

Individual jumping: The top three in the rankings have only shuffled slightly — Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, France’s Kevin Staut, Canada’s Eric Lamaze (tied with Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer). The U.S. squad: Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Rich Fellers, Reed Kessler. Madden, the 2008 bronze medalist, is the only one in the top 20.  We’ll stick with the original picks once again: Sweden, France, Canada

Team jumping: Nearly changed this one to put Britain in the medals. Nope. The USA may not have many riders at the very top, but the team has plenty of depth. Still the same: Germany, France, USA

Individual eventing: The USA has a full five-member team — Karen O’Connor, Boyd Martin, Phillip Dutton, Tiana Coudray and Will Coleman. Martin’s ranked third, Dutton fourth, O’Connor 23rd. That bodes well for the team event but also gives the USA a legit shot at an individual medal. Again. The three non-Americans in the top five were in the top three in the World Equestrian Games: top-ranked William Fox-Pitt (Britain), Andrew Nicholson (New Zealand) and Michael Jung (Germany). New Zealand has a second rider ranked sixth, and we like strength in numbers in these picks. Projection was GBR-GER-NZL; now Britain, New Zealand, USA

Team eventing: After the six riders mentioned above, we have four Australians. Britain, Germany and the USA also have considerable depth. We’ll leave this projection alone: Britain, Germany, Australia

2012 equestrian: Horse is a horse, of course

Equestrian events tend to be the distant cousin at the Olympics. We’re talking “Hong Kong to Beijing” distant. That’s slightly better than 1956, when the equestrian events were held in Stockholm (yes, Sweden) while the other events were in Melbourne (yes, Australia). Quarantine restrictions and other logistical hurdles often get in the way.

Not so in London. Greenwich Park is pretty close to the center of the action. Equestrian fans might know how to comprehend a venue whose distance in miles from the Games’ epicenter is in single digits, not quadruple.

One major distinction between equestrian and other Olympic events: It includes not only two different species (horse, human) but both genders. Women compete against men. Also, the occasional royal family member might be competing.

Over the past two decades, the equestrian community has built up the World Equestrian Games (WEG) into a big event in non-Olympic even years. It includes the world championships in three Olympic disciplines and many more. The Olympic disciplines also have World Cup circuits and updated rankings, all run by FEI.

Individual dressage: Dutch rider Anky van Grunsven is the three-time defending Olympic champion. Can she stay competitive while maintaining a busy coaching and promotional schedule? Her site has much more news about the sport and her other endeavors than her competitions. Fellow Dutch rider Edward Gal — whose horse, Moorlands Totilas (“Toto”), has his own Wikipedia entry — dominated the WEG, followed by Britain’s Laura Bechtolsheimer (on Mistral Hojiris) and the USA’s Steffen Peters (on Ravel). Yet another Dutch rider, Adelinde Cornelissen, is second to Gal in the world rankings. Bechtolsheimer is next, followed by two separate listings (two different horses) for 2008 silver medalist Isabell Werth.

2008: Anky van Grunsven (Netherlands), Isabell Werth (Germany), Heike Kemmer (Germany)

Projection: Netherlands, Germany, Netherlands

Top Americans: Peters was fourth in 2008. Tina Konyot is ranked 19th.

Team dressage: German and Dutch riders are scattered all through the rankings. Britain upset Germany to take second at the WEG and should have home-soil advantage.

2008: Germany, Netherlands, Denmark

Projection: Netherlands, Germany, Britain

Individual jumping: Gold medalist Eric Lamaze has been consistent — bronze at the WEG, second in the April rankings. Silver medalist Rolf-Göran Bengtsson is third in the rankings, led by France’s Kevin Staut. Belgium’s Philippe Le Jeune won the WEG, followed by Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al-Sharbatly. Ireland has two riders in the top 10. The World Cup final comes up at the end of the month in Leipzig, Germany.

2008: Eric Lamaze (Canada), Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (Sweden), Beezie Madden (USA)

Projection: Sweden, France, Canada

Top Americans: Mclain Ward is ranked sixth, Madden is 16th, Laura Kraut 19th and Lauren Hough 20th.

Team jumping: The WEG finish: Germany, France, Belgium. Not too surprising, given the current rankings, though the USA is certainly deep enough to be a factor. In 2008, the USA won a jump-off against Canada. Switzerland moved up to bronze after Norway was enmeshed in a doping scandal.

2008: USA, Canada, Switzerland

Projection: Germany, France, USA

Individual eventing: The top three at the WEG: Michael Jung (Germany), William Fox-Pitt (Britain) and Andrew Nicholson (New Zealand). Fox-Pitt leads the rankings ahead of fellow British rider Mary King, followed by Nicholson.

2008: Hinrich Romeike (Germany), Gina Miles (USA), Kristina Cook (Britain)

Projection: Britain, Germany, New Zealand

Top Americans: Plenty in the rankings — Boyd Martin fifth, Phillip Dutton seventh, Karen O’Connor 20th.

Team eventing: Britain has seven of the current top 18 and showed off its depth in winning the WEG. Canada was second, followed by New Zealand. Germany and Australia can call on full four-rider teams from within the top 30 of the rankings.

2008: Germany, Australia, Britain

Projection: Britain, Germany, Australia