Monday Myriad: Bye-bye, Beckham

Admit it. You never thought David Beckham would be here as long as he was.

When I spoke with him in 2008, a year into the “experiment,” he was saying all the right things. Then over the years, he stuck with the Galaxy but had trouble convincing fans of his commitment to the team.

But in 2011, the last year of his original contract, he once again won over the fans (and maybe teammates). Winning MLS Cup didn’t hurt. And then he signed a two-year extension.

I can imagine fans clamoring for Grant Wahl to write Part 2 of The Beckham Experiment. But at this point, is there any doubt that the experiment worked? MLS is in infinitely better shape today than it was in 2007, and while plenty of other factors are at play (Seattle, other expansion, other business deals), Beckham’s presence surely has helped.

Elsewhere in myriad sports …

MLS: Beckham’s Galaxy held off the Sounders on what Taylor Twellman insists was a legit handball call. And the Dynamo sprayed beer all over their locker room at RFK Stadium.

The waiver draft gave Real Salt Lake another Duke alum.

Premier League: Tactics man Jonathan Wilson wonders if West Brom’s decision to split their management jobs between two people instead of one All-Encompassing Man of Total Power is paving the way for a prolonged stay in the top flight.

Field hockey: Should North Carolina’s seniors be disappointed with only one title out of their four appearances in the final? Or was Princeton due?

Chess: Just call the Kosintsevas the Williams sisters of chess. Nadezhda beat Tatiana in the women’s world championship. She’s the only Russian in the quarterfinals. China has three.

Wrestling: Good showing for Greco-Roman Americans.

Figure skating: Fairfax County’s own Ashley Wagner is two-for-two on the Grand Prix circuit after her Trophee Bompard win in France, ensuring a U.S. presence at the Finals. Christina Gao has a spot in the top six in the standings, with fellow Americans Agnes Zawadzki and Mirai Nagasu among those who can knock her out this weekend. It’s a safe bet Meryl Davis and Charlie White will get there in ice dance. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin might make it in pairs.

Jeremy Abbott, second in France, is clinging to a spot in the top six of the men’s standings (note all the guys with 15, 13 and 11 points who are competing in Japan).

Speedskating: U.S. top-five finishes in the World Cup opener in Heerenveen, Netherlands:

– Heather Richardson, 1st, 1,000
– Heather Richardson, 2nd, 500 and 2nd, 500. Yes, they raced that distance twice.

That is all. Didn’t see Shani Davis in the results.

Bobsled/skeleton: Huge U.S. weekend. Steven Holcomb was first in two-man and second in four-man. And Katie Uhlaender won the women’s skeleton.

Cody Butner and Chuck Berkeley took second behind Holcomb and Steve Langton in the two-man.

The U.S. women’s bobsledders were fourth, fifth and eighth. Olympic track and fieldsters Lolo Jones and Tianna Madison had the week off.

More Olympic sports: Good results for the U.S. field hockey men and a few other athletes; see the roundup.

MMA: GSP beat up Condit, Tom Lawlor got robbed, and strikes to the back of the head are still illegal.

In Bellator, Marcin Held held a toe hold … OK, that’s awful. Anyway, Held got Rich Clementi to tap to a toe hold and Dave Jansen won a split decision over Ricardo Tirloni in the lightweight semifinals. Also, Marlon Sandro beat TUF alum Dustin Neace. Remember the fight where Akira tapped but said he didn’t? That was Neace.

Champions League tomorrow!

Monday Myriad: Skating away on the thin ice of a new day

That’s a Jethro Tull reference. Would you prefer Avril Lavigne? Some skater boys did pretty well over the weekend.

Short-track: A lot of world records fell over the weekend at the World Cup opener in Calgary, and J.R. Celski came up with one of the biggest, breaking the 40-second mark in the 500 meters. Celski also picked up a third-place finish, as did John-Henry Krueger, a discretionary pick for the World Cup squad who must have done some industrial smoothing to finish just behind Celski and Canadian favorite Charles Hamelin in the 500.

Check out the 500-meter final (via DailyHouse):

Canada’s Valerie Maltais took the women’s 1,000-meter record, though the overall World Cup leader at 1,000 is Britain’s Elise Christie.

Not a great weekend for the U.S. women, who finished eighth in the team classification. The men were a solid fourth, well ahead of China, despite finishing eighth in the relay.

Figure skating: Here, the U.S. women had a great weekend. For all my fretting over the “rise up and fade” tendencies they’ve had over the last few years, the results at Skate America speak for themselves: Ashley Wagner first, Christina Gao second. (On the downside, Rachael Flatt was ninth out of 10.)

Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the ice dance so comfortably they probably could’ve tossed in a bit of the Chicken Dance toward the end. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin were a promising third in pairs.

So if you want to panic about anything from a U.S. standpoint, consider the men. Japan swept the podium, Jeremy Abbott was fifth, and the other U.S. men were in the bottom four.

MLS: The playoff field is set, with Columbus and Dallas falling short of the last spots. San Jose has the Supporters’ Shield, but L.A. defender Omar Gonzalez cares not for the Quakes’ style of play, accusing them of some off-the-ball ref-not-looking shenanigans. And Galaxy supporters group Angel City Brigade raises some pointed questions for security at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Women’s soccer: Germany announced its re-emergence, holding the USA to a 1-1 draw on the Fan Tribute Tour at Toyota Park, the former home of the Chicago Red Stars.

Swimming: Missy Franklin is going to Cal. Can’t blame her, but those of use who learned to swim at the University of Georgia may be a little sad to hear the news.

Triathlon: Gwen Jorgensen knows how to finish a season in style — second place in the last World Championships series race, moving her up to ninth on the year. Sarah Groff was ninth on the day, seventh on the year.

The U.S. men had a rougher time, but the USA also came away with several paratriathlon and age-group prizes. If only they had a category for “over-40, can’t stand cold water or running” entries.

Rowing: Want to see a frightening photo? Go to the Head of the Charles’ official site and wait for “Day 2 underway” to come around. Is this rowing or rugby?

Swimming: A lot of Olympic swimmers pass on the World Cup season, particularly after the Olympics, but Anthony Ervin and Jessica Hardy seem to be making up for lost time with a few wins on the circuit this weekend.

Also in the Team USA roundup: Katie Compton’s latest cyclocross medal and the Head of the Charles.

Monday Myriad: Paralympic wrap, injured gymnasts and Diamonds

Shirley Reilly photo by USOC/Long Photography

Yes, the Monday Myriad is back! Mostly because I want to try to mention the big stuff and some fun stuff that happens on weekend, and soccer coaching/PTA/parenting duties don’t let me work an actual seven-day week. It only seems that way.

And we had a lot of long-term events wrapping this weekend. Feels almost like the end of summer, and not just because we have a nice cool front on the East Coast after the power-threatening storm front Saturday.

Here we go …

Paralympics: China dominated the final medal count with 231 medals, 95 gold. Britain was a distant second overall with 120; Russia a remote second in golds with 36. The USA finished with 98 medals (fourth) and 31 gold (sixth).

The U.S. highlights near the end were in the team events — silver in women’s sitting volleyball, bronze in men’s wheelchair basketball. The wheelchair rugby team lost 50-49 to Canada in the semifinals and rebounding to beat Japan for bronze. Women’s wheelchair basketball missed the podium, finishing fourth.

Also this weekend — Shirley Reilly got a long-awaited gold medal after several near-misses, winning the marathon in a sprint finish. Yes, that’s right — a sprint finish in the marathon. Think about that the next time your local pro athlete talks about a “gut check.”

As in the Olympics, the USA’s strengths were in the pool (41 medals, 14 gold) and on the track (28 medals, nine gold). Cyclists accounted for 17 more, six gold. The rest were scattered among wheelchair tennis (three), archery (two), judo (two), rowing, sailing and the three team sports above.

Chess: Armenia won the Olympiad, barely beating Russia on tiebreak. Ukraine took sole possession of third. China, which handed the USA its sole loss, took fourth. That left the USA in fifth, with Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura posting the eighth- and ninth-rated performances.

The U.S. women didn’t do quite as well, finishing 10th. They rebounded from some puzzling results with a nice run, only to run into Ukraine and then draw Mongolia. Top three: Russia, China, Ukraine.

Cycling: Alberto Contador won the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain, for the European language-impaired). We can only hope he gets to keep this one. Spanish riders dominated, while Britain’s Chris Froome should get some sort of endurance prize for finishing fourth after reaching the Tour de France podium and medaling in the Olympics.

Track and field: The Diamond League is done, and I’ll be parsing the results from the complete track and field year sometime this fall. Or maybe when the Diamond League site stops bogging down. Season winners from the USA: Aries Merritt, Christian Taylor, Reese Hoffa, Dawn Harper, Chaunte Lowe.

Tennis: Serena Williams was challenged in the U.S. Open final but pulled out another win. Rain pushed the men’s final to today. Check CBS at 4 p.m. ET to see Andy Murray go for that elusive Grand Slam title against Novak Djokovic. No British man has won a major since the 1936 U.S. Open. As Channel 4 put it — no pressure, Andy.

Gymnastics: Women’s soccer isn’t the only sport with a post-Olympic tour. The gymnasts are doing it, too, but Fierce Five members Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney have been injured. In related news, the “McKayla is not impressed” Tumblr is running out of good ideas.

Women’s soccer: Transfer speculation! Jeff Kassouf takes a good look at the latest rumors on big-spending Paris St. Germain, finding the Christine Sinclair rumors plausible and the Abby Wambach rumors far less plausible. He dares not speculate on Hope Solo. I’d have to agree on all three counts.