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!

Monday Myriad, June 23: World Cup comeback

Best and worst from myriad sports this week:


Oh, the headline? No, not that World Cup. The rowing World Cup (one of several for the year) in France.

But the race deserves the clickbait-and-switch. U.S. women’s eight were written off by one of the commentators. See what happened next.

That was part of a productive weekend for the U.S. team — two gold, three silver, two bronze.


If you see “swimming world record falls” just assume Katie Ledecky did it.



World chess champion Magnus Carlsen completed the triple crown, adding the rapid (15 minutes + 10 seconds per move) and blitz (3 minutes + 2 seconds per move) championships to his regulation title. This down-to-the-wire draw against top American Hikaru Nakamura helped. They drew on a three-move repetition while each player flung pieces around like they were in a cup-stacking contest.


Nick Zaccardi wraps up memorable USA-Germany duels in Olympic sports.





Do you abbreviate Nigeria NGA, NGR or NIG? How about Slovenia? Why are the U.S. Virgin Islands abbreviated ISV? Check out the differences between the IOC, FIFA and the IAAF.



World League volleyball: 0-7 Bulgaria won at 7-0 USA.


Americans Tri Bourne (age 25) and John Hyden (41!) had never won an FIVB World Tour medal, and they had to advance through the qualification rounds in Berlin. They did so, then beat ANOTHER American team that had come through qualification — Ryan Doherty and Nick Lucena.


U.S. rugby men had lost seven straight to Canada before this thriller:


On the start list for this week’s USA Track and Field Championships:  Just’N Thymes.

TV times (ET):

  • Friday 10 p.m.-midnight, NBCSN
  • Saturday 3-4 p.m., Universal Sports
  • Saturday 4-6 p.m., NBC
  • Sunday 3-4 p.m., Universal Sports
  • Sunday 4-6 p.m., NBC


Max Kruse quickly learned 2-7 Draw Lowball Poker and won $36,000 at the World Series of Poker.


Rotating games, high buy-in, big money — the pros love the Poker Players Championship, event #46 of the World Series of Poker.


Yeah, this ain’t gonna happen.


Woly Award: U.S. women’s eights

If you’re looking for dominant U.S. squads, you have to consider the women’s eights, the marquee event in rowing. The USA won gold in 2008 and 2012.

But most of that team has moved on. Only Caroline Lind, a rower/debutante, returned from the London crew to row in the World Cup over the weekend in Lucerne, Switzerland.

They still won.

They still set a world record — 5:54.17.

And everyone in the boat — coxswain Katelin Snyder, Heidi Robbins, Vicky Opitz, Lind, Grace Luczak, Lauren Schmetterling, Emily Regan, Kerry Simmonds and Amanda Polk — will share this week’s Woly Award, given for excellence in Olympic sports by U.S. athletes.

The other top contender for the award this week: Triathlon newcomer Katie Hursey won a World Cup race in Palamos, Spain.

2012 rowing: More medals for sitting British athletes

If Mitch Hedberg had made observations about rowing rather than NASCAR, I think he would’ve asked this question: Why do all these folks have to go backwards?

The World Championships are annual, even in Olympic years. The 2010 event was in New Zealand last fall; the 2011 event will start Aug. 28 in the ominous-sounding town of Bled, Slovenia.

World Cup competition is starting soon, and the powers that be have put together a handy preview.


Single sculls: The three medalists from 2008 and Britain’s Alan Campbell must be awfully familiar with each other by now. The 2010 Worlds finished in this order: Synek, Drysdale, Campbell, Tufte. Synek was unbeaten in 2010, while Olympic champion Olaf Tufte aims to peak in the big events.

2008: Olaf Tufte (Norway), Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic), Mahe Drysdale (New Zealand)

Projection: Czech Republic, Britain, Norway

Top Americans: Kenneth Jurkowski made the B final in 2010, finishing 12th overall.

Continue reading 2012 rowing: More medals for sitting British athletes