Woly Award: Jordan Burroughs rules the mat

Wrestler Jordan Burroughs is the winner of this week’s Woly, the weekly award for U.S. Olympic-sports athletes.

I used to give this award for USA TODAY, and it continued for a while after I departed. They stopped, so I’m restarting.

Burroughs, the Olympic and world champion, capped a big weekend for his sport with two massive wins, running his international record to an astounding 54-0. He needed to rally to win his match against Russia’s Saba Khubetzhty at Wednesday’s “Rumble on the Rails,” but under new international scoring rules, he roared past the same opponent Sunday in Los Angeles.

The USA lost to Iran in the first head-to-head matchup Wednesday at Grand Central Terminal, rebounded to swamp Russia, adapted after Iran withdrew from the L.A. event, then won seven matches in L.A.

A couple of other events from Olympic sports last week:

TRACK AND FIELD: “WL” = “world list,” the top performances in the world this year.

At the Diamond League meet in Shanghai, the USA’s Jason Richardson and Ryan Wilson finished 1-2 in the men’s 110 hurdles and moved into first and third on the world list at 13.23 and 13.25.

 

Other results:

Men’s 400: Kirani James (JAM, 44.02) and LaShawn Merritt (USA, 44.60) top two WL.

Women’s 100: Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) 10.93, top WL.

Women’s 400 hurdles: Top two WL: Zuzana Hejnova (CZE, 53.79) and Angela Morosanu (ROU, 53.85).

Men’s long jump: Top two WL: Li Jinzhe (CHN, 8.34) and Aleksandr Menkov (RUS, 8.31)

Men’s javelin: Top two WL: Tero Pitkamaki (FIN, 87.60) and Vitezslav Vesely (CZE, 86.67)

Men’s 3,000 steeplechase: Top seven times WL, all Kenyans. Winner: Conseslus Kipruto, age 18, 8:01.16.

Women’s 5,000: Top eight times WL, all Kenya and Ethiopia. Winner: Genzebe Dibaba (ETH, 14:45.92)

In Los Angeles, three U.S. runners moved into third, fourth and fifth on the world list: Jennifer Simpson (2:00.45), Phoebe Wright (2:00.58), LaTavia Thomas (2:00.68). No. 1 is 2:00.33. Also, Mary Cain demolished the U.S. junior record in the 1,500 (4:04.62).

In Ponce, Puerto Rico, U.S. hurdler Johnny Dutch ran a world-leading 48.02 to upset the host country’s Javier Culson (48.36, 2nd WL).

CYCLING: Tejay van Garderen proved he can win a multistage race and that a cyclist can win a multistage race with a newborn at home. He’s the new Tour of California champion.

The rest of the week in Olympic sports: the U.S. men won bronze in ice hockey’s World Championships, U.S. women won eight gold medals in Continental Championship boxing, and Olympians Brady Ellison and Khatuna Lorig won mixed-team gold in the archery World Cup opener.

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Monday Myriad: Trash-talking backfires in chess; order restored to Giro?

Starting with CHESS today for the worst case of trash-talking blowing up in one’s face since the Kids in the Hall bar-fight sketch …

Defending U.S. chess champ Hikaru Nakamura couldn’t have made it more obvious that he saw a weak link in the 2010 championships’ final four. Via the St. Louis Chess Club Twitter feed: “Pretty much when me, Gata and Alex play each other we play solid, and we all try to beat Yury.”

That would be Yury Shulman, who turned around and beat Nakamura the next day. His match with Gata Kamsky this afternoon, which you can follow live from 3 p.m. ET, will determine the new champion. (Unless they draw and go to a tiebreaker.) Nakamura will face Alex Onischuk in what has become a mere consolation game.

We have a few more stray items today: The French Open is underway, NCAA tennis continues (see below) and darts’ Premier League was postponed until today due to a power failure.

The weekend wrap:

CYCLING

  • Tour of California: Friday’s big mountain stage didn’t make a dent in any of the overall leaders. That left everything riding on Saturday’s time trial, where Aussie Michael Rogers finished second behind non-contender (and HTC-Columbia teammate) Tony Martin to pad his overall lead to nine seconds over third-place David Zabriskie. Three-time champion Levi Leipheimer lost more time and remained in third. The final stage had some intrigue, but the contenders finished together, confirming Rogers’ win. (Velo News)
  • Giro d’Italia: Overshadowed by Floyd Landis’ confession/accusation last week was Stage 11 of the Giro, The Day The Peloton Said “Oops!” A big breakaway gained too much time on everyone else amid confusion, illness and finger-pointing among and between teams that neglected to pull back enough time to prevent a big shakeup in the standings. Over the weekend, the usual suspects moved back up the standings, with Ivan Basso (back from two-year doping suspension) third and Cadel Evans fourth. American Tyler Farrar, who had won two stages and had the lead in the red jersey (points) standings, dropped out.

SOCCER

  • Champions League: Inter Milan 2, Bayern Munich 0. Not a bad final considering the nerves that always make such big games so difficult.
  • Mexico: Toluca wins its seventh championship in 13 years (25 seasons) on penalty kicks over Santos Laguna. Other winners over that span (1998 onward): Pachuca (5), Pumas (3), Club America (2), Santos (2), Monterrey (2), Necaxa, Morelia, Chivas, Atlante. Santos should’ve won it from the spot, but Toluca now has a title that ought to (but won’t) silence the scoffing of Mexico’s alleged “big clubs.” (BigSoccer)
  • Women’s: USA 4, Germany 0. Hope Solo made a couple of good saves, but this was a dominant performance.

OLYMPIC SPORTS

  • Ice hockey: Czech Republic 2, Russia 1 in men’s World Championship, ending Russia’s win streak at 27 games. Jaromir Jagr had a key play to defeat Alex Ovechkin and Semyon Varlamov, further extending the misery of us Capitals fans. (AP)
  • Track and field: Big Diamond League winners were David Oliver (110 hurdles), Lashinda Demus (400 hurdles), Carmelita Jeter (100) and some guy named Usain Bolt (200). (Universal Sports)
  • Beach volleyball: The FIVB tournament in Rome provided the best opportunity of the weekend, other than the USA-Germany soccer game, to break out the “USA!” chant. Jen Kessy and April Ross are on the kind of roll not seen since Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh’s pre-maternity days, and Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser won their 10th international event. May-Treanor and Nicole Branagh finished fourth. (Universal Sports)

COLLEGE SPORTS

  • Men’s lacrosse (quarterfinals): Top-seeded Virginia, somehow managing to focus while a player is in jail awaiting charges in the slaying of women’s player, beat Stony Brook 10-9 and will face Duke, which beat North Carolina with surprising ease. The other side of the draw is an upset special, seventh-seeded Cornell vs. unseeded Notre Dame, but the Virginia-Duke winner is guaranteed to make the final a media circus.
  • Women’s lacrosse (quarterfinals): Virginia, mourning the loss of teammate Yeardley Love, lost to North Carolina in a quarterfinal that may be better remembered for the sportsmanship than the result. Third-seeded North Carolina next faces second-seeded Northwestern, while top seed Maryland faces unseeded Syracuse.
  • Women’s softball (regional stage): No. 7 Texas, No. 8 Georgia Tech and No. 12 LSU were the upset victims in the regionals; BYU, Oregon and Louisiana-Lafayette advanced at their expense.
  • Men’s tennis (round of 16/quarterfinals): Yet another sport in which Virginia is a top contender: The top-seeded Cavaliers are in the semifinals against #5 Southern Cal. No. 2 Tennessee faces No. 11 Georgia, which is getting a boost from playing at home in beautiful Athens, Ga.
  • Women’s tennis (quarterfinals): More semifinal appearances for Notre Dame (fifth seed, vs. No. 8 Stanford) and North Carolina (second seed, vs. No. 3 Florida). Carolina edged Duke 4-3.

Friday Myriad: Must be better than Thursday

Time to have a good weekend of actual sports after a nasty day of news — cycling scandals, St. Louis soccer problems, etc.

FRIDAY

5 p.m.: Cycling, Stage 6, Tour of California. A very tough mountain stage should shake up the standings. Versus

11 p.m.: MMA, Strikeforce. Veteran Matt Lindland vs. up-and-comer Kevin Casey in the main event. Showtime

SATURDAY

9 a.m.: Cycling, Giro d’Italia, Stage 14. Universal Sports

10 a.m.: Soccer (England), Championship promotion final, Blackpool-Cardiff. Yes, one of these teams will be in the Premier League next season. Probably not the season after that. Fox Soccer Plus

Noon: Ice hockey, World Championship semifinal, Czech Republic vs. Sweden. Universal Sports

** 2:30 p.m.: Soccer (Europe), Champions League final, Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich. Fox

  • 3 p.m.: Soccer (MLS), Seattle-San Jose, Fox Soccer Channel

4 p.m.: Ice hockey, World Championship semifinal, Russia vs. Germany. Universal Sports

** 6 p.m.: Soccer (Women’s), USA-Germany in a huge international friendly. No WPS games this week due to international play. ESPN2

6:30 p.m.: Cycling, Stage 7, Tour of California. It’s a time trial, though unlike the Tour de France, it might not be the last word. Versus

SUNDAY

5 a.m.: Tennis, French Open, first day. Tennis Channel

8 a.m.: Track and field, Diamond League in Shanghai, with Usain Bolt in action. Universal Sports online

9 a.m.: Cycling, Giro d’Italia, Stage 15. Universal Sports

Noon: Tennis, French Open, first day (broadcaster shift). ESPN2

1 p.m.: Soccer (Mexico), Toluca-Santos, second leg of final. 2-2 in the first leg. Telemundo

2 p.m.: Darts, Premier League semifinals. Can we watch on Sky’s online viewer? Anyone know?

2:30 p.m.: Ice hockey, World Championship semifinal, Universal Sports

6:30 p.m.: Cycling, Final stage, Tour of California. Hilly circuit. Versus

Ahead to Monday: England-Mexico (3 p.m., FSC/Telemundo) and more French Open.

NCAA Championship watch:

  • Men’s lacrosse (quarterfinals): One of two Duke-North Carolina matchups this weekend. Two first-round shockers saw perennial contenders Princeton and Syracuse ousted. Duke routed another usual suspect, Johns Hopkins. The big story, of course, is top-seeded Virginia, playing with one of its players in jail facing charges in the death of a women’s player.
  • Women’s lacrosse (quarterfinals): Not as many upsets in this bracket.
  • Women’s softball (regional stage, many games on ESPN2)
  • Men’s tennis (round of 16): Virginia is the top seed in this sport, too — huge spring season for the Cavaliers. Top 12 seeds still active.
  • Women’s tennis (quarterfinals): The other Duke-North Carolina matchup.

More action:

  • Chess (live coverage): U.S. Championships hit the unique final four stage.
  • Full soccer listings at Soccer America
  • Selected weekend listings at USA TODAY
  • Universal Sports online: Actually, most of their content is live on TV this weekend, which is unusual. It’s listed above.
  • Tennis Channel: WTA Warsaw and ATP Nice finals on Saturday, not Sunday. That’s because the French Open has a Sunday start.
  • Olympic sports: FIVB beach volleyball in Rome

Monday Myriad: Sparkling play in WPS, short-sighted decision in Italy

We’re starting with WPS for a highlight that probably didn’t make SportsCenter (correct me if it did) but should have. It’s Abby Wambach’s back-heel, throwing off three defenders and setting up the Washington Freedom’s first goal against the run of play as the Atlanta Beat once again looked wonderful but couldn’t finish. If you want to skip ahead to it, go to the 1:17 mark:

Wambach’s header wasn’t bad, either, which is why she gets my Player of the Week vote ahead of Marta. Granted, if I could see Marta’s video highlights, that would help.

The full week (home teams first):

  • Atlanta 0, Washington 2: The Beat might have played the best two games ever without scoring, outshooting the Freedom 21-10.
  • Boston 1, Bay Area 2: Marta has both goals for the league leaders.
  • St. Louis 2, New Jersey 2: Apologies to Laura Kalmari, who scored twice for Sky Blue and won’t win Player of the Week ahead of the bigger names.
  • Chicago 0, Philadelphia 1: Not a very good week for home teams, was it?

GLOBAL SOCCER

Several trophies were on the line, but the decisive games made news for reasons beyond the results.

  • Spain: Barcelona looked as good as ever in beating Valladolid 4-0 to finish the La Liga season with a record 99 points — 31 wins, 6 draws, 1 loss — a season that ranks with Arsenal’s unbeaten Premier League run (2003-04) as one of the best ever in a top European league. The only team to beat Barca was erratic Europa League champion Atletico Madrid. Runner-up Real Madrid lost twice to Barca and still somehow kept pace until the very end, drawing 1-1 with Malaga in a result that kept the home team in La Liga next year at Valladolid’s expense.
  • Italy: Inter Milan made their fans sweat a little more, waiting until the second half to score at Siena and hold on for a 1-0 win that clinched the Serie A title by two points over Roma, which won 2-0 at Chievo.
  • Italy/USA: American defender Oguchi Onyewu, who missed much of the season after an injury in World Cup qualifying, worked out a one-year contract extension with third-place AC Milan by offering to play for free in 2012-13. The club have agreed, which is appalling. What happens to the next guy who gets hurt playing in a World Cup qualifier? How much pressure will be on that player to do what Onyewu did? (BBC)
  • FA Cup: Premier League champion Chelsea beat last-place Portsmouth, which played the season under the cloud of financial problems, but the underdogs managed to throw away much of their charm when Kevin-Prince Boateng’s brutal foul on Michael Ballack knocked the German cornerstone out of the World Cup. Boateng, coincidentally, has shifted nationality from Germany to Ghana and may play against Germany — and his half-brother, Jerome Boateng — in the World Cup. Perhaps it was instant karma that Boateng had a penalty kick saved, spoiling Portsmouth’s chance to take an improbable lead. (BBC)
  • German Cup: Bayern Munich 4, Werder Bremen 0. Saturday’s Champions League final (Bayern-Inter, 2:45 p.m. ET, Fox) will feature two teams going for a triple of league, cup and European trophies.
  • England: Congratulations to Oxford United, which returns to League football with an emphatic Conference final win. (BBC)
  • Mexico: Jose Francisco Torres will be available for the U.S. camp without a club-vs.-country battle, as his Pachuca side fell on 3-2 aggregate to Toluca. Santos followed up a 3-3 draw at Morelia by winning the second leg 7-1. What is this — the NASL? Third seed Toluca and fifth seed Santos will be the clubs playing in the Mexican final and lining up to crush MLS teams in next season’s CONCACAF Champions League.
  • CONCACAF (women’s): It’s a miracle that Haiti is able to field a team at all after the earthquake. They’re doing more than competing — they’ve advanced to the final round of Gold Cup qualifying. (All White Kit)

MMA

  • Strikeforce: Alistair Overeem demolished Brett Rogers to retain his heavyweight championship, saving Strikeforce from the PR dilemma of having their heavyweight champion already beaten by Fedor Emelianenko. All eyes now turn to an Overeem-Fedor matchup, assuming Fedor dispenses with Fabricio Werdum this summer. Also, Antonio Silva pushed Andrei Arlovski farther down the heavyweight ladder. (MMA Fighting Stances)
  • Shine Fights: Boxer Ricardo Mayorga was all set to face veteran Din Thomas in Fayetteville, N.C. Then a Florida judge granted boxing promoter Don King an injunction against Mayorga’s participation. After an afternoon Twitter flurry in which the card seemed to be going on with or without the main event, the North Carolina commission scrapped the whole card, though the co-main event of Murilo Rua vs. David Heath isn’t a bad matchup at all for a smaller promotion. King was asked to present a $1 million cash bond, which he did in two duffel bags. (Yahoo!)
  • Washington Combat: Sort of a senior-circuit main event, though Pedro Rizzo has two wins over Jeff Monson in recent years and was on Affliction’s much-hyped debut card against Josh Barnett. His opponent, Gary Goodridge, lost to Paul Buentello on the same Affliction card and lost to solid fighters Overeem and Gegard Mousasi since then. Bloody Elbow’s Luke Thomas says it’s time for Goodridge to hang ’em up. (Washington Post)

CYCLING

  • Giro d’Italia: Through nine stages, the leader is Alexandre Vinokourov, making his first big run since being tossed out of the 2007 Tour de France for flunking a doping test. Cadel Evans is 72 seconds back. American Tyler Farrar leads in points and has the red jersey, the equivalent of the Tour’s green.
  • Tour of California: Mark Cavendish, who won last year’s sprint title while Levi Leipheimer won the overall, won Sunday’s first stage of the eight-stage race. The big climbs are Tuesday and Friday.

TENNIS

  • Madrid Masters (men): After some atypical struggles, Roger Federer is back to normal, reaching the final and then, because it’s on clay, losing to Rafael Nadal. (AP)
  • Madrid Masters (women): Venus Williams reached the final and climbed to No. 2 in the rankings, her best since 2003. She lost in the final, though, to unseeded Aravane Rezai. Maybe she’ll be seeded next year.

OLYMPIC SPORTS

  • Swimming: Universal Sports has some video from the Charlotte UltraSwim, including Michael Phelps cruising in the 200 IM. Dancing with the Stars contestant Natalie Coughlin also is back in the pool. (Universal Sports)
  • Track, field and whatever this is: Tyson Gay set a “world best” (it’s not officially a world record because it’s not officially an official event) of 19.41 seconds in Manchester. Makes you wonder how Usain Bolt can run a 19.19 around a curve.
  • Running: Remember the USA TODAY profile on Amy Palmiero-Winters, the amputee who qualified for the 24-hour running world championships? She finished a very respectable 19th, coming just short of 200 kilometers. Scott Jurek covered 266.677k for a silver medal as the U.S. men placed third. Anna Piskorka (10th, 214.417k) was the top U.S. woman as the women’s team finished fourth. (USA Track and Field)

CHESS

Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky drew in their first meeting at the U.S. Chess Championships on Sunday, likely keeping both of them on track to play again in the “Final Four” in this uniquely formatted tournament. Irina Krush killed my fantasy team by losing out of what seemed to be a winning position against Varuzhan Akobian in a 113-move thriller. (U.S. Chess Federation)

INTRIGUING READS

  • Golf and tennis: One sport’s U.S. federation is taking all the right steps to get kids interested and keep them playing. The other is scratching its head as players appear to be abandoning the sport, and the solutions may be quite costly. (Wall Street Journal).
  • Football: Flag football — eventual answer to gender-equity questions? Convenient dodge of gender-equity questions? Waste of time? Great activity? Many opinions here. (New York Times)
  • Skiing/long-running TV shows: Lindsey Vonn was thrilled to do a guest spot on Law & Order. Not so thrilled to hear this is the final season. She’s organizing a group to save the show. (Yahoo! – Fourth-Place Medal)

Friday Myriad: Diamond debut, four soccer trophies on the line

Your hour-by-hour viewing guide, all times ET:

FRIDAY

Noon: Track and field, Diamond League, Doha. Debut of the expanded successor to the Golden League. I’ll be live-blogging this one. Universal Sports

2:40 p.m.: Soccer (England), League One semifinal, Swindon-Charlton. Special feelings for me regarding Swindon, the only place I’ve ever seen an English game in person. Plenty more promotion playoffs through the weekend. Fox Soccer Plus

SATURDAY

** 10 a.m.: Soccer (England), FA Cup final, Chelsea-Portsmouth. First vs. worst in the Premier League, but this time, there’s a trophy at stake. FSC

2 p.m.: Soccer (Germany), German Cup final, Bayern Munich-Werder Bremen. Bayern going for the second leg of the triple, having won the Bundesliga and with the Champions League final to come. ESPN Deportes

  • 2:30 p.m.: Soccer (Italy), AC Milan-Juventus, FSC

4 p.m.: Soccer (MLS), Philadelphia-Dallas. You’ll be bored with the Italian game by the time this one kicks off. TeleFutura

6-ish p.m.: Horse racing, Preakness. Might be able to flip over and catch the actual race after 90-plus minutes of pre-race. NBC

7 p.m.: Soccer (Mexico), semifinal second leg, Santos-Morelia. TeleFutura

  • 7:30 p.m.: Soccer (MLS), New York-Seattle is the best of the non-national games in the early evening. Direct Kick/MLSSoccer.com
  • 8:30 p.m.: Soccer (MLS), Kansas City-Chicago, FSC

9 p.m.: Soccer (Mexico), semifinal second leg, Toluca-Pachuca. Telemundo

10 p.m.: MMA, Strikeforce. Alistair Overeem-Brett Rogers for the heavyweight title (no, Fedor doesn’t have it yet, even though he beat Rogers in his last fight). Also another compelling heavyweight matchup: Andrei Arlovski-Antonio Silva. Showtime

  • 9:45 p.m.: Boxing, Amir Khan-Paul Malignaggi for Khan’s WBA light welterweight title in Madison Square Garden. USA TODAY preview. HBO

10:30 p.m.: Soccer (MLS), Los Angeles-Toronto. Can we go ahead and call it — three more points for the Galaxy? Direct Kick/MLSSoccer.com

SUNDAY

** 9 a.m.: Soccer (Italy), final games of season.

  • Siena-Inter, FSC
  • Chievo-Roma, Fox Soccer Plus (also delayed on FSC, 11 a.m.)

** 1 p.m.: Soccer (Spain), final games of season.

  • Valladolid-Barcelona, ESPN2
  • Malaga-Real Madrid, GolTV

5 p.m.: Cycling, Tour of California, first stage. Yes, it’s conflicting with the Giro d’Italia, but as my former deskmate Sal Ruibal tells us, California organizers have designs of making this another Grand Tour. Versus

6 p.m.: Soccer (WPS), Atlanta-Washington. Another look at Atlanta’s new soccer stadium, with a matchup of two high-powered offenses that were unusually shut out their last time out. FSC

ANYTHING ELSE?