Woly Award: Gwen Jorgensen, triathlon

Gwen Jorgensen didn’t take up triathlon until 2010. She took to it rather quickly, qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. She was unlucky there, suffering a flat tire on the bike stage.

This year, she became the first U.S. woman to win a World Triathlon Series event in April. Then she did again. And again, over the weekend in Stockholm, where she blasted her way through the 10k running phase to win by 49 seconds.

That’s three wins and the No. 1 overall ranking headed into the series finale. And she’ll take this week’s Woly Award, given to the best U.S. performance in Olympic sports.

The playlist includes Jorgensen’s win, Lashawn Merritt and David Oliver (but not Francena McCorory, for whom I couldn’t find video) winning in their penultimate Diamond League races, a bit of archery and rugby, and a surprising amount of winter sports. Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Sochi. New Zealand welcomed a lot of skiers and snowboarders last week, including such snowboard dignitaries as Kelly Clark and Gretchen Bleiler.

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Other items you’ll find in the Team USA roundup: a medal for the U.S. slalom kayakers, AVP beach volleyball, U.S. short-track speedskating qualifiers, and a fifth-place mixed-relay finish in modern pentathlon.

World Championships this week: Rowing, judo, mountain bike, rhythmic gymnastics, more modern pentathlon. Also half of the Diamond League track and field finals. Yes, half. I don’t make the rules. I’ll have a preview of sorts later in the week.

Woly Award: LaShawn Merritt, track and field

LaShawn Merritt won the 2008 gold medal in the highly competitive 400 meters. He followed it up with a world title in 2009.

Then the troubles began. He tested positive for a substance that he attributed to the drug ExtenZe. He returned with a second-place finish to Grenadan sensation Kirani James in 2011, then injured his hamstring in 2012 and didn’t make it to the Olympic final.

So he’s done, right?

Wrong. Merritt blew away the field at the World Championships in Moscow with a world-leading and personal best 43.74 seconds. Then he anchored the dominant U.S. men to victory in the 4×400 relay.

And he’ll take this week’s Woly Award for the top U.S. performance in Olympic sports.

Also in the playlist this week: David Oliver and Brianna Rollins win the world titles in the hurdles; winter sports season starts with slopestyle, halfpipe and cross-country; U.S. volleyballers and wrestlers win; and the USL’s Richmond Kickers try to play racquetball with no hands.

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Woly Award: Miles Chamley-Watson, fencing

World Championship season is tough for those of us who try to pick an award winner. What do you do when you have someone who has won three straight world titles (plus the Olympics, plus two world indoor titles) in the women’s long jump, like Brittney Reese? Or an Olympic decathlon champion who repeated the feat at Worlds, like Ashton Eaton?

You give it to the fencer, of course.

Miles Chamley-Watson was just outside the top 16 seeds coming into the men’s foil competition at the World Championships, so he had to work his way through pool play before reaching the knockout rounds. Then he won his first bout 15-12. Then he came from 10-6 down to win 15-14 in the round of 32. Down 11-6 in the round of 16? Came back to win 15-14. Down 12-5 in the quarters? Oh, that has to be it — oops, he came back and won 15-14 again.

The semifinals and the final were comparatively easy. Watch his final performance in the playlist below.

He also picked up another medal today, earning silver in the team competition. That’ll be in next week’s playlist.

So Chamley-Watson is this week’s Woly Award winner, given to the best U.S. performance in Olympic sports this week.

The full list of highlights in the playlist here:

  • Fencing: Chamley-Watson, world men’s foil champion
  • Track and field: Reese, world women’s long jump champion
  • Track and field: Eaton, world decathlon champion
  • Beach volleyball: Jennifer Fopma and Brooke Sweat win first FIVB medal
  • Volleyball: Young U.S. team wins epic match with Serbia
  • Track and field: Usain Bolt isn’t American, but he’s in the highlight reel anyway — besides, Justin Gatlin was the only person anywhere near him
  • Fencing: Team bronze for the U.S. women in sabre
  • Fencing: One for the blooper reel
  • Track and field: Mo Farah at least trains in the USA, and he’s too good to ignore
  • Swimming: Thomas Shields wins 100-meter butterfly in World Cup
  • Swimming: Tyler Clary wins 400-meter butterfly, same meet
  • Badminton: Surreal end to a classic World Championship final between men’s singles legends Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei

Video ahoy:

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Woly Award: Missy Franklin, swimming

It’s easy to lose track of major swim meets (less easy to lose swim of major track meets … OK, that’s awful). So many events, so many Americans winning so many medals.

So let’s recap the World Swimming Championships day-by-day, though the first day was counted under last week’s Woly Award recap. Each link goes to one of Nick Zaccardi’s handy recaps at NBC’s Olympic Talk blog. Events with asterisk will be in the video playlist:

SUNDAY

– Men’s 400 freestyle: Gold to China’s Sun Yang, bronze to USA’s Connor Yaeger.

– Women’s 400 freestyle: Gold and U.S. record to last week’s Woly winner, Katie Ledecky.

– Women’s 4×100 free relay: USA (Missy Franklin, Natalie Coughlin, Shannon Vreeland, Megan Romano) edges Australia on Romano’s fantastic anchor leg.

– Men’s 4×100 free relay: France comes back to beat USA (Nathan Adrian, Ryan Lochte, Anthony Ervin, Jimmy Feigen).

MONDAY

– Men’s 100 breaststroke: Gold to Australia’s Christian Sprenger; no U.S. medal.

– Women’s 100 butterfly: Gold to Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom; bronze to ailing American Dana Vollmer.

– *Men’s 50 butterfly (non-Olympic event): Brazil’s Cesar Cielo edges U.S. surprise Eugene Godsoe, who takes silver.

– Women’s 200 medley: Gold to Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu; USA’s Caitlin Leverenz 7th.

TUESDAY

– Men’s 200 freestyle: France’s Yannick Agnel dominates; USA’s Connor Dwyer silver, Ryan Lochte 4th.

– Women’s 100 backstroke: Missy Franklin’s second gold (first individual). Elizabeth Pelton 4th.

– *Women’s 1,500 freestyle (non-Oly distance): Katie Ledecky’s second gold and a world record of 15:36.53.

– *Men’s 100 backstroke: 1-2 for the USA: Matt Grevers and David Plummer.

– Women’s 100 breaststroke: Gold for Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte, who broke the world record in the semifinals. USA’s Jessica Hardy, the former record-holder, takes bronze.

WEDNESDAY

– Men’s 200 butterfly: Gold to South Africa’s Chad le Clos. USA’s Tom Luchsinger 5th.

– *Women’s 200 freestyle: Missy Franklin’s third gold, dethroning Italy’s Federica Pellegrini.

– Men’s 50 breaststroke (non-Oly distance): South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh gold; no Americans in final.

– Men’s 800 freestyle final (non-Oly distance): Second gold for China’s Sun Yang; surprise silver for USA’s Michael McBroom, with Connor Yaeger fourth.

THURSDAY

– *Men’s 200 medley: Ryan Lochte takes his third straight world title in the event.

– *Men’s 100 freestyle: Australia’s James Magnussen avenges Olympic loss by holding off the USA’s Jimmy Feigen and Nathan Adrian.

– Women’s 200 butterfly: Gold for China’s Liu Zige.

– Women’s 50 backstroke (non-Oly distance): 1-2 for China’s Zhao Jing and Fu Yuanhui.

– *Women’s 4×200 freestyle relay: Another huge moment for Katie Ledecky (third gold, led after leadoff leg) and Missy Franklin (fourth gold, rallied to win with anchor leg), joining Shannon Vreeland and Karlee Bispo for the world title.

FRIDAY

– *Women’s 100 freestyle: Australia’s Cate Campbell wins, with Missy Franklin just missing the podium.

– *Men’s 200 backstroke: Gold for Ryan Lochte; bronze for Tyler Clary.

– Women’s 200 breaststroke: Gold for Russia’s Yuliya Efimova; bronze for USA’s Micah Lawrence.

– Men’s 200 breaststroke: Gold for Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta; no U.S. swimmers in final.

– *Men’s 4×200 free relay: USA gold, even with Lochte swimming his third event of the night. In order: Connor Dwyer, Lochte, Charlie Houchin and Ricky Berens, who came home with a comfortable margin of victory of more than two seconds. That’s three golds in two days for Lochte.

SATURDAY

– Women’s 50 butterfly (non-Oly distance): Gold to Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen Gray.

– Men’s 50 freestyle: Brazil’s Cesar Cielo does it again, with Nathan Adrian (4th) and Anthony Ervin (6th) missing out.

– *Women’s 200 backstroke: FIFTH gold for Missy Franklin, by nearly two seconds.

– Men’s 100 butterfly: Another gold for South Africa’s Chad le Clos. Ryan Lochte finished 6th — not his best event by far.

– *Women’s 800 freestyle: FOURTH gold for Katie Ledecky, with a world record of 8:13.86 more than two seconds ahead of the pack.

SUNDAY

– Men’s 50 backstroke (non-Oly distance): Gold for France’s Camille Lacourt; USA’s Matt Grevers ties for silver. Yes, a tie. That’s two medals for Grevers.

– Women’s 50 breaststroke (non-Oly distance): Let’s run through the chronology – coming into the meet, the USA’s Jessica Hardy had the world record. Then Russia’s Yuliya Efimova broke it here, only to see Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte break THAT record. But then Efimova came back to win the final in non-record time, beating Meilutyte and Hardy, though the latter took bronze and equaled her American record. Which used to be the world record. Got it?

– Men’s 400 medley: Gold for Japan’s Daiya Seto, silver for USA’s Chase Kalisz, fourth for USA’s Tyler Clary.

– Women’s 50 freestyle: You know it’s the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo for gold here.

– *Men’s 1,500 freestyle: THIRD gold for China’s Sun Yang. USA’s Connor Jaeger 4th.

– Women’s 400 medley: Medley sweep for Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu; bronze for USA’s Elizabeth Beisel, USA’s Maya DiRado 4th.

– Men’s 4×100 medley: USA wi… nope, disqualified. Same as 2012 Olympics. Ryan Lochte once again denied another medal. France upsets Australia for gold.

– Women’s 4×100 medley: Easy win for the USA and SIXTH gold for Missy Franklin, who led off in backstroke. Then Jessica Hardy on breaststroke, Dana Vollmer butterfly and Megan Romano freestyle.

OVERALL

Another dominating performance for the USA, with some familiar multi-event names (Franklin, Lochte) joined by less-heralded Olympic champions (Grevers), others confirming their Olympic breakthroughs (Ledecky) and some medal-stand newcomers (Lawrence, Plummer, McBroom, Kalisz, Godsoe, Feigen, Dwyer).

If you want the full list of U.S. results, the best compendium is at Wikipedia, which also rounds up disappointing performances for the U.S. water polo teams (men 9th, women 5th), last week’s synchronized swimming, open water and diving action, and the 1-2 finish in women’s high diving for Cesilie Carlton and Ginger Huber.

USA Swimming also wrapped up the swimming portions of the meet.

So who wins the Woly Award?

Ledecky was the meet’s outstanding female swimmer (China’s Sun Yang took the men’s award), but that included an accomplishment for which she won the Woly last week. This week alone, Franklin won six world titles. Can’t top that.

So Missy Franklin wins this week’s Woly Award, given to the top U.S. performer in Olympic sports.

Other events of the week:

WRESTLING: Jordan Burroughs is now 60-0 in international wrestling, winning the Stepan Sargsyan International in Vanadzor, Armenia. Brent Metcalf and Clayton Foster also won their weight classes.

EQUESTRIAN: Richard Spooner, Reed Kessler, McLain Ward and Beezie Madden combined for second place in the FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain.

And we had U.S. championships in ski jumping (seriously – in 88-degree weather), bobsled pushing and shotgun shooting. See TeamUSA.org’s roundup.

The video playlist also includes the U.S. women’s volleyball team’s first loss in ages, some water polo highlights, and some events from the World Games. Enjoy.

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Woly Award: Katie Ledecky, swimming

It’s World Championship season. Everything that involves swimming, diving and water polo-ing is happening in Barcelona, while track and field athletes had their last Diamond League meet before their World Championships next month.

That gave us a lot of Woly Award nominees. Would Duke bias on your blogger’s part steer the award to Shannon Rowbury, who ran the fastest 3,000 meters of the year? What about any of the other five U.S. winners at the London Grand Prix? Or Megan Romano, with an anchor leg for the ages in Barcelona?

But we’re going with a world champion in an event U.S. women don’t usually win and have certainly never gone quite as fast …

Katie Ledecky is the first U.S. woman to break the four-minute mark (3:59.82) in the 400-meter freestyle and the first woman to win the world title in the event since Janet Evans did it in 1991. Allison Schmitt set the previous American record of 4:01.77 in taking silver last year in London.

And so Ledecky is this week’s Woly Award winner, given to the top U.S. performer in Olympic sports in the week. For our purposes, the “week” ends Sunday, so any winners in Barcelona on Monday will be eligible next week.

To show the rest of the action, I’ve made a YouTube playlist, mostly from Universal Sports.

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ON THE PLAYLIST

Swimming: Katie Ledecky runs away with the 400 free world title.

Beach volleyball: Jen Kessy and April Ross rally from a set down to win the World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, Calif., the first FIVB event in the USA in 10 years.

Beach volleyball: Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser rule Long Beach.

Swimming: France with the stunning comeback to beat the USA (Nathan Adrian, Ryan Lochte, Anthony Ervin and Jimmy Feigen) in the men’s 4×100 free relay.

Swimming: Megan Romano comes back from 0.72 seconds down to give the USA the women’s 4×100 free relay title. Missy Franklin, Natalie Coughlin and Shannon Vreeland went the rest of the way to set the U.S. record (3:32.31).

Diving: David Boudia, Olympic champion and the man who gave Brandi Chastain a 10 on one of her dives on the show Splash, takes silver on the 10-meter platform in Barcelona’s stunning outdoor pool. Seriously — the scenery here is unreal.

Synchronized swimming: Solo and duet: Russia, China, Spain in all four events. Team: Russia, Spain, Ukraine in all three events. This video has Russia’s free combination routine.

Track and field: David Oliver wins the 110-meter hurdles; Aries Merritt stumbles.

Track and field: Allyson Felix holds off Shalonda Solomon to win the 200.

Track and field: Michael Tinsley is the only person to break 48 seconds in the 400 hurdles this year, and he’s done it twice. USA went 1-2-3-4.

Track and field: Nick Symmonds wins an aggressive 800 meters.

Track and field: Shannon Rowbury races away to a world-leading time in the 3,000 meters.

Track and field: Meet record (1:58.19) for Brenda Martinez in the women’s 800.

Water polo: The U.S. women cruise past Brazil 14-3 in the round of 16 and next face Spain, coincidentally the country that knocked the U.S. men out in the round of 16.

Open water: Close finishes in both of the 25k races, with Eva Fabian taking bronze in the women’s race and Alex Meyer missing out of the medals by a photo finish. Five hours, and it comes down to less than a second.

Open water: Haley Anderson wins the 5k race by 0.2 seconds. And check out the opening ceremony!

BMX: Connor Fields defends his world title in the time trial discipline. (Skip to the 14-minute mark if you like.)

Paralympic athletics: Tatyana McFadden wins her sixth gold medal in one World Championships, this one at 400 meters.

ALSO AT AQUATIC WORLDS

Men’s 400 freestyle: Connor Yaeger took bronze.

TRACK AND FIELD LINKS

Full U.S. results: Day 1Day 2

The Daily Relay’s Monday Morning Run has more on British legend-in-training Mo Farah, the intriguing women’s 100 field, Caster Semenya’s failure to make the World Championships, and the big performances by Oliver, Rowbury and Martinez.

MORE FROM THE WEEK

Lots of junior action in volleyball, rowing, basketball, modern pentathlon, field hockey and more in the Team USA roundup.

Woly Award: Haley Anderson, swimming

The summer sports calendar is crowded these days — British Open, Tour de France, tons of soccer events, track and field meets/awkward press conferences — but the aquatic World Championships deserve some attention, too. The swimmers hit the pool next week, but water polo, synchronized swimming and open-water swimming are underway. Universal Sports has a ton of artistic videos.

And the USA has a world champion already — Haley Anderson, who added the 5-kilometer open-water world title to her Olympic 10k silver medal, winning by 0.02 seconds.

Anderson also has the coveted Woly Award, given to the top U.S. performer in Olympic sports this week.

Other performances of note:

TRACK AND FIELD

Lots of Diamond League winners in Monaco:

– Justin Gatlin, men’s 100 (and anchor of the winning 4×100 relay)
– Jenny Simpson, women’s 1,500
– Duane Solomon, men’s 800
– Christian Taylor, triple jump
– Brigetta Barrett, high jump
– Queen Harrison, women’s 100 hurdles

PARALYMPIC TRACK AND FIELD

The World Championships are underway in Lyon, France, and the USA has six gold medals:

– Tatyana McFadden, women’s 200 T54 and 5,000 T53/54. Yes, that’s an unusual combination.
– Raymond Martin, men’s 800 T52 and 1,500 T52.
– Jeremy Campbell, men’s discus F44.
– Jarryd Wallace, men’s 200 T44.

Not sure what those numbers mean? Check the Telegraph explanation from last year’s Paralympics.

Other events from the week included wrestling in Olympia, a triathlon mixed relay, and taekwondo’s World Championships.

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.

Woly Award: Bryan brothers, tennis

Two remarkable careers, one in tennis and one in cycling, are worth celebrating this week.

Bob and Mike Bryan have been the top doubles team in the world for nearly a decade. Rewind to 2003, when they first claimed the top spot in the year-end doubles rankings, and see how the other names in men’s tennis have changed: Andre Agassi won the Australian Open, Juan Carlos Ferrero won the French, and Andy Roddick won the U.S. Open and finished first in the season rankings.

After all that, the Bryans are somehow getting better. With their win at Wimbledon over the weekend, they’ve become only the second men’s doubles team to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once. And they won the Olympics along the way.

So the Bryans are a rather convincing winner of the Woly Award, given for the top U.S. performance in Olympic sports this week.

But there’s another career that also deserves our attention this week.

Mara Abbott was a fast-rising U.S. cyclist. She won a U.S. title in 2007, when she was fresh out of college. In 2009, she won the King of the Mountains title at the Giro d’Italia Femminile, the biggest stage race in women’s road racing. In 2010, she did even better, winning the overall Giro title.

Why didn’t you hear about Abbott in the 2012 Olympics? Because she had quit. More than that — she had literally starved herself out of the sport, miserable with what her life had become.

Velo magazine published a gripping story on her downfall and comeback a couple of weeks ago. It’s now available on their site. Why put it out on the Web now? Because she just won the Giro again.

And now that she has climbed back to the top, she could be around for a while.

Elsewhere in Olympic sports: Aries Merritt won a Diamond League 110-meter hurdles race in the fifth-best time in the world this year (13.09), U.S. volleyballers had a rough weekend, and shooter Corey Cogdell took World Cup bronze.

Woly Award: Katie Ledecky, swimming

When U.S. swimmers get together for an important meet, fast times follow.

At the U.S. Championships in Indianapolis, Missy Franklin had two world-leading times and two that rank second, winning all four. Ryan Lochte won three events and was second in another.

But the Woly Award this week goes to Katie Ledecky, who has the following distinctions:

1. She won Olympic gold at age 15.

2. She’s not as famous as Franklin, Lochte and company.

3. She won the 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle, and she finished second in the 200.

4. She broke Janet Evans’ meet record and posted the top time in the world this year in the 1,500.

The full list of top times from the meet, thanks to FINA’s nifty database:

1st in the world this year
M-50 free: Nathan Adrian, 21.47
W-1,500 free: Katie Ledecky, 15:47.15
W-50 back: David Plummer, 24.52
W-100 back: Missy Franklin, 58.67
W-200 back: Missy Franklin, 2:05.68
W-200 IM: Ryan Lochte, 1:55.44

2nd in the world
W-100 free: Missy Franklin, 53.43
W-200 free: Missy Franklin, 1:55.56
W-400 free: Katie Ledecky, 4:04.05
W-100 back: David Plummer, 53.10
W-200 back: Elizabeth Pelton, 2:06.29
W-50 breast: Jessica Hardy, 30.24
W-200 breast: Kevin Cordes, 2:08.34

3rd in the world
M-800 free: Connor Jaeger, 7:46.78
W-50 back: Rachel Bootsma, 27.68
M-200 back: Ryan Lochte, 1:55.16
W-50 breast: Breeja Larson, 30.40
M-50 breast: Kevin Steel, 27.26
W-100 breast: Breeja Larson, 1:06.16
W-200 breast: Breeja Larson, 2:23.44
W-100 fly: Dana Vollmer, 57.53
W-400 IM: Maya Dirado, 4:34.34

Elsewhere, it was a slow week, but a couple of highlights are worth mentioning.

Track and field: Christian Taylor had the second-best triple jump in the world this year as he, Dawn Harper-Nelson and Reese Hoffa won Diamond League events in Birmingham, England.

Tennis: Serena Williams is out of Wimbledon, but Sloane Stephens isn’t.

Woly Award: Marti Malloy, judo

We’re not just invoking Ronda Rousey’s name for search traffic. Marti Malloy has a couple of similarities to the brash UFC champion — an Olympic judo medal among them.

Now Malloy also has a gold medal from the first Grand Prix held on U.S. soil (Miami). She clinched the title with Rousey’s favorite technique, an armbar:

(Her fight starts around the 2:49 mark. If you’re really impatient, skip from there to the last 30 seconds of the bout.)

Malloy is this week’s winner of the Woly Award, which SportsMyriad gives to the top U.S. Olympic sports athlete of the week.

The rest of the week included:

Soccer: Most of the SportsMyriad readership is surely aware that the U.S. women beat South Korea 4-1, and that Abby Wambach scored her 156th career goal.

Volleyball: Two wins for the U.S. men over France in World League play, plus a Pan American Cup gold medal for the U.S. women.

BMX: Arielle Martin finished second in a World Cup stop, while Connor Fields and Alise Post medaled in the time trials.