Bicycle allows Canada to fly
A bicycle, by nature, is a relatively slow means of transport. In Canada, it has wings and allows to fly. Nonsense? Not in the case of the local synchronised swimming teams. In 2000 and 2001, respectively at the Sydney Olympics and the Fukuoka FINA World Championships, Claire Carver-Dias simulated riding a bicycle in a routine meant to symbolise different sports. 10 years later, Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon is the new “bicycle girl”, after performing the same element in Shanghai. Thanks to this and many other spectacular figures, Canada got a thrilling bronze medal in the Free Combination event, in what was probably the most interesting final of the programme so far.
With one team to go, things looked pretty much the same as in previous days, with Russia comfortably first, China second, and Spain (2009 champion in this event), third. But then, the Canadians entered the water and definitely stole the show with a breathtaking performance in their pet event, finally obtaining a medal after a disappointing fourth place in all previous events. Performing on a medley of Queen, the energetic squad presented a brand-new routine, offering an astonishing array of lifts and throws, frequently punctuated by bursts of applause and wild cheering. Bronze medallists already in Rome (2009) and in Changshu last year, the Canadians leave the Shanghai Oriental Sport Centre with a renewed confidence tonight.
Historic victory for Greece over Russia in women’s water polo
Greece created history in beating Russia for the first time at a FINA World Championship in women’s water polo competition at the Natatorium today.
A penalty goal to Antigoni ROUMPESI just inside the final minute broke the deadlock for a 6-5 success that repeated the previous victory over Russia, in Kirishi, Russia, at the 2005 FINA World League Super Final. Since then there have been several draws, including at the European Championships but today’s victory was momentous.
The win secured Group C success with three narrow losses for Greece while Russia’s international woes this year continue. In Tianjin, China, last month, Italy gained a 21-20 margin over Russia in the FINA World League Super Final quarter-finals, eventually finishing fifth.
USA trio capture first medal in World Championships with victory in 5km Team Event
A trio of open water swimmers from the United States captured the first gold medal for their country at the FINA World Championships in the 5km Team Event today at Jinshan Beach, Shanghai. Americans Andrew Gemmell, Sean Ryan, and Ashley Twichell finished in 57:00.6, just 1.2 seconds faster than the Melissa Gorman, Rhys Mainstone and Ky Hurst of Australia.
The team from Germany placed third, more than 43 seconds after the Americans. The German squad was composed of Jan Wolfgarten, Isabelle Haerle and Thomas Lurz, the world's most accomplished swimmer at the 5km distance. Lurz has won every FINA 5km world championship event since 2005 and placed second in yesterday's men's 10km, qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. Lurz was a bronze medallist in the 10km Marathon Swim at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Gold and silver for China; 2009 champion Espinosa (MEX) in third
Chen Ruolin came to Shanghai as a strong favourite. The two-time Olympic Games winner also had gold medals in Rome 2009 and Melbourne 2007 in synchronised diving. Moreover, she was first in individual platform at the 2006, 2008 and 2010 World Cup. Finally, she accumulated 11 victories at Grand Prix events. An enormous roll of honour for such a tiny athlete – just 1.36m for a mere 30kg weight!
The advantage of her compatriot Hu Yadan was clear during the preliminary competition. The 15-year-old newcomer got the best result with a 11-point advantage over Chen Ruolin. Then, Hu also won the semi-final and the advantage increased to 17.70. The semi-final score of the young Chinese was remarkable: Hu Yadan got six “tens” for her last dive (96.00 in total) and 403.65, in general.
Indomitable Ishchenko, Fuentes at her best
The story of Natalia Ishchenko is one made of sacrifice, perseverance, vision and some luck. Like all the champions’ stories. In a big nation like Russia, it is not easy to be noticed in an artistic sport. Moreover, being spotted while still a teenager is more of a challenge than a blessing. But Natalia was courageous and remained determined. Back then, some years ago, and now, while flawlessly performing at the World Championships stage.
Winner of the Solo free event tonight in Shanghai, with an unbeatable score of 98.550, her story started when she was young and learning rhythmic gymnastics. The Russian great got noticed while competing at a junior competition by Tatiana Pokrovskaia, head coach of the national team since 1998 (the year Russia made its first gold sweep in all synchro events at World Championships in Perth, Australia).
World champion Serbia fires past Romania
World champion Serbia moved a step closer to the quarter-finals by breezing past Romania 12-5 in day-two men’s water polo action at the Natatorium this morning.
The second straight Group B win was achieved with panache as the team displayed all its firepower and strengths against a team not unlike the Serbs.
Serbia’s raft of stars produced dynamic plays, especially with close-up magic, preferring to take shots from one metre rather than outside.
Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece, a three time Olympian, wins men's 10km
Spyridon ("Spyros") Gianniotis of Greece, a three time Olympian is heading to his 4th Olympic Games. The 31 year old placed 16th in the inaugural 10km event in Beijing but he surely will be considered one of the favourites in the London Olympic Marathon 10km after capturing the world title in the men's 10km event today at Jinshan Beach, Shanghai. Gianniotis has previously shown his strength in the 5km event, placing third in the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne and second in the 2009 edition in Rome.
Gianniotis who felt he was in 35th position at the halfway mark was able to pass Britain's Daniel Fogg with about 1200m left in the race. Gianniotis overtook the defending world champion Thomas Lurz of Germany in the final 100m of the men's 10km marathon. Gianniotis and Lurz alternated the lead during a 750m sprint to the finish line. Gianniotis struck gold at 1:54.24.7, two and one half seconds ahead of Lurz, the most decorated male open water swimmer of the century. Lurz owns a bronze medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
“We will never surrender!”
Resolved, more than ever. So felt the Spanish squad tonight after the conclusion of the technical programmes for Solo, Duet and Team, with a repeat of the podium Russia-China-Spain in all three events. With the first final of the free routines starting tomorrow, the question excites synchro fans more and more: Is it China or Spain which will be world number-2 after Shanghai? At this stage, here’s what we can say.
Untouchable in all technical routines, Russia has a firm lock on the top spot and seems the less troubled by its main challengers’ recent progress, Spain and China. If the Russians rarely give extended comments about their rivals, they always congratulate them. As for the Russian squad’s routines, truth is that they practically speak for themselves. Perfect synchronisation, breath-taking strength and height in all figures are common indications of their magnificent performance. In the team event tonight, they showed what they do best, scoring a brilliant 98.300 points.
Greece finds Brazil a tough nut to crack
Greece had to come from down twice to shake off Brazil, winning their Group C women’s water polo match at the Natatorium today.
Playing the second day of the competition, Brazil led 2-1 and 4-3 before scoring the equalising goal at 5-5 by halftime.
Greece moved to 8-5 but Brazil scored either side of the final break to bring the game to 7-8. However, Greece had the better of the final four minutes, winning 11-8.
It was Greece’s second win and sets it up for the final group game on Thursday against Russia, who accounted for Spain 18-8 in the earlier match.
Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA was devastating in that match, scoring five goals in a game where Spain struggled to compete.
Is 2011 the year of China’s Grand Slam?
The 1m women’s competition has never been so successful for China as the other diving events. Considering the whole history of this event (since FINA World Championships in 1991) the Chinese divers won the gold title three times. In five other editions, the victory was captured by other hands. Or “by other legs”.
This expression really reflects the main idea of 1m springboard: if the diver wants to be successful, he must have (besides the perfect technique) very strong legs. Otherwise the dives never look impressive. Women's diving at 1m is never so difficult as men's, but diving ladies have their own advantage.
When 1m competition got its first international recognition it became clear that not every male diver was able to compete at this height. Some of the world leaders were so big, strong and pressed the springboard with so much power, that the flexible metal board touched the water surface. If this happens, the springboard looses its ability to push the diver to the air as high as it could be done with the higher springboard.
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