Olympians in Action: Where to Catch the Stars this Weekend

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From the start of the European Championships to the end of the women’s hockey world cup and the badminton world championships, there’s something for everyone this weekend.

Titles are at stake, and athletes from around the world are starting their journey to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Here are just a few of the top-notch athletes.

European Championships

The European Championships continue this weekend with the cycling, rowing, aquatics and the women’s gymnastics team event.

 

In the pool, Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström will be contesting the 50m free, as will Denmark’s Pernille Blume, who won the event in the finals at Rio.

Sjöström will also be swimming her signature event, the 100m fly.

saraj sjostrom smiles

The 400m individual medley will be fierce with Olympians Aimee Wilmott of England and Hannah Miley of Scotland in the pool.

Six-time Olympic medallist László Cseh of Hungary has captured more than a dozen international medals in fly and medley events. This Saturday, he’ll try something new by swimming the 400m free.

You can also catch him in the 200m fly, alongside European gold and silver medallists Viktor Bromer and Bence Biczó.

Defending European champion Adam Peaty, Ross Murdoch, and Giedrius Titenis will face off again in the 100m breastroke. Peaty set the world record for the event when he took gold in Rio.

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We’ll also see some fine gymnastics action with the women’s team event on Saturday and the individual vault, uneven bars, beam and floor competitions on Sunday.

Don’t miss Rio champion Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands and defending world champion Pauline Schäfer of Germany compete for balance beam glory.

Sanne Wevers beat Simone Biles for the Olympic title in Rio.


Belgian Nina Derwael made national history as the first to win gymnastics gold at the continental and world championships last year, but she’ll have to face two-time European champ Becky Downie to retain her title on the uneven bars.

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Rowing fans have lots to look forward to as well.

Olympic silver medallist Damir Martin of Croatia and Norway’s Olympic medallist Kjetil Borch are among the competitors in the men’s single sculls.

Swiss rower and defending world titleholder Jeannine Gmelin comes to women’s singles sculls in excellent form—she’s undefeated this season.

So is 2016 European champion Magdalena Lobnig of Austria.

Olympic gold medallists Mohamed Sbihi, Will Satch, and Tom Ransley will be a part of the British men’s eight, which hopes to snatch the title from world and European champs Germany.

2016 Olympic silver medallist and European titleholder Zoe Lee will be part of the Great Britain’s women’s quad sculls delegation.

Dutch duo Ilse Paulis and Marieke Keijser are the favourites for the lightweight women’s double.

Paulis is an Olympic gold medallist. Keijser was runner-up at last year’s World Rowing and European championships and is a two-time U23 titleholder. Together, they won the 2018 World Rowing Cup series.

Three pairs of brothers will be looking for rowing glory.

The men’s pair sees double Olympic medallists Martin and Valent Sinković of Croatia pitted against France’s Theophile and Valentin Onfroy, who won silver at the last European championships.

The double sculls will see the likes of brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan and France’s Pierre Houin. The Irish pair were runners-up in Rio and the 2017 European championships. Houin’s accolades include Olympic, world and European gold.

Don’t count out Norwegians Are Strandli and Kristoffer Brun either. Strandli took a hiatus after the pair won bronze in Rio, but they’ve recently resumed their partnership and took second during the Linz World Cup in May.

 

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 02: Ganna Solovei, Oksana Kliachina, Valeriya Kononenko and Anna Nahirna of Ukraine compete in the women's team pursuit during Day One of the European Championships Glasgow 2018 at Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome on August 2, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Great things can also be expected from Great Britain’s track cycling squad. A star-studded roster includes Rio gold medallists Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker in the women´s track event as well as four-time Olympic gold medallist Laura Kenny.

After giving birth to her son, she’s even more determined to make it to Tokyo 2020.

Ed Clancy and Stephen Burke will be part of the men’s track team. Both were on the winning teams in London and Rio.

Sprint riders Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny will be looking to add a European title to their back-to-back Olympic victories. Kenny is a six-time Olympic champion.

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Women’s Hockey World Cup

The excitement of the Women’s Hockey World Cup will culminate this weekend with the final.

Saturday’s semifinals will pit Ireland against Spain. A few hours later the Netherlands will battle Australia for a chance at the finals.

The final and bronze medal match will take place Sunday afternoon.

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It’s been an unprecedented season for Ireland, who have never sent a women’s field hockey team to the Olympics and most recently qualified for the World Cup in 2002. But the competition will be even more intense against the Spanish team, which has retained almost all of its Rio Olympic roster.

History favors the Dutch. The experienced team are defending world champions and won silver at Rio 2016 and gold at both London 2012 and Beijing 2008.

Seasoned veterans include captain Carlien van den Heuvel, Eva de Goede and Xan de Waard.

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Aarhus Sailing World Championships

Six years after winning Olympic gold in the laser class, Tom Slingsby of Australia is back – but he’s switched to Finn sailing.

He’ll be looking to beat American bronze medallist Caleb Paine.

Both the men’s and women’s 470 feature a host of Olympic medallists, including Great Britian’s Hannah Mills and Luke Patience and Australia’s Mathew Belcher and William Ryan.

Dutchwoman Marit Bouwmeester is the one to beat in the laser radial. She’s the defending Olympian and triple world champ.

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And don’t miss her compatriot, double Olympic titleholder Dorian van Rijsselberghe, in the RS:X.

There’s a lot on the line for France’s Charline Picon, who seeks to defend her RS:X world title this weekend and her Olympic title in Tokyo.

China’s Chen Pein, who took silver in Rio, and Spain’s Marina Alabau, who claimed silver at the last world championship, will both be looking to dethrone her.

Argentina’s six-time Olympian Santiago Lange will be pairing up again with three-time Olympian Cecilia Carranze Saroli in the Narca 17.

Viktor Axelsen of Denmark hits a shot during the Badminton World Championships at Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

Badminton

New champions will be crowned at the world championships in Nanjing. Defending champ Viktor Axelsen was ousted by Olympic champion Chen Long in the quarter-finals, and Nozomi Okuhara of Japan was defeated by India’s P.V. Sindhu.

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