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Everything You Need To Know About The 17 Olympic And Paralympic World Championships In September

By Karen Price | Sept. 07, 2018, 12:18 p.m. (ET)

September means world championships for many Olympic sports, and for at least two sports it means a shot at securing quota spots for Team USA at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. From large delegations to small to teams and individuals, here’s a look at some of the world championships fans can look forward to over the course of the month. 


Aug. 31-Sept. 14 — Changwon, South Korea

Taking place every four years, the ISSF World Championship marks not only the first opportunity for shooters to earn Olympic quota spots for their nations, including the only opportunity to earn quotas in the three new mixed team events that will make their Olympic debuts in Tokyo. The U.S. sent 82 athletes, its largest contingent ever, including 12 Olympians, to the championship.

Who To Watch: Shotgun athletes were responsible for all of the world cup medals won by Americans in 2018 and included on the team are six-time Olympian Kim Rhode, the top-ranked women’s skeet shooter in the world, as well as third-ranked Caitlin Connor and fourth-ranked Amber English. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock and two-time Olympian Frank Thompson will be there, too. Two-time Olympian Michael McPhail claimed USA Shooting’s first medal in three-position rifle in 24 years, while earning the country’s first Olympic quota for 2020. On the rifle side, three-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons made his sixth world championship appearance while Sarah Beard makes her third appearance and in pistol.

Schedule: The event has already begun and runs through Sept. 14. Find a complete schedule here.

How To Follow: Finals and results will be broadcast and posted live, and fans can follow USA Shooting’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. 


Mountain Bike
Sept. 5-9 — Lenzerheide, Switzerland

The best mountain bikers in the world will compete in Lenzerheide at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. With course features including rock gardens, root sections and steep drops through the woods, athletes will have plenty of challenges. The U.S. will send a total of 41 riders, including juniors and U23 cyclists, to the event.

Who To Watch: Kate Courtney is ranked ninth in the world in women’s cross-country and finished top 10 in her last four races. Cross-country is the only Olympic event for mountain bike. This is her first year on the senior circuit after winning the U23 UCI World Cup title last season. Luca Shaw and veteran Aaron Gwin are ninth and 10th, respectively, in men’s downhill, and Gwin is a five-time world cup series winner who was third at last year’s world championships. All three are capable of coming home with a medal and even challenging for gold.

Schedule: The men’s and women’s cross-country races will be held Sept. 8 followed by the downhill on Sept. 9.

How To Follow: The Olympic Channel will show select races, while all races are available live and on demand on NBC Sports Gold. Also visit their website and follow @UCI_MTB and @USACycling on Twitter.  


Sport Climbing
Sept. 6-16 — Innsbruck, Austria

While this year’s world championships won’t have any bearing on Olympic quotas — that will begin next year — the IFSC Climbing World Championships will follow the format for finals that will be used when the sport makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo. Climbers will compete in lead, speed and bouldering. At the Olympics, only one set of medals will be awarded, combining results from all three.

Who To Watch: Claire Buhrfeind has had a phenomenal season, becoming the first athlete to win gold in both sport and speed climbing at the Sport & Speed Open National Championships earlier this year. She ranks third in the women’s overall standings. Ashima Shiraishi is another of the top women’s contenders, ranked fifth in the world in women’s lead. Sean Bailey is ranked 10th in men's lead. John Brosler and Kai Lightner are ranked 11th and 12th, respectively, in men’s overall. 

Schedule: The women’s lead final will be Sept. 8, the men’s lead final will be Sept. 9, the men’s and women’s speed finals will be Sept. 13, the women’s bouldering final will be Sept. 14, the men’s bouldering final will be Sept. 15, and the men’s and women’s combined finals will be Sept. 16.

How To Follow: Visit their website for live scores and other info, and check the federation’s YouTube channel for live streaming. Fans can also follow USA Climbing’s Instagram page as well as Twitter and Facebook.  


Modern Pentathlon
Sept. 6-13 — Mexico City

The UIPM Senior World Championships will be held in Mexico City beginning Sept. 6. In pentathlon, athletes compete in swimming, fencing, equestrian show jumping and a combined running and shooting event.

Who To Watch: Two-time Olympian Amro Elgeziry is the top ranked American man in the world rankings, coming in at No. 86. The top ranked American woman is Samantha Achterberg at No. 77. They were both crowned national champions this year. Also representing Team USA is 2014 Youth Olympian Brendan Anderson.

Schedule: The event starts with the women’s, men’s and mixed relays over the first three days. The women’s individual final is Sept. 12, followed by the men’s final on Sept. 13.

How To Follow: Results will be posted here, and a live stream will be available here.


Sept. 9-16 — Plovdiv, Bulgaria

A total of 27 crews will represent the U.S. over the course of the eight-day World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria. Of those athletes, 42 are returning from last year’s world championship roster that won six medals on home water in Sarasota, Florida.

Who To Watch: The women’s eight finished fourth at the 2017 world championships, marking the first time since 2005 that the boat didn’t win a world or Olympic gold medal. Coxswain Katelin Guregian and Emily Regan both return to this year’s crew eager to start a new streak. Erin Reelick and Molly Bruggeman are back with the women’s four crew, which also placed fourth last year. Coxswain Julian Venonsky, Patrick Eble, Andrew Reed, Tom Peszek and Alex Karwoski return to the men’s eight boat that won silver at last year’s worlds. Back from one of last year’s most memorable performances is the women’s double sculls team of Meghan O’Leary and Ellen Tomek, who won silver in Florida for the nation’s first medal in the event in 27 years.

Schedule: There are 29 events in the regatta (nine of them Para-rowing events). Visit www.worldrowing.com for a complete schedule. 

How To Follow: The Olympic Channel will show select races. There will be a live race tracker on the World Rowing website or follow USRowing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #WRC2018 or #wrchamps. Check usrowing.org for more information. 


Sept. 9-16 — Plovdiv, Bulgaria

A record seven Para-rowing crews will represent the U.S. over the course of the eight-day World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria.

Who To Watch: The U.S. won a silver medal last year in the PR3 mixed four with coxswain, and three of those athletes are back this year: Dani Hansen, Mike Varro and coxswain Jenny Sichel.

Schedule: There are nine Para-rowing events in the regatta. A final schedule will be released closer to the event here.

How To Follow: The Olympic Channel will show select races. There will be a live race tracker at www.worldrowing.com or follow USRowing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #WRC2018 or #wrchamps. Check usrowing.org for more information.


Rhythmic Gymnastics
Sept. 10-16 — Sofia, Bulgaria

Medals at this year’s FIG World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships will be awarded for the team; individual all-around, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon events; and the group all-around, five hoops, and three balls/two ropes competitions. The championships are also the first opportunity for the top three groups to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. The U.S. has never won a medal at the world championships in rhythmic gymnastics.

Who To Watch: Laura Zeng, a 2016 Olympian and four-time U.S. champion, will lead the U.S. contingent, along with national runner-up Evita Griskenas and Camilla Feeley. Zeng earned the highest all-around finish ever by an American at worlds when she was eighth in 2015; she then bested that with a sixth-place finish last year. The senior rhythmic groups consists of Dasha Baltovick, Isabelle Connor, Ugne Dragunas, Connie Du, Elizaveta Pletneva and Nicole Sladkov. Kristina Sobolevskaya is the alternate.

Schedule: Sept. 11, hoop and ball finals; Sept. 13 clubs and ribbon finals, Sept. 14 all-around final; Sept. 15 group competition; Sept. 16 five hoops and three balls/two ropes finals

How To Follow: USA Gymnastics on social media.

Sept. 12-16 — Gold Coast, Australia

The ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final will feature races in the elite, U23, junior and elite paratriathlon categories, among others. World championships are determined based on World Triathlon Series rankings following the event.

Who To Watch: Coming off a second-place finish in Montreal last month, Olympian Katie Zaferes is ranked No. 1 on the women’s side. The world title is expected to come down to Zaferes and Great Britain’s Vicky Holland, who has won three times this season and is a mere 34 points back. Kirsten Kasper (7) and Taylor Spivey (8) also rank among the top 10. Matthew McElroy is the top-ranked American at No. 30, followed by Eli Hemming at No. 34.

Schedule: The elite women compete Sept. 15, followed by the elite men on Sept. 16. Paratriathlon is also Sept. 15.

How To Watch: NBCSN will provide TV coverage, while live and on-demand coverage is available via subscription at triathlonlive.tv.

Sept. 12-23 — Tryon, North Carolina

Held every four years over roughly two weeks, the FEI World Equestrian Games bring the different disciplines together for one of the sport’s most prestigious competitions. Equestrians will be competing for titles in dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, Para-dressage, reining and vaulting, including both individual and team competitions.

Who To Watch: Team USA is stacked in the three Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and jumping. The 14 riders selected for the World Equestrian Games includes 10 Olympians who account for 15 Olympic medals in 25 appearances. The dressage roster is highlighted by four-time Olympian and two-time bronze medalist Steffen Peters, while six-time Olympian Phillip Dutton leads the eventing squad. The jumping team includes the 2017 World Cup Final champion, McLain Ward, and the 2018 World Cup Final winner and runner-up, Beezie Madden and Devin Ryan.

Schedule: Competition begins Sept. 12 with three events, and continues for 11 more days with just one off day on Sept. 17. A full schedule is available here.

How To Follow: NBC Sports will present nearly 65 hours of coverage, including a record 57 live hours. Click here for details. The Tryon2018 and FEI social media accounts will also be posting info using the hashtag #Tryon2018.

Men’s Volleyball
Sept. 12-30 — Italy and Bulgaria

The No. 2-ranked men’s volleyball team heads into the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in Italy and Bulgaria with a 13-6 record this season following a third-place finish in the Volleyball Nations League tournament. The 14-man U.S. roster, which was released Sept. 4, is a veteran group featuring eight Olympic medalists. The U.S. won a world title in 1986, finished third in 1994 and, at the most recent worlds in 2014, finished seventh. 

Who To Watch: Olympians Taylor Sander and Matt Anderson have had an outstanding season with Sander being named one of the best outside hitters at the Nations League and Anderson being named best opposite. 

Schedule: Pool play begins Sept. 12 against Serbia. The U.S. will also face Australia (Sept. 13), Russia (Sept 15), Cameroon (Sept. 16) and Tunisia (Sept. 18). The medal matches will be held on Sept. 30. 

How To Follow: Matches will be shown on Flo Volleyball (subscription required), or follow USA Volleyball on social channels. 


Sept. 15 — Gold Coast, Australia

Paratriathlon, which made its Paralympic debut in Rio, will be contested as part of the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final. Unlike the elite triathlons, champions are named based solely on this race rather than cumulative series results.

Who To Watch: Several U.S. paratriathletes are expected to compete, including the top-ranked man (Mark Barr) and woman (Allysa Seely) in the PTS2 category, as well as Chris Hammer in PTS5. Seely won a gold medal in Rio, leading a U.S. podium sweep in the event. Rio silver medalist Hailey Danz is ranked No. 2 and is also on the list to compete in Australia.

Schedule: The paratriathlon is set for Sept. 15.

How To Watch: NBCSN will provide TV coverage, while live and on-demand coverage is available via subscription on Triathlon Live.


Sept. 18-22 — Tryon, North Carolina

Held in conjunction with the FEI World Equestrian Games, Para-dressage follows the basic rules of conventional dressage. Competition in Tryon will include various competition grades based on functional abilities.

Who To Watch: The five athletes selected to represent the U.S. in Para-equestrian are three-time Paralympian Rebecca Hart, 2016 Paralympian Angela Peavy, Kate Shoemaker and 2016 Paralympian Roxanne Trunnell.

Schedule: The individual competitions will take place Sept. 18 and 19, with team competition held Sept. 20 and 21, followed by the freestyle and medal ceremony on Sept. 22.

How To Follow: Broadcast and live streaming will be available for all events, though details have not yet been released. The Tryon 2018 and FEI social media accounts will also be posting info using the hashtag #Tryon2018.


Sept. 20-27 — Baku, Azerbaijan

The world championships will feature 831 competitors from 133 countries. Olympian Angelica Delgado and Hannah Martin top the women’s contingent while Adonis Diaz, Olympian Nick Delpopolo, Alex Turner and Jack Hatton are among those who’ll compete for the men.

Who To Watch: Delgado is ranked 12th in the world and the No. 8 seed in the women’s 52 kg. class while Diaz is 18th in the world and the No. 15 seed in the men’s 60 kg. class. 

Schedule: The men’s 60 kg. will be on Sept. 20 and the women’s 52 kg. will be contested on Sept. 21. For a complete schedule visit the world championship page at IJF.org. 

How To Follow: Visit the website at https://www.ijf.org/ or USA Judo on social media. 


Road Cycling
Sept. 22-30 — Innsbruck, Austria

The UCI Road World Championships will take place later this month in Innsbruck with cyclists competing in the individual time trial, team time trial and road race. 

Who To Watch: Last year Coryn Rivera was part of the team that won the women’s team time trial, while Olympian Tejay van Garderen was on the silver medalist men’s team. This year’s roster has not yet been released.

Schedule: The men’s and women’s team time trials are Sept. 23, the women’s individual time trial is Sept. 25, the men’s individual time trial is Sept. 26, the women’s road race is Sept. 29 and the men’s road race is Sept. 30.

How To Follow: The Olympic Channel will show select races, while all races are available live and on demand on NBC Sports Gold.


Women’s Basketball
Sept. 22-30 — Tenerife, Spain

Two-time defending champ, Team USA will go into the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup as favorites. The U.S. has won nine times since the tournament began in 1953, and has also won the past six Olympic gold medals, and eight overall.

Who To Watch: The final 12-member team will be selected from a larger pool that includes several 2016 Olympic gold medalists, including Sue Bird, Tina Charles and Diana Taurasi.

Schedule: The U.S. plays Senegal (Sept. 22), China (Sept. 23) and Latvia (Sept. 25) in pool play, and the medal rounds are Sept. 28-30.

How To Follow: Visit FIBA.basketball for stats and highlights, check out FIBA’s YouTube channel for video, and follow FIBA and USA Basketball social media channels and the #USABWNT and #FIBAWWC hashtags.


Canoe/Kayak Slalom
Sept. 25-30 — Rio de Janeiro

The 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships will be held at Deodoro Whitewater Stadium, which hosted the slalom events at the 2016 Olympics. 

Who To Watch: The roster is not yet released, but Olympians Casey Eichfeld and Michal Smolen were among those on the team for the most recent world cup in Slovenia. They finished fourth and third in their events at the 2015 world championships.

Schedule: The event starts with team events on Sept. 25. The full schedule is available here.

How To Follow: Track the live results on the event’s website and following along via the ICF’s social media.


Women’s Volleyball
Sept. 29-Oct. 20 — Japan

Four years ago the U.S. women not only won their first-ever world championship but also their first championship in a major international tournament. They now head to Japan as defending champions looking to make it two in a row. The team, ranked second in the world, won the Volleyball Nations League this summer, finishing with a 17-2 record that included a 10-match winning streak and 12 wins in straight sets. 

Who To Watch: Michelle Bartsch-Hackley was the leading scorer for the U.S. throughout the Nations League tournament and was named MVP and best outside hitter while Tori Dixon was named best middle blocker. 

Schedule: Pool play begins Sept. 29 against Azerbaijan. They will also face Trinidad & Tobago (Sept. 30), South Korea (Oct. 2), Thailand (Oct. 3) and Russia (Oct. 4). The medal matches will be held Oct. 20. 

How To Follow: Matches will be shown on Flo Volleyball (subscription required), or follow USA Volleyball on social channels.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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