Gabby Douglas

Gabby wins AP Athlete of the Year

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Two-time gold medalist Gabby Douglas capped-off a significant year in women’s sports by earning the AP’s Top Female Athlete of the Year award Friday, marking the fifth straight year that a female Olympic gold medalist has taken it home.

“I didn’t realize how much of an impact I made,” Douglas told the AP. “My mom and everyone said, ‘You really won’t know the full impact until you’re 30 or 40-years-old.’ But it’s starting to sink in.”

Gabby, who became the first American to win both the team and all-around gold at the same Games, earned 48 of the 157 votes to barely edge-out teen swimming phenom Missy Franklin, who impressed 41 of the voting U.S. sports editors and news directors.

So, just a heads up: the top two vote-getters’ combined age is 33. Awesome.

Nearly every 2012 nominee was a London Olympian, including Allyson Felix, Carli Lloyd, and Serena Williams, as well Baylor basketball standout Britney Griner, who turned down Team USA to focus on school.

Gabby turns 17 on New Years Eve, and has spent her time since the Olympics appearing on a Wheaties Box, in a Nicki Minaj rap, and on Vampire Diaries. She was also interviewed by Oprah, threw out first pitches in New York and L.A., led the Pledge of Allegiance at the DNC, and even released a book.

“I didn’t think it was going to be crazy,” Douglas added. “I love it.”

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar. Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February.

The Rostelecom Cup free dance and pairs and women’s free skates are later Saturday.

A full Rostelecom Cup broadcast schedule is here.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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