Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Wagner leads nationals; aims for second consecutive title

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Ashley Wagner is on her way to becoming the first American woman since Michelle Kwan in 2005 to win back-to-back national figure skating championships after taking the lead in Omaha with a solid short program performed to “Red Violin” Thursday night.

“I felt really solid,” the eight ranked skater in the world said after her skate. “I did exactly what I planned on doing. I feel like I owned every jump, spin, and element that I had in that program.”

Despite a training regimen that her coach called “anything but ideal” as he admitted she was concerned more about sparkles and music than preparation, Wagner scored a 67.57 and leads Agnes Zawadzki by more than two points heading into Saturday’s long program.

Vancouver Olympian Mirai Nagasu sits in third, 0.92 points behind in her comeback to the sport.

“I feel like I’ve been like that little girl from ages ago who wanted to go to the Olympics and medal,” Nagasu said. “I feel like I’ve been trying to regain that memory. Sometimes it’s hard but it’s been a great journey.”

Canada crushes U.S. in World Hockey Championship opener

Tyler Motte, Mark Stone
AP
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Canada beat the U.S. for the 39th time in 43 games in World Hockey Championship history, 5-1 in the biggest rout between the two rivals since 1997 in their Worlds opener in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.

NHL players Brad MarchandTaylor Hall, Matt Duchene, Brendan Gallagher and Boone Jenner scored for Canada, which came back from a 1-0 deficit.

The U.S. had New Jersey Devils backup Keith Kincaid in goal. Canada started Edmonton Oilers No. 1 Cam Talbot, who allowed a first-period goal to Patrick Maroon.

The U.S., bronze-medal winner in 2013 and 2015, and reigning World champion Canada are in the same eight-team group at Worlds.

The top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals that begin May 19.

The U.S. next plays Belarus on Saturday. Full NBC Sports broadcast coverage information of Worlds is here.

MORE: 2018 Olympic hockey groups determined

Lindsey Vonn sails with America’s Cup champion (video)

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Lindsey Vonn continued her offseason tour by sailing with Oracle Team USA, winner of the last two America’s Cups, in the Hudson River in New York City on Thursday.

That came one day after Vonn joined Tom BradyJordan Spieth and Vanilla Ice at an Under Armour party in Baltimore.

Vonn is next expected to hit Louisville for this weekend’s Kentucky Derby.

NBC Sports will present live coverage of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series from New York at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday (NBC Sports Live Extra) and Sunday (NBCSN, Live Extra).

MORE: Vonn details ‘excruciating pain’ from season-ending crash