Despite two uncharacteristic falls during her free skate Saturday night, Ashley Wagner became the first American woman since Michelle Kwan in 2005 to win back-to-back national titles, holding off Gracie Gold, who finished second to earn her spot at the world championships in Ontario this March.
“It’s definitely not the type of win, not the performance I had imagined myself having,” Wagner said of her close victory. “But the fact I was able to repeat as champion with those two performances, that’s something to be proud of.”
Wagner came in with the lead after a solid short program score of 67.57, and threw up a score of 121.27 in the free skate for a total of 188.84, winning her second title by just more than two points.
But Gold, who finished with a total score of 186.57, had both the performance and the move of the night, earning the second highest free skate score in U.S. Championship history by completing a perfect triple-flip, triple-toe combination. She roared back from ninth after a poor short program Thursday.
“I stopped focusing on what was around me, the crowd, the screaming, the other skaters, the pressure, the expectations – I let it all go,” Gold said.” I just pictured myself at my rink in Chicago and even the practices here… I just went out there and skated like I know how to skate.”
Wagner would need to win the next six national titles to match Kwan’s historic haul of eight-in-a-row, but for now she’s happy just to have a shot at a world title and a spot on the Olympic team next February.
Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, recently met former soccer star David Beckham at a restaurant.
Both global sporting icons posted similar photos on social media with similar captions Monday morning.
Beckham played midfield for Manchester United, and Bolt is a longtime fan of the soccer club.
Bolt, who is planning on retiring after the 2017 World Championships, was recently asked about the possibility of Manchester United while hosting a Facebook Live.
“If I had the chance to play for Manchester United, I would go right now,” he said, laughing. “I would retire and start playing futbol right now. That’s how much I really want to play for Manchester United.”
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Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was running down the open field when he encountered Chicago Bears safety Chris Prosinski.
Prosinski went low and Elliott, a high school state champion in the 110m and 300m hurdles, decided to go high and hurdle the defender:
The track and field community took notice of Elliott’s hurdle.
Lolo Jones, a 100m hurdler who competed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, gave Elliott grades of an A++ for difficulty and an A for technique on Twitter. She wrote that it “hands down would’ve been best NFL hurdle technique of the yr.” if a second Bears defender, Jonathan Anderson, hadn’t prevented Elliott from landing cleanly:
Dawn Harper-Nelson, the 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the 100m hurdles, also had a positive review of Elliott’s efforts:
Emma Coburn, the 2016 Olympic 3000m steeplechase bronze medalist, thought Elliott’s leap resembled her event:
Elliott finished with 30 carries for 140 yards to lead the Cowboys to a 31-17 win during Sunday Night Football.
His mother, Dawn, who was a track and field athlete at the University of Missouri, posted a photo on Twitter to remind everyone where her son inherited his hurling gene from:
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