Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt: ‘I know I’m clean’

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Usain Bolt must have known he’d face questions about the latest track and field doping scandal going into his first competition since Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell admitted to testing positive for banned substances.

Sure enough, he was asked if the public could trust him in a news conference Thursday, one day before he runs at a Diamond League meet at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Bolt “rolled his eyes,” according to Reuters, and explained how he’s been setting records since he was a teenager.

“I was hoping that question would come later in the day,” he said. “How long have you been following me — since 2008 maybe? If you’ve been following me since 2002, you would know I’ve been doing phenomenal things since I was 15. I was the youngest person to win the world juniors. I ran the world youth record at 17. I’ve broken every record there is in every event I’ve ever done. For me, I’ve proven myself since I was 15. I’m just living out my dream now. I was made to inspire people and made to run. I was given a gift and that’s what I do. I know I’m clean, so I’m just going to continue running and using my talent and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Bolt’s case for being clean is that he’s been posting elite times for more than a decade. Unlike some athletes who have doped and gone on to dramatically lower personal bests or leapfrogged their peers all of a sudden, Bolt’s always been more or less a constant.

“Hopefully we can move past this,” Bolt said of the recent doping news, according to Agence France-Presse. “It’s definitely going to set us back a bit as a sport.

“I just have to focus on the World Championships, run fast, and hopefully make people forget about this.”

Bolt will run the 100 meters in London at 4:48 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, one day before the one-year anniversary of the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games. Bolt won triple gold in London, just as he did in Beijing in 2008. This is his first meet in London since the Olympics.

His track club, Racers, is also entered in the 4×100 relay Saturday. So look for Bolt to possibly anchor that quartet as well.

On Thursday, Bolt said the only substances he’s ever taken are legal vitamins, that he was surprised about the recent drug-test news in track but wouldn’t comment, according to the Telegraph.

“Every athlete takes vitamins,” Bolt said, adding he was drug tested on Tuesday. “But I don’t really take supplements.

“I’m clean. You have to be careful as an athlete, but I’m not worried because I have a great team around me. As a person I make sure I’m careful as well. You have to trust the people around you because they check everything you’re taking to make sure it’s not on the banned list. They read the fine print.”

Bolt did say he texted Powell, his fellow Jamaican whom he took the 100-meter world record from in 2008.

“I’m not going to stress about it (doping),” Bolt said. “I know I am clean and I just want to improve the sport and that is what I am going to do.”

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Yevgenia Medvedeva breaks record in Grand Prix Final short program

MISSISSAUGA, ON - OCTOBER 28: Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia competes in the Women's Singles Short Program during day one of the 2016 Skate Canada International at Hershey Centre on October 28, 2016 in Mississauga, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva broke the record for highest women’s short program score at the Grand Prix Final on Friday.

Medvedeva, who hasn’t lost in more than one year, totaled 79.21 points in Marseille, France. That beat Mao Asada‘s 78.66 from the 2014 World Championships, the previous record under a decade-old judging system.

“I knew approximately about the record,” Medvedeva said through a translator. “For me, it’s one step further.”

Medvedeva leads Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond by 3.67 points going into Saturday’s free skate. No U.S. woman qualified for the six-skater Grand Prix Final for the first time since 2008.

Medvedeva, 17, hopes to repeat as champion at the Grand Prix Final, the second-biggest annual figure skating event.

She already holds the free skate world record and can break Yuna Kim‘s record for total score with a solid effort Saturday in Marseille. Medvedeva said she can perform better than she did Friday, specifically with her program interpretation and spins.

“I always strive for perfection,” she said through a translator. “When you stop doing that, you will stop progress.”

The Grand Prix Final concludes with the women’s and men’s free skates and free dance Saturday (schedule here). NBCSN will air coverage Sunday from 8:30-11 p.m. ET.

Earlier Friday, Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov held onto their short-program lead to win the pairs event by 7.14 points over China’s Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao.

Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, the two-time world champions and pre-event favorites, struggled in the short program and free skate and lost for just the second time in the last three seasons.

In the short dance, Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir recorded the highest score of all time, an 80.50, to take a 2.53-point lead into Saturday’s free dance.

That Virtue and Moir lead is no surprise — they were the top couple in the fall Grand Prix season — but their closest challenger is a surprise.

It is not two-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, but instead Americans Maia and Alex Shibutani, who totaled a personal-best short dance.

MORE: Javier Fernandez builds toward last Olympic chance

Women’s Short Program
1. Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — 79.21
2. Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) — 75.54
3. Satoko Miyahara (JPN) — 74.64
4. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) — 73.29
5. Yelena Radionova (RUS) — 68.98
6. Maria Sotskova (RUS) — 65.74

Short Dance
1. Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) — 80.50
2. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 77.97
3. Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) — 77.86
4. Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 74.04
5. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) — 72.47
6. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) — 70.87

Pairs Results
GOLD: Yevgenia Tarasovana/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 213.85
SILVER: Yu Xiaoyu/Zhang Hao (CHN) — 206.71
BRONZE: Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) — 205.99
4. Natalya Zabiyako/Aleksander Enbert (RUS) — 188.32
5. Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau (CAN) — 186.85
6. Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN) — 183.19

Gracie Gold’s outlook for U.S. Championships clouded after more struggles

Gracie Gold
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Gracie Gold struggled in all four of her competitions this fall, capped by her lowest total score in four years at a Croatian event this week, putting her under scrutiny for the U.S. Championships in six weeks.

She singled three jumps and fell twice across two programs at Golden Spin in Zagreb, Croatia, on Thursday and Friday.

Gold totaled 159.02 points for sixth place, her first time below 160 points since 2012 Skate Canada in her first season as a senior skater.

Italian Carolina Kostner, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, won with 196.23 points in her first full competition since the 2014 World Championships.

GOLD’S SKATES: Short Program | Free Skate

Earlier this fall, Gold finished last of six skaters in the free skate-only Japan Open on Oct. 1, fifth at Skate America in October and eighth at Trophée de France in November.

Gold has spoken openly about trying to mentally and physically recover from last season’s world championships, where she dropped from first after the short program to finish fourth, and taking weeks off from training in the summer offseason.

Even with the rough skates, Gold still ranks fourth among U.S. women in top scores this season, behind Ashley WagnerMariah Bell and Mirai Nagasu.

She could struggle — to a degree — at the U.S. Championships in January and still make the three-woman world championships team. Gold has finished first or second at all four of her senior nationals appearances.

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

Top U.S. women’s skaters in 2016-17
1. Ashley Wagner — 196.44 (Skate America)
2. Mariah Bell — 191.59 (Skate America)
3. Mirai Nagasu — 189.11 (Autumn Classic)
4. Gracie Gold — 184.22 (Skate America)
5. Amber Glenn — 183.60 (Golden Spin)
6. Courtney Hicks — 182.98 (Rostelecom Cup)