Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt wins 100 meters at rainy World Track and Field Championships

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Usain Bolt weathered steady rain and Justin Gatlin to take back the world title in the 100 meters on Sunday, crossing the finish as lightning reportedly struck in Moscow.

Bolt, the six-time Olympic champion, won in 9.77 seconds with a slight headwind, his slowest time ever in a major championship final but his fastest time this year. Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, took silver in 9.85 seconds. Jamaican Nesta Carter earned bronze in 9.95 seconds (scroll down for full results).

Gatlin was better than Bolt in the early going, no surprise, but Bolt took control around 50 meters and ran hard through the finish for the clear win. He and Gatlin, who have traded words in the media, shook hands after.

Bolt was his usual playful self in the introductions, making hand gestures like he was holding a fake umbrella at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, site of the 1980 Olympic Games.

Bolt’s margin of victory, .08, marked his closest 100 final at a worlds or Olympics.

Bolt, 26, won the 2008 Olympics in 9.69 seconds (.20 margin), then a world record, the 2009 worlds in 9.58 seconds (.13 margin), a world record, and the 2012 Olympics in 9.63 seconds (.12 margin), an Olympic record. He was disqualified from the 2011 worlds final after a false start.

The event was missing the American record holder, Tyson Gay, out after failing drug tests in the spring. Also absent was Olympic silver medalist Yohan Blake, suffering from a hamstring injury.

That left Gatlin, who beat Bolt in a race in Rome in June, as the only man who could possibly challenge Bolt. Bolt had looked quite beatable early in the season and wasn’t too impressive in his first round and semifinal races, either.

But as we’ve seen for years, the Jamaican knows how to turn it on in major finals. Here are his comments to NBC after the race:

Bolt next takes on the 200 meters with heats and semifinals Friday and the final Saturday. He’s the two-time defending world champion in the event and an even bigger favorite there than he was in the 100.

Bolt’s biggest competition in the 200 is another Jamaican, Olympic bronze medalist Warren Weir. Again, Gay and Blake would have been medal contenders there. Gatlin is not entered in the 200.

If Bolt wins three golds in Moscow (100, 200, 4×100 relay), he will tie Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson with the most career world titles by a man with eight. If he wins three medals of any color, he will tie Lewis for most world medals won by a man (10).

Men’s 100 Final
Gold: Usain Bolt (JAM) 9.77
Silver: Justin Gatlin (USA) 9.85
Bronze: Nesta Carter (JAM) 9.95
4. Kemar Bailey-Cole (JAM) 9.98
5. Nickel Ashmeade (JAM) 9.98
6. Mike Rodgers (USA) 10.04
7. Christophe Lemaitre (FRA) 10.06
8. James Dasaolu (GBR) 10.21

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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)