Yuna Kim

Yuna Kim announces program music for figure skating season

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Yuna Kim may very well enter the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi to “Send in the Clowns.”

The defending Olympic figure skating champion from South Korea announced her music for the Olympic season: “Send in the Clowns” for her short program and “Adios Nonino” for her free skate. Kim, 22, has said she plans to retire after the Sochi Games.

“(‘Send in the Clowns’) is sung by a woman who misses her lover who left,” Kim said, according to BNT News. “At the first time I heard it, I wanted to perform with this song sometimes.

“This is my last competition program as a player (skater), and I’m so happy that I chose the song that I’ve always wanted to do. I’ll try my best to show as great performance as fans are expecting from me.”

The women’s competition is by custom the final event of the Olympic figure skating program. It will take place Feb. 19-20 in Sochi, finishing two nights before the closing ceremony. The medal contenders are set to perform their free skates in the afternoon Eastern time, via the time change.

Kim is attempting to become the first woman since Katarina Witt in 1984 and 1988 to win back-to-back Olympic figure skating titles.

In fact, next year is shaping up to be the first time in 20 years the Olympic field will include a woman who owns an Olympic gold medal (Witt came back for 1994 and finished seventh).

Kim is the favorite for Sochi gold, a statement emboldened by her comfortable victory at the World Championships in March after a two-year break from competition. The other contenders are longtime rival Mao Asada of Japan, 2012 world champion Carolina Kostner of Italy and Americans Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold.

Kim will make her season debut at Skate Canada, Oct. 25-27, according to icenetwork.com.

“Send in the Clowns” should conjure images of the 2010 Olympics for figure skating fans. There, Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy used it for their short program on their way to bronze. The visual was more memorable than the audio:

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Germans dominate women’s skeleton at world championships

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Germans Jacqueline Loelling and Tina Hermann went one-two at the skeleton world championships at home in Koenigssee on Saturday.

Loelling, 22, prevailed by one-quarter of a second after three runs over the 2016 World champion Hermann. Lizzy Yarnold, the Sochi Olympic champion from Great Britain, was .73 back for bronze.

“I didn’t expect to win, though I had perhaps hoped a little bit,” Loelling said, according to the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.

The top American was Kendall Wesenberg in 13th. Full results are here.

Loelling and Hermann, 24, represent the new generation of German sliders, both seeking to become the first Olympic skeleton champion from the sliding sports power.

Hermann swept the World Cup and world championships titles last season, and Loelling can clinch this season’s double at the World Cup finale at the 2018 Olympic track in three weeks.

Yarnold, who returned this season after a one-year break, said Saturday she had head and back issues and that she couldn’t walk three weeks ago.

The world bobsled and skeleton championships conclude with the final two runs of four-man bobsled and men’s skeleton on Sunday.

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Lindsey Vonn crashes out of World Cup super-G (video); out Sunday

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Lindsey Vonn crashed out of a World Cup super-G on Saturday, one day after refusing to start a race due to dangerous course conditions at the same venue.

Vonn fell trying to make a right turn about 17 seconds into her run, sliding into netting with her arms raised above her head in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Vonn came back last month after breaking her right upper arm in a Nov. 10 training crash, the latest in a career filled with injuries.

Vonn lay motionless for several seconds but soon after skied on her own to the bottom of the course. She “was visibly upset and appeared to be crying as she was comforted by teammate Julia Mancuso” in the finish area, according to The Associated Press.

In four super-Gs since her comeback, Vonn has finished ninth and 12th and failed to finish twice.

Slovenia’s world downhill champion Ilka Stuhec won the race by a half-second over Italian Elena Curtoni. Austrian Stephanie Venier was third.

Mikaela Shiffrin was 13th in her fifth career World Cup super-G start, 2.11 seconds behind Stuhec. Full results are here.

“I just didn’t quite handle the peely snow as well as I could have, and I was a bit conservative in sections that I didn’t want to be,” Shiffrin said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “But I’m happy to get a run in on this hill.

“I feel really good on my skis. I didn’t feel like that run showed it. But I also felt like I had some reservations after seeing how it was [Friday], and I really wanted to ski the whole course and make it down and try to put a time in there. But I wasn’t totally sure how it was going to run. So having a run under my belt is really nice.”

Six of the first 18 racers failed to finish, including a crash by Italian Sofia Goggia, who ranks fourth in the World Cup overall standings. After 20 starters, the race was delayed for about five minutes to treat the deteriorating course, according to Eurosport.

Mancuso, who hasn’t raced since March 2015, was a forerunner for a second straight day.

On Friday, Vonn and Shiffrin criticized race officials (and refused to race) for allowing a super combined to take place on dangerous snow conditions, specifically the bottom pitch, U.S. head coach Paul Kristofic said.

Vonn then spent Friday afternoon throwing up due to possible food poisoning, according to her social media.

The women race another super combined in Crans-Montana on Sunday (4:30 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Vonn is not entered, choosing to skip it due to the crash and her stomach ailment. She is expected to return for World Cup races next weekend at the 2018 Olympic venue.

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