South Korea

South Korean athletes compete at international sports event in North Korea for first time

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The photo to the right is a significant one. It’s a South Korean athlete carrying his flag into the opening ceremony of the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Weightlifting Championship in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Thursday.

North Korea allowed South Koreans to march in with their flag and to have their national anthem play should they win gold, according to reports. It’s the first time South Koreans have competed at an international sporting event in North Korea.

There has long been tension between the two countries. In Olympic terms, the most recent was North Korea offering to host some Olympic skiing events for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games in South Korea. That offer was rejected.

The South Korean delegation at the Pyongyang event includes a reported 41 athletes, officials and others.

The last time South Korean athletes competed in North Korea was 2008, when a youth football team played a friendly, according to reports. North and South Korea have marched together at the opening ceremony of some recent Olympics.

Pyeongchang South Korean Olympic champion archer uses bow and arrow for ceremonial first pitch

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar. Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February.

The Rostelecom Cup free dance and pairs and women’s free skates are later Saturday.

A full Rostelecom Cup broadcast schedule is here.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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