Meryl Davis, Charlie White

Gracie Gold struggles, Meryl Davis/Charlie White win at U.S. International Figure Skating Classic

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Courtney Hicks jumped from third to win the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, while world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White easily took the ice dance.

Hicks, 17, performed the cleanest free skate among four American women at the season-opening event in Salt Lake City to total 171.88 points (full results below).

She landed a handful of triple jumps and a double axel in her first senior international competition. Hicks was fourth at this year’s U.S. Championships.

She upset U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold, who led after the short program Friday but stumbled in her free skate at finished with 164.68 points.

Gold was reported Friday by the Chicago Tribune to be changing coaches from Chicago area-based Alex Ouriashev to Frank Carroll in California.

Carroll was the longtime coach of Michelle Kwan and currently coaches Evan Lysacek.

Gold parted ways with Ouriashev immediately after Champs Camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., in August, according to icenetwork.com, but no official announcement on Carroll has been made yet.

In the meantime, Gold struggled in her free skate Saturday. She doubled what appeared to be two planned triples and popped two other jumps.

American Samantha Cesario was third (157.29), and 2012 champion Agnes Zawadzki fourth (151.27). Gold and Zawadzki were second and third at nationals and considered the favorites going in.

Three U.S. women will make the Olympic team at nationals in January in Boston. Hicks, Gold and Zawadzki are considered contenders, along with U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and Christina Gao, fifth at nationals.

In the ice dance, Davis and White extended an 11-point lead from the short program to win by 22 over Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who were fifth at the World Championships in March.

The next major event is Skate America in Detroit, Oct. 8-10. Wagner, Cesario and Caroline Zhang are entered there, along with ice dancers Davis and White, Maia and Alex Shibutani and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

Women
1. Courtney Hicks (USA) 171.88
2. Gracie Gold (USA) 164.68
3. Samantha Cesario (USA) 157.29
4. Agnes Zawadzki (USA) 151.27
5. Amelie Lacoste (CAN) 147.88
6. Sandy Hoffmann (GER) 124.18
7. Melanie Yuung-Hui Chang (TPE) 109.74
8. Crystal Kiang (TPE) 100.57
9. Dimitra Korri (GRE) 91.62
10. Chelsea Chiappa (HUN) 90.14
11. Georgia Glastris (GRE) 89.58
12. Clara Peters (IRL) 88.33
13. Brittany Lau (SIN) 83.44

Ice Dance
1. Davis/White (USA) 183.69
2. Weaver/Poje (CAN) 161.99
3. Orford/Williams (CAN) 137.60
4. Kriengkrairut/Giuletti-Schmitt (USA) 134.48
5. Coomes/Buckland (GBR) 133.41
6. Zlobina/Sitnikov (AZE) 132.34
7. Tobias/Deividas (LTU) 121.08
8. Cannuscio/McManus (USA) 119.34
9. Polutowska/Gerber (POL) 114.48
10. Reed/Rogov (ISR) 113.49
11. Telegina/Japaridze (GEO) 109.70
12. Bernardi/Mior (ITA) 106.13
13. Aronow/Brubaker (USA) 100.31
14. Maekawa/Maekawa (MEX) 92.26

Max Aaron shaky in men’s free skate

Zika won’t stop Olympics; only war has done that, historian says

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 07:  A general view of the Christ The Redeemer statue atop the Corcovado on July 7, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
AP
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The world’s best known Olympic historian said Friday it will take something more destructive than the Zika virus to cancel the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“Historically, the only times the Games have been cancelled is in war — World War I and World War II,” David Wallechinsky told the Associated Press. “Other than that, nothing has done it.”

Brazil is the epicenter of the rapidly spreading mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is also generating rumors that South America’s first Games may be called off instead of opening on Aug. 5.

Researchers have linked the virus to a birth defect that can leave newborns with long-lasting health and developmental problems.

Brazil’s Sports Minister George Hilton issued a statement saying that canceling the Games “is not in discussion,” and Rio organizers and the International Olympic Committee have repeatedly shot down the notion it’s even being considered.

Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians, said the only similar case was the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, when three athletes from west Africa were banned from competing over fears they had contracted the Ebola virus and the subsequent possibility of it spreading.

“That’s the only time that disease has ever entered into it,” he said.

The 1916 Olympics were called off during World War I, and four Games — two summer and two winter — were cancelled between 1940 and 1944. Two Summer Olympics were hit by partial boycotts in 1980 and 1984.

Wallechinsky said it was too late to move the games from Rio.

“A lot of money has been put into this; the athletes, the infrastructure,” he said. “It’s pretty late to move the Games so I think they’ll go forward.”

Brazil is spending at least $10 billion to prepare for the Games. Add to that, billions spent on television rights, and maybe just as much on sponsorship, advertising across 28 sport federations, and the more than 200 nations that participate.

“There would be a lot of lawsuits,” Wallechinsky said. “It would be a dream event for lawyers.”

The Zika virus adds to other problems with South America’s first Olympics, including water pollution in Rio’s venues for sailing, rowing, canoeing, triathlon and open-water swimming , and deep cuts of almost 30 percent to keep a $2 billion operating budget in balance.

Only about half of the domestic tickets for the game have been sold, and organizers fear the Zika outbreak could scare off foreign tourists — particularly Americans.

Janice Forsyth, an Olympic historian at Western University in Canada, predicted the Zika threat “is going to blow over.”

“But if it really catches on, then we’ve got a global concern that’s not just about the Olympics,” she said. “But it would have to be really extraordinary for the game to be cancelled. Even with threats of terrorism, the games still don’t get cancelled.”

Forsyth said the virus might even have beneficial impact on Rio’s preparations, distracting from other problems.

“In a sad way, maybe it’s a positive diversion from what is actually going on with the games,” she said. “A twist for games that seem to be constantly struggling.”

VIDEO: Rio Olympic venues timelapse

‘Race’ film clip of 1936 Olympic long jump (video)

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“Race,” a film about 1936 Olympic legend Jesse Owens‘ triumphs in the face of Nazi Germany, hits theaters Feb. 19.

In the above clip, Owens competes in long jump qualifying after receiving a tip from fellow jumper German Luz Long to avoid fouling on his last attempt to advance to the final.

Owens would then beat Long in the final, though the pair forged a friendship.

In other clips, Owens, played by Stephan James, speaks with his Ohio State coach, Larry Snyder, played by Jason Sudeikis. Watch that here.

Also, Owens discusses taking part in the Olympics amid racial prejudice in the U.S. Watch that here.

MORE: James discusses playing Owens in ‘Race’ | VIDEO: ‘Race’ trailer